New Old Home?

I’m sure you’ve all been on the edge of your seats waiting for this blog. I know it’s been a long time coming. I started about 5 posts and never finished any of them. I just couldn’t get my thoughts together. So here’s the short story. I finished at my studio and went to where Teach is and we’re together again. I was tired of the commute to NYC and just tired of NYC in general – the people, the prices, just everything. If you want more of the low down please keep reading.

I’ve cut my travel time in half. I had a 3 hours door to door commute to the NYC studio. The drive to the new studio is 1 hour 35 minutes. Yes, it’s a long time, but not nearly as long as going to NYC. The studio is in an adorable little town in NJ. Parking is free and plentiful (at least early in the afternoon when I went). It was nearly blissful.

The studio itself is decorated just the same as the studio I go to now because it’s owned by the same people/corporation. The size of the floor is smaller and a different shape, but I think I could still learn how to dance there. (please notice sarcasm) They have another small room with a barre for kids classes and lessons.

Being back with Teach has been… interesting. When I left NYC I was starting to get used to Clyde. His choreo was interesting and full and I felt like I was really dancing. I recognized none of the steps, but it was nice to follow and simply dance without thinking about every little technical thing that clouds my mind. Going back to Teach was a bit like having an intense, wild affair and then your husband allows you back. I wish I could think of a different illustration. Needless to say, there’s a little sparkle lacking.

Teach also has other responsibilities being the manager of the studio. He doesn’t teach nearly as much and he’s required to schmooze a bit more. I’ve found our lesson start times are a little loose because he has the responsibility of greeting all the students and signing up everyone for more lessons, etc. He always gives me my full time, but I’ve waited in the corner for 10 minutes past start time waiting. He’s a talker.

Yesterday’s lesson marked a milestone for me. I’ve been very vocal about how I’m Forever Bronze. I don’t feel like I’m in good enough shape or a good enough dancer to move on. I also feel like I want a good foundation and that will help me later on. Plus, the S word implies something. It implies you know what you’re doing. I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing yet. Other than asking whether Clyde moved me up to Silver (*gulp*) yet on my return to him, Teach has been good about not saying the S word, but implying that Clyde may have been teaching me those kinds of routines and throwing some S level patterns at me every once in a while. We’ve been dancing around the issue for two months now! (pun intended) You can likely guess what happened at yesterday’s lesson.

I realized the prior week that I was bored. My dancing is boring. I couldn’t take another day of arm styling my rumba walks. I needed some new mental stimulation. I told this to teach and asked him to do something new with me. I figured he would teach me a bit more Quickstep (which I’ve added because of my new lady teacher, Dimples, recommendation) or finally add Bolero to my repertoire. instead he started teaching me a fun new Foxtrot routine. I knew immediately what he was doing.

Teach: You know what this is, right?

Me: Yes, I’m not stupid, just don’t say it out loud.

Teach: You like it, though?

Me: YES!

Teach: I’ve been waiting for so long for you to be ready. (if he were a dog his tail would have been wagging so hard it would be going in circles)

He then went on to teach me the new, dreaded Foxtrot basic for the next 1 1/2 hours. Complete with technique on frame, directionality, feet, ankles, legs, and timing. It was blissful.  Even when he had me walk like a dinosaur and told me that my body needed to wring out like a washcloth. The end of the matter is that I’m starting Silver in Smooth. I don’t know about Rhythm yet. To be honest, I’m not sure what the difference is between the two. Now I just have to wrap my head around and come to terms with it. That may take a little time. Happy dancing everyone.

 

Crab Walking and Pressure

I never updated you guys on my lesson last week. My lesson schedule is all thrown off because of the sickness and the snow, and therefore, my updating is a work in progress.

Lady J, my new favorite teacher, tried to teach me to walk like a crab in Rumba. I’m told it’s actually called crab walking, so maybe this ocean-themed Rumba isn’t so off this time around. She want’s me to walk in this manner during the step that I can’t think of the name of. Was that vague enough? We open and I walk. But it’s supposed to look like I’m walking almost straight, but on a slight curve. I’m just as confused as you are. She told me I did well, but since I can’t even explain what the heck I’m doing, I’m not sure this was a win.

