Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Two Practices Down... Major Worries Down from 4 to 3!

I still can't believe I'm doing this! ME! I'm preparing for a competition style event! ACK! In an effort to do everyone proud in EVERY dance I had 4 very MAJOR concerns... ok first let me tell you the line-up there are 10 dances chosen, have to do each once... five with each instructor and they are as follows.

Cha Cha
East Coast Swing
Push Pull (Hustle)

So care to guess where my concerns lie? :-) Waltz, Tango and Foxtrot of course, and believe it or not MAMBO. First... we all know I don't work on the first three at ALL... I can sorta maybe follow a basic Waltz, I know next to nothing about Tango, and I can follow a Foxtrot. However, I have no smooth technique I haven't done more than the odd smooth dance at a party in well over a year!

So first lesson up with RT he starts right off the bat...

"We're going to work on Smooth today ok??" He looks at me for assurance.

"Yeah we better." I respond.

So after our customary warm up with Salsa, we start in on my all time unfavorite dance...Waltz. We work and work and Waltz still feels just as off to me as it ever has. We're really working on my footwork when RT says very matter of factly...

"I don't care what anyone tells you, every judge looks at your feet, it doesn't matter what you do with the rest of your body your footwork has to be good."

My quick response is "Well then I am well and truly screwed!!!"

Which RT seems to find amusing. I don't know why, whether it's something in the way I said that or if I'm right in knowing my footwork is NOT the best part of my dancing by a long shot! So we continue to work on keeping my feet together and what I call "nesting" my foot that is behind into the curve of my leading foot... ugh! At one point RT is showing me how to do this correctly for a "back to back" kind of step...something very basic in Waltz... and I watch and I can't help it... I get really sad... Waltz makes me very sad, and it was written all over my face. We worked more on it, I was pleased that I was remembering heel leads. Still though Waltz is the embodiment of EVERY SINGLE THING THAT I'M NOT. I don't float, I'm not graceful, and the exact science behind rise and fall escapes me. I did show some improvement though and it started to feel a little less strange. So we moved on to my strongest smooth dance Foxtrot.

Well it WAS my strongest smooth dance... until we realized once again that I can't walk backwards in a straight line... so to help with this we circled the floor several times out of frame with RT's left and clamped on my right shoulder so I go straight and not veer out of my side... in Foxtrot the follow stays to the left side of center just slightly. I know this.. I can't tell you how many times I've had a chant in my head of "stay left, stay left, stay left!" While in the middle of a Foxtrot. It was a very frustrating lesson, and we didn't even TOUCH on Tango! I only have a few lessons between now and this Mini Match... so practice it is! I can practice technique, but the partnership part of it....oh thank goodness I can follow! I also discussed with RT about who I'd be doing what dance with... I told him, because I can follow him so much better, simply because I've worked with him for so long... I'd like to dance all the smooth with him...he agreed. WHEW!

This week I had a lesson with Largo... where I wanted to tackle my next big hurdle Mambo. I have never been able to hear the music so that I can skip the first beat and move on the second (called On1 vs On2). Every time I've tried it's ended in disaster! So I told Largo all of this... he chuckled.

"Listen, I need you to show me Mambo ok? I want to dance Mambo with you during Mini Match."

"Why?" Largo seems confused.

"Because I dance Salsa with RT all the time... and Mambo in my head is so similar that I want to keep it totally separate and I've never danced a successful Mambo." Which Largo finds very amusing.

So we started with how the Mambo movements are a little different. That was really helpful actually. Then Largo put some music on and counted for me.. and I was pretty able to stay on the proper beat. Oh thank goodness! I think a lot of it has to do with my following... a year or two ago when RT and I would try... it was nothing but disaster! I'd constantly flip back to On1 which is just not right!

Then I realized something, my brain does a funny thing when I'm dancing Mambo. First I trust my lead to get us started, and I completely ignore (or try) the first beat in every measure... then after a measure or two of us dancing I use the steps I'm being lead in to find where in the music we're dancing. This works until I'm sent into a spin or something on my own, and then I'm automatically back On1. So that is going to take some work, but it was COMPLETELY more successful than my adventure in smooth. Largo even told me if I can follow we should be ok. WHEW!!!

So I feel a TON better about Mambo! I don't think I can dance it with a non professional yet... because I really rely on that lead...but perhaps I'll become proficient at dancing both Salsa and Mambo... never thought I'd say that!

Now it's all about the smooth... gotta work on Waltz Foxtrot and Tango... well I have to learn more than one tango step outside basic and I'll feel better about it... I think Tango footwork for me is easier than Waltz and Foxtrot... but I'm still majorly concerned about all three. Still... what was 4 dances of major concern is now 3...and I hope that we can whittle those down as we get closer to Mini Match. Away we go!

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