Friday, August 8, 2008

Jesse DeSoto Helps a Girl's Poor Rumba.. I'm BACK!!!

I’m back… oh I’m SO BACK!!! Yesterday I had my first lesson in FIVE WHOLE WEEKS (to the day actually). Before it started I had mentioned to RT that everything hurt so I didn’t know how it was going to go. Everything did ache…except my ankle…from my shoulders on down I was just one big ache. I arrived at the studio early because I wanted to have enough time to ice my ankle right before my lesson. So I did that. RT picked me up and we went to the music machine to pick a song, he decided we’d work on Rumba because I said I was hurting… I said no, I wanted to get my butt kicked… so we compromised and warmed up with a couple hustles.

The hustles were pretty good… I was following really well… RT even gave me a surprised look a couple of times. I think we were both expecting my following to be pretty terrible. I did have some balance issues with some of the free spins…I even followed a lead I’d never followed before. RT gave a quiet “wow”, I thought about it a second, and mid dance said…”Wait, I’m not supposed to know that one am I?”


“Oh, cool!”

My only disappointment was that I was out of breath a lot faster than I would have wanted to be. Into the second hustle…I was released for a free spin, lost my balance and just stopped. RT asked me if my ankle hurt, I said no, that I was just SO out of shape! It was at that point we stopped our “warm up” and moved on to Rumba. While taking up frame RT asked me if I was back on a healthy track yet. (We had a discussion at the last dance event that I wasn’t doing well with the scale)

“So are you back on track yet?”

“No, oh NO I’m so not back on track yet!”

"Oh, well that's ok you'll get back on track, you can do it...just one pound at a time."

I'm floored...there he is ... super supportive dance instructor RT, not only that but he's being sensible about the weight loss numbers!

"What happened to two, three, four pounds in a week? Now that I've totally gone off track I could probably get a high number like that to start again!"

"All you need is one pound at a time."

"Ok, well we'll see how it goes." I state, wondering where all this came from, I'm so used to being combative about everything... I'm always ready for a fight, or a smart remark... RT and I are usually pretty good at tossing arguments around- all in jest of course...but this was like preparing to get shoved off a ledge and getting a big hug instead... I suppose I could get used to this! We get back to dancing...

Here is where my 5 weeks off the floor showed. We reviewed all the basics…and really worked on my hips. We were working on Cuban Motion and my body was like Cuban what? We know nothing of this Cuban motion. I said something, I don’t even remember what, I think it was one of those things I always end up saying, RT said “Oh good the old Kat is back, I missed this.” I was surprised actually…but I didn’t let it show…I really didn’t expect to be missed. Sure I missed dancing, especially with RT, but I never even thought he’d miss dancing with me. I don’t know… he sounded awfully sarcastic to me!! (kidding! But see what I mean about my always waiting for a fight?)

So we worked on Rumba… particularly the combo where I put my hand on his chest (no, I didn’t pull on his tie… I was tempted though). A few times he even mentioned a good connection… great! Maybe I’m not as terrible as I thought I was going to be. After feeling like I improved we moved on.

There we were, middle of the crowded dance floor working on another combination that has open breaks and a swivel pivot kind of step at the end and RT is doing his technical thing telling me all about putting the inside edge of my foot towards the floor, and I became frustrated. Since my ankle has been hurt, for whatever reason my foot wants to turn in ALL the time it’s takes serious effort for me to turn it out and get the inside edge of my foot towards the floor right now. Instead of telling RT this… I shout “IT’S NOT THAT EASY!”… just as his boss, Jesse DeSoto, is walking the floor helping lessons out. Whoops! RT kind of tenses up, I look over his shoulder and I see Jesse… I look back at RT and say “Oh, right, sorry, I’ll behave now.” We go back to working out the step.

Not two minutes after my outburst, Jesse comes over and RT asks if Jesse can look at what we’re working on… I say no, it’s awful, I do not want to do this! Of course it falls on deaf ears, I knew it would…and to be honest I’m stupid for wanting to turn down help from Jesse. So we go through the step again and I completely screw up on one part… I’m so horribly embarrassed I let out a shriek! Which is actually unlike me… I’m loud…but I don’t generally scream. Not only that but both RT and Jesse are surprised by it! I immediately apologize to both professionals and we do the step again. Jesse then did that thing that all good coaches do… he noticed and corrected the slightest thing that just made a world of difference! Totally crazy! Instead of going all the way out on one side of, we’ll call it a cross open break, I should only go out on a smaller step, but REALLY use full Cuban motion so it still looks good. That made it so much better, before it felt like I was getting too far away…but of course I didn’t know any better, and I think RT was focusing on something else instead of fixing that part. Good stuff! I Thanked Jesse, and apologized again for being vocal… it’s not good practice to yell and shriek in the middle of a crowded ballroom. We worked on it some more, and I kept going back and forth from the way I had always done it to the improved way. I’ll get it by the next lesson I’m sure.

Last few minutes of the lesson RT puts a Salsa on… he knows how to make this girl happy! So we breeze through what would have been a simple Salsa, but I was having trouble keeping control of my timing during my spins. Whoops… something else for me to get back to. I think the upside of my constantly being cautious of my ankle is that it is forcing me to think about my spins. Where as I used to just try and let go, spin as fast as possible, and figure out the timing when I get back to my partner (as was happening with this Salsa). I actually am thinking about what is going on more. This ankle thing could end up helping me out!

After my lesson I grabbed my ice out of the studio freezer and placed myself on the bench to watch lessons while I did a post lesson icing. One of my favorite female pros sat down and joined me. We had some good conversation, she tried to talk me out of dancing right now because of my ankle, and into a competition, neither of which she was successful at. We also got to watch Jesse practice some with Jackie Josephs. There is just something cool about watching pros practice in the same space you take lessons. Somehow it makes it all very real, and very cool.

I walked out of the studio on top of the WORLD!!! I felt like everything was right again. Like I could do anything I set my mind to... Dancing is MAGIC!


Dave Cornutt said...

Good to hear that you're back on track, Kat! And he's right about the weight thing: one pound at a time. If you put too much pressure on it, the whole thing will break down. The only goal is for each week to be a little better than the week before. You'll get there eventually.

plano_dancer said...

It's so great to find your weblog, it looks great!

Miss Kitty said...

Thanks so much to the both of you! I'm so pleased you've come by for a read. I wish you both the happiest dancing!!!