Hand Jive Hand Jive

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One thing I found out at therapy was that arthritis in the thumb joint is pretty common. Again, the best you can do is to delay the damage and keep the joint function as long as possible. Sooner or later, there will need to be other steps taken. Too bad comic book technology isn’t real or they’d figure out a way to do what they did to Wolverine – I mean a metal skeleton would be pretty cool.

But I know have a series of little hand exercises that I need to do every day for the rest of my life. They seem silly but they actually do work certain muscles that I wasn’t using before. A couple of them just use rubber bands but they also gave me this therapy putty. Who knew that this stuff existed? Since I used to work in the medical device field, I wonder if there are regulations around this stuff. I mean it could just all be made in the same place as Silly Putty and just packaged differently. Of course, they gave me the super soft tan stuff but I was on the website and they have other colors. I mean if I’m going to have to squeeze this stuff several times a day, it should at least be aesthetically pleasing.

It hasn’t helped that the high temperature yesterday was 27 degrees cooler than our warm Saturday high. And it has been rainy and cloudy and just feels damp. I guess the old saying about “feeling it in my bones” is true because my joints do tend to flare up more in this type of weather.

Anyway, I did go dancing last night. I heard Showcase went well and that’s good. I missed it but I just wasn’t in the right of frame of mind with all the other stuff going on. Our first lesson was Mambo and OwnerGuy wanted to add a few more Silver III steps. He delayed doing this when we were working towards Showcase but the next one is six months away so we now have time to add new stuff to the existing patterns. I didn’t get the official names but one step is an arm catch thing. It starts with an underarm turn but then I catch her left wrist with my right hand and pass her back and forth a few times. So I spin her in and catch her right hand/wrist with my left hand and then send her back one more time before finishing with another turn and then I go pick her up. For me it is easy because I’m just rocking and bringing my feet together and making sure I’m catching her. Again, I suspect there is more involved in making the lead/follow work and more styling needed. The other step is a Ronde. Seriously? Did the Famous Franchise people just run out of ideas and decided that every dance needed a Ronde in Silver III? This one is a little weird because we are in a two hand hold and she’s coming off a spin and I step into her and rotate my body to make her do the ronde part. We are supposed to get a strong negative connection and it requires me to be solid (yea core strength!). We did a passable version and then dissected the current pattern to put the new stuff in and take out some of the old stuff. The new pattern does flow a lot better.

Mambo was also the group class which is highly unusual given that it was also a Silver group class. Typically, they stick with the better known dances. I don’t actually remember a Mambo group class before. The beginning part of the step was pretty easy but then there was this part where I couldn’t get the arms and feet to cooperate. Couldn’t figure out how I turned her but did kind of a spot turn/rotation and ended up ready to do a back spot turn. Eventually, my partner and I just decided that I’d drop my arms after starting the turn and just hope to reconnect at the end so we’d end up in the right place and that’s what we did for the demo. I did get one bonus star during the group class. New Guy was teaching (I gave him a name but I can’t remember it and I’m too lazy to sort through old posts – probably shouldn’t have deleted the cast of characters) and he is all about technique and wanting all of us older people with locked hips to at least try and get some movement. Well there is one part where he wanted us to sink back into the left foot on a straight leg which is supposed to put the left hip a little higher. Don’t ask me how this works I just did what he said with my feet and weight chance. My partner at the time looks at my hips and says I’m in a good position and points this out to New Guy who then tells the rest of the class to look at my position. This is just one of those weird things about dance when a bunch of guys are looking at your hips and it is all perfectly normal. Stuff that would never happen in the real world.

Our second lesson was to work on the Mambo stuff OwnerGuy taught us and when we could go through it a few times without stopping, JoNY moved on to Waltz and FoxTrot because the floor was mostly empty and that’s a good time to practice smooth dances. At one point with the Waltz, we were doing a promenade chasse and JoNY wasn’t sure where she was supposed to be and asked Z for some advice since OwnerGuy was on a coaching lesson. Anyway, Z watched what we did and fixed the problem but then also told me that I was cutting the next step too short and I just needed to stay on my line and move more and let JoNY catch up to me. This is that whole “move bigger” theme that comes up from time to time. (Except when I try it in Rhythm dances and they tell me to move smaller – it is all so confusing). Anyway, I did that and we got quite a bit farther down the floor which is exciting. I think it does draw attention if you are really covering ground with your steps – as long as you stay on time and in frame.

Last thing is that we are going to do our Argentine Tango for Showstoppers. It is a little unfair since it is not a brand new routine. But the ground rules are that it had to be something you haven’t performed yet and that’s certainly true. We were going to do it at the Showstoppers in December but I had a conflict and then it was going to be at Showcase but I backed out of that so we’ve never actually performed it. Still need to talk to JoNY because I want to do more than one solo at the next Showcase.

Well that’s about all I’ve got.

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