After a month of quality sister time, fresh new tan lines, moving house, car crash, life without a car, and serious dancing withdrawals… I believe I am finally back on track to continue climbing the ladder of the Ballroom Kingdom.
Now if people could kindly stop distracting me with invitations to social time, obstacles and guilt-trips, awkward confrontations about attraction, closing down shop during public holidays and just allow me to focus on improving my dance skills, everything would be just swell! I know this sounds like a first world problem to whinge about, but I am seriously not flirting with you, I am just enjoying the dance… and at the other hand we have the constant mantra of “ignore the attraction, focus on the dancing”. You can’t win, can you?
Quick progress update on lessons with dance partner in crime – so far we are tackling the ballroom side of things. Truthfully, both of us have a bigger fondness for Latin, but I for instance, have always just cruised through the ballroom dances without paying much attention to the correct footwork so even though it feels like we are churning through a lot of basics and feel unchallenged by the routines… My mind is still a mess trying to nail my rise and fall in Quickstep, drive on every “1” in Waltz (not just when taking a step forward), stepping through your heel, stepping on your ball then on the heel in the same count etc and now figuring out the character of the Foxtrot walk and heel turns. Eek!
The heel turn is very misleading in name, because boy, did I struggle during the lesson! Trying to put my weight on the heels to turn, experimenting whether it was just one heel to have the weight on, trusting my partner with weight balance, understanding that I already need to be in the right foot position by the time the first count ends and not at the beginning of the second… Only to finally grasp the concept when it dawned on me that I’m in fact not turning on the heels, I am being turned. Mind blown. I can tell already that Foxtrot is going to be one of the dances I will hate the most because I struggle with it the most.
Similarly, I have a love/hate relationship with the Samba in the Latin dances. I feel Samba is my weakest dance, but as a result, I practice it the most. I’m still refusing to buy into the lies my teacher tells me, that I “look better than I feel”, because I feel super awkward trying to master the samba bounce. Bambi on ice. That’s all I have to say. It’s especially infuriating during socials, when I’m desperately trying to follow, but some dancers just don’t know how to lead in Samba. I know it’s not always my fault, but I am kicking myself for when I fail to follow correctly when someone actually leads me right. At the same time Top Dog is driving me crazy telling me off about pelvic action, when all I try to do is practice my hip motion…
It’s a double edged sword because in group class the focus is on grasping the basics completely, an abundance of steps and syllabus being thrown left, right and centre, but without the technique. Whereas in private lessons I’m being encouraged to push myself with steps and figures above my level, with focus on harder concepts like, cuban motion, syncopation and hip rotation on back steps. I guess I just have to remember what teacher favors what and not mix them up.
As a side note, I recently found out that the teacher I have private lessons with refers to himself as Old Dog. So many Dog names. In my head something that refers to his hips would be more accurate, understandably so. Them Hips Don’t Lie. On my request we started working on longer routines/choreo so that I eventually get so familiar with them to the point that I can attempt channeling some more emotion, charisma and styling. Most likely, I’m asking for way more that I can chew. We’ve done Samba and Cha-Cha so far and come Easter Monday we are tackling new Rumba.