Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by fascination, Dec 20, 2007.
Tell us more about the missing leg action!
reviewing new routines at lesson last night and lately. Joining the sore group too- extra daily challenges at my gym are killing me! the new routines are coming along, but i am a bit frustrated right now as they settle in and as i try to make sure i apply the techniques i've learned to them as well. It doesn't help that i've a ton of work and other things happening, so i don't feel like i have enough practice time. just gotta push through this.
Got a new waltz today which I really like but is quite advanced for the category we are in. However my teacher was really patient and got some of our issues sorted
My notes from last night's lesson:
"5 dances. Zillion things... I have no idea. Central themes seemed to be arms forward in VW, and overall work standing leg more and do less? QS: Lead with head in short wall before Q-o-R. Helps."
Pro was nitpicky. Kept throwing points at me, one layered on top of the other until I got frustrated with how much worse they were making everything and declared I was ignoring all of that and just doing my thing. I hate when he starts tinkering, telling me random things to do that have never been brought up before and stops using his words to explain what he's feeling*... Comp must be coming.
He did reveal after the lesson - probably because I was looking at him with a "what the F do I do with that" expression (or maybe an "I so want to smack you right now" expression) - that the day before yesterday was just really, really good... maybe the best we've ever danced (his words), and he just wanted yesterday to be like that too. My response: "Well, that doesn't always happen, especially coming straight from work. And I don't think it was that far off from yesterday, to be honest... so when it's feeling pretty good to me and you get on me about things, I get stressed. Especially when it starts 5 minutes in... just give me a chance to work into things." He did listen to that, so here's hoping next week will be better.
*Because it works way better when he describes what he's feeling and I figure out how to fix it... because often what he thinks is going on isn't really the cause.
no smooth lesson last night, because the idiot manager at one of my studios screwed up. This may be the breaking point that makes me leave that one. thankfully my other studio was welcoming and lovely and helped me work on my FT throwaway oversway that i just learned and needed help with. . Rhythm tonight!
Yep, I hear ya on this one. I've told instructors that they have a limit of three things in any given dance that they can give me to think about at any moment. One instructor once tried to wrap up a handful of things into some overall concept like "barrel" (don't ask) and tried to pass that off as one thing, and I was like, nope.
I also hate it when they wait until the end of the lesson (or group class, as happened last night) to drive home some really important point that should have been brought up earlier to give us time to work on it.
last lessons before a comp...and I don't feel as if it will be a total cluster...win
"Ron's" standard group class was... "eventful." It's a small class that meets each Thursday evening. There are two sessions of 45 minutes each from a choice (two dances) of fox trot, waltz, tango, or quickstep. Last Thursday, we learned quickstep and tango. There were four ladies and three of us guys in the class.
There is one particular lady with whom I have been very unsuccessful with dancing in the class: "Erica." She seems to "freeze up" or "spaz out" with anything that I try when I am partnered with her during the regular class rotation. She has theorized that we are "a bad match." I tended to agree. But last Thursday before the class, I confided in Ron.
"She cannot follow me at... anything. Are we a bad match?"
Ron's answer was priceless, "Because her skill level is much below yours, you must dance 'down' to her level. She needs to feel good about her dancing."
Whenever I dance host at local dances, I always try to match my partner's level if she is less skilled. But I had never thought to do this during Ron's class where the premise is that the student level for this class is "advanced;" and, the objective is TO LEARN. But sometimes, like last Thursday, my lessons come from unexpected sources!
I wondered about how I could "dance down" without compromising too much of my own form. Then I considered the specific issues that Erica had with me: I frequently "bowled her over" with my strong foot pressure and general "abandon" with movements in general. So I made ONE compromise: I deliberately danced tentatively whenever she was paired with me to try a dance sequence that was taught in the class.
The results were immediate and dramatic: She began not only to follow me more successfully; but, she was taking initiative when she needed to do so! She actually began to visibly enjoy the experience. She smiled a lot as her confidence grew because I was no longer killing her during the class.
At a local Sunday afternoon group class, I tried the same tactics with Annette, a charming lady with intermediate skill, but low confidence and poor self esteem. Although she has traditionally not done well with me, she danced very well with me during the class this Sunday. When she would miss- step during the lesson, I never made a big deal about it which seemed to ease her self concern. And I'd praise her when she danced an entire sequence without flinching or having to stop midway. My attitude toward Annette during the class was "very casual." I saved all of my "abandon" and strong foot pressure for my own partner who is gifted enough to give it back to me in spades!
I only wish that I had learned this lesson sooner. It would have saved a lot of angst and dread during group lessons.
We're running rounds. Every day so far this week. (We do shorter, more intense sessions when we switch to straight rounds - 3 rounds, plus an extra dance or two per 30 min session.)
This week's revelations, so far:
1. I'm in better shape than I thought I was. As long as I remember to relax - and don't try to do more - 3 rounds back-to-back is no big deal.
2. I may make it through VW (my nemesis) after all.
3. I may dance better a little hurt (subscapularis spasm, then knots + aftermath), because it makes me back off a little bit. And the new brand of heat patches I found the other day stay on my back through sweaty rounds - so they're a keeper.
