Ballroom Dance > how are your lessons going? thread II

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by fascination, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Lots of good info in lesson yesterday, but also one alarming realization - my natural standing posture is messed up and it creates issues (in the form of tight, sometimes painful back muscles) with latin practice. Including an annoyingly tweaked one yesterday. Gonna take some time and focus to get those muscles to stretch out into a more upright posture in my everyday life so it carries over into dance (and probably also a reduction in weights on my weightlifting to retrain movement there with a truly straight back). Whee!

    CAVEAT: I'm a little bummed about this realization, but in the grand scheme of things I'm grateful I found out now and not through an injury that knocks me out of commission for weeks -> months.
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  2. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    Showcase rumba is going well. It is challenging but interesting choreo. I still have a LOOONNNGGG way to go to master it and make it look good, but I am excited about this routine. Which is funny, because Rumba is not one of my all-time favorite dances - I don't mind it or dislike it per se, esp in a social setting, but it's not up there with some of the other dances that I truly love (cha cha, samba, v waltz, to name a few).

    OTOH, I think I"m going to cut my losses and scrap the tango routine I've been working on with the other instructor. He and I have been wrangling with choreo for 2 months on this and it's not coming together or clicking. What is "done" so far looks like a sequence from a beginner group class (now that I've seen it on video) and looking back, the whole thing has been a train wreck. I think I'm just going to leave it at that for now and see where this goes, which should just be back to the cha cha and working towards a different upcoming event.
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  3. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Mind-blowing lesson with Smooth New Guy on Friday. I have been working on some basics of foot work, understanding partner positions better, etc. with both New Guys the last week or so. It has helped, but we knew I needed more. On the other hand, we're also concentrating on doing rounds every lesson and working on rough spots from that. Not enough time for everything!! Well, I got one of those "should have been a class but I was the only one there" lessons on Friday. :cool: SNG and I both jumped on it as a chance to work more on technique in more detail. He really enjoyed getting to teach it to me and I really enjoyed learning it. It was terrific.

    About a year and a half ago, I had the privilege of a coaching with @Larinda McRaven. Somewhere in there I acknowledged being a little weak (that's an understatement) on knowing exactly where the leader is or what s/he is doing at certain points. Her comment: You might want to work on that. I hear that in my head fairly frequently when I finally come to understand exactly what the leader is doing and how it meshes with what I'm doing. :rolleyes: I had one those moments Friday. There's one step in an element that occurs frequently that has always felt off to me, pretty much as long as I've been doing silver. Turns out it's because I have been shortening a step, leading to all sorts of ugliness, because I didn't think I had room for more. SNG demo'ed for me that while I didn't have room at the moment the step begins, he is moving out of my way with a heel turn/pull/don't ask me. I have vague recollections of Pro explaining this eons ago, but one can only say so many things during the course of a lesson and it hadn't come up again. I cannot tell you how much of difference the technique work and that correction/explanation made. I was very tired on Friday and SNG is going to repeat most of it on our next lesson, but honestly, that's par for the course even when I'm awake. ;)
  4. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    Have found something special in my dancing over the last couple of lessons - it feels like I'm floating/flying.

    On Saturday, the conversation went something like:
    Pro: What did you change?
    Me: Honestly? I did less.
    Pro: It worked. Could you feel the difference?
    Me: Yes. It feels really easy. We were at the other end of the floor before I knew what was happening.
    Pro: We've never danced like that before. It was really good. Next level. Do it again.​

    Then I got a few e-mails later that day/the next day, telling me good job (which has never happened before) and sending me a video or two with "the shape we need to produce - watch x part."

