Smooth as Silk

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Yesterday was a good day. I don’t know if I’m making a lot of progress with the shoulder or what it is really going to take to “fix” whatever my problem is but the therapist did some stuff to the little muscle in my arm that seemed to be causing a lot of the pain. I’m still limited in certain movements (like putting my left arm behind my back) but I was getting more shoulder tightness and not the sharp pain. Could just be a temporary thing but I want to be optimistic and assume we are making progress. And the left knee has really settled down (or at least yesterday was a good day) so I was at least feeling better than I have in a bit.

On our lesson, we started with Cha-Cha and I kept working on the whole forward poise idea to improve the connection. Specifically, I was trying to get it back whenever we break frame. Seemed to be going OK. We also kept working on arm styling and giving my free arm something to do besides hanging there. And I’m trying to keep my posture although I tell JoNY that means I have to look over her head because if I look down, then I know things start to collapse. This still is something that feels a bit strange because you are dancing and not looking at your partner but it is what it is. We did the thing to music a few times and it helps to make the syncopated parts not feel so insanely fast.

We finished the lesson with Rumba and then some Mambo. The Rumba is mostly uneventful. We again focused on some arm styling ideas. Well arm styling for me is more just extending the free arm when she does so we are a matched set and taking up significant floor space. Need to be big so it screams LOOK AT ME. She wants me to do something in the Mambo when we break into our side by side stuff but it felt silly so I resisted. I know that this is not the thing to do. The thing about dancing is that you have to get through the stage where your body doesn’t really know what it is supposed to do and you look a little silly to actually get to the point where it does know what it is doing and the moves are more natural. But some of us have this built in movement filter because we don’t want to look silly (or even feel like we look silly). Its a constant battle.

There was a wedding couple on a lesson with us and they wanted to practice their dance with people watching so we stopped our lesson to watch them. This is actually a good idea although a lot of wedding couples don’t take advantage of it. I mean you are eventually going to be dancing in front of people so why not do it in the studio. We’re a very friendly audience. I may have mentioned this couple before but she’s the one who pretty much stares into his eyes with a big smile on her face the entire time. Since I can pretty much be a hopeless romantic, I just have to say that it is totally adorable.

One other random note that I just remembered. Before my lesson, new girl was teaching a group lesson for two couples. Because you sometimes can’t help but hear things, it seems that they are going to some event (maybe a wedding) and decided they wanted to be able to get out on the dance floor. What was kind of funny to me is that at the end of the lesson, one of the guys was asking new girl “how many steps are there?” because they knew they had just learned a few. She brought OwnerGuy out who finessed the answer to tell them it really depended on how far they wanted to go but then he showed them a few more Rumba moves just to give them an idea of what else could be done. I’ve never heard that question before and I though it was an interesting one.

The group class was Bronze III Cha-Cha. OwnerGuy’s theme was that you can do the “cha-cha-cha” in several different ways – not just the side steps that you typically think of. Like a lot of Cha-Cha, it ended with an open break and you Cha-Cha back which naturally sets up a lot of things. At one point, I was dancing with a lady who really loves two things – spins and anything that allows her to shake her hips. We noticed that the end could also lead into swivels for the lady so that’s naturally what I did the next time. Give the people what they want I always say. She just gave me a big hug for that.

We are still unbalanced in the beginners section with far more unattached ladies. I think this is a common thing at dance studios but is somewhat new for us. If I do a quick count from memory, I think we only had four guys at the party vs seven ladies. The instructors can all be men so most of the dances were even but I heard these two ladies before party talking to another lady who was at group class but decided to skip party. They were giving her the lowdown on party and said something about how they dance with each other a lot due to the lack of leads.

Well I figured I couldn’t let that stand. I’ll admit to being guilty of doing a lot of dancing with the more advanced ladies. But the first song was a Fox Trot so I just walked over and picked one of them and we danced. She was telling me how OwnerGuy was getting on her about posture and how she was happy to be able to relax a little bit. I let her keep that illusion – I just couldn’t break it to her that Fox Trot requires the same type of posture and that OwnerGuy will get on you about that even at parties. Nicely, but he still will.

With the lack of leaders, I tried to spread myself around as much as possible. I did get a chance to do our Mambo with JoNY because there aren’t many couples who do Mambo so they put most of the rest of the people in the center to get an impromptu group Mambo lesson. But we did our pattern and looped it twice to a song that was a bit faster than what we use on a typical lesson. So that’s a good thing. The last dance was a Fox Trot and I made sure to dance with the other beginning student.

At one point, I was sitting out because I have to do that. I’m not the person who can dance every dance at a party so I sneak in breaks when I can. New girl comes over to me because she noticed I danced with one of the beginner students. Then she tells me that she hears them talking about dancing with me and how much they enjoy it. So I should make more of an effort to dance with them at future parties.

I was watching them dance with another guy and he was kind of pulling them through stuff. I think because as people learn stuff, it is cool and they want to do the new stuff and not go back to the very basics. But I think we all forget that we started with the basics and to someone who it new, the beginning steps are still fine. Because it gets them on the floor and it gives them a chance to work on the steps they are trying to learn. I’d also say that it is far easier to really lead some of the beginning steps and then you avoid the push/pull start/stop type of dancing. At least I assume that’s part of the reason the beginners seem to enjoy dancing with me.

So that’s the wrap on dancing for the week. Yesterday was a lot of fun. And, at the end of the day, dancing is supposed to be fun. (Well learning can be frustrating but just dancing is supposed to be fun)

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