It was a quiet week this week for me, with only a little bit of actual dancing… though I was out at a dance studio hanging out for a while, which made my total studio time this week a lot longer than the time I was actually in any of my dance shoes.
Monday night I went out to the Electric Dance Hall. Normally I go out there on Mondays for Latin Technique class, but this Monday was special. It was actually Lord Junior’s birthday! Last week after class had wrapped up, all of us who were there wandered off to one side of the dance floor away from Lord Junior, and there we came up with a plan to meet at the studio this Monday and surprise him. We divided up the tasks, and picked out something to get for him that he would enjoy and would also be comical, and then quietly left the studio so that he wouldn’t think we were all up to something.
It was actually kind of lucky that the female instructor I mentioned had joined us in class last week, because she became an integral part of our plan to make this a surprise for Lord Junior. She had a lesson scheduled already before class would have started this Monday night, so she told us that we could all meet up outside the studio and come in a few minutes after class would have started to truly surprise him. Her job would be to hang out inside the studio after her lesson finished, making sure that he didn’t just up and leave if no one showed up by the time class was supposed to start. It seemed like a brilliant plan!
Except… somehow we all missed passing on our plan to one person. One of the young ladies who has been coming to Latin Technique class regularly, and was actually in class with us last week, somehow got left out of the side conversation at the end of class as we planned our little surprise party. Those of us in on the plan managed to meet up outside on one of the far sides of the studio away from the windows, and as we all came into the building a couple of minutes after class was supposed to start singing ‘Happy Birthday’, there she was standing on the dance floor in her dance shoes, looking just as surprised as Lord Junior was. What a twist!
So we didn’t actually dance during class. Instead, someone had brought a number of adult beverages to share, and someone brought cake, and someone brought chips, and one lady even brought a funny birthday hat for Lord Junior to wear, so we all just hung out and talked and ate. It was fun. I have to say that since most of my friends who live near me are all dancers, I don’t actually hang out with people all that often when dancing isn’t involved anymore. So even though we were all still at a dance studio, it was kind of nice just to be people who were spending time together for a night, instead of being dancers.
After about forty-five minutes, Lord Junior decided that the party should walk across the street with him to the nearby bar/restaurant/whatever that place is and they could all continue to drink and also watch whatever Monday night games were on. I ended up leaving at that point. I hadn’t slept well the night before, and yet I still had gone to the gym to do a hard chest and back workout after work, finishing with just enough time to shower and grab a quick bite before heading to the party. So by that point I was just beat. I went home and curled up on the couch where my cat was already asleep and kept her company until I couldn’t stay awake any longer and then went to bed.
That makes me sound so old, doesn’t it? I mean, I’m getting older everyday, right? At what point do I get to start yelling at kids to stay off my lawn, and then telling them that when I was young and had to walk to and from school, it was always uphill no matter which way I was going?
Aside from that event, I did do some actual dancing on Wednesday night when I went to Standard Technique class. And I even learned a new figure… one that wasn’t exactly new in a technical sense for me, but I had never seen the movement used in that manner before and I thought it was pretty fun. It’s one of those movements that I am going to try and file in my back pocket to use later when I get a chance. We’ll see how well I do with that.
We looked at Waltz last night. The little progression of figures Lord Junior put together for us to work on had a few pretty challenging points. One of those points, which really shouldn’t be challenging for me at this point but still takes me a couple of tries to get right whenever I see it, was that it started off with a Double Natural Spin.
If you’ve done Bronze International Waltz (or Quickstep) before, you’ve probably seen a Double Reverse Spin. It’s a common figure that most everyone gets introduced to early on. In fact, it’s usually the first figure a Follower sees where they have to do a Heel Turn, so most Followers probably remember the Double Reverse Spin well because it involved learning that action. A Double Natural Spin is essentially the same figure, just turning the opposite direction, as you probably guessed.
There’s nothing surprising or hard about doing that, it just feels kind of wrong. It’s not a Double Reverse Spin… and yet it is. Like I said, I can get through the Double Natural Spin with no issues, just… not on the first try usually. I have to step through it once or twice to remind my body that we’re going to be doing things a bit backward. Once I get used to that, I’m all good to go.
So our progression started out with us taking a side step onto the left leg and winding up a bit and then going right into that Double Natural Spin, and we came out of that into a basic Half Natural Turn. From there we did a normal Natural Spin Turn and then added on a Left Whisk. The Left Whisk we used like a checking action, making sure we lowered into the legs and put in a lot of twist in the body because we came out of that using what Lord Junior called a ‘Standing Spin’ – which is the movement that I thought was interesting and fun.
Basically the turn is exactly like the name describes. In the Left Whisk I had my right leg crossed behind my left and my body was wound up, and then much like a Twist Turn in Tango I just unwound while standing up in one spot. The ladies had a much more difficult task because they had to move around us as we twisted (much like the aforementioned Twist Turn). By the time we finished, we had gone around almost a full 360° so that we were standing facing the wall again. Something about doing this action in the Waltz was just interesting to me. Like I said, I’m going to try and remember it for general use in the future.
After we got done with the Standing Spin, we rotated the Follower to put them perpendicular to us and then we went into a Same Foot Lunge to our right. This lunge could be held for just two beats to make the figure a full three count, or you could extend it for an extra three if you really wanted to milk the drama out of it. To come out, we brought the Follower back up from the lunge and had them pivot quickly to face us and put us back in normal dance position facing line of dance. After that we went into a simple Open Telemark that we could use to connect on something else afterward.
So that’s all I did. Like I said, a fairly quiet week this past week, with one important point that I am noting here to remember later. Will this next week be full of more dance fun? We’ll have to see. Tune in next Thursday to find out!