    (Yay, me!)
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  5. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Had my next-to-last lesson before my next comp this weekend. It was a miserable lesson that left me feeling terrible about my dancing. Not in any sense that my instructor is to blame for, to be very clear. Hope I got that out of my system!
  6. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    @JudeMorrigan hopefully it's the "bad practice good comp" thing! Good Luck!
  7. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    learned my new cha cha last night; i had the structure from the video, but it's always different to put it into practice. A few parts that need more work than the others (and caused much unintended hilarity), but it went well. Looking forward to bolero next week. and if anyone is at the Snow Ball comp this weekend, let me know! I am going to watch the pros on Fri and Sat.
  8. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    This week: Back to working on the showcase tango. We're dancing it four weeks from now, and at the moment, AP is in a very difficult work situation and isn't going to have much if any time to practice. So we have to substitute quality for quantity, which means we need to nail it in our lessons.


    A big point of emphasis for our instructor during our Monday lesson was: "The two of you have an interactive partnership when you social dance. You need to have that same relationship when you do this routine." I had two lessons over Christmas holiday with a different am partner, while my regular partner was out of town. One of the things I came to realize during those lessons was that, in a lot of places, I was not letting her finish her movements; I was trying to initiate the next thing before she had completed her response to the previous thing. So we did some things where I really exaggerated making sure that she had completed her movement before I did anything else.

    I made an effort to apply that same thing yesterday. In one place where we have a double reverse, we were both rushing and in effect breaking the partnership. This one starts with her going forward and me backward; I take her momentum through the first half of the turn, and then she takes me through the second half. It is suppose to end in a contra check, which we seldom got to without being off balance.

    So the instructor pointed out to me that I haven't been letting her complete her half of the turn; I've been trying to crank her around, and then forcing the start of the contra check. He pointed out to her that at the start, she was going right through the lead, which caused us to become separated connection-wise. So we both had to make it a point to let each other finish our parts. Now she comes in, I initiate the turn, and then I don't have to do much; she pretty much carries it the rest of the way through, and I just let her turn me. Man, is that a lot easier. :p And now we're on balance for the contra check, because we've actually finished the reverse at that point.

    The big lesson here was "feedback". Feel what your partner does and respond to it. I have to let her finish her motions. She has to not charge ahead of the initiation.

    At this point, I asked if we could slow down the music a bit. It's a short piece, so we have plenty of latitude to make it longer. We didn't slow it down that much, just from 128 bpm to 124. But, put together with what we worked on, it made a world of difference. There's room in the music now. There are going to continue to be some places where we will need to remind each other, but it's getting better.
  9. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Follow-up lesson with Smooth New Guy and Pro is back! Had my first lessons with him today. He felt real improvement from three weeks ago was able to help it get better still. In particular, he took some of what I had working on with SNG and helped me make it more consistent, which make be very, very, very happy. We only touched on VW (and didn't get to waltz at all, but he said the VW basics were the best I had ever done.
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  10. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Great lesson with my coach yesterday - it's weird having the focus be more on physical feel than theory understanding, but I'm liking the shift of perspective. Got a lot of things sorted in samba, and the focus on doing helped highlight places where my theory understanding was off - including a leg action I'm totally missing in all cruzado walk type actions.
    Sania likes this.
  11. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Pro said "that was perfect" in reference to, oh, 2 or 3 beats of VW last night. Lesson nearly had to stop I was in such shock. I am pretty sure those words have never left his mouth before while teaching me. He said, "maybe once per decade, so you'll have to wait quite a while to hear it again". ;) Also lesson (only one at class--they always have trouble with Friday night classes) with Smooth New Guy. Once again, he said wall of reverse turns in VW was best he had ever felt me do. Sooner or later, these improvements will translate to the rest of the dance....

    Preparing for a competition which is ever so slightly nerve racking when Pro was just gone for three weeks. It will be will be will be fine.... Honestly, it likely will be fine as long as I believe that and don't freak. :)

