Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by fascination, Dec 20, 2007.
It always seems to happen that way... Just like little injuries that show up before a comp.
My lessons are going fairly well. I am cautiously optimistic that I won't embarrass myself dancing open at Nashville Starz in January. I would *so* not be ready if I had intended to do Ohio this year.
On the plus side, I did get a comment that my pivots were feeling really strong. So much so that it got a "what are you thinking about that's making so much of a difference?" Of course, I also got a wryly amused comment from her about how odd it was from her pov that things like those pivots were going so much better than things like my dips and turns. Which I think are more slightly alarming and slightly hilarious respectively. While my smooth is really going pretty well overall, I admit there are times I wonder where I'd be with my dancing had I stuck with focusing on my standard.
My pro talked about getting some coaching sessions in specifically to work on my tricks. And one of the instructors in Huntsville was a professional ballet dancer back in the day. While she's not someone who'd be a good fit for me as a regular instructor, I'm seriously considering taking a block of lessons with her specifically and solely to work on my turns.
Or an adult ballet class. Good idea Jude. I took privates from a ballerina friend to work on turns
I'm actually intending to look back into the available adult ballet classes as well. I had talked about doing that a year or two ago, but it never quite wound up happening. It's far too late for them to turn me into an actual ballet dancer, but I don't doubt that some foundational work would do me good. Plus I've never forgotten the time Jonathan Roberts told me I needed to find an adult ballet class to troll for a potential am partner.
(But seriously, I wouldn't take a class if I weren't there for the dancing.)
FYI, turns in ballet are different than turns in ballroom - ballroom dancers separate the ribcage and hips a lot more for the turn than ballet dancers and create more of a ricochet / snap to create a visual speed in the turn. Not saying ballet won't help (you'll get very comfortable with spotting) but don't try to transfer pirouettes or piques directly to your Smooth. But I'd actually say the port de bras you'll learn in ballet is more directly beneficial to Smooth (especially if a good teacher helps you to translate it into your dancing).
Source: coach's partner danced with the Joffrey before picking up Latin.
No worries: my pro went to college for ballet back before she discovered ballroom. I'm perfectly confident that she'll keep me from going to far down an incorrect road. But at the same time, more context could give her more to work with. For example, there's a turn in my waltz that she's noted a couple of times that she'd really *like* to turn into an attitude turn. But that's simply not happening for me right now.
For you? Sounds fun! As a dude who has good enough leg extensions to use in open choreo, I'll add that it's nice to have in the bag of tricks you hand a choreographer (currently I only use it in Cha Cha, but it's fun to have in general).
still only about 90% as this cold works its way out of my system, but a good double lesson on rhythm last night. hilariously, pro was happy with my out-of-shape and not fully healthy body, as i was not overly powerful, and my body was not trying to do things the hard way. He referred to it as me in "safe mode", a silly IT joke that made me laugh for almost a minute straight. not too intense, as there were many amusing side conversations, but good progress on little details. rounds tonight. Goal is to keep body in safe mode, and just add a little sharpness with wrists and hands. I would like to be totally healthy again. two straight weeks of illness is no fun...
Worked a bit on batucatas last lesson...they're easy enough to fake but soooo hard to do properly.
most of Samba seems to be like that...
Lessons lately have been work, and not a lot of fun. Some "bad" fundamentals are stopping me from making much progress until I get them fixed- slow leg actions and dropping or losing my frame when I get stressed about a move. My Instructor is frustrated because we've gone over these literally hundreds of times at this point, but the problems underlying it are going to take a while to correct -- I need to build up strength in my feet, ankles and core, and improve flexibility. Nothing is going to happen overnight. In addition to ballroom lessons, I've been squeezing in ballet and jazz classes and hitting the gym. So, back to work on all of that.
Sometimes when I get into a mode like that where nothing is coming together, I have to focus on one thing for a while to the exclusion of everything else. I may pick out one thing, say not rising too early on 2 in waltz, and I'm going to drill-and-kill that until it is in muscle memory. In the meantime, if my frame is sagging, I'm not going to worry about it until I'm doing the rise properly and consistently without having to think about it. Once I'm there, then I'll work on frame.
