Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Last Week's Lesson: Who Knew 2 Tiny Words Would Make me Lose my Mind?
Last week's lesson was nothing but laughs! Well, that's not entirely true... I learned stuff too... but there was a lot of laughing!
We started with Salsa, RT's new trend is to throw some Cumbia basic in it... it's nice to practice that in an actual dance scenario. After that warm up it was on to Rumba, where I learned my basic box (yes, it's a box when you learn American Rhythm....) is actually not bad...those were his words "not bad"...which I love because they're honest. However I seem to be having trouble as soon as we get out of that box into...just about anything else. So we spent some time working on making sure I lock my knee on which ever is the leg getting my weight. I don't normally lock my knees... my knees actually over extend a little and when they're locked my legs aren't actually straight. So I just never really lock them... well guess what...now I'm locking them! Doing that little thing, that one small thing... really helped with the whole hip motion too... which I'm sure was the goal. Once we'd established that new thing for me to work on in Rumba (I swear I'll never in life run out of things to work on in Rumba!) we moved on to what would be the hysterics in my lesson.
RT wanted to West Coast... which I'm all about working on that... I feel like I make the most progression or improvement in this dance in one lesson.... then it starts all over again at square one next time we work on it. I do have to say that while I definitely have to work on taking a bigger step backwards (either that or RT's arms have gotten longer) in the Sugar Push I have absolutely very nearly eliminated my "popping up" problem for the Coaster/Triple step! So we're doing a West Coast...I'm focusing on not popping up and making sure I'm as close to on time as I can get... when RT leads me into a passing move. I think it's one I already know so I'm quickly analyzing the few possibilities I have when I feel I'm being lead past him. Then out of nowhere for some unexplained reason it feels like he lets go. RT has NEVER let go of me during West Coast! So what does my brilliant self do? (Keep in mind I am absolutely terrible at following something I've never done before) I feel a light push on my back, but not enough to tell me where to go...so I keep going...right past RT for a good step maybe two...then I stop... I just freeze.
Hold one sec for a brief explanation break:
West Coast is difficult to explain if you haven't done it, but I have some international readers that aren't familiar so for them, and for any others who haven't learned West Coast Swing... It's a slot dance...which means a lot of back and forth for the follows (between 3 and 9 if we're dancing across the center of a clock) the leads pretty much stay in the center of the clock and face 12 or 6 depending on which direction and rail they are on as the follow is lead past... That's not an exact description...but it's close enough for these purposes.... I hope that helps.
So right after I pass... RT would be in the center of the clock facing twelve, and I'd be way out by the three standing on it and facing the outside edge...which is WAY beyond where I should be.
....and we're back!
I have no thoughts, I'm trying to figure out what the heck just happened.. I slowly turn to RT, with what must have been one of my classic shocked faces... only to discover he's laughing just about as hard as I've ever seen!
"WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?!?!" I shout.
"We've done that before." RT says in between laughs
"Oh no we haven't, you have NEVER let go of me during West Coast!" I declare...in a slightly softer tone.
RT insists that we have, but slowly walks me through this step anyway...It starts where I do pass him, he moves his one hand to bring it to my back and kind of pushes me as I pivot to face the opposite direction (for those keeping track of the clock, he's still at the same spot, I'm right next to/just in front of him, now facing the 9) and then I think I take a step forward, somehow we reconnect in frame (that part is fuzzy) and the move ends the same way a whip does (clock watchers: I go from facing 9 to being in frame with him (he's facing somewhere between 12 and 2 , so I'm facing him), then I think the whip ending has us rotate around and facing 3 and 9 respectively in frame when it's complete. Anyway... so we both got a good laugh out of my reaction to that step. I can't wait to see what happens if we try it again... I fully expect to make a fool of myself while trying to remember what the heck happens, after the pivot I'm totally lost.
That was funny and I'm glad we got a good laugh in, we don't do that nearly enough it seems...but it's NOTHING like what RT and I had in store for Bolero. Why is it the funniest things happen when no one intends on anything funny being there?(and why is it only one of us found all of this hysterical??) Ok..so Bolero... We worked on basic a little... I'm getting used to the concept of pushing my unweighted foot forward or back instead of stepping on it. Then RT says we're going to work on a step that is done a lot, I think it's called "Romantica" or something similar.