    Most important part of lesson with Rhythm New Guy might have been his banning me from making negative comments about my dancing. Sort of a la The Inner Game of Tennis, the goal is non-judgmental observations.
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  12. Have really been enjoying lessons lately. Prior to the holidays we spent a couple weeks doing rounds, which was fun and let me get more of a "flow" of the dance into my routines. But after the holidays, it's been back to basics. We've been working on very detailed technical improvements again, especially in rumba (basic walks forward and back, alemana, lock steps) and waltz (lots and lots of basic boxes). Lots of me practicing by myself with him standing on the side watching and then giving specific corrections. In the past, I've gotten overwhelmed with the number of corrections that get thrown at me when we do this. Not good, because mentally I shut down, don't execute that well, and he gets frustrated repeating the same corrections over and over; he abbreviates them into short, curt comments that are not at all helpful. This time, it's all ok. I'm not sure if I'm handling it better, or if he's spacing out the corrections a little more, or if my dancing has actually improved enough to get through it (well, it's probably a little of all three), but the nasty mental piece isn't there.

    We are also putting together a new cha cha routine. It's fun and flirty and I am proud of myself for taking a little more active role in the choreography and being able to pick up new steps enough to try different combinations. It will take some work to get it "show ready" because it is noticeably harder than what I was doing and will require more technical precision to really pop. But this is the first time where he's made a routine a lot more demanding and I am confident that I will (eventually) get there.
  13. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    My last pre-competition lesson was this weekend, and it definitely went better than the previous weekend's. I am not overwhelmed with confidence, but that's ok. This is the first competition I've gone into in a while where my expressed goal is really just to feel like I belong in the fields I've entered rather than having specific goal-orientated results. And this last lesson went well enough that I feel like I should be capable of that. In theory.
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yep...over here, I have a comp in a few weeks...goal is to really just focus on dancing w/pro....kind of over the rest
    Dance Redeemer likes this.
  15. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Dancing in a showcase in three weeks. Went through the routine and instructor said, "it looks pretty good to me". Partner and I found a few bits to pick on. Then we spent the rest of the lesson playing with cobra fans. :p
  16. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    Stamina practice sucks. Especially when it's stamina practice, heavy on the VW, because that is where you tend to think too much, work too hard and burn too much energy. And when you're reminded several times that "You're dancing open now, when I lead something different than the routine, you need to really commit to it. Your instincts are right, and you're following well, but you back off because you're not sure of yourself, and that shows. Just go."

    But this happened:
    We finish a run-through.
    Pro: Have you ever tried biathlon?
    Me: Blank stare.
    Pro: "You know, where you ski and shoot?" (mimes skiing)
    Me: "Yes, I know what it is... where did that come from?"
    Pro: "Well, I was watching biathlon, and I was thinking you might be really good at it. You have the right mentality."
    Me: More blank staring.
    Pro: "And the Canadian girls are not as strong as the men... [rambles for a bit]... have you tried it?"
    Me: "Well, I can ski, and shoot... but no, I've never tried it."
    Pro: "Oh."
    And then we dance some more.​

    WTF, Pro? So random...
  17. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    learned the rest of my new bolero yesterday. Some parts were bumpier this time, and some parts were way better. ran through the new cha cha and the new mambo as well. it was a bit of a rough lesson, i almost know the routines and am trying to dance them more but....not so much. i am glad i have two months to get them nailed down. My body was crazy tired - weight loss challenge at my gym has turned into crazy hard exercise challenge instead. Pro is tired too, new baby-itis. so not great, but will get better
  18. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Posture and poise are going to be the theme of the year - coach made some tweaks yesterday specific to my strengths as a Latin dancer (body and hip action) and admonished me yet again to quit trying so **** hard with my leg and feet actions. Putting the adjustments into practice today, I can feel amazing potential, but it's going to be a long, sore road putting them into practice. But it feels great to be focusing on emphasizing a strength as opposed to just shoring up weaknesses (of which I have plenty).
  19. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    << is nodding in agreement and commiseration, because she is kind of sad that one of her strengths is back flexibility, meaning she's been a little sore for months as she build up the muscles to hold and control at the end ranges of her flexibility.
    Dancing Irishman likes this.
  20. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Lots of commiserating here! I am pretty sure my abs, back and shoulders are massively underdeveloped relative to my legs, so the fix is going to be some quality time in the weight room with pull-ups, rows, presses, and overhead squats (in addition to my main strength program).

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