This lesson happened back on Monday, I have had it partially finished since then, but had a couple of major issues pop up this week and so...it's a little late..but here you go! This week's lesson:
I was running a little behind but I still got to the studio in enough time to change my shoes and see a few people. They were all talking about the International Ballroom class Rocky teaches, I guess there was some very interesting technique stuff regarding Tango. I must make it a point to attend this class I think.
I was chatting with some friends when I hear from behind me... "Kat..." I turn and it's Rocky standing there waiting for me.
"Oh! Is it time?" I ask, he nods, I immediately turn to my dance friends "Excuse me I have to go, talk to you later!" and take Rocky by the hand.
"Today, is a Salsa warm up." He states with a small grin.
"Really!? On1 and everything??" I excitedly ask back.
He thinks about it and nods, picked a song and off we went.
Interesting thing about this Salsa... we tried for Mambo a few times too! Personally I think we did pretty well, in fact I can almost feel it in my body when I think of Mambo that I can move On2. I am very excited by this! I'll have to practice some... I know I have some Mambo/Salsa's on my MP3 player. Oooo.. wouldn't it be cool if I could decide which one I wanted to do to any Mambo Salsa song??? That would be a totally awesome trick!
A few short minutes later we were warmed up and Rocky headed over for my dreaded book.
Now I do love my book, it has a lot of HISTORY in it... it's got my day one lesson, notes from past teachers, scores from past tests... I just don't see what it has to do with present day anymore... Rocky notes my distaste for my book and reminds me "It's not for you, it's for me."
Oh right! I forget that while he's been dancing forever he hasn't been dancing the Fred Astaire Syllabus forever... so I will no longer complain when he pulls out my book.
First dance we worked on officially was Cha Cha. Oh boy I can't wait until I can do what I did with that dance again! I'm getting closer I can feel it. We worked on the older steps, the Manhattan Roll -out (a personal fave), the Cupid breaks (other studio's call this one the "Turkish Towel") we'd stop for a second, Rocky would refer to the book... ask me if I knew a step and since I pretty rarely keep the names and numbers straight I'd tell him to lead it.
One step that he started to lead is from a part of the Syllabus that was Implemented long after I started, it involves knee lifts. I never officially learned it, but the one time it was taught to me I protested that it is not a followable step. From the position of the two partners there is no way for the lead to cue a knee lift. Which in a closed dancing lead/follow situation is ridiculous to me. Both of my prior teachers were more interested in the main Bronze portion of the syllabus to really get me involved in these steps, so if they're followable I can probably keep up, but it's not fair to me to pull a step that I can't follow and makes me look like the fool part of the partnership because I don't have the "routine" memorized. I stated as much to Rocky and I'm pretty sure I hit a sore spot. Meh... we moved on to a more followable version of grapevine which is leadable, thank you. Although Rocky sped it up and it wasn't long at all before it was too quick for me.
"You get warm quick huh?" Rocky asked.
I'm not entirely sure how he meant it but I never take comments like that well... I responded with "Yeah I do...it will get better."
When what I wanted to say was "Yeah I do, you would too if you were trying to come back to dancing wearing about 60 extra pounds since you stopped, and still nursing an ankle injury!!!" Glad I kept all that in check though... It's best not to alienate the pro as much as possible.
After that we worked a bit on where Rocky wanted to see passing feet in Cha Cha vs Lock Steps. I do Lock Steps out of habit, and I suppose part of the steps should be passing.. I have trouble executing a Passing step where I actually think it's decent.. it feels way too much like scooting Then Rocky brought up the nemisis again "Well since you don't compete, I guess it's not important, I like the look of lock steps better anyway."
I could have decked him.
"Look I know I don't compete, but I do have to test and, [the judge that tests us] likes me and all but he's going to mark me down if I'm not doing the right thing!"
"Not on that step!" Rocky retorts, it was past the portion of the syllabus I had been tested on already.
"Not the point. I want to learn it if it's the right way." I had calmed down a little bit.
I really hate that though.. like I'm just there to flit around and say I ballroom dance... at least that's how "Well you don't compete so it doesn't matter." sounds to me. I actually want to be able to dance, if I can't afford to compete I want to look like I do actually compete when people see me dance. I want people to watch my all non dancer looking self me and say you know what... she pretty much burns the floor... and I can't do that if my pro keeps telling me "Well you don't compete so it doesn't matter." IT MATTERS! I wouldn't stay as a non competitive student at one of the most highly skilled and accomplished studios in the area if it didn't matter! I know I have to do the work outside the studio to get it, that I don't take enough lessons to be where I want, it's the lessons that inspire me to be a better dancer and if I'm being told "it doesn't matter because I don't compete" That doesn't make me better.. it makes me pissed.
After Cha Cha was a nice easy going East Coast Swing where we worked on the Chicken Walk move..which at first felt like a switch over to West Coast... I haven't danced West Coast since RT left so that kind of freaked me out. I also can't remember the last time I did the run run run, turn, lockstep, swivel, wiggle walk back to partner step either... AND it seems like that whole section after the follow turns away from the lead had changed too... We tried it a couple of times. It felt ok...but.
"Ok my feet are a mess when you're not looking.. no I don't mean to say if you're not looking I cheat, what I'm saying is in that small space of time my feet are definitely not doing all that they're supposed to." I try to explain.
"Oh, ok..." Rocky chuckles "I will look this time."
He did and then he pointed out what I wasn't doing..which was just about everything.. so that's a personal project.. gotta bring the foot speed back up and learn how to do spiral, locksteps, pivot, in the span of like 4 beats.
There was a bit of a debate on that one too... because I swear the last time it was shown to me it didn't have all that... I suggested I learned it wrong.... I was informed instead that they change or modify steps all the time. (Way to make it sound like my former pro didn't let the details of that step slide). :-)
I really just kind of became combative after the one statement I'll just say I don't like. I do still push myself though... I've always done that. I always want to do a step one more time or ask about a lead something like that... I would hope that it shows my desire to understand the skill and mechanics behind the step which will in turn help me learn it..but who the heck knows.
We finished the lesson with a healthy dose of Rumba... one of these days I'm going to have to bring my hips back into the equation... I'm not walking out of the dance studio sore enough.
I also realized this lesson was all Rhythm... which means I'm going to have to ask for smooth next time around. It was actually a good lesson... I did feel good about the dancing part of it anyway.
I have the rest of the week to stew and practice and process... It's been a really rough week, which I'll tell you about tomorrow.. but I'm still fighting! I'm NOT going back into the cave!!!
Oh! Thank you for your comments too! A couple of you have commented this week on some new and old posts. I appreciate it, I do love to know what you're thinking and welcome the feedback!
I am curious.... without actually identifying your pro, what is the most aggravating thing he/she has ever said to you during a lesson?