To catch you up real quick, Bolero is what I call the Waltz of Rhythm because it's slow, really slow, has huge rise and fall action big graceful arm sweeps and is very romantic... oh and I feel completely out of place when I'm doing it... it's not a dance I'm designed for, but I'm trying to get better at it.
Ok back to the action... so RT decides he can add a step to my basic... and he explains it to me as we're doing it: "We're going to rock back and forth, then when I tell you you're going to do a ____." I was following the back and forth part, but I didn't understand the last bit.
Something I don't think I've mentioned for those that have never met RT, he has what I would call a slight to moderate accent, as one who speaks 4 languages might...and I don't usually have trouble with accents at all... I've never had a problem with his...but whatever that was at the end of what he just said... I wasn't catching it... at all.
"You want me to do a what?" I ask, completely puzzled.
"____." he states... as though I should know what "____" is.
"Sorry try that again I have no idea what the last bit is supposed to be." I tell him.
At this point I'm growing very frustrated with myself for not following what he's stating. I'm thinking it's some grand dance term in some foreign language that I'm about to learn for the first time ever...
"Ok, it's a L-E-G C-R-A-W-L" he is kind enough to spell for me... ACK!!! how dumb to I feel??
Wait..it gets better...
"A 'leg crawl'??? What the heck is that?? I get the words... 'leg crawl'.. but I don't have any idea what that means!" I'm clearly frustrated that I'm not understanding. I really hate not understanding.
Yep that's right folks... I couldn't understand the words 'leg' and 'crawl'... I can really be an idiot sometimes... but then when I did get it... I had no idea what it means STILL... how the heck was my leg supposed to crawl?? After a few other ramblings by me and my frustration, RT kind of rolls his eyes and asks one of the gal instructors to help him show me what the heck I'm supposed to be doing...
So he leads the move.... rock back and forth...ok..got it that part... then the gal puts her leg on his hip it's there for a beat and then she puts her leg down and finishes the step. As soon as I saw that my head was screaming- Why didn't you just say..."Kat, put your leg on my hip"!
I refrained from blurting that out, instead I politely thanked my assistant teacher of the moment and tried to not to be frustrated anymore by 'leg crawl'. Then it was my turn to follow RT's lead... rock back and forth...leg on hip... ok... then what?... Just then was the moment that I just start absolutely laughing my head off! There we are standing on the floor with my left leg on his hip and my forehead collapsed on his shoulder because I can't stop laughing! - Oh what a picture we must have made!
Here's where it gets funnier, for me anyway, I suddenly realize... RT must think I'm laughing because I'm uncomfortable putting my leg on his hip... I have a big long history of not liking anything that involves hips or that could be interpreted as "suggestive." There are steps I've insisted he not teach me because of what my insecurities used to be.... What RT doesn't know is that I'm pretty much over all that silliness... with the dancers and students at this studio anyway... If he wants my leg on his hip...I'll put it there... he just has to SAY that... and not disguise the request with fancy words like... leg...and... crawl... HA!
To try and dissuade him from thinking I've lost my mind with laughter because I'm uncomfortable with the position I'm now standing in...(I'm pretty sure I put my leg down at some point...but I don't remember exactly when) I say into his shoulder "Two years man, it's been nearly two years and I have had no problems with your accent, and today the words leg and crawl turn into a big production!" I don't think he heard me... but I'm pretty sure he found at least part of my hysterics funny, at least I hope he did... after laughing settled I was worried about the possibility of just having put my makeup all over his shoulder....thankfully I didn't see any there.
Due to the fact that we...ahem...well... I... wasted so much time with my cracking myself up... I didn't bother to tell him just say 'put your leg on my hip'. I figured I'd just shut up and learn the end of the move...which involves me putting my leg back down after he's slightly moved and or rotated a little.... and then.... my mind is blank but somehow we end up doing the basic again I think... we did successfully get the rocking back and forth with the leg on hip thing accomplished a few times... next time I'll have to make sure and point my foot, because that's just prettier.
I have absolutely no idea what dance we ended on... we could have finished with more Salsa... I know we ended talking about being busy etc...and I know I have a lesson scheduled... but I'm still cracking up about cracking up... How has RT lasted dancing with me for so long? I fully expect the nice men with the straight jackets to be at the ready for my next lesson, another crack up like that and RT is likely to have me committed!