I endorse this method of practicing. You can't fix everything at once, and trying slows down your progress on anything.
Extra lessons with Pro this week and next to make up ones missed while he was out at competitions. Plus he's going to be out for almost three weeks at the end of the year. He did a lot in the lessons this week to fix what has been bothering me the most in waltz and then fixed something that should have been bothering me but wasn't; didn't realize how off it was until the incredible difference afterwards. I showed Smooth New Guy before I left and he loved the difference. (And a thank you to SNG who wasn't working at the time, but didn't object to taking the time to do this.)
SNG started doing rounds with me a few weeks ago and we do a set every lesson. It's been incredibly helpful. I'm getting much better at dancing through mistakes and staying focussed on what's happening at the moment.
Rhythm New Guy and I have been splitting our lessons between smooth and rhythm. We've been leisurely working our way through the steps that I am supposed to know in rhythm with the goal of my being able to do them on my own...which I could already do in some of the dances. The ones that I find more stressful are a complete blur. So, part of the lesson is on my learning one step thoroughly, part of the lesson is on technique in that dance, and part of the lesson is on one of the smooth dances we have been working. The "leisurely" part is because I'm not doing rhythm at the competition I'm going to in January. It's nice not feeling pressured about it!
My pro is talking about Nashville Starz - not sure if I will be there, but some of my friends should be!
First lesson since back in April when I got that nasty diagnosis. First ever lesson in Rumba walks...... whew. So glad I spent time building a bit of stability beforehand!! Talk about a learning curve
It's a really nice competition! Although looking over the entry forms, I was a bit disappointed to see that the age categories for the open scholarships are a bit different than what I'd thought. I'm going to be stuck in Open A for my scholarship. On the plus side, that takes away anything vaguely resembling pressure on me for results. I am really, really not going to be in any danger of making the finals in that likely field. And it should be kind of fun being on the same floor as those dancers, even without actually being competitive with them.
Lessons went better this past week. I spoke with my Instructor about the current focus (on stuff I can't change quickly due to underlying issues like lack of core strength and flexibility). We agreed that the primary fundamental to fix is frame. We will focus on that, but be grateful for small improvements since this will be a very long, slow road to climb. We also agreed to work on another area that is likely to improve faster. This definitely helped - we worked on specific steps/foot position, CBM, and that will clearly improve faster than my frame as I'm not facing underlying physical limitations. I'm hoping this helps make the lessons seem more rewarding in the long run. Am also continuing with strength and flexibility training outside of our lessons, too, of course.
finally fully 100%, but my endurance is for crap now. Good lessons in smooth and rhythm yesterday, rounds prep for comp this weekend. I'm happy that my mental state is improved too! (i've been doing my mental "workouts" as well, which sounds silly, but it has really helped!), had to do an impromptu performance last night for another student, and i didn't get too tense, even though there were two off balance mistakes. Cha, rumba, swing are now consistent. Bolero and mambo are...not. Smooth, all the dances are going well!
For some reason, several of the studio instructors were away yesterday... so I show up for my private and FLOOR SPACE! CONTROL OF THE SOUND SYSTEM!
Quickstep ensued. Then FT. Then a teensy bit of waltz. Much dancing, not much stopping and explaining... quickly becoming my favourite kind of lesson, as it lets me tinker with small adjustments with a partner, and diagnose and fix things that feel less than awesome that were working fine while working solo (though it does reduce pro to my expensive interactive dance prop).
Goal set after last comp: no more dancing safe. Apparently it's been achieved, and while I'm still occasionally losing balance as I really go for it, that's happening less and less. Pro's quote after a FT run-through last night: "That was freakin' good." (I knew it was, but it's always nice to hear, especially from someone who is not exactly lavish with praise.)
How I know my dancing has changed: I'm coming off of the floor lately with serious core and leg fatigue. I'm not in less shape than I was a two months ago, and if anything practices have been shorter, so I have to believe it's because I'm using those parts so much more than I was before. Conclusion: big shapes and lots of extension = core workout.
(The not so awesome: My legs were done about an hour into ballet last night. Thankfully, the instructor is totally understanding that she is my last class of a heavy dance evening, and doesn't mind when I need to simplify or sit out the odd exercise.)
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