The Birthday Party

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Yesterday was the birthday of the namesake of our Famous Franchise. It just happened to coincide with our normal Thursday party so they turned it into a birthday party. I follow a few other Famous Franchise studios and I think a lot of them did this. Maybe all. Maybe it was a directive from on top.

But since Z was traveling, the party preparations fell to OwnerGuy and this doesn’t seem to be a strength of his. All they had was 12 cupcakes – like someone had made a quick trip to the grocery store nearby but was on a limited budget. There were certainly more than 12 people at the party so it was kind of like Office Space with not enough cake for everyone.

I’ll just say this about franchise studios. If your goal is serious competitive dancing, then I think your best option is to find an independent instructor and work with them. The problem with the franchise is that you are at the mercy of instructors leaving. If you are lucky enough to hit on a studio where the owners are or have recently been competitive dancers, then it would work. But you don’t control those variables when you walk into a franchise and every franchise is different. I’m not saying it can’t work but just that there are better paths out there.

I do have to give some credit where credit is due. The franchise system has been going for many years even as the popularity of ballroom has gone up and down through the years. They do create a nice supportive group atmosphere because everyone is going through the same experiences so there are bonds that are formed. And, they can teach you to dance. So I guess celebrating the birthday of the namesake is a good thing.

Had a lesson before which focused on Rumba, Cha-Cha and Swing. We incorporated the two new Rumba steps into the pattern and OwnerGuy cut out a lot of the older stuff. He thinks we should around five moves in a pattern because that will generally take up the time for a heat at a Showcase. Plus, having a smaller number allows greater focus on those. I’m starting to warm to the new Rumba steps. With them in the pattern, there is a real nice flow to it. The old one had a few too many rock steps so it didn’t really go anywhere.

The Cha-Cha is a bit on the insane side. I’m struck by the difference between the Silver III Rumba and Cha-Cha. The Rumba patterns aren’t that difficult (guessing the difficulty comes in the technique behind leading/following) and one is kind of short. The Cha-Cha patterns are longer and one is filled with all kinds of crazy syncopation. Clearly, different people have different ideas of what Silver III should be. The syncopated stuff is a bit of a challenge just trying to get my feet to wake up and move that quickly. We did get through it to a slow Cha-Cha but we didn’t dare try to do a faster Cha-Cha.

Finished with Swing which was really just focused on the beginning pattern which OwnerGuy briefly went over. I think we need him back just to lock my feet down. I keep taking an extra step somewhere and it throws things off. We are creating momentum in that first part which is what is supposed to happen so there is probably something going right. Just need to remember to take the right number of steps.

The new guy did a Salsa group class which was nice. At one point, he brought up the whole hip movement thing and tried to demonstrate how to create it. He did say that any guy who can move his hips is going to get a lot of attention. Well my hips decided to stay in their normal locked and upright position. There was a part at the end where the lady does a free spin and he said that the gentlemen could spin if they wanted to. I may not have a lot of hip action but I’m down to spin. They played a Salsa at party so we could practice and we ended up doing the little pattern five times during the song so I was able to do the spin and pick back up with the start of the pattern.

The interesting thing about the party was that the ladies seriously outnumbered the men. It seems like we’ve picked up a fair number of new students and most are women so the ratio is all messed up. Tried to spread myself around a little bit but after the lesson and group, my knee started to act up a bit so I had to hide a few times just to rest. Its hard to do when there are lots of ladies sitting out but lesson, group and party just wears me down.

In two weeks, they are bringing in another coach. This type its a lady and JoNY wants to do the Rhythm dances. I said that’s fine unless she tries to get me to work on Cuban motion. I know it isn’t supposed to be a lot but doing a lot of repetitive bending and straightening of my leg always ends up making my knee ache like crazy. Just got to learn to live with the limitations.

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