Well last Thursday was my first practice for my routine. I had walked in the studio coming off, not one of the easiest days, and I knew this time for learning wasn't going to be full of dancing...more stepping it out. I had watched the routine a good 10 or 15 times... but I couldn't really retain it, I need to go through it to retain it. RT picks me up for my lesson, I have my DVD in hand and we walk over to the studio TV for review.
"Did you watch this?" RT asks...
"Yeah but I can't remember any of it... I have to walk through it first or it's not going to stick." I respond, I already must have sounded anxious about it.
"It's ok.. you'll get it." He tells me.
Then it dawns on me, and I basically start pleading..."Yeah ok but can we dance for like 5 minutes before we do this? If we don't actually dance for a few minutes before we do this I'm going to absolutely spazz out."
"You want to dance for a few minutes? Ok, not Hustle (that was the song playing) um... how about a Salsa?" He says as he walks to the music machine (very close to the TV) to put on a Salsa.
"I'd never turn you down for one of those!" I smile back and off we went in my ballroom shoes that I was still getting used to.
It wasn't a bad Salsa, it was far from my best...because of the shoes! At this point they were still a little achy and I hadn't put my heel grippers in them yet so the fit wasn't perfect, but I was trying to keep up. Then RT starts asking me about the shoes..
"How are they?"
"I hate them."
(basic, then another spin)
I add "It's a crime to make people dance in shoes like this I'm telling you." Kind of forgetting that the guys that dance Rhythm and Latin in Ballroom often wear 2 inch heels themselves. I still think it's a crime.
(basic, under-arm turn)
"Stay grounded... you're up, stop popping up." RT tells me... of course popping up is a problem I've always had... currently made worse by... you guessed it... my new shoes!
"I'm 'up' because my feet want out of these shoes! Staying grounded would mean I have them figured out, and I don't yet." I retort... and then lead into a spin that I completely bobbled on.
We also worked on the "Miami Special" which I said was pretty bad... RT said was ok... I think he's lowering his standards for me on that one.
Salsa over and I was happy to have danced for a minute or two...actually given that it was an actual Salsa song we probably danced for 4-6 minutes...either way I felt de-stressed... so we moved on to look at my choreography.
Before we get into how I'm doing on this.... I would like to say that one of my BIGGEST fears about this was having RT forget my routine, or constantly have to review the DVD mid lesson, or *gasp!* forget it mid performance when we get to that point. I fear this because of ALL the routines all the pros have to remember... each instructor has multiple students that have multiple routines RT is no exception to that. He must have a TON of routines running through his head at any given time and here I was asking him to remember yet another one.
Well as soon as I saw my Choreography DVD which normally contains the Choreographer and a female pro to be the student follow part.... My DVD actually has RT and TNT doing my routine with the Choreographer off screen saying the counts! When I saw that I was impressed! I don't have to be so afraid of RT forgetting it because he's already been through it! Now I just have to be afraid of not being able to bring up my performance to it's proper level... but I'll freak out about that in due time.
So we take a look at the first few measures of the DVD and before I'm even really analyzing what we're looking at he's stopped it and we start working. First few measures, not so bad...although I'm starting with my left foot back... I haven't started counting yet either... but I'm sure that will happen as I practice at home. Next few measures I'm thinking this isn't going to be so bad... Until I end up getting stuck on one part. Those that have worked with me know... if I don't catch on to something to my own satisfaction pretty much right away... I become frustrated.
"UGH!" I yell, followed by one of my classic foot stamps that lets out my frustration.
"Don't worry, you'll get it." RT calmly states.
"Not fast enough!" I retort through gritted teeth.
We must have gone through that mini conversation about 6 or 7 times throughout the lesson. We got to the little bit of actual open work.... and I can do it... of course I'm staring at his feet the whole time, which is a habit I'm going to have to break NOW. We reviewed the leg on his hip bit...which is a bit rough around the edges...and I think for that part I'm going to have to count to get it right. Also the attitude behind that whole sequence is going to depend on the song I decide we're going to dance this Cha to.
I REALLY REALLY wanted to make it through the whole thing once... even just blocking it... just so I had some level of physical memory when I go to watch the DVD. In the end I think we made it just about half way. Also in speaking to some other students I guess it's not usual to go through the whole thing in the first practice. Which I didn't know... but I still wanted to make it to the end.
So now I study... and I review... and I try to start counting... and I try not to spend every dime I have on practice lessons because this routine is not going to be my swan song.
Wish me luck!