Clyde taught me the new Rumba routine. They wonder why I never bother to fully learn the routine in the first place because it keeps changing every time I go in. I blow it off as something that dance is famous for, but I don’t have a lot of time for you to figure out what’s going on. Teach me right the first time. Fix me up already. The Cha Cha routine is finally the same, so I can safely learn that one.

Part of the reason that I  waited to update is that I needed to push aside my mood. Since I told the studio that I was needing to switch studios they have all started treating me differently, like they think they can change my mind. The amount of fuss they’re making over me is off-putting. I’m not a show off. I don’t like it when people stare at my unfinished product. I don’t need the whole studio so stop what they’re doing and say goodbye to me each time I leave. It’s weird and it’s a change of habit.

Clyde is really irritating me with the competition talk. He’s not listening to me. He wants me to do a “real” competition with the studio. Summer Invitational to be specific. He tells me I haven’t done one in a year and a half. The Team Match doesn’t count (even though I did competitive heats) for some reason. I keep telling him I can’t afford to do what he wants me to do. I can’t ever afford to participate in a three-day competition in both styles of dance, I have to choose and only do one style. I don’t want to have to do that. That’s why I do Team Match. He just keeps going on and on about it. It’s making me glad that I’m leaving, to be honest. Teach always understood and knew when to stop.

Wrapping up here, my lessons are going very well with Lady J, ok with Clyde. The pressure and weirdness of Studio business practices are pissing me off. I’m getting attention because I’m thinking of leaving. In comparison to most, the piddly amount of money I spend isn’t worth this amount of attention. I hate confrontation and once it’s over, I want it to be over. All this sweet talking me and extra pressure is making me want to run outta there! I did make my last payment on my package, and I scheduled a lesson with Teach at the studio in the chain that he’s managing now. I’ll let you know how it goes. That’s it for now. I don’t feel like exploring the emotions above right now, so happy dancing!

Mermaid Shish Kebab?

I finally had another lesson yesterday. Last week we were bombarded with snow and there was no way I was going out in that. In NYC things don’t stop, but up here in the boonies we don’t have subways to take us where we need to go. Safety wins this one.

With Lady J I went over Rumba movement. She would like me to be more 3 dimensional with my hips. Hello Cuban Motion, we meet again you ugly thing. I need to just get over my shy/introverted/embarrassed/stubborn self and just do it already. I know I can, it just takes more work than I want to show out in public. I sweat and get all out of breath and my muscles are so sore the next day. That much work is no fun in front of the well put together teachers. Obviously, I need to stop whining, too. Something needs to give and it’s me. I’m bored dancing Rhythm the way I have been and they won’t move me on unless I get certain techniques down. Otherwise known as a vicious circle that’s all my fault.

My current dancing brain/body standoff reminds me of the intermediate rut. Not that I’m implying that I’m an intermediate dancer yet, but the thought still counts. My mom used to talk about it in relation to skiing, and I have since applied it to playing piano and other activities that take practice. Progress requires vulnerability. You may fail. You may fall down. You may suck when you first try but at least then they can fix what’s wrong. If you never get out there and try, they can’t fix it. Isn’t that why I’m there, to get better? Once you’ve been vulnerable and just tried you can then take all the things learned and practice, practice, practice.

Back to my lesson with Lady J. When I settle my hip, I tend to settle too much. Like “I’m taking a rest now” too much. So she reminded me to be a Shish Kebab (the title is now making sense, huh). All the meat or veggies twist on the same skewer. I need to be like that. It was like an epiphany. I did so well that she decided to play with me and choreographed a little introduction for an open Rumba routine. (I assume that’s a good thing that indicated progress? Let me know, because I’m a bit shell-shocked and clueless.) Two slow in place cucarachas then two quicks, closing feet at the end. Then two slow closed feet cucarachas and two quick steps to my partner. Arms are over head, down body and ending over partners shoulders. You can imagine the shock. Lady J is some bad-ass Eastern European type, so she won that battle. Those closed feet cucarachas are a beast, though. That is as unnatural a movement as any I’ve tried. Heels together, thighs zipped, transfer weight, don’t forget the Cuban Motion! Yes, be a mermaid. (See title again) This move needs work because I think I may look like I have a bug crawling up my leg.

