Shaping and Lunging

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Yesterday was a day where we had the AC and ceiling fans on when we went to bed and needed to turn on the heater when we got up. Welcome to the world of wide temperature swings.

Also, since I had my double lesson and workout, this morning was also check around to see what was sore. Triceps, check. Left shoulder, check. Right knee check and double check. Feet, a little tired. Legs, also a bit tired. I know this all means that work was done yesterday so I guess that’s a good thing.

First lesson was basically a review of the Rumba, Waltz and Argentine Tango. The Rumba was to get down the new pattern and, with a few false steps, it is pretty much locked in. Waltz is because I got the bright idea that I wanted to do a demo at next week’s open house and since the Waltz got changed up by the coach, I wanted to show it off. It sounded good at the time when they asked for volunteers at party last week. Now come the second thoughts.

The other problem is that the floor was divided due to the group class. We had the bigger piece but there were also two other couples to navigate around. There’s good and bad to that. The good is that it is always nice to practice navigating on a tight floor and learning how to change things up when needed. The bad is that you can’t go all out like you would when you have the whole floor so it feels constrained and different. The Argentine Tango was just to go over some of the timing changes and I think we only got to that because the Waltz and Rumba went so well.

In between lessons, the group class was Viennese Waltz. Since they took the Silver class away, this was Bronze and for anyone past Bronze II and we had a couple of people who had never done Viennese Waltz before. Understand why the studio would want to do this – introduce people to a new dance in a group class and maybe they want to add it to their program. But being tossed into Viennese Waltz isn’t easy and a group class doesn’t really give you an opportunity to really learn a lot because the focus is just on getting the pattern to a reasonable place where it can be demoed.

OwnerGuy was on our second lesson to teach us two new Tango steps so we complete the Silver III trifecta. One was the Rudolph Ronde I mentioned in Rumba but the Tango sets up differently. I didn’t take real good notes because it was the second lesson of the night and we didn’t really stop so I could write anything down which meant I was trying to do it from memory at the end of the lesson. And we didn’t spend too much time on this step so my notes are incomplete. I know it starts with a medio corte and then I step back on my left in a bit of lunge which triggers her to corte. Then we are in some strange position which I get out of by taking a back step and then a side and the a forward into a tango close.

The second step he wanted to show us was a same foot lunge which he said was in all the smooth dances (YEA! he says sarcastically). It is also a step OwnerGuy loves. But he is better at doing the step than explaining it. It involves a lot of shaping and swaying and moving after the step and my body was not speaking that language last night. A couple of times, he got behind me to physically move me in the way I needed to go in hopes that my body would catch on. It did not. There was a new couple in for their first lesson and they were early and watching and I wonder if they started to be concerned about what they had gotten themselves into. Aside from wanting to scream “I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO!”, I tried to match what I think he wanted me to do.

In the end, I got the footwork down but not the shaping part. It does require JoNY and I to be much closer than we’ve been and that is still something we are working on. So we aren’t consistent. If he reminds us, we try to get in each other’s space. If not, we tend to drift apart. Maybe I tend to drift apart more but it seems like a group thing. That also made the results choppy and inconsistent. Yes, I’m aware I was learning something for the first time (OK, I’m aware of that now since I just said it) and I’ll have to admit to being very guilty of the unrealistic expectations. I want to learn the step and I want to learn it all NOW.

But it also triggered some deep doubts in my mind. The few bits of sway I did understand made it seem like some of it came from the lower body. That and the whole thing with the lunging and I was again coming face to face with my limitations. And I know he keeps saying that you don’t have to go that far and I know that he probably makes it look bigger than it actually is. And I strongly suspect that I’m unconsciously holding back from really committing to these steps because I’m just not sure of what my knee can handle. It just left me feeling a little defeated though. Like there is this giant wall I’ve run into and I can’t get over or through it. So here’s where I’ll stay always being told the same type of things – needing to do more where my body isn’t always capable of doing more. Can I create a facsimile version of what is supposed to happen? Don’t know. It just left me with that feeling of why should I continue to put myself through this.

Of course, they wanted to talk Showcase after the lesson and, as you might have guessed, I wasn’t in an enthusiastic place. Yes, I could go out and do the steps and then just read all the feedback about doing more with the bad knees and I’d get frustrated and think this isn’t worth it. Decided that was just too deep to get into so I came up with my second reason for hesitation which is that OwnerGuy is planning some kind of giant Showcase bringing in another studio that wants to do a whole bunch of heats and I had these visions of the thing dragging on and on. He assures me that isn’t going to happen. They are going to have two floors and four judges and try to keep the thing moving. Of course, the two floors doesn’t do much for me either because it just means smaller spaces and more risks of collisions. I remain non committal on the whole thing.

I’ll end with some non dancing stuff. Despite the colder weather today, the redbuds are close to breaking out. I can see little bits of purple at the ends of most of the branches which means the flowers will soon follow. One reason for buying the house we did was the five mature redbuds in the front – my wife is a big fan. There aren’t many flowering trees. We are on the northern fringe of magnolia territory. The ornamental ones will grow here and flower but they come so early that there always seems to be an early spring storm that blows all of the petals off a day or so after they open so you just get a bare tree surrounded by a carpet of sad white petals. The redbuds are more adapted to life here and their show is longer. The other trees are still waking up so you get those spots where there are lots of redbuds on the road and it gets dotted with little purple flowers. So I have that to look forward to.


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