Relief

When I walked in the studio yesterday, Manager Lady and all the instructors were preparing their dances for the Team Match. Part of me was glad that I could procrastinate a bit longer.

Clyde had me working on Smooth. He seems to want me to be a bit more dynamic in my dancing. I felt like I was already dancing “big” from what Teach had me do, but Clyde wants even more. More to the point that I feel like I’m going to tip over if I stretch my arm to the side any more. He even brought chairs out and had me do some exercises on them. I made a joke about being afraid that he was going to teach me some Chicago-esqe/Fosse dance moves when the chairs came out. He got very excited and told me he had been part of the cast of Chicago for a while and then started planning a Showcase in his head for me. Joke backfire. There is no way that’s happening. So my Waltz and Foxtrot are going well. The dynamics of my arms mixed with the nice stretches he lets me do are making me feel like a dancer. I’m glad he’s pushing more out of my comfort zone. (I can’t believe I said that.)

Lady J and I had a wonderful lesson, too. She worked on my Tango, specifically opening into Fan. I know it sounds like a simple thing, but I can make the simple seem impossible. Then we reviewed Swing. I have to do some Rhythm each time or my body forgets everything. She gave me some good points on turns and fixed some parts where I decided to become a ballerina in the middle. For the record, I was never a ballerina, but somehow I do weird things in the middle of dances. Again, I can make the simple impossible. Overall, Lady J is a wonderful teacher for me. The drill method seems to be working. The movements are staying in my body!

After my lessons, I talked to the front desk ladies for a while about my decision to change studios. They were NOT happy. It’s a bit surprising to me. I know they don’t like people to leave for $$$ reasons. They have a script to follow and all that, but it seemed to genuine that they would miss me. I am likable, I guess. Maybe. If I let you get to know me. The one secretary told me that my personality was desperately needed in their studio and that I would be a great loss. (What? I’m there twice a month!) I talked to Under Manager. She echoed the sentiments and said we would talk more. That’s slightly ominous sounding. I want it to be over with, but you know they’re going to have to come back with some sort of counter offer. I did come out with saying that they’re all under the same corporation. It’s not like I’m leaving for their actual competition. Everyone got a look that suggested I was not entirely correct in that statement. I guess there’s more competition between then I expected. I have eight lessons and a coaching left at the studio. I’m thinking that I’ll call and start at the new studio next month. Yes, I’m heartless.

The Current Standings

Sorry I left you all hanging like that. Typing was too much of an inconvenience for me and homeschool paperwork takes precedence over blogging. Now my hand is almost normal, so I’ll try to get the emotions under control and spill the story.

I didn’t end up having to call Teach myself; he called me the day after my last post, on Saturday. The end result of that conversation: he received a promotion to Manager of the Glen Rock studio. He’s leaving. I managed to keep my cool and he fit me in for a final lesson that following week to discuss his plan for me. I managed to keep my cool and tell him how much he deserves it (he does), even though it’s devastating to me.

When I hung up the phone I immediately talked to my family and their first reaction was, ” He knows you’re going with him right? How long does it take to drive there?” Google Maps tells me that it’s only 1 1/2 hours. It takes me 3 to commute now. One way. Honestly, I stayed at that studio because it’s rare to find a person you click with. If I’m anything, I’m loyal. I have noticed that a few students have stayed with their teacher as they rise in the corporation. I also know that I don’t spend nearly the same amount of money these ladies spend. Is he supposed to ask me to stay with him, or do I ask him, or is that just wrong? Because I’m ready for less of a commute. I know I have to drive this way, but I’m still ready.

At my lesson, we danced a lot of (social-like) Foxtrot because I asked for it. It’s one of the few I can converse through. (Muscle memory win.) After verifying that he would be still teaching lessons, I asked him right out if it would be a bit like a crazy ex-girlfriend if I went to the other studio with him. End of story: I can choose to do that. Teach has to behave ethically now – he can’t steal his students to the other studio (even though they’re under the same corp), that’s not right. My perception was that he wouldn’t mind at all continuing to teach me. He did make me promise to try it out with Clyde (Teach’s friend who was hanging around our lesson last time and helped make me cry) and Lady J (I do need more consistent lady lessons). It’s the only thing I can do because there’s a slight problem – I have a contract that is only half over. I also need to find out if my free coaching and a few other goodies can transfer to the other studio. So I won’t be seeing Teach for a while. I have 2 months of payments still to make before I can go and sign another contract.