I thought that this Rumba intro was just for fun, but no. Clyde saw it and now it’s officially my beginning. His change was that he wants me to grab is face when I walk toward him. This Rumba is going places I never wanted/expected to go. I think I’ve crossed a line that I can’t go back over because it was FUN. Clyde was smiling and having so much fun and so was I. We danced the Rumba for Manager Lady and for every person who walked through the door. (This was excessive for me but he seemed to proud, so I gave in.) I’ve officially reached the level of dancing where people watch me, even those people who are at higher levels. It’s a heady feeling, but don’t worry, I want to scurry into my hidey-hole when I notice they’re looking. No cockiness here.

Clyde and I worked on Cha Cha a bit, too. As I expected the routine is changing again. And they wonder why I never bother to remember them in the first place? The best moment was when Clyde told me that he had underestimated me. I like throwing people off. It’s no fun when people think you can do things. Or is it? 😀

Many Things in Flux

I’ve been ignoring important dance portions of the blog for a while. I’m sorry about that, but it’s been a lot of processing lately. The sort of processing that doesn’t translate well to written words. It still doesn’t, so forgive the ramble.

I’ve guided new teacher Clyde to Rhythm dances. One, because he’s appalled by how awful my dancing of them is. Two, I don’t feel like I can have him tear apart Smooth. My smooth belongs to Teach and it feels too personal for Clyde to comment on yet. This has been working because I feel like I’m improving some in Rhythm. Lady J has been instrumental in this as well. She’s a driller. I thrive on being drilled. That’s the only way to just get it into muscle memory for me. Drill, drill, drill. Cha Cha lock steps across the entire floor forward and backward, cha cha from side to side all accross the floor again. Yes, I could do some of this at home, but there’s nothing like having instant feedback. For the record, I do practice some at home, it’s just not as much as I would like.

So far Clyde, Lady J and I have worked on Cha Cha, Mambo, and Rumba. This week we’re working on Swing (my kryptonite) and Clyde would like to start Bolero, which I am completely on board with. I can’t wait!

Even thought I’m settling in with my new teachers and see the value of having several teachers, I’m still missing Teach a bit. I have a lot of lessons left before I can switch studios, and, therefore, several months before I see Teach again. It also helps that he understands my financial circumstances well. Clyde and Lady J are being much more pushy about my taking more lessons even though I can’t afford any more.

I feel so tentative in my dancing. I feel like Teach left with some of my love of dance. I don’t like that. I always thought that I loved dance for DANCE. For the expression of it. I’ve been completely thrown off kilter.

So, there’s been a bit of depression in the house. It’s been rough going back to work; My daughter has not been getting on my last nerve for too long now with homeschooling; My mother (secondary teacher to daughter and primary caregiver while I work) is doing temp work that makes things more difficult during the week; My doctor wanted to me to try to wean off my antidepressants; I’ve put on too much weight and my doctor is upset; All this has been too much for my anxiety and depression. I’m back on my meds and am feeling much better now.

Hopefully life looks up from here. I completed a Whole 30 without much issue and lost 6 pounds. I hope to keep it together to get back to my normal self. My husband is very supportive of my mental health (not my dancing – he doesn’t understand how linked they are); he has been buying me flowers and doing the grocery shopping. I some of these things don’t have a direct relationship to dance, but Teach left at the wrong time for me. I can sound as selfish as I want on my own blog, right? It was too much, but I’m putting the pieces together with lots of help. I’m starting to enjoy dancing again. And I can’t wait to learn some Bolero tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be back soon this time.

Regroup and Chill

Because sometimes I feel like I can write and sometimes I feel like I just can’t, I have a bunch of lessons to recap and thoughts to throw out there.

My first post comp lessons were as expected. We reviewed some video and the judges comments and talked briefly about them. I told Teach about how I just felt awful and he pointed out all the things I did correct. You know, the things I was actually working on as opposed to the things I was working on without Teach being aware (you know, like being perfect). The judges had some great comments, too. Yes, most of them were “great lead/follow” and the like, but there were some good things to work on, like my turnout in rhythm. It felt good in my brain that the “things to work on” were all things that I had felt I was doing wrong during the day. There was nothing there that I didn’t expect. I know that I’m my own worst critic and that I can go overboard on my faults, but it calms my brain to know that some of my criticisms are based on the truth, that I can read my dancing correct in some way. I’m not sure that made much sense, but maybe you can make something out of it.

