Follow the Lead

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It won’t be obvious right away, but you’ll see why I included this.

We had serious sleet in our area on Wednesday night. Well maybe not so serious but about the time I was getting ready to leave, it was coming down like crazy. And there was ice on the trees. The roads were clear but there was a layer of stuff on our driveway. The weather suggested it was going to let up but if it didn’t, driving back from the lesson and potentially getting up my driveway were going to be problematic. I ended up calling to cancel. Ice and sleet and not things to play around with.

So yesterday I was back with JoNY and we were going to work on our Mambo routine for the next Showcase. I got there a little early and she was working with this young couple that have been around the studio for a bit. I always like seeing younger people taking up ballroom. They were working on Cha-Cha and JoNY was focusing some on the lead/follow. It was kind of fun to watch.

Many times, lead/follow ends up as an argument. Both sides point fingers at the other person. “You didn’t lead”. “You didn’t follow”. Or they critique certain parts. “You didn’t do it like the instructor did”. There was some of that going on but these two kept it light and they were also trying to have fun with it.

The lesson was just to go over the parts OwnerGuy came up with and then talk about what type of “wow” thing we could put into it. There’s a part in the song where the music changes a bit and OwnerGuy wants us to hit that and then do some kind of side by side thing. Naturally, this does not make me comfortable because he was suggesting all kinds of leg movements and other things that look good on someone with flexibility and don’t look so good on someone with no real Latin movement. Well, I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

Our lesson ended right before group class so a crowd had gathered. Also, OwnerGuy was on his lesson with a newer couple. When we put our song on at the end of the lesson to give it a go, we ended up with an audience. But that’s OK since this is going to be a solo and we’ll have to perform in front of a lot of people at Showcase.

Not really a dance quote but it still kind of fits the whole lead/follow thing.

The group class was Merengue. For some reason, they are trying to introduce Merengue into parties and it fit the theme of Thursday groups which are more party oriented social dances. Never been a real fan of Merengue mostly because we’ve never gone beyond the real basic stuff. At parties, it inevitably turns into a conga line and that gets old real quick.

But there is a full syllabus and so we were into the higher level bronze stuff. And JoNY promised me it was going to be exciting because I was making noises about just sitting out the group. I mean there’s no t-shirt to be won anymore so there’s no reason to subject myself to these groups. I decided to just check my attitude and give it a shot. JoNY seemed pretty excited about it and I didn’t want to bring her down.

It really wasn’t all that exciting but the end was kind of fun. I can’t really explain it all that well except to say it involved a lot of arms. The thing with these moves is that both people have to be relaxed and kind of just let it happen. If the follow tenses up or tries to fight or the lead tries to force it, well that’s when you get some shoulder things going on.

The beginning was really just a series of rocks. I’ll have to admit that I was kind of shocked how much trouble people were having with this pattern. I guess it is just my years of experience or because I can sometimes recognize when something I haven’t done is similar to something I’ve done in another dance. I had one lady turn herself (the wrong way) and that didn’t end well.

There was another lady who was about as enthusiastic as I was. I got to her in the rotation after we had learned the entire pattern and go her through the step. Then, she says it was like a switch was flipped and it now clicked with her and she knew what she was supposed to do.

The highlight of the party was being asked by DanceGirl to do a Hustle. Well not really asked. She spotted me at another table when the music started and just called my name to make it obvious what we were going to do. The girl doesn’t lack for confidence. And I know that’s a good thing.

All in all, it was a fun Thursday night at the studio.

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