Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cha Cha Technique Lesson...Largo Steps It Up.

Hi gang! Well, I had a lesson with Largo this week... and it has been decided somewhere that because RT and I will be working on my routine, Largo will start working with me on technique. I've been waiting for this.... Up to this point Largo has been introducing me to new steps and helping me a bit with timing, but pretty much leaving the Technique up to RT. I had a preview of it in my last lesson with the Cuban walks he had me do... Well tonight he decided to work on my Cha Cha locks.

We warmed up with a musicless Hustle... after a while it was kinda boring.

"Dude, we need tunes." I tell him.

"Tunes? Music? Ok." and we walk over to put on a Hustle

We finished my warm up and I said "Ok boss what are we working on today?"

"Tango." He says seriously.

"Really?" I said, as I furrowed my brow... I was almost excited about it only because I NEVER work on Tango and of all the smooth dances I'd like to be better at that one.. but Largo and I have NEVER done a tango ever in life, so I knew he was kidding.

"Yes, Tango." He starts to smile.

"Seriously? Well I mean if you want to...but you and I have never Tangoed... are you sure?"

"No, no Tango..." he says as he drops his arm around my shoulders and chuckles, "Cha Cha Lock Steps." he says.

"Ok..." I's a better choice anyway given my routine and all.

"Ok, Cha Cha locks show me." and he took a couple of steps away from me.

Oh no! Dancing on my own again! I'm gonna have to grow up and learn to do this stuff on my own outside of my own apartment I guess. But see...when I'm asked to do something on my own...without the benefit of being connected to a dance partner, even if they're just holding my hand so I can feed off of their mind goes blank. I couldn't remember what a Cha Cha lock was!

I just kind of stood there for a minute... "Ok, you want me to do locks..."

"Yes, you know lock steps." Largo replies and does an example for me.

"Oh right... ok..." I think I'm remembering.

So I try it... and two steps into it Largo stops me.

"No! Sharper! Like this!" and he does the lock steps again putting accent on what I call the lock part when the dancer is on their toes and the ankles are together.

"Ok...give me a minute I've gotta figure this out." I reply and try again.

"No! Do it again!" Largo snaps!

Where did drill Sargent Largo come from? I've seen him do this with other students but it's my first time dealing with it... and conversely his first time dealing with me for technique. :-)

"Fine!" I retort. Giving myself one more time to improve, and him one more time to snap at me before serious sarcasm strikes. I go back to the start of the floor and begin working my way across in lock steps. About half way through I was making them sharper and not falling over...

"Yes better! Now backwards." Largo says.

"You're kidding... I don't even have forward down yet!" I snap.

"Backwards." Largo states and I start, and after each time my ankles are together I hear "PUSH!" from Largo... meaning I'm supposed to push back on my front foot instead of just plainly taking a step back. Well I do it... but... it seems I'm doing a small Rounde to get my one foot behind the other.

"NO! Not this... (he mimics me) this... close together (he does it correctly) yours is like Samba."

"Oh cool that Samba step... cool.. I want to learn that one... it looks awesome!" I tell him.

"Not today... today is locks."

Why do I now feel like I have to salute Largo?

"*Sigh* Fine, today is locks, ok so I have to pass instead of go around." I try it again.

After the first couple I feel myself pushing a lot more from the front foot... this has got to be better, I'm also much closer to passing my feet instead of sweeping around.

"Stop going up... here," Largo says as he plants his hand firmly on my shoulder "take it up in here," he says as he crunches his stomach muscles.

"Ok... so absorb any height change in my core so I don't pop up... yeah that's almost going to work."

"Just do it."

I let out an overly sarcastic "Fantastic."

To which I get a very chipper "Absolutely!" into my ear from Largo. ("Absolutely" is his favorite word of late).

Which sent me from being irritated, into hysterically laughing.

So there I was going backwards and forwards with my cha cha locks with Largo's hand pushing me down so I didn't pop up. I was showing improvement, but I was growing frustrated at the drilling too... I don't like a full lesson of drilling. The dance studio is my happy place, and I don't like to leave my happy place frustrated after drills... that's how I get to the point of thinking I need to stop dancing. After we went up and down the floor again I stopped....

"I don't know if you've heard... but I don't do all technique lessons... we're going to have to put this into the dance or something and actually dance." I tell him.

"Ok we will, but one more time first." he says... and I feel that Drill Sargent Largo has left the building....and I get my regular Largo back. Whew!

So one more time, and I feel that it's better, my hips were working, probably not exactly right, but better than before. I was actually quite pleased with my progression.

Then we moved on to doing actual Cha Cha... and it took me a second, it always does, to apply it into the actual dance... but the locks did feel better. YAY!

Then on to Rumba, just a review of the steps and a few pointers about which direction to face on some pivots. During my Cuban walks Largo pulled down on my ponytail so that I couldn't look down if I wanted to... that was interesting... good thing it doesn't hurt when my hair gets yanked. :-)

Then we finished up with some "dance to the beat in Largo's head" East Coast Swing. We had to do that because everyone else on the floor was doing everything but a rhythm dance, so I just followed Largo to whatever pace he was setting. That ended up being good, but I wasn't following very well. I was a tad distracted because my right ankle started rolling my shoes... it's not strong enough for me to be dancing in heels yet, but it's getting better. None of which I told Largo... and he had me review a couple of steps to make sure I was balancing right... I just tried to hold my feet so that I wouldn't twist my ankle... I've been given strict instructions by RT, now that I have my new shoes, that it's ok if I fall... as long as I don't break anything like an arm or a leg or something.

We ended the lesson playing up one of our running jokes, which I get a kick out of, Largo absolutely cracks me up!

Heads up gang... I'm out of town on business again... I'll try and keep up with the blog and e-mails... but if you don't hear from me you know why.
Happy Dancing!

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