We also regrouped in what the future holds. Hubby and I needed new car, as the previous one had reached its limit, so now I have a car payment in addition to my already tight funds. Getting to work trumps dance. Sucks, but what can you do. The end result is that Fall Classic is out. (more on that later) Teach wondered if I was still wanting to focus on 9-dance or if I just wanted to do Smooth. The Team Match was a trial to see how things went. I was honest with him. When I left after the Team Match, I was done with Rhythm dancing. I had a lot of fun dancing it, but I just felt that all the lessons that we had on cuban motion and arms didn’t make it into my body. I asked Teach if he thought I had the ability to improve. I would miss Rhythm if I never danced it again, but there’s not point working on those dances in a competitive way if I’m not going to “get it.” Of course, Teach looked at me like I had ten heads and told me that I could definitely get better. I knew he was going to say that (he’s my biggest cheerleader), but his words solidified my decision to continue to try to learn those pesky Rhythm dances. So 9-dance is still in my future!

As an aside, we worked on a few things, but most importantly – Smooth arms. Did you know there are only 8 arm styles for Smooth? 1st, 2nd, 5th, X, Y, S, W, and one that I can’t read my writing for. We had some fun spelling things down the long wall using arms. It’s the little things, right?

Now to yesterday’s double. I was remarkably calm yesterday. It’s quite unusual for me to be so zen. Maybe fall was in the air? (I love fall.) I ended up spilling my current list of favorite and least favorite dances. My least practiced are a list, too. But I’m not allowed to put a least practiced on my least favorite list without serious reason. It’s just not fair. (I know I’m weird, no need to tell me) This is always interesting information to give your teacher because they can then use it to torture you with. Thankfully, Teach wanted me to maintain my zen, so he upgraded my Smooth frame using Foxtrot. He calls it a more 3D frame. When I look in the mirror I think we look like that two-headed guy in Men in Black. My head is the stupid extra head. Apparently, I’m supposed to be seen and present on the dance floor, so this is now how it is. Of course it’s not at all comfortable or easy to get into this odd position, but we do fit together nicely now. (I know this sounds dirty. The whole lesson was just one dirty-sounding comment after another. It’s how dance is.) So I basically have to dance like I’m going over the high jump while playing a violin. Sounds easy, right?

Ok. He did feel like destroying the zen a bit. We worked on Tango. That evil sharpness that I just don’t get. I didn’t realize that it would be an easyish fix. My bottom half is good. “Your hips are communicating properly with mine and have excellent movement.” (Reeeeeally.) My top half just doesn’t match my bottom half. My head doesn’t snap like it should. So we took my new frame, let my hair down (I have a secret wish to be Edita Daniute), and worked that right out. I need to let my hair down more often. It was fun flipping it around and it really helped me feel when my frame was off. I think Teach was having a bit of fun with it, too. It was one of our odder lessons because we were both pretty zen and happy, which can be dangerous because we are very alike and keep getting each other going. Things can get loud and weird – like him making me dance holding a box of tissues between my shoulder and chin/neck area. definitely one of our funnier lessons.

After the lesson Manager Lady rushed up and told me that she can’t imagine Fall Classic without me. She wants to do everything in her power to get me there. Well except give me a discount, of course. (sarcasm, I didn’t ask her to) So the attention keeps coming. I have to say, I’m getting used to seeing the thousands on her calculator. She wants me to hit up my family. Little does she know that my family is small and poor. It’s looking like I’ll be sitting this one out. It stinks, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my sanity by working more to attend the comp. As always, happy dancing everyone.

 

Further Reflections

Of course I’ve been thinking on Team Match for the past week. I just haven’t had the chance to write my thoughts down.

I broke the cardinal rule. I watched video of myself and looked at pictures. My dancing was AWFUL. Completely below par. And I’m enormous. Cue my diet. I look huge.

