Last week's lesson was a mixed bag... I think I started off on the "wrong foot" so-to-speak. RT and I usually try and warm up with something quick, Hustle, Salsa, something like that... and we tried to, but were interrupted by another instructor to show an example of two dances for his new students on their first lesson. This happens every now and again, it's commonly referred to in my group as the "Rumba/Waltz thing."
This is what happens... an instructor has brand new student(s) and at one point while explaining the differences in the dances, said instructor will ask a more advanced student/teacher couple on the floor to stop by asking if we can show them the difference between a Rumba and a Waltz. The reason for this is because the actual basic steps for American Rhythm Rumba and American Smooth Waltz are the same... for the follow it's back with the right, side step with the left, and then bring the right foot to close the gap (leads are opposite starting with the left going forward). However, the WAY these three steps are done and the way the overall dances are performed is COMPLETELY different! I love it when RT and I are asked to do this... I usually end up playing with the other instructor or I'll ask RT "I don't know...did you show me how to do that?" Sometimes I have to be careful though because the new students have been known to believe me, and sometimes the other instructor doesn't know my humor and thinks I'm upset with stopping my lesson... this is NOT the case at all! So, two seconds into my lesson, before I've gotten my "dance legs" I'm giving an example... my Waltz was completely off, but I think I recovered after some joking around. I think the Rumba was better, RT and I decided to show off a bit and pulled out one of the steps that are a tad more advanced than usually used for the examples.
That over, we tried to warm up again, and were then asked to show an example of an under-arm turn in Waltz for another instructor trying to explain it for his students. All I kept hearing RT whisper to me was "close your legs slower" UGH! My Waltz will never be right! I'm really glad I can at least follow it to a degree, but also glad that I don't spend a lot of time on it... it's the MOST frustrating dance to me EVER! At that point we gave up on a "warm up" and moved into some East Coast Swing.
Ah... East Coast... my first love... although I don't work on it much anymore so I think it's not as good as it used to be. I will say that it's because of East Coast that my spins are rocking in all my dances! As we're working on bringing my basic up to the next level, RT tells me mid-dance "Let's try for a double spin." By double spin... he doesn't mean two consecutive spins...which we've proven I can do (as long as my lead has my arm above my head, I can find my center that way for some reason). No, RT means two spins within the same measure! That's REALLY FAST! I say "Ok..." and before I can even think his arm is up and I'm around and back so fast I didn't even know what happened! I lost my balance a little... I looked at him with a completely shocked look and said "Holy Crap! I don't even know...was that it??"
"Yes, that was good, but instead of pushing your arm all the way up, just put it up there." He tells me...
Well, I didn't really understand what he meant... but we tried it again...and again I went so fast I couldn't even tell if it was two spins or not!
"Was that better?"
"No, that was the same... just put your and up, out pressure there but don't extend it all the way." RT follows that by showing me an example with his own arms.
"Oh! Ok! I think I get it, but would now be a good time to tell you that when I spin, I really only know about 3/4 of what I'm doing...the rest is done on a hope and a prayer." I tell him... He always thinks I'm crazy when I tell him I don't actually know what I'm doing, even though I may get something right... but it's true!
Well we stopped double spins for the moment... but I was just happy that I made it around that FAST and didn't land on the floor!
Next dance up was Samba, oh lordy I'm trying to get better at this... RT's approach today was to talk me through what I should be feeling and or acting out as I'm trying to do the rise and fall action (Samba is counted as 1 a2, 3 a4 and there is a little popup that happens along with all the hip work). Sometimes RT uses a LOT of words to describe something, and sometimes I have to tell him to stop using all the words and walk me through it... This time it ALL made sense... I just wasn't sure how I was going to apply it. He said, "Pretend there is a spring under your one foot, then pop up using the resistance, then pretend like the spring has moved to under the other foot and you're trying to push it down... use that to help you define the steps." - I know some of you are going to read that and go "Huh??" but trust me it makes sense... applying it to practice is a whole other thing, but I think I got it.... for some of the time... I have no consistency in this dance yet. We worked on Samba for a long time... and just about the time I was about to start getting angry we changed up.
Hip action was the name of the game... oh CRAP... my hip action is terrible and I know it! Not only did he want to work on my hip action, but he wanted to bring it up to Cha Cha timing... HA! So he put a Cha Cha song on, but we didn't actually do the dance... instead we stood facing each other doing Cha Cha basic in place with RT trying to make me get my hips going. It worked... kind of... at one point he said "Oh, come on Kat, my hip action is bigger than yours!" to which I could only respond...
"Hello, you're a professional dancer!"
"Hello Kat..." I get in the same sarcastic tone "You should be able to do this!"
Fine! I think to myself...and I give it another go... there is something about my Cha Cha...when I practice at home, actually moving within the basic pattern... side to side or forward and back, I have hip action! The way my muscles feel when I'm done tells me I do! Where does it go when I'm working in place? I have no idea... BUT.. when RT decides to start moving side to side in the Cha Cha way I practice... PRESTO... the hips made an appearance! Then...they disappeared again. *Sigh* consistency... I need more consistency in my dancing! We worked on it for a while, and when RT and I were pleased that my hips were agreeing to show up and work we put it aside...and I was assigned hips for homework.
"How about a Rumba... you love to work on Rumba!" RT says...thinking this is exactly what I wanted to hear.
I tell him "It wouldn't be a lesson without Rumba, and I like to work on it because it's so important to the other dances... Ok... Rumba."
It was TRAGIC! I was trying to follow along, I wasn't even paying attention to the music...my fault... and RT tells me at the end of the song "Finally the last few boxes were on time." I wanted to grab him and shake him!
But I didn't, instead I pleaded... "Hey, look, when I dance with guys out socially, I often run into guys that only dance whatever is in their heads, not to the music playing, I'm sorry I just tuned out the music."
For which I received a brief lecture on how the music is my FIRST leader....and I should always deffer to that... well ok... I was still CRUSHED that my Rumba...after how hard I've worked on it... was off time... it was even off time when I paid attention to the next song! I now have decided that I will ONLY practice my Rumba box with music on... I'll even do it with songs that aren't Rumba, so I can just work on playing with the rhythm. I hang on to all my dance confidence with such a thin thread... finding out I wasn't able to keep time was simply devastating! Second assignment... practice timing in Rumba... check.
Finally we wrapped up with Salsa... my new true love... RT says "We work on Rumba every time, but we work on Salsa too!" thinking that would make me feel better.
I wasn't going to let him know that it does make me feel better... so I just said "Yes, we do...neither of which is actually my choice." (But I do LOVE working on Salsa, and Rumba... sometimes it's better that my instructor doesn't know these things.) <---I can say that here because RT doesn't read my blog much anymore.. he he... :-)
So, after a good Salsa with some good consecutive turns we called it a lesson... Man! I love showing the examples to the new folks, but let me get my warm up in... it feels like the lesson just went down hill from there... and boy! Do I have a lot of homework until my next lesson!