Sequins Stick to the Bottom of Your Shoe (An August Dance update)

This month has not gone as planned. The cold from hell (my second this summer) kept me in bed for a week and tending my family members for another. Then, DH was on vacation, so dance lessons have been mixed up this month. It has given me some time to think, though. The problem is, introverted over-thinking perfectionists shouldn’t be given that much time to ponder things. It never helps the psyche.

I’m taking lessons at two studios. It’s fairly official since Studio #2 just set me up with a binder. I nearly told them not to, but I’m a wimp. As a result, I’m completely torn. I never intended to take regular lessons at Studio #2, but since I bring my daughter there weekly, it’s just easy to take a lesson wile I’m there. Here is where problems arise. There are three male teachers at Studio #2. One I did the Showcase with, one owns the studio (and isn’t there early during the day when we are), one just returned to the studio after showcase. He is Russian with only English as it pertains to dance. He is also small of stature. So why not take a lesson at the same time as my daughter? Makes sense only now I’m stuck with Mini. I know this sounds terrible, but he’s difficult to dance with compared to what I’m used to. When I say he’s small, I mean it. I’m 5’6″, I wear 2″ heels, he’s still at least 3″ shorter than I am. When I was learning Rumba arms and I was required to get a little close, his nose was nearly in my armpit. I feel like a giant tub of fluff next to him. Not good for my psyche. Smooth dances are a joke. I can’t figure out how to place myself properly, I keep taking too large strides. He keeps having to adjust his grip on my back because I’m running away… It goes on and on. I can’t ask him about this because of the communication barrier. I’m trying to figure out a way to switch to the other instructor without hurting feelings. Plus, if they think I can afford weekly lessons over there, in addition to at Studio #1, they are out of their minds!!!!

The lessons I had with Teach were great. I took a double the week hubby was sick and we worked on so much. We started working on some Foxtrot twinkles, which is awesome. I love that the counting has become different now. It feels more like a foxtrot. We then got on the subject of Silver. I said that Silver was a loooooooong was off for me. He told me it may be closer than I think. Then he had me dance some silver waltz and silver foxtrot to show me how I can do it. The feet flow by one another instead of stopping and changing weight. It was interesting and gave me something to work towards. But I’ll stick with Bronze for now. It’s a happy place to be. Our lesson must have been great on both sides because I had an “Awww” moment. Teach told me that he wished I were his last lesson of every day because he knew he would go home happy. I blushed and nearly told him that was a load of bull crap, but he seemed really serious, so I reined in my inner screw up.

One other thing came out of that lesson. Teach and I agreed that I would only go to Studio #1 every other week for double lessons. It will be the same teaching time, but it will save me $100 on just travel (or more depending on if I take Daughter with me and we eat out, etc.) and 12 hours of commuting time every month. That adds up quickly. I’m not ready to give up on going to Studio #1 yet. As you can see, things are complicated. Do I make decisions based solely on money or do I make them based on relationship? To complicated matters farther, I just received an email from Studio #1 about them raising prices. Yikes! As if they aren’t high enough…

In case you were wondering, the title is a reminder that a year ago I participated in Team Match. I remember wondering why I was sliding around so much during rhythm. Later that evening I looked at the bottom of my shoes, and voila!, many sequins had adhered there making my shoes a bit more like tap shoes. Live and learn.

I’m a bit behind with my reading, I promise I’ll get to everyone and their dance adventures in the next few days.


Love Triangle vs. Dogs Fighting Over Bone

Mr. R is growing on me. I feel a bit guilty because I’m starting to bond with him more than Teach #1. Yikes! Mr. R is more open with positive feedback. He also tells me when to cut it out. Maybe this is the difference between a Russian and an American teacher? He’s my first non-American dance teacher. Hmmmm.

Rumba. Connection of hands. Pressure needed to help me follow better and to create the elasticity between us. Under arm turn with two pivots! This is the sort of thing that gets me giddy because I’m such a nerd. Forward, diagonal, pivot, diagonal, straight, pivot, side? Something like that. First pivot kind of weird because it’s right under his turning arm. Mr. R is average height. I’m still used to dancing with 6’3″ Teach #1. It’s a bit claustrophobic under there. The crazy amount of pivots I did was satisfying, though.
We did a bit of Cha Cha review. He reminded me to hold the 1 because that’s where all the moves come from. Then my foot started acting up so we moved on to Salsa. For some reason, Salsa didn’t bother my foot. Every lead has their own spin (pun intended) on Salsa. It’s very interesting to get to know them all. Mr. R does a spin where he reaches around my body mid spin to grab that same hand and spin me out again. I didn’t know what he was reaching for the first few times. When he finally clarified, he said, “What did you think I was reaching for! I hope you weren’t thinking I was some sort of creep!!” Ha! I had to remind him that my personal space issues get checked at the door with my street shoes – most days.

There were a few brief Argentine Tango reminders. He told me that to dance Argentine Tango properly I need to forget everything I’ve ever learned about dance. It is its own entity. More work on staying with chest and giving him pressure in the arm as well as pushing into his leading hand on my back. In case you were wondering, this is hard.
Mr. R said something that was interesting to me about myself. He said that I seem to love learning technique. To be honest, I’ve never thought about what I like best. Teach #1 seems to just teach technique to me without saying why (not that I asked). It makes sense, though. Some people take four lessons and they’re swinging their hips, flipping their hair, and are able just let loose – be confident. I don’t have that quality and find it difficult to fake it. I find my confidence in knowing that what I do, I do correctly. Then I can relax a bit and enjoy the freedom of dance. Interesting that this topic was just brought up by The Girl With The Tree Tattoo this week.
Toward the end of my lesson, Mr. R lamented how quickly my lesson goes by. A little imp prompted me to ask if this was good or bad. Then the complement came. He told me that I am at such a high level for the amount and pacing of my lessons and that there is so much he wants to teach me because I can grasp several concepts in one lesson. Not all students can do that. He’s very good at making a girl feel special. He’s also trying to steal me from Teach #1. I wasn’t born yesterday. I know this is a vicious game with polite smiles to the customer. I see the whole thing and know exactly how I’m going to handle it. Since this has turned into a love triangle of sorts, I’m planning to milk it for all its worth. I’ve never been part of a love triangle before, so it only makes sense to absorb their best teaching and enjoy the complements. I may have terrible body image issues, but I’m still a female, and as such, love compliments. Feel free to tell me how awful I am.
Please, if you think I’m terrible for letting two men fight over my lesson money, let me know. If you think I’m weird for enjoying technique, you can tell me that, too. I’m on a dance complement high and can take it today. What differences have you all noticed between American and non-American dance teachers?