I’m not trying to be completely incognito on this blog. If someone who knows me finds the blog, that’s fine, but I don’t encourage it or blab about that I have a blog. So I’m going to put up the horrible video of me dancing Rhythm with no energy, no technique, and my butt. Yes, the studio shot the last 4 heats of the day on 360 degree camera and posted it everywhere. This happened to be the Scholarship round that I was dancing with a broken toe. Now the whole world can see how fat I am and what a huge butt I have (because the angle of the camera went up my fluffy skirt during Mambo). I’m so embarrassed. At this point, all I can do is laugh. It’s that bad. So I might as well humiliate myself amongst friends before I go to the studio and have to face all the perfect, perky people there.

I’m the chunky one in pink with a black belt. Teach is tall and one of the perky ones. Grab a glass of something and enjoy.

Good and Bad

I danced my feet off yesterday and had a blast doing it! Feel free to stop here if you don’t want to read my list of good and bad about yesterday, because the first sentence is true. (I’m not just talking myself into it. I’m really not.) I’ll start with the bad because I want to end on a good note. 🙂

The Bad

  • My steamer broke before I could get the wrinkles out of my dress (see last post)
  • I forgot my makeup remover.
  • I forgot my conditioner (to slather on my head while removing pins. It removes all the hairspray if done before shampooing.)
  • The hotel I booked was awful. It was on the edge of being in a bad part of town.
  • The food provided at this event wasn’t very good. When I’m promised breakfast, at that price I expect some hot food. I can’t eat gluten or dairy, and, when I arrived, there were only pastries and yogurt. Booo. They brought out some fruit later. I danced 20 heats on 10 grapes. Lunch was ok, but not that tasty, and too much pasta.
  • Let me be honest. My placement in the one competitive round of Rhythm wasn’t great. 4th (last). I always say that last is good because it gives you something to work on, but in reality, it kind of sucks.
  • Because of the above, I’m going to add this as its own point. The organizers put in two Championships and two Scholarships ONLY for each general style of dance. That means the age categories were weird. 39 and under, 40 and over. That’s it. So I was competing against young ones with trust funds (no bitterness now).
  • There were way too many couples on the floor at once. I got stepped on, hit, ankled, rammed into with each smooth dance. Teach was pissed at all this. To be that tall and not be able to stretch out? Yikes. Rhythm was a bit better because the movement around the floor is less. Still got punched in the face by an overeager arm, though. (The pair was from my studio and apologized profusely. My eye is intact and my false eyelash even remained on!)
  • I didn’t dance well. At all. I had major mess ups in every heat. Perhaps all the pairs on the floor threw me right from the start, but I wasn’t on at all. No stretch in smooth. I was so spooked by all the contact with other people, my head was all over the place. Poor Teach. In Rhythm I applied zero technique. Zero turnout. Zero legs. Zero hips. I’m not sure that competitive Rhythm is for me.
  • The 5 dances with random teacher you’ve never met. This pressure was not good. And I had one teacher deny that she was dancing with me. They had to pause the heat so that someone could volunteer to dance with me. Thankfully, the event coordinator (a dancer, but non-teacher) who knows me raised her hand right away because I was brought right back to never getting picked in gym class. It was embarrassing.
  • My pinkie toes are bruised from those darn rhythm shoes. That floor was a beast to dance on.

The Good

  • When I got to the Hall, everyone jumped on getting my dresses steamed. It was so nice!
  • We danced at Grand Prospect Hall. Look it up. It’s gorgeous!
  • It wasn’t a true comp. It was nice to not have the pressure of going head to head every heat. I was completely relaxed throughout and even had time to encourage newbies.
  • I read some of the proficiency comments and they’re all fairly positive. The funniest comment was on Salsa. I haven’t danced it in over a year, but they threw in a few with the dances with other teachers (maybe they’re newer and don’t do mambo?) The judge commented to be careful of my Salsa timing, it’s not Mambo. I counted this as a Mambo win, because that timing is supposed to be more difficult and that comment meant that I can Mambo without teach, on time. Sorry Salsa – I really should learn you better.
  • It reinforced that I have the best Teach! I only shared him with one other student, and only for smooth. What a difference it makes to have your teacher there to support you during the down times. Not that I abuse that. He needs down time, too, but he hovered over me, wiped my sweat (seriously, who does that?), and brought me water. I almost felt pampered.
  • I placed 2nd in the Smooth Championship. (I was beaten by one of the young ones listed above – my competitive nature is coming out and I want to slay her next time. I’m so bad.)
  • I didn’t let my poor dancing get to me. I was glad to be on the floor and had a blast!