4. When I get a little scared when we're dancing, that means it's going really, really well - we're flying, with big shapes.
well, open cha cha last night was a lesson in frustration. we thought we'd gotten me past all the tensing up and muscling through, and i know not to do that as i get the new routines down...alas, yesterday's lesson was a whole lot of crap. hoping that it's a one off that is more due to external stress factors than anything else.
Lessons last week and this were focussing on preparing for a team match. I love the team matches and treat them as less stressful, less expensive competitions. This one fell at a bad time for me, however. Too close to the a comp to take real advantage of it, particularly since I was dancing smooth at the comp and am not doing any smooth with Pro at the team match. Dang. Thus, my lessons with him were more along the lines of "how does it feel to dance rhythm with you" and "uh, can we get through 90 seconds of this particular dance???" than the nitty gritty technique which I love. He did, however, add to my "principles of following" list so that I could successfully follow the differences in how he and the others lead some of the steps. Rhythm New Guy very nicely spent part of yesterday going back and forth between his versions and Pro's versions for me to practice it some.
good lessons in rhythm and smooth. Made it through a round with the new routines in rhythm, YAY! we have enough time for me to work on polishing them and cleaning up trouble spots before next comp. Smooth went well - new parts are getting cleaned up and i need to remember to not let my speed and power (and his) overwhelm me. Sometimes i just GOOOOOOOOO. and i need a bit more control, lol.
Interesting week because first lessons post team match* and first lessons with Pro on Smooth since comp a few weeks ago. Pro watched video from comp, asked what was on the agenda today (not that it's really my decision, but we usually combine his goals with mine and get both done ). I said, "make my waltz and VW better." He said, "that's easy." In the process, I got some long standing questions about pendulum and metronomic swing and sway answered. I also figured out something about how I've been using my knees when lowering. I have knee issues on and off, but usually it's not too bad. However, I fell pretty hard (not dancing) on an already injured knee about a year and a half ago. During that period I started using a some what incorrect method to protect my knee. It has seemed to everybody that I just needed to "do more", when I really needed to something slightly different. I can't figure out how to explain it, but I hope it will make a big difference once I retrain myself.
Not competing in rhythm again until October, so New Rhythm Guy and I have a nice long time to do some nitty gritty technique work we've been wanting to do. There is a lot in rhythm that I can do pretty well if you ask me to demo one element, but that nice technique disappears when I'm using the element in a step, not to mention what happens during a series of steps. Then there are others parts that need some improvement even isolated. This week got snowed out, though we had a "should have been a class, but I was the only one" in which we worked on my Mambo because it had been a phenomenal mess during the team match.
*We came in what I was told was a close 2nd on the team match, but nobody seems to have cared enough to get the actual scores. We won the smooth portion at least. Next time.
After sitting down and watching the video from my last comp, my pro and I decided it was time to replace my waltz. Yesterday was my first lesson with the new choreography. There's obviously still lots and lots of work to be done, but I at least made it through most of the choreography - and the sooner I go from worrying about what the heck I'm doing to worrying about how the heck I'm doing it, the happier I am. That's wildly quicker than I made it through my foxtrot. I credit there (obviously) being rather less of a jazz influence in my waltz.
Amen to that.
Curious why you decided to switch.
Bored with it?
Not happy with placement?
With the exception of my foxtrot, my routines are all tweaked silver routines rather than ones designed as open routines from the ground up. My waltz was particularly straightforward. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but it's nice to be able to take advantage of the greater flexibility to show more. But ... I also don't want to spend *too* much of my time worrying about choreography, so we're swapping routines out one by one as time permits.
Argh... at my last lesson, the instructor informed me he was going to be out for several weeks after this Sunday's event. We didn't talk about it any further, but between this and the tango with the other instructor I elected to pull the plug on, this leaves me realistically with one, *maybe* two, routines for Showcase, both of which would be repeats (I generally perform every routine two times, so usually I have 2 new and 2 repeat performances each event). Yeah, no, I don't think so. Maybe this is for the best, since I will also be out for a week shortly beforehand on a vacation. It's like all the stars aligning but the opposite of that. I haven't officially announced to them that this means no Showcase for me, no idea how that will be received. This is a real bummer but I suppose a serious example of 1st world problems.
Great, phenomenally productive lessons this weekend. Overarching theme was to be more dynamic in using space and be pickier on amounts of turn in each step. Also included a fun indication of how much partner and I need to work on using our inside edges (not doing it near enough yet) and discussion of the changes we need to make outside of our dancing to achieve our goals for next year's nationals. And fun with arms and design in rumba - starting to like our program in that dance now!
lessons were halfway good, in both rhythm and smooth. Like, half the dances went well, and the other half were bumpy. i think it's more mental than anything else - external stress factors that are affecting me. I practiced over the weekend and yet seemed to forget everything I practiced! I think it still smarts that i am missing Wisc State because of this tax situation; also, work is rather crummy, the crazy politics every day...Need some mental downtime.
Continued the "make my waltz better". What bothered me the most did not bother him the most. One aspect felt awful to me, and it's something that he has fixed numerous times, but in slightly different ways and I'm not (yet) able to retain the better quality/movement. So, while he was improving other aspects of my dancing--I was thinking, "if it still feels like this in six months, I'll just have to quit." When I asked about it, he fixed it in, oh, 1 or 2 minutes. I'm beginning to grasp the common thread....
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