Every Day I’m Shuffling

Lady Q had asked several times for more people to come and join her Tuesday night dance fitness class. It’s part cardio workout, part Shuffle1learn-the-choreography-from-a-music-video. So, being easily talked into things, I am now staying after the normal Tuesday night group class to take part in Lady Q’s class. The theory going around amongst the other people she’s asked to stay is that she was getting tired of fending off Young Dave’s wandering eyes. For a long time, it was only Young Dave and Bony that were partaking in the class on Tuesdays. With more people in class, there would be others for her to pay attention to, lessening the time that she spends entertaining him.

This means that I am now essentially working out seven days a week instead of six. If you were to count the normal group classes/lessons that I have been taking part in, it looks more like working out seven days a week, with four of those days being doubles (which is the normal resistance/agility training I do, plus a second cardio workout in the form of dancing). So lately I have been exhausted. I can’t tell if it’s because I’m not getting enough sleep to keep up with this active lifestyle, or that I’m not eating enough calories some days. Maybe it’s both.

Because of this, some mornings when my alarm goes off, it is a struggle to build up the desire to get up. I am naturally a night person, so mornings are already not on my “Favorite Things” list. It seems like I get out of bed and shuffle around, getting to work, getting to my office, getting through the day. It usually isn’t until about one o’clock when I finally feel like all my muscles have finally woken up and they’re ready to go.

But the dance fitness class so far has been amusing. Right now Lady Q is teaching everyone the choreography from the music video for LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem (you probably guessed that). I think I have the basics down, but I don’t think I can do it up to the normal tempo of the song. Maybe in a few more weeks I will get it down and then I can start seeing if I can look cool while doing it, instead of looking all jerky, like a push puppet (one of those toys where the animal collapses if you push the button under its base).

With our ballroom routines completed, the big question that my dance partner and I had was whether or not we would be able to stretch the routine to cover the length of the floor in the large competition space we will be using come September. Meeting my dance partner on a dead-end street, we took a tape measure and some sidewalk chalk to measure out to lengths that I think are about correct: 70 feet for the long wall, and 45 feet for the short wall. With those in place, we did the best we could to see if our stride could get us from one corner to the next with those marks as the boundaries. It was a little awkward, as you can imagine – it’s really hard to rotate properly using tennis shoes on asphalt. Our Waltz and Foxtrot routines were good. Viennese Waltz we didn’t even attempt out of fear of getting road rash from falling while spinning. The Tango routine, however… there was just no way to make it stretch more than 45 feet for the long wall portion. Even when I attempted it by throwing out technique and stretching my legs to an uncomfortable degree, I couldn’t get much more than 50 feet. The way it was setup, there was a definite corner that Sir Steven built into the routine, so after going out to a fan, we turn into shadow position and start off at a ninety degree angle from where we were. There was no way to rotate it to make it just curve naturally without looking awkward (trust me, we tried).

Shuffle2So, last Saturday I went back to Sir Steven with those results. He stepped through the routine, and we changed things. It’s not complete yet, but the long wall now works to make it all the way from one end to the other using 70 foot walls. Once he reconfigures the short wall, we should be good to go. I’m really glad we decided to try this out now, rather than assume we could stretch the routine out and then find out the week of competition that it wouldn’t be possible unless I grew six foot legs.

That just goes to show how much dance has taken over my life. I’m sure many other people feel that way. I mean, it’s gotten to a point where I don’t think I know how to dance without using something that I’ve learned from ballroom dancing. Case and point: I went out on another dance field trip recently. With everyone else on the floor dancing in a “club sexy” manner, I would listen to the songs and think to myself ‘Ok, this could be a Cha-Cha…’ and that’s what I would do. Lucky for me, the last few times I have gone out dancing there has been people from the dance studio with me, so if I wanted to dance a modified Cha-Cha to some club song, they would know what I was doing and be able to follow along. I have no idea what I would do if I was suddenly put in a situation where I had to dance with someone who didn’t know those sorts of steps. Would I be able to lead them through something? Or would I somehow be able to remember how it is that normal people dance, and switch over to doing that? Can I ever switch back, or have I burned ballroom dance technique into my brain so deeply that it would be impossible to revert back now?

These are deep questions. There’s a part of me that says that reverting back to dancing in a manner that lack the poise and talent that ballroom demands would be stupid. I like it when people come up and talk about how cool it is to watch what we do when we dance. It’s something that not a lot of people can do, so why wouldn’t I always do it? There’s another part of me that says that there are some times when you don’t want to stand out so much. Also, there are some times in life when one will have to dance with someone who doesn’t know the steps you know. For those times, it will be important to be able to revert to something simple that anyone could do. So I should make sure I can do that. I really don’t know if there is a good answer to these questions.

What do you all think? When you are all out dancing at a club with non-ballroom people, how do you dance?

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