I know there are more bad things listed than good, but the most important part of this was my mental being. And the fact that my poor dancing didn’t put me into a funk of depression is a big good, far outweighing the bad aspects. I’m well prepared for the post dance event doldrums. I know they’re coming and that in itself helps with getting past them. But overall, it was a good experience.

A fun note. My husband came to see me dance for the first time. He had so much fun with everyone that he bought a bunch of raffle tickets in support of Autism. And he won 3 of the 6 prizes! I’m so glad he gave them to me. 😀 One is a coaching with Benito Garcia. I can’t wait! Maybe he’ll change my mind about competitive rhythm. 😉

The Traditional Pre-Comp Freak Out

As of this writing, I have 3 lessons left before Team Match. This is not enough. I am NOT ready to dance in front of actual human beings. I still haven’t started learning the Waltz routine (I can’t learn the initial routine because it changes so often); Foxtrot has a VERY tricky part in it that I can’t seem to do (it involves running around him and really moving – I tend to leap when I try to move far. this is not good.) ; Tango is a whole lot of “what?” (remember shadow position that we never really went over). Don’t even get me started on the Rhythm portion of this impending fiasco. I can’t even do proper technique with my legs along with any arm movement. In November I felt so prepared. Now I’m in some crazy rush to the final showcasing of the mediocrity of my dancing.

The pressure is getting to me. I want to do Teach proud. I’m the only student dancing Rhythm with him at the moment. He’s known in the studio as the “Smooth Guy”. He competes in Smooth, but he’s more than capable of teaching other dances. I want him to do well and get him some more business in the Rhythm dances!

Next on the agenda, Manager Lady is dancing two heats with me. I believe a Rumba and a Mambo. She usually only dances with the Studio Stars. You know what I mean – the big spenders or the very advanced, plus her long-time male students. My goal of invisibility unless I’m doing something spectacular is not working. Now I have to worry about messing up my arms and legs with the Manager Lady.

I may also be dancing a few with Lady R, but I’m not sure if that’s true yet. And she’s a sexy beast. I’m going to look like the pretender that I am next to her. (I know I’m being hard on myself. )

One week. The countdown in on for the freak out to be over. I know this wasn’t the nicest to read, but I’m allowed to go as crazy as I want on my blog. Thinking off all you who have comps coming up.

 

All About Them Arms

My lessons yesterday were all arms. Team Match is getting closer and closer and I’m still an unsure about what to do with those appendages. It was a breath of fresh air after all the footwork heavy lessons I’ve had lately.

The first lesson was a semi-coaching with my lady teacher, Lady R. She said my footwork is gorgeous (!!!!) but that it was blatantly obvious that I have no idea where my arms should be. And the times where I do know where they should be (Crossovers and UAT) there’s no intent. She made it all better with a few things to remember. If the arm is going up, lead with your finger (keep elbow in). If the arm is going out, lead with elbow. When arm comes in, lead with elbow. Who knew it could be that simple. Well, it’s not really THAT simple. We applied the arms in only Cha Cha, but the basics happen through all the Rhythm dances. Specific arm styles were applied to the butt pinch move (Chase Step) so that each turn with lock steps has something different to look at. My deltoids hurt just typing this.

My lesson with Teach was a bit of new choreography for Foxtrot so that all the arm styling could percolate for a bit. Then we went back and applied the same arm technique to Mambo. He also taught me a few new steps for Mambo. It was fun to finally have a few lessons where all the scrutiny was somewhere other than my feet/knees/hips. Now I just have to do all of this at once. I wonder how long that will take.

After lessons, Teach and I spoke to Manager Lady about Team Match. I’m dancing 42 heat evenly placed around 7 dances. I wanted to add either a Championship or Scholarship to it so that I would feel like I did a real Comp, and therefore, not feel the need to sign up for something that I can’t afford. I’m already paying the entry price for this one. I might as well just do it! The problem is this: The studio was only going to do a few Championships. Two for Bronze, two for Silver, one for Gold. The age categories were only 45 and below, and over 45. Teach dances with several ladies of all ages for Smooth and I didn’t want to hog up all his dances. I think he only dances with me for Rhythm, so that’s not too bad, but he will be super tired by that time. The end result was a Smooth Championship and a Rhythm Scholarship (that I don’t plan on winning – who can beat a 20-something year old girl with no inhibitions? Not this lady.) So I added that on. Plus, Lady R and Manager Lady both want dances during Team Match. I love lady dances. I can only have so many men in my life at a time and I’m capped now. So bring on the ladies. (Note: I am not a lesbian or bisexual. I was raised without a father and am completely awkward around men.) Teach was happy to give up a Cha Cha and Rumba to Lady R. He seemed less happy to give up a Swing to Manager Lady. Interesting.

