Shaking off the Rust

Posted by

Beginning note – Sometimes I try to find quotes/pictures that are relevant to the post. Today, I’m just going to fill this post with positive and uplifting things. There is simply too much anger, hate, and negativity in the world right now and this is my way of putting out a little positive energy.

Since my wife gave up dancing, I don’t have many opportunities to dance outside of studio events. The odd wedding every now is really it. Another issue is that there are very few students at the studio who dance Silver steps meaning that even when the studio was having parties, it did not allow a lot of opportunities to work on the Silver steps.

This meant that the only time I really worked on the steps was on lessons and then leading into the various studio events. This leads to another issue which may seem strange but when you exclusively dance with one person and are dancing patterns, it becomes harder to actually dance the steps with someone else. At least it is for me. I think you just end up in a certain rhythm with a partner and everything feels natural because you’ve done it so often. Maybe you get a little lazy in the lead or forget certain things that need to happen which just makes it difficult to jump in and do with someone else.

All of that was just to maybe explain to myself why there seem to be so many layers of rust and why it seems to be so hard to make all the dances shiny again. Plus, it is a double edged sword having OwnerGuy on the lessons. It is like back in the beginning with JoNY when he is super observant and pointing out all the little things that he knows from his years of experience and there is no substitute for that.

The struggle is always with my inner perfectionist and my idea of what a Silver dancer should be. See there is my mistaken perception that I should know everything. I mean I’ve been doing this for year and doing some of these steps for years. So when he sees something and points it out, sometimes my first thought is “I should have known that”. Which opens up the portal to self doubt and all the negative stuff. Doing what I can to just roll with it and accept that every step in ballroom is made up of many moving parts and it takes time to make sure that your feet, knees, hips, torso, arms, head and whatever else can move knows what it is supposed to do.

I like to describe ballroom as the infinite onion. There are always layers you can peel back and keep working on. There are so many levels to ballroom dance and it depends on your goals and drive as to how many levels you go through. If you just want to make dance a social thing and want to look good as a couple doing it, then that is relatively easy. It just takes a few lessons for you to look like an expert to those who don’t dance at all. Well, maybe more than a few but you get the drift.

Even though I don’t do true competitive events, I still have this inner perfectionist that wants it all. And I want it RIGHT NOW! (But that’s another story). Back before the studio had to close, the Silver III stuff was feel natural and coming with ease. So it is hard to have to go back to Silver I and Silver II and struggle as much as I’m doing. But it is the process and it requires being patient with myself.

I also attended group class for the first time in many months last night. Thursday is an all levels group and the group class is right before my lesson and I was getting tired of sitting around the house and waiting to go to the studio. So now I get to go a little earlier.

Last night was Tango and it has been so long since I’ve done some of the Bronze steps that parts of it were relatively new. I did have an unfair advantage over the rest of the group because, even if I haven’t done a step in the past, I’ve done something similar that I can relate to. So I know I was able to pick it up while the other guy struggled a bit.

I didn’t skip group classes because of the level. There are always things that can be worked on including frame, posture and timing so there can always be something gained from a group class even when you know the particular step. But I did wonder last night whether it was a good idea for me to be there. The worst thing you can do as a dancer is compare yourself to someone else and I wouldn’t want anyone to get super discouraged because they are struggling while I’m not.

There were only four of us at the class and they don’t rotate partners anymore. My partner was a lady who has seriously caught the dance bug and has been coming to all the group class and taking multiple lessons per week. So it worked out great to make the numbers even out. It was funny the reaction from people when they saw I had signed up. Depending on the dance, I’ll probably start coming to more of the group classes.

Our lesson was mostly Cha-Cha with a little Rumba thrown in. We had done a review of the Silver I figures on Tuesday so we went through those again and then did the Silver II stuff and the first figure of Silver III. I will say that last night was less of a struggle than Tuesday. There was still a significant amount of rust but the patterns we did on Tuesday came back a little easier.

It is funny that there are steps that come back quickly and others that don’t. Maybe it was the steps I did most often or liked the most but there were parts of certain steps that just felt alien and took a little more work to get back. One problem was that my Thursday workout routine includes some leg work (I do step ups which are a little hard on the knees but help strengthen the muscles that can take pressure off the knees). So with the combination of the group class and lesson, my legs were a little dead by the end of the night and a little sore in places today. Probably going to have to adjust my workout schedule a bit.

We didn’t get to touch on Rumba too much. We mostly worked on the steps from the routine and then the first of the Silver steps. Next week, we are doing Rumba and Bolero so I’ll see how it feels to wake up another dance.

There is supposed to be an in studio event at the end of the month. They took this idea from another studio and it is designed to be run like a dance comp where you sign up to do a round. There is a smooth round, a rhythm round, a latin round and a catch all round. Each round would be four dances and you’d dance them consecutively. Not sure about levels and whether they’d split by level or just toss everyone out there. Probably depends on how many show up. If I can get some of these dances even close to where they were, then this would be a good opportunity.

As always, there is a potential hitch in the plan. In our state, they give each county a color code and rating based on the current status of the virus. There are a couple of things they look at to determine the code and there are various levels of restriction based on the rating. Currently, the county where the studio resides is at the worst level meaning gatherings are very limited. I don’t know what the size limit is but OwnerGuy indicated it could cause an issue with the event because they might have to severely limit attendance. New year, same stupid virus causing problems.

Well that’s where we stand with ballroom at the end of the first week of 2021. All in all, it was a good start to the year.


  1. Been doing Bronze group classes just to get muscles working again after the hip surgery and glad to see we share an opinion on how valuable going back to basics can be — you had me laughing when you mentioned that some of those basic steps are so far back in memory they actually seem like a foreign language !!! But I’ll never cease to be amazed at how adding advanced technique to a basic step can produce something so magical that it takes my breath away 🙂

    1. So true! The instructor teaching the class also works with the lady I was partnered with. At one point he told her he wanted to see move her legs more (they’ve been working on that). I took that as an opportunity to really drive into my steps which is something they’ve been working on with me. Definitely a win/win. And she was able to move with me – I don’t think she even realized it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.