As I was entering the studio a couple nights ago, Sir Steven (who was out in the hallway fooling around on his tablet) stopped me to tell me that he had been meaning to talk to me for some time about getting Latin dance shoes. Apparently the ones I have had for a while, that I have been using for basically everything, are ballroom shoes. He thinks I would do well to have a pair of Latin shoes that have a half-inch higher heel. Also, he mentioned that I could go down a half size with my dance shoes. My current shoes are already a half size smaller than my sneakers, but Sir Steven recommends a snugger fit that will form better to my foot as the leather starts to stretch and shape. I guess there is a lot that I just didn’t know about dance shoes. My first pair of dance shoes, which I still use at home as practice shoes to avoid going out to my car to get my normal shoes, are the same size as my sneakers. They have a lot of wiggle room in them when I dance, but they were ordered off the Internet without trying anything on, so I only had my regular shoe size to base them on. My current shoes I actually went out to a store that carried ballroom shoes so that I could try them on and see how they fit before getting them. I guess this weekend I will be heading back there to try on even smaller shoes with a taller heel to see what they are like. They’ll make me feel like a giant.
There’s a part of me that is hoping that somehow, magically, having proper Latin shoes will make my Latin dances better, and by Latin dances I mean specifically Cha Cha. Last weekend, we finished up putting together the routine for Cha Cha and it’s… ok. At this point I can do it from memory pretty easily, but there’s something about Cha Cha that just makes me look bumbley. I’ll do stupid things, like doing a New Yorker instead of a hand-to-hand or turning too much or too little during the reverse and natural tops – stupid things that I know in my head will mess things up before they happen, but then they happen anyway. And it’s really only Cha Cha that gives me this kind of trouble. Rumba and Mambo are great, and can be very similar to the things I do in Cha Cha. There’s just something about that dance style that I can’t put my finger on. So, this routine is mostly going to be learned and perfected through constant repetition. It’s the best way I can think to do it.
Last weekend, after the usual private lesson my dance partner and I have with Sir Steven, Lady Q came to talk with me about scheduling a private lesson so that we could work on these new routines that she and I would be doing together. My dance partner and I talked with her for a while about this change from the original competition plan. Lady Q told us that her vision for these extra routines that the two of us would be doing with the instructors was to showcase “Silver-level technique while doing early Bronze level dances.” It sounds like a lofty goal – I’m not even sure I know what the difference between Silver and Bronze level technique would be at this point, let alone be able to do it. She also asked if we had decided what dance styles we wanted to do for these extra heats. My dance partner and I looked at each other and shrugged. I was under the impression that Sir Steven already had a plan in mind for what we were going to do, so I hadn’t really thought about it. The two of us would be doing the same routines, just with two different people, so choosing what routines we wanted to do made sense. Lady Q told us we could think about it and get back to her, so Sparkledancer and I decided to go out to lunch and talk about it. The best plan we could come up with was to focus what we think of as the “Big 5” dances – Waltz, Foxtrot, Rumba, Cha Cha and East Coast Swing. After all, those are the ones that come up the most, so getting more practice seemed like the best course of action.
With a decision made, I inquired with Sir Steven about the secondary routines the next time I was at the studio. His response? We shouldn’t worry about it. He said he already had everything sort of planned out, and would talk with Lady Q to let her know what the deal was. Can you guess what his plan was? I’m betting you can (if you can’t, it’s exactly the same as the plan we had decided on at lunch). There goes the pressure of having to make decisions. When it comes down to it, I really should just trust in Sir Steven. He has some sort of plan for where this dance journey is leading. I am just following along for the ride at this point, trying to do my best to make sure that I don’t make my dance partner look bad, and also don’t make him look bad for being my instructor.
This weekend during the normal dance technique group class offered, the Princess is going to be coming by to spend the class period talking with everyone about preparing for the competition. It seems like in the last few weeks most everyone who is a member of our little Land of the Loft has decided that they were going to sign up to do heats in the competition, so rather than have their normal instructors go over all sort of stuff with people individually, the Princess said she would pull all of us together and do it all at once. It sounds like most of what will be discussed won’t have much to do with me – things like hair and makeup and whatnot are not something I think I will worry about. But I’ll probably still sit in on the class just to learn for knowledge’s sake. There is also a rumor going around that they are trying to put together a group class for competition things for the month of August to teach all the new competitors things like how to enter and exit the dance floor, or how to get into dance frame as the music starts. That sounds like something more up my alley to practice, so I think I am going to try and rearrange my schedule to attend that when I find out what day it will be. There’s only eight weeks left until the big day, so it’s time to start serious preparations!