My Knees Hate Me

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We were working on the Argentine Tango last night. There is a part where JoNY is supposed to balance on one foot while I walk around her. I’m supporting her so my movement is supposed to move her as well. If done right, it will look cool. If we don’t get it right, she’s off balance and falls out sometime during the walk around.

Unfortunately, the coach kind of just showed us this step without getting too into depth of how to make it work. So we’ve been doing a lot of different things to see what helps. Figured out a couple of things. In the position, my right arm is wrapped around her body but the left arm is still technically the “frame”. So I need to keep that more solid and engaged to give her something to work off of. OK, relatively easy to do and remember. Check.

It also requires a bit of momentum to keep her up so I have to walk a little faster than I expect to. Speed isn’t a problem so that’s fine. We want to come out facing the audience so we spent quite a bit of time figuring out how many steps I needed to take. It had to be an odd number so I can come out on my left foot moving away from her. We tried seven and that was too many. Ended up with five steps working just fine as long as I remember to make them big enough to get around and get the speed up so she’s able to balance.

The last thing JoNY figured out is that I have to trace a perfect circle around her. Well maybe not perfect since I’m not a compass. But she went in the back and found a hula hoop which they use as a teaching aide at times. She stood in the center and then I just walked around the edge. Towards the end, we got it to where it was feeling better and she was generally able to balance through the entire circle. If only we drop one on the floor at Showcase. Could we incorporate it into the routine??

And you thought these were just toys!

There is one problem with this section of the routine. The coach did the walking with bent knees. I don’t know if this is a requirement or not but that’s what I was trying to do last night. Now, taking five steps on bent knees is not a problem. Doing it multiple times over a forty five minute lesson is a problem. But my stubborn streak kicked in and I’m not about to tell JoNY how tough that step is on my knee because I WANT TO DO IT!! (Cue my inner three year old throwing a tantrum) And I know she’d try to modify it if I told her.

But the problem was compounded at group class. Our new teacher and competitive dancer was teaching Silver Bolero. I love Bolero. My knees hate Bolero. My knees hate me when I try to do Bolero. I hate my knees. We don’t get along.

See, she’s big time into technique. As a competitive dancer, you’d expect that. She hasn’t learned the Famous Franchise way of teaching a group class which is to just get everyone through the step and hope to get a bit of technique in at the end. I guess maybe because it was a Silver class that she figured we should start with some technique. And it was all about lowering and rising and lowering and rising. Because BOLERO CAN’T BE DANCED WITH STRAIGHT LEGS. Well she acknowledged that it could but that’s not the best.

I got the standard line about how if you have knee problems then just don’t bend so much. Its not the bend, its the moving on the bent knee that is the problem and it doesn’t matter if I try not to go low. Do enough of that movement and my knees are going to slap me around and let me know just exactly how much they don’t appreciate being used in that way. Told you they hate me.

Not going to lie, it put me in a bit of a funk. I seriously considered just walking off the class which probably would have been the better idea. I don’t want to go down this path again but I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to just know that whatever you do is never really going to be what people want. I stuck with the class and did what I could all the time just feeling like it was kind of a waste of time because my Bolero will never really look like a Bolero.

At the end of group class, shall we just say that my knees were very ANGRY with me. JoNY was up talking with this new couple for some reason and trying to fit in other lessons so she was almost 15 minutes late to the start of my lesson. That was the convincing factor for me to just say I couldn’t do the lesson and that we’d have to reschedule.

And I realize it probably wasn’t just the dancing. I was doing my one leg deadlift things with the TRX at the gym earlier that day and I’m sure that didn’t help. Anyway, I decided to start incorporating the monster walk things every day because when I did take some physical therapy for the one knee, it was one of the things they suggested. Something about strengthening the muscles to take some pressure off the knees. So we’ll just see how it goes.

Some nights, dance class is great. Some nights, not so much. Last night started out great and ended up not so much. We’ll see what Thursday holds.

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