Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lessons before the Holiday...

Well it feels like forever since my last set of lessons! This was the second week of December. I had two lessons scheduled because I would be out for work the following week (which I will explain later).

First lesson up that week was with Largo... We worked on Cha Cha, Rumba, and a lot of Salsa. It was perfect.

I was accused of spinning on my heels... when I was trying to get a spin done on time in Cha Cha.
I did the spin and Largo watched...
"Ah ha! I know why... you spin on your heel."
I immediately retort "I do NOT spin on my heels! I have never spun on my heels ever!"

"You do.. I just SAW IT!"

"I don't care what you think you saw... I do not spin on my heels!"

(What I like about arguing with Largo is he gets in my face as much as I get into his....makes for some fun)

So after I am so passionately denying the spinning on my heels... Largo backs down and more calmly states.. "Ok...well maybe your whole foot."

"Ok..that's better, I will admit to spinning on my whole foot." We're both back to normal calm tones now.

Then Largo says "Don't... Spin on [the] front part of your foot...not whole."

Which immediately brings to my mind all the many many hours I've spent trying not to pop up on my toes to spin... and now I'm being told to spin on the ball of my foot... UGH! Rather than start a whole other argument of which I'm sure I'll lose.. I just make a mental note to try and spin on the balls of my feet without actually popping up. I tried it... and what do you know? Largo was right it is easier to finish that spin on time when I keep my weight more forward. Grrr... I hate it when my teachers are right... well more accurately I hate it when I'm so blatantly wrong.

Later in the lesson when we were working on Salsa, Largo leads me into swivels... I still hate swivels... my mid-section still feels too much like a bowl full of jelly during swivels... I tell Largo that I don't like them.
He stops me and just gives me that "you've got to be kidding" look and says "You hate everything."

I respond... "No not everything... I only really hate the spinnie Cha Cha move and Swivels in any dance...the rest of it I can live with...hey I do them anyway don't I? Sure it comes with a dirty look and some comments...but I still do them!"

Fast forward to my next Salsa with him and it's almost ALL swivels! I'm still following... and I've shut up...but I'm certainly not smiling...and Largo is getting way to big a kick out of my dirty looks...and then we dance right past RT who is practicing something with another pro. He watches...I see him smiling (he above all knows how much I can't stand swivels) I shout over my shoulder right before a fast spin... "I'm being tortured with swivels today!!" I spin and we've stopped because RT wants to give Largo a high five.

Then Largo comes right back to me and I state so both instructors can hear. "Oh good, my instructors are conspiring against me!!"

To which Largo gets a concerned look on his face and says "No! It's not true!"

I certainly didn't expect that I put my hands on Largo's shoulders... "Look, at some point you're going to have to remember that only half of what I say is supposed to be real." For which his response is a smile... and more Salsa.

It was a good lesson... we had fun, poked some fun at each other... and I'm learning how to speed up my dancing, from my instructor that can move his feet faster than the human eye can see. I figure that's a good source.

Second Lesson... RT and his Sombrero

So my last lesson that week with RT was interesting... the staff had been doing themed days all week... on this particular day I see RT with a Sombrero, two pairs of shorts, mismatched socks in patent leather smooth shoes, two or three shirts of varying styles and a tie that didn't match anything else on his body. Hmmm... ok.. so I ask... "What's today's theme?"

"Mismatch" RT tells me...

I give him the once over...just to be sure I've seen it all... "Good job." I tell him.

We started my lesson with a very fast Rumba to a very Mexican Restaurant style song... it's only appropriate with him in the Sombrero and all... I'm looking at him, trying desperately not to totally laugh.

"Ok seriously the hat has to go." I tell him.

"No, I've had it on all day... for all of my lessons." He says.

Alright no losing the hat... this is going to be very distracting.... Largo is also on the floor for one of his lessons...he decides he doesn't like the song that's on, and starts laughing that RT and I are attempting to Rumba to it. Largo puts on a very techno sounding Hustle, I shout a "Thank you." over my shoulder when the music changes and RT and I start a very quick Hustle. Let me tell you... trying to accomplish any of the steps that have my arm anywhere near his head was proving to be difficult, but he had that Sombrero tied on so tight it wasn't going anywhere!

After the Hustle we moved into an actual Rumba... well a slow one anyway... which then suddenly became one of my first lessons in Bolero in a LONG time. Surprisingly, while I know my Bolero looks like trash, I am having a pretty easy time following. I've learned Bolero two different ways... one involves pushing the unweighted foot forwards or backwards rather than actually stepping, the second is actually stepping forwards or back. (Bolero is the same pattern as International Rumba, but I believe it's done slower.) RT likes Bolero a lot... which is why he every so often likes to teach me some of it. This time he was leading the stepping version because he knows I have an easier time with it.

My main issue with Bolero is that it's very hard on the knees... and I still pop up too fast after these grand sweeping steps we're taking. Which I was able to correct a little.... two things I don't like about dancing... staying low on my knees and taking my feet out from under me...both of which basically define Bolero. But we worked on it... and I think my arm styling was pretty reasonable...considering I don't tend to do a lot of that anyway... I admit that it felt like my most graceful Bolero ever. After Bolero ended and RT was reasonably pleased with my progress we moved on to Salsa...

We moved on to Salsa because of the Sombrero... RT was very keen on keeping the theme... which I thought was hysterical. So we did some Salsa, which I'm always more than happy to do... we worked on the "Miami Special"... again. This is one of the steps from the new FADS Salsa syllabus, we've worked on it a lot...and I have practiced it on my own..but there is something about doing it with a partner..when our arms are connected and I'm trying to keep in time with the music..that nearly always screws me up. I can do it just fine slow...but as soon as we speed it up I get all kinds of sloppy. Per usual after working on it again... I did improve some... but we'll see if I can maintain it.

Then it became Cha Cha time... RT has now decided that I should learn the "Social Bronze" portion of the syllabus that was implemented long after I passed that stage. They are short relatively easy to remember, but hard to just plain follow steps. In my opinion anyway... we covered three of four of them and I asked him why we were covering this.

"Because when we get your routine you will need to know these elements." He states.

Oh! right... I almost forgot! Well I didn't forget, but I haven't even thought about the routine I am getting... mainly because I haven't decided on a choreographer yet. It's nice to know that RT hasn't forgotten though. It will be a Cha Cha, which is why I'm learning Cha Cha Social Bronze. RT then suggested a Choreographer, that I totally shot down because I was not impressed with the group class he taught last time he was in. Sorry...this is my one and only routine... it has to be as perfect as it can be...and I didn't have much faith in the Choreographer that was suggested.

I'll have to work on that Social Bronze stuff some more.... I can see how it would look pretty cool... but whatever I was learning is just not followable... which is ok for a Choreographed piece... just not for regular dancing. I'll get back to the drawing board on that for my next lesson.

All in all it was one of my better RT lessons... learning and fun... just the way I like it. (Plus Largo was trying to peek and make faces at me around RT's sombrero which was too funny for words.)

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