Since I’m on leave from work for my finger, and I want to get back to Teach ASAP, I’m taking extra lesson. How did lessons with Clyde and Lady J go, you ask? Lady J is wonderful. I have no problem taking lessons with lady teachers ever. We worked on arm styling and fully transferring weight in the Rumba. Lesson with Clyde was ok. It started as a “get to know you” and quickly went to overwhelming me with all kind of information and fixing me to the point that I felt like I couldn’t dance at all. Oh! and he taught me several new figures, too. Or he tried to. People look at me and think I’m extroverted and fun and gregarious. I’m faking it. It takes a long time for me to get used to men and I have Victorian sensibilities. Clyde did something on a first lesson that Teach hasn’t tried at all yet. He wanted me to Foxtrot sexy. Big no-no. It’s not going to happen. I got used to Teach over 3 years and I still couldn’t dance a serious rumba with him. Just no. Did I mention Clyde is 22? Hello, cougar. Did I mention he tried to sweet talk me into believing he thought I was 24? I’m too old for that crap. Did I mention there’s a bit of a language barrier? We’re not getting each other yet. I’m giving him more chances because I’ve had lessons with all the other guys in the studio and, guess what, none of them were Teach. I have a problem.

I have another lesson tomorrow so I hope to have more news for you. Manager Lady is keeping a close eye on Clyde and checked up with me after my lessons. I just didn’t think it was the time to tell her that I’m leaving. I did mention that I don’t have an opinion on Clyde yet. It’s too soon. May your dance life me less crazy than mine.

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!

 

Dancing in February

I got more than I expected this month. Where do I even begin?

I started with an unexpected coaching lesson. Studio #1 was having a Team Match that weekend and they usually bring coaches to the studios for a bit of extra. Lady V happened to be free for the first of my two lessons so I snapped her up. Well, not really. Teach did that. I freaked out and danced an awful Rumba for her. What ended up happening was Lady V told me that I have talent and then gave me the book on dancing. You know, the “you dance a beautiful social rumba, now we have to fix everything for competing.” Seriously, it was a head to toe fix. I could work a lifetime on the things she taught me. But I’m going to break it down a bit so that I’m not overwhelmed. (Yeah, right.) Keep in mind, this was only for Rumba.

  1. Feet/legs/hips. I am to practice my box religiously using this: One-ball of foot/take step, Two – heel down, Three – push from other foot, Four – settle. Then repeat. Eventually I will be able to do this rhythmically.
  2. Take smaller steps. Side steps should not go larger than shoulders. Apparently I am tall and have now learned how difficult rhythm dances are for the tall, leggy people.
  3. Arms. I totally screwed up here. I told Lady V how I’m not a fan of touching myself. I forgot that someone needs to be touched, so now she made arm styling for me that has me all over Teach. (I exaggerate slightly, but it’s awkward nonetheless.) I can’t describe them here, but it involves grabbing Teach’s waist and having him turn me, etc.
  4. Oh yes, there’s more. Connection. This is something Teach hasn’t really enforced in Rhythm. I think it was going to come at some point, but he has different things he’s focusing on. No problem until the end of the lesson when Lady V said I was BACKLEADING!!!! Let me tell you I stewed on that for two weeks until my next lesson with Teach.

Continuation of the backleading comment. I couldn’t practice all week because my gut was burning about this. I do NOT want to back lead and I was a bit peeved that Teach hadn’t said something about it. I confronted him immediately about it and he put my mind at rest that he would never let me get away with that behavior. He said Lady V must have seen that I was a touch ahead of the music and assumed the backleading, but that it was really my nerves making me follow his lead quicker than should have. I guess this makes sense, but to tell you the truth, I’m still a bit upset.

The rest of the lesson consisted of a lot of awkward arm styling and violations of personal space.

Me: “Um, we’re really close, are you sure this is right?”

Teach: looking at me like I have seven heads “It’s a rumba.”

Okaaaay.

The heat in the studio was broken, so we danced a few Viennese Waltz rounds and a Swing and a Cha Cha to stay warm. It’s the first time I’ve danced in a sweater – that’s how cold it was. It seems like spring is coming now. Since that lesson we’ve even been up in the 60’s with no freezing nights in sight. All the snow that NYC got, we missed. We’ve had maybe an inch this whole winter. I’m a bit sad because there’s something almost warm about being insulated by snow, but I have to say it was nice not having to deal with the transit problems of getting to NYC for lessons during snow storms. Happy dancing all.