Monday, February 21, 2011

The LAST lesson with Largo....

The Pics, The Good, The Bad, and the "What is she doing?!?"
Yep you read that right.... I had my LAST lesson with Largo on Thursday. He's moving on to become an independent instructor. Part of what's happened since the last time I posted regularly is that TNT is expecting her first baby, a very happy occasion! That however has put a damper on competitive dancing for her and Largo as you can imagine. With the future a bit up in the air for TNT's competitions, Largo has decided that he will move on to teach independently. This way he can travel to more competitions with future students and it allows him a bit more flexibility to find a new professional partner in the Latin style of dancing he so loves.

I'm actually very happy for him! Yes I will miss having him as my pro, but this is the best decision for him. Let's face it, a social dancer like me is extraordinarily lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from such an accomplished pro and excellent teacher.

So our last lesson was actually a blast! We started out having a bit of an audience, Horace was there to see me dance smooth. He apparently didn't believe me when I told him I'd been learning to like and appreciate smooth a whole lot more than I used to. So we did a little Tango...Horace watching, Largo not really understanding why we had an audience, and confused as to why I was shaking through the whole thing. (Tango makes me nervous, the last time I danced it was Mini Match two years ago!). We made it around two sides of the floor and decided to switch to Fox Trot, a much more comfortable dance for time around the floor and I look over to the foyer area, Horace has disappeared!

"Oh... He's gone..." I say as I bring Largo and I to a stop.
"Why did he want to watch?" asks a very inquisitive Largo.
"I'm not really sure, I don't think he believes that I could like smooth...what do you want to work on next?"

We actually ended up with more Fox Trot for a while, which I'm really beginning to enjoy. After a few pointers and a few more times around the floor we switch styles. My lessons are usually a series of rounds as I get back into it... it's all about getting comfortable on the floor again and finding my motivation to jump back in the fight of healthy living.

Next was Swing, this is currently my most difficult dance because of my ankle and my lack of stamina (I'm so out of shape I want to crawl under a rock, but then that wouldn't really help now would it...) But I hang on for as long as my ankle will allow it.
"If it hurts you tell me." Largo states.
"I'm fine... I'm not making faces!" I retort.
I can hide everything in my dancing when I'm in pain except my face... in recent weeks Largo has called me to the carpet about it several times. Our current deal is that I can dance as long as I promise to wear my special compression socks, jazz shoes (absolutely no heels), and don't make any faces where it looks like I'm in pain. So far I'm doing as the pro has ordered and it's working out really well.
Just about two beats after that I place my foot for the next step and my foot cracks, you know... like your foot sometimes does when you're working out, or at least mine sometimes does. I make the big mistake of saying "Ow oh...that's not right".
Forget my hair...his is way cooler and we're almost making the same face!
"No, I'm fine, really you didn't hear me say that- it was just my foot...I'm fine." He's gotta believe me!

I got the look... the look of I shouldn't believe you but I'm going to anyway... turns out I was right I WAS actually fine my foot just had to do that for some reason. So we moved on to Rumba. Rumba was a series of conversational steps really. It was more talking about his plans and if he thinks the new pro I'll be picking up is going to be good for me (more on that later). We then took a break because Largo wanted to open the card I got him.

A little about the card... as I was in the card isle looking at my many options for Largo's card, one predominant thought kept going over and over in my head... thank you. So that's what I selected, I got Largo a Thank you card for all the lessons, kindness and partnership and when I wrote in the card I also wished him the best of luck on his new adventure. Well when he read that it was I who started to cry as he placed the card down and we stood up to dance my eyes burning with tears...
"Aww man! You shouldn't have opened the card!" as I'm fighting the urge to just cry...
"Shush.. come on... Rumba" and Rumba we did.... it wasn't but a few steps into it when my urge to cry was gone and I was back in the lesson.

Forget the top half  but look at our pants! They're doing the same thing! LOL
There wasn't a whole lot of technique in this lesson, but then last lessons rarely have much of it. It was more about the dance. Elsewhere on the floor one of my dance friends was hamming it up with her pro... this dance friend is a real stand up comic on the dance floor and she's adorable about it too, it's always fun to share the floor with her. During one of the moments she was actually working on a step her pro asked Largo for assistance with teaching one of the ChaCha steps. Largo turns to me and asks "Do you know the wheel?" (at least I think that's what he called it)
"Ha! Like I know if I know at this point... go ahead an lead it." and I go to take up frame.
You'll never believe this... apparently the "Wheel" I remembered in the first seconds of leading is the ONE ChaCha step that's always eluded me, at least it does on the first try. Except this time... this time I got it.. every foot placement, direction change, and lock step I GOT IT!!!

Sadly.... Largo didn't remember my trouble with this step from last year, but I was pretty dang proud of myself and that's what counts.

It was about this time that I notice Largo and I have picked up some studio paparazzi trying to get some candid shots of my lesson for me. Well... I seem to have a very big issue trying to be candid when I KNOW someone is taking pictures... which I tried to laugh off with Largo, but he just moved us to be right in front of the photographer. So we worked a little on Cha Cha and I could hear the snap snap snap of the camera each time the shutter was pushed.... UGH... then it popped into my head to let it go and just dance with my pro. I think a couple of them came out kinda cute and I have them scattered throughout this post.

After Cha Cha we started on our Mambo/Salsa portion of the lesson... now Largo usually has me do Mambo because there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to dance it. I usually stop counting and rely on the lead to make sure I figure out how to move on the 2 beat. After a few measures I engage my brain into the dance...

"Hey! Wait a minute!! We're doing Salsa!"
"Yes, Salsa." Largo responds with a what did you think it was? tone to his voice.
"Alright then!" I exclaim and begin to actually pay attention which does in fact make the dance better. We did some under arm back to back loopy thing that I really enjoyed. I think I'll probably always love Salsa. I was really touched that Largo chose to dance on the 1 with me. It's little things like that.... just make a lesson special.

Last 5 or so minutes, our paparazzi has either left or found another target, and Largo asks me what I want to work on, you'll never believe what came out of my mouth.
"Ummm... what about a little Waltz? I mean my rise and fall is nowhere near what it should be yet, but I think we made progress last time."

What the hell? Even I'm shocked and I'm the one that said it! What is going on?!? I would have NEVER EVER not if you paid me, suggested Waltz before my ankle injury. Largo wasn't nearly as phased, he agreed to work on it with me.

Largo and I... Boy I'm gonna miss you string bean! Thank you for it all!
So we did a little Waltz, wasn't quite as good as the last time we'd done it, but I did learn a new to me step and Largo said I did very well at it... and I asked him if he was shitting me.... (lying to me).... Ok so now, not only do I do Waltz pretty willingly but I get genuine compliments from the pro on it. Rock on!

We ended on a high note... new step learned and more confidence in American Smooth gained... we hugged and then I sat next to Largo on the bench to chit chat for a minute. It was nice. I'm gonna miss that kid... but the plus is that he's staying in the area so he'll be around for competitions when he gets a new partner lined up and if you've ever seen Largo dance you know it's a real treat. He's a force of nature in this Ballroom world, and I was lucky enough to call him my pro.

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