We end our Mambo with this little side by side thing. Starts off with just a basic but then we take the next step to the side and do a little point. There’s more but I realize that trying to describe it is going to be painful. The timing gets a bit wonky as well with some pauses and I think there might even be something on the “1” which isn’t typical for Mambo. We doing side by side stuff, the point is to be in sync and looking straight ahead so it is clear you are doing the step and not just looking to your partner for help. In an insanely fast Mambo, there wouldn’t be time for that anyway.
This particular step hits on many of my fears regarding dancing. First, it is a Latin dance which is my weaker of the two styles. Secondly, I’m all by myself so it is much easier for everyone to focus on me and mistakes would then be amplified. Lastly, there is the issue of my arms. I guess in this type of move, the judges don’t want to see all the movement coming just from your legs. Go figure.
So it really doesn’t play to my strengths and that is, of course, why OwnerGuy wants me to do it. I can live with the non Latin look of my dancing and the timing is hit or miss but the arm stuff is a problem. JoNY tried to get me to do something last night and instantly all my defensive walls went up.
And we hit the thing that does become self defeating behavior. I feel like I’m going to look stupid so I am hesitant to do anything and I fight trying to practice. The practice would actually allow me to get better and thus not look stupid but standing in front of a mirror in the studio trying to flap my elbows in a way that seems OK to me just isn’t a pleasant experience. I mean I did a little but probably not as much as JoNY wanted. Then again, spending significant time doing the same repetitive motion was making my knee act up so I did have one legit reason for stopping.
The Bolero went a little better. Again, I’m limited in what I can do to make it look truly Boleroish but I do what I can with the knees I was given. Tried to give her a little more ankle rise and hold the shape longer on the basic. I had forgotten that one coach wanted a stronger connection in certain parts – basically have my grab her hand almost down by the wrist rather than near the finger tips. I think it is to give me more control and allow for stronger leads and it did seem to work better on several steps.
One other problem that pops up from time to time is me moving and trusting that she’ll catch up. Now I’m going back to Mambo but I just thought of this and wanted to get it down as a reminder. There is one part where she comes out of a free spin and I’m supposed to do an open box to pick her up and then go into some swivels. The last step of the open box needs to be backwards but I was afraid of not catching her in time so I was going forward into her and that was causing all kinds of problems. So I just have to let her dance her dance because she knows where she needs to go and she’ll get there.
I’m still getting used to trying to keep my focus over her head so I’m not looking down at her which would cause my head to droop and create bad frame and bad lines. I tell her what I’m doing so it doesn’t seem like I’m ignoring her but it still feels a little odd. Oh and there are places where I need to reduce the size of my steps so she doesn’t have as much to travel. So a little more partner awareness which is always a good thing.
And we also worked on Tango and trying to keep the frame solid. While I didn’t have PT yesterday, I was doing the home exercises and, because I’m an overachiever, I was doing double of what he asked for. And that just meant my shoulders were a little tired coming into the lesson and more so when we got out. The good news for Tango is that our pivot is feeling better. She pointed out that I needed to be going a certain direction for the next step and I was kind of stopping the pivot and going to the next step. What I needed to do was continue the rotation into that next step to get us going in the direction we needed to go.
Group class was Rumba which was mostly uneventful but there was some good news. Part of the step required me to raise my left arm to turn the lady and then walk under the arm. I felt a little tweak in my shoulder but not the flash of pain I would have experienced before. I think the work the therapist was doing on the muscle in my arm has really helped. The shoulder is still limited but I can mostly move without getting the sharp pain I was getting before. Now it just feels like I run up against a block where something isn’t going to move anymore. Getting old is no picnic.
All in all a good pair of lessons. I had someone ask me last night if I was keeping busy and the answer is yes. Now a lot of what I’m doing is leisure stuff that I just enjoy doing – like blog posts here. But I can find ways to occupy my time. Maybe this retirement thing is the way to go after all.