An interesting note. Lady R said that I have a big personality both on and off the floor. I said the appropriate things, but I don’t believe it. I’ve never thought that about myself and it kind of threw me. I laugh loud, that’s true. But a big personality? Is that code for something that I don’t understand? It bears thinking about.

Teach is off to visit his in-laws in Japan for my next lessons, so I’ll be having a double with Lady R next time. I’m thrilled about it. I hope she brings more arms and sexy lady stuff. I could use all the help I can get! Happy dancing everyone. I will catch up on all your blogs one of these days!

 

Organizing

There are some problems with only having lessons every other week. One is that I have a longer time to spiral downward in between shots of logic. The Land of the Endless Perky Bottoms gives you a little lesson sheet that has room for things worked on and comments. The problem is that the correct notes don’t seem to go on it. “Waltz – footwork” doesn’t quite trigger my memory once I get home. With the Team Match looming on the horizon, I really need to figure out what’s going on! Thank goodness I have a decent relationship with Teach. I told him all this and then spent out lessons organizing my brain and giving me solid info on Team Match this summer. Sounds like fun, huh?

Team Match – This is set up like a competition, but it’s not one. It’s an excuse to get all the 5 studios in the chain to get together and compete to get “Top Studio”. It’s one day long – so great for those on a budget, because they have heats for all styles of dance on the same day lessening overall cost. This year every heat is going to be a proficiency heat (judges give tips). There will also be a few multi-dance events which will be ranked. It tends to be much more informal and loud (which I don’t like). At the end of the day you recieve an overall competancy score. I know all studios have different terms for their events, so I thought a bit of description would be nice.

As I said, we just spent 4 lessons over the past few weeks on organizing my brain. I now know what I’m supposed to be working on in 7 dances in preparation for Team Match.

For Smooth I’m working on artuculating my feet, or, as I call it, the middle stuff. What the foot is doing between steps. I’m only dancing Waltz, Fotxtrot and Tango at the match because of time (money) constraints. Each of those dances have an individual thing to work on. In waltz, I need to lower and prep my leg at the same time. In Foxtrot I need more springy knees action, especially in the side steps (I’m still a bronze lady). Tango needs the most work. I need more clarity between closed and open position (fancy way of saying promenade position needs some work). I’m also working on making it look sharper – the freezeframe moments, dancing like it’s a flipbook. So, tango is my current smooth beast.

Rhythm is a bit different for goals. I just started Mambo. My Swing isn’t well practiced. I could go on and on. But basically, for Rhythm I’m working on how to take a step. Yes, learning to walk takes a long time. In Rumba repeating “toe,heel,knee, hip” in my head with each step. Oh! Then remember that on the slow steps it’s toe on the 1, then heel, knee, hip quickly on the 2. And people wonder why I’m crazy?! In Swing it’s the whole pendulum action coming into play. That’s ok, but I also need to stop panicing and stiffening up before the free spins. And arms. Don’t get me started on arms. Cha Cha needs to be sharper with clearer feet. This also has 3 clear picture moments that need to be hit. For mambo, I need to go on the floor and stay on time. The freeze and switch in important too, but staying on time seems to be the real beast here.

Yesterday we went through the mixture of Intermediate and Senior Bronze steps that he’d be using for Rhythm at Team Match. No routines for Rhythm. There’s not point in telling you the names of things because everyone learns different names for things. Now it’s just to practice them. We have to go over our smooth routines next time. I’m also having a lady lesson to help with arms. I hope it sticks this time.

I officially signed up for August 20th Team Match. I’m dancing 42 heats (the most I’ve ever danced!). Now it’s time to practice, practice, practice!

Hope this wasn’t too boring. I wanted another place for all my notes and this blog is it.