So here goes. I wasn’t sure about posting it because I seem like a petulant child and Teach seems like a jerk. But not every relationship is calm all the time.
Since I had skipped a few weeks of dance to finish up the homeschool year with my daughter, I scheduled a double lesson last Monday. It’s smarter to do this since my commute is so long, but my foot and fitness level aren’t quite up to the challenge yet. So I think I’m going to just do weekly lessons again.
My first lesson was with the positive Mr. R. I really love how he teaches. We went through Rhythm (except Swing – no one is willing to go there yet). He reinforced the swivel idea and then taught me four variations on a cross body lead in Cha Cha. It was so much fun to try and figure out what he was doing next and my swiveling and footwork are coming along nicely.
Then I had my first lesson with Teach #1 since February. Yes, it’s been that long! He decided to review Smooth with me. I haven’t done much Smooth since my injury and I’ve almost forgotten how he dances (remember the eye stuff), so there was more than just remembering technique, I needed to relearn our connection. Here is where my rant starts… He was on me like a drill sergeant. NOTHING was right. My feet weren’t together enough. My frame could be better. Get lower. Now I’m too low. Head too far left. Everything was wrong. Everything. It was completely discouraging. I know I’m rusty, but the delivery of this information was NOT good. He was whining at me. I’m incredibly sensitive. Gentle reminders are ok. Whining and harping at me and telling me that I’ve been so much better doesn’t do anything but get me depressed.
It also gets me thinking. This is dangerous. I started thinking about our lessons this year. I thought about what I would have written here about my lessons. There should be something to take note of after each lesson. You know what? I wouldn’t have anything to write. I’m either making zero progress because I’ve reached my personal high point, or, Teach #1 hasn’t been teaching me in a good way. Every week I should get a new step to help reinforce a technique or I should get arm styling to use with a step I already am comfortable with. Something! Do you know Teach #1 hasn’t taught me a new step this year? I’m barely Intermediate Bronze, there has to be something to play with. Teach #1 is obsessed with my feet being together. It’s his thing. If my legs and ankles aren’t making love every moment, he’s going to just keep harping on it. Then we get nothing else done. I know this needs to happen. My feet need to get together. You should see the scars on my feet and ankles where my heels have scratched flesh over this. But here’s my whine (as if the rest isn’t enough), I’m paying a lot of hard earned money to this studio. I feel like there need to be some balance here. After last week, I’m feeling a bit like I’m pissing it all away. I could go on some beautiful vacations to hear the same thing about my feet being together. I KNOW. They just don’t always listen during warm up. MOVE ON for a minute. I grasp many things quickly. Why do I have to devote hours to something when a simple reminder will work?! Or, just wait until after our warm up to start harping at me. It’s a warm up for a reason.
I want to talk to him a bit, but this past week I was so discouraged and was feeling so lousy about myself that I didn’t have the guts. Maybe I’ll be able to tomorrow. I’m still a bit raw. So, my childish rant is over for now. Another cup of tea would be lovely.
My first lesson back didn’t go quite as planned, but ended up being just what I needed. I received a call from the studio after I was already in the Big City (2 hour train ride each direction). They had to send Main Teach to the doctor for suspected pink eye. They gave me the option to reschedule, but I was already in the area, so I took option number two, a lesson with one of the new instructors. There were three instructions free and willing to teach on standby. Who could pass that up? So off I went to meet Mr. R. Mr. R was a manager at another studio in the franchise and has now come to the Land of Endless Perky Bottoms. Since we’ve never danced together and he’s never seen me dance before, it was a typical review lesson with a few nuggets of input.
Since my limited funds only allow one private lesson a week, I learn only American Style, plus Quickstep. Rumba, Foxtrot, and Waltz were just review. I received positive feedback on my hip motion and frame. Tango he got me up to speed with a few more steps. That was encouraging. He thought that despite my roughness I was ready for a Fan upgrade. Then we reviewed Viennese Waltz because I love it. By this time I was sweating profusely with cheeks the color of lobster. My stamina is in the toilet. I requested some Cha Cha, just to see how it would go. Heck, I’d already sweat through all my clothes and looked like a crazy, drunk Irish girl. Why not? Obviously, I was feeling pretty good with Mr. R, or I wouldn’t have asked. It went well. We got yelled at by lady manager for too much footwork on my first day back, which made me feel like a rebel. Me, a rebel. I love that feeling! We worked quite a bit on Argentine tango since I hadn’t danced it in a while prior to my injury. I tend to forget how much focus following takes during Argentine Tango. Mr. R didn’t lead anything crazy, but it takes so much brainwork. My nuggets of information came during this section on the lesson. He reminded me to stay chest to chest, not to the side like in smooth. This is so much more intimate, which is probably why I need to focus on it. He had me keep my knees together as much as possible and to follow first with my chest and then work my way down to my feet last. Interesting stuff to ponder. We ended with a bit more rumba. He threw some steps and combinations at me that I was unfamiliar with. When I mentioned to him that I had never encountered these particular figures, he told me knew that, but that he likes to see whether people are figure learners or dancers. I classified as the latter because I followed correctly even though I was unsure. Just the boost I needed and another thing to think about.
Maybe next week I’ll finally have a lesson with Teach #1. I miss him. First dance teachers always hold a special place in your heart.
Later in the week, at Studio #2, I made my song and dance selections for my first-ever showcase! Because I’m nuts, I chose to do a Quickstep to Dr. Wanna Do sung by Caro Emerald. The process of choreographing is interesting. Kind of frustrating for the student who is confused as heck as things change minute to minute. It’s going to be very cutesy, which is just my style.
There was a point where my insecurities made an appearance. Lifts. It was necessary to have “the talk” with Teach #2. There’s one brief moment where I have to give him part of my weight. He grabs my leg bends me backwards. I’m a heavy gal. Even when I’m not overweight, I’m a solid armful of woman. I have a fear of maiming someone with that lifting nonsense. Logically, I know men are strong, and that he wouldn’t put it into the routine if he couldn’t do it, but there’s an emotional aspect to this that screams, “Nooooooooooo”!!! So this brief lean is going to make or break me right at the start. We’ll see what other things happen to this routine as things get moving. I’m slightly apprehensive because he’s going to win any argument. It’s the way it goes. Happy dancing!