Relax While Dancing, an Oxymoron

I admire all you bloggers out there who can write up about your dancing on the day you do it. I find I need to reflect for a week or more before I put fingers to keyboard. Maybe it’s just that writing doesn’t come naturally to me.

So my double lesson was on Leap Day. Yes, that long ago. Lesson one was with Teach. We went over the new Tango routine again at my request. There is only so much I can keep with me at a time; I find it good to review the end of the previous lesson at the beginning of the next weeks lesson. Does that make sense? While we were reviewing I made a comment about the frame of one of the pro ladies working with another student. Remember that one of my goals for the year was to have posture like Edita Daniute (nothing like reaching for the stars!). So guess what? I now have the keys to having that beautiful frame if I dare to work on it. This will also give us the body contact necessary for future Silver dancing. I’m thrilled!

My second lesson was with a new instructor for me. He’s been at the Land of the Endless Perky Bottoms (AKA Studio #1) for almost two years now but I’ve never had a lesson with him. My previous second teacher, Mr. R, took a new position opening a new studio in the chain in Texas. I’ll miss him. I need to think of a nickname for my new #2. He’s another “grueling Russian instructor” type. We worked on Rumba and Cha Cha. His biggest problem was that I was too tense on the top. You mean I have to relax while dancing? With someone I’m not used to dancing with? That is more difficult than learning technique. I’m so nervous that I’m going to miss a lead that I tense up and, you guessed it, miss the lead because I can’t feel it because I’m too tense. The more this happens, the more the nervous turns to panic. It’s a circle of awful that hits my sensitive side like Thor’s hammer, leaving me feeling like a hopeless, crappy dancer. And it’s all my fault. He’s doing nothing wrong.

How can I make this better? I took some calming breaths and plowed through ok. Perhaps going to more social dances would help, but my social anxiety really rears its ugly head in those situations. Alcohol? Really bad idea. Maybe taking more random lessons with the instructors there would be a good idea. Then I could get used to them all and I won’t be so nervous. The problem with that is that it takes me an extremely long time to get comfortable with people. *sigh* Maybe I’m just a lost cause with the whole relaxing thing, but I did get some great nuggets on info from #2 that I will use at my next lesson. Happy dancing all. Any tips for the socially anxious like me?

2016 Dance Goals

I have to do this one or Teach turns crazy. At Studio #1 I’m given a sheet with Plans and Goals for life at the top and Dance Goals and Plan at the bottom. Teach used to have everyone fill it out after their lesson and leave it for him, but ever since I brought it home last year and came back with an excellent plan, he sends his students home with it as homework. I may not like resolutions, but if I’m forced to make them, they’re going to be spectacular and well thought out. 🙂 In order to accomplish this, I have to leave the land of glitter and unicorn farts so that I can actually think again.

Dance Goals:

  1. I want to focus on the 9 dance. Originally I had added Samba and Quickstep to my learning, but I feel like it was too much for the amount of lessons that I take with technique being so different. So I’m really only adding Bolero and taking away the other two. For now.
  2. Cuban Motion while dancing with another person not my spouse. This is awkward. I told teach that it’s awkward and that I want to fix it and be able to dance sexyish with him. (I blushed 50 shades of red as I said it.)
  3. I want my posture/back to look like Edita Daniute. Who said this has to be a logical list? Teach said that if he gets my posture that good I have to wear a backless dress. We shook on it.
  4. I want my Tango to be sharper. Nuff said.
  5. Swing. I want to get over my brain block for this dance. It’s a long story. Maybe I’ll tell you some time.

Life Plans (I leave it mostly blank, obviously)

  1. Save money for backless dress (hehe)
  2. Pass 6th Grade with my daughter

That’s it. We’ll revisit this around June/July unless I meet them all sooner. I know when I get to lesson that he’ll want to add events to this list. (Comp, Team Match, Showcase, etc) Then I’ll have to remind him of how lucky he is to get to teach me at all. Our relationship is like that.

Do others of you make dance goals that are sharable?

Stand Up Straight

When I first started dancing I was always complemented on my posture. It wasn’t surprising to me as all the pictures I have of myself playing the piano or doing other activities, I’m standing to make my mother proud. In this day and age this is a big deal. I feel that the humans in Wall-E are our future we don’t watch out, but I digress. My posture is not bad, but…

Today I had a lesson in ballroom straight. It really started with my head trying to spin around like something out of The Exorcist during the Viennese Waltz. My feet are going in the proper direction, by frame is great, my head is weird. One of the lady teachers (I’ll call her Dimples), suggested an exercise for us to try. I put my right arm up against Teach #1’s neck (cutting off his Carotid artery circulation) and the rest of me was in frame. This seemed to help me keep my head up, looking over my knuckles. Teach decided to add to this exercise by pulling my ponytail to adjust my head and then holding it there. How he did this while still leading is beyond me.

Back to posture. Dimples has the most beautiful frame I’ve ever seen. She is gorgeous (I’m saying this as a completely heterosexual woman.) She expanded our lesson from just my head to improving my “good posture” to ballroom posture. As you all know, this is not the same thing. Not even close. In the past when someone told me to stand up straighter I would go through a long list of things in my head to get my body to behave. Teach streamlined that to two. Teach taught me to pull my sternum (he jabbed his finger right above my cleavage, I don’t know where this would be on others) to the ceiling, and make my neck as long as possible. That’s it. In doing these two things you naturally engage your core, put your shoulders down, and do all the other things on the list. After he said that I went immediately into this beautiful ballroom frame. I love it when things click.

I’ll leave you with the fun banter that ended our lesson. All the teachers had gone to an amusement part the past weekend for team building exercises. I admitted to being a roller coaster junkie. I love them and I love to know who around me love them as well. Sometimes it’s not the people you think… So, at the end of our lesson Teach says to me, “I think I finally figured out why you love Viennese Waltz so much. It’s your own personal roller coaster.” I just blurted out, “You’re right. I just want to shout ‘Again’ every time you stop. I want it to keep going, and going, and going!!!” Cue realization, blushing, and backpedaling.

Enjoy your dance week!