The session that I had scheduled last Saturday to work with Lady Q again on the routines we will be doing together turned into a small group class event. It turned out that Jack and Diane had scheduled a block of time to so that Jack could work with her right after I had. She was going to teach Jack the same routines that I was learning, so we decided just to combine the two lessons so we had one big block of time before the studio closed to really go over things. Sparkledancer joined us too, since she is going to be the one mainly helping me practice these routines before the competition. This time, I think I walked away from that class actually knowing the Foxtrot routine. The other routines are a bit sketchier, but Foxtrot was what we started with, and I think I could do it again without someone calling things out to me. So that’s progress. Hooray! Luckily, Lady Q also wrote everything down for Jack and me, so I will be able to use that to memorize everything I’m supposed to do. Thinking about everything that needs to be learned is starting to make my head spin. The competition is three weeks from this Sunday now, so time is running out to get everything perfected.
Tuesday night my dance partner and I had our extra weekly lesson with Sir Steven. Because there was a group class going on at the same time, we had to stay confined to one small section of the dance floor, so we worked on just our rhythm dances. Last Saturday, Sir Steven told us that when we came on Tuesday, we should just have a dress rehearsal for that section, to get used to dancing in our competition costumes and make sure everything would look good. I dug out the rhythm outfit that I had ordered for the last competition (the one that didn’t come in until the Monday after it was all over). That was the first time I had done any actual dancing in that outfit – it’s just been hanging in a closet up until this time, gathering dust. I was told that I looked sharp in it, dressed in black from top to bottom, so that felt pretty good. It was a little strange the first time, getting used to having a shirt on that buttoned between my legs, but I could see where it was useful as I threw my arms out and the shirt magically stayed tucked in. That’s classy. My dance partner stole the night though. She came in wearing this thing covered in orange and silver rhinestones, that didn’t cover much of her body, with this fringe stuff hanging down at the bottom that whipped me whenever I spun her. There were times I thought I would be blinded because of the light reflecting off of that dress. Because we were all dressed up, everyone that was at the Land of the Loft while we were rehearsing was watching us, which was a bit nerve wracking. It’s weird… it doesn’t really bother me to perform in front of people I don’t know, but doing things while people I know are watching makes me nervous.
After our little dress rehearsal, I feel pretty good about the rhythm category. This coming Saturday, we will be doing a dress rehearsal of all the smooth dances, and those ones I feel less comfortable with at this point. After spending the last several weeks focusing on finishing up the routines for the rhythm section, I feel like it has been forever since I have stepped through any of the smooth routines in real life. I’ve been over them in my head plenty of times, but that is really only so helpful. So hopefully on Saturday I won’t make a complete fool of myself and forget how to do everything. At least I can try and look good in the process though, being all dressed up. That counts for something, right?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t done any smooth-style dancing during the last several weeks. We have been working on the smooth dances in a way, just not our actual routines. For example, we just finished up the Tango group class that was going on all August on Wednesday nights, and a lot of the steps we were working on are in the Tango routine that I will be doing. The order we did them in during class was different than how we I need to perform them, and there are pieces that we didn’t cover in the class, but it was sort of like working on that routine for a month. During the Friday night social dances I have been able to work on the Foxtrot and slow Waltz routines in a sense as well, modifying them in order to avoid running into people on the floor. The only one I really haven’t been able to go over much is the Viennese Waltz, and that’s the one that is going to be troubling. But thinking it through, it’s a pretty simple routine. One long wall is all reverse rotations, with a set of cantor turns in the corner. One short wall is all natural turns. The other long wall is all open change steps. And the final short wall is another set of natural turns with a change step in the corner to get back into the reverse turns. Not overly complicated, and I was told that I could do as many rotations or change steps as needed to fill the entire wall. It’s hard to practice though. With my long legs, I can really only do two full reverse turns on the studio’s dance floor before hitting the other corner, and about one-and-a-half natural turns on the short wall. I’m hoping that the day of the competition will give me some time to work on the actual ballroom floor at the hotel to pace out how many rotations I’m going to need. I like to have a plan before walking into things.
So the next couple of days will probably be frustrating, switching back into smooth dancing mode. It is going to be a holiday weekend, so that means I also have Monday to work on things, assuming my dance partner wants to meet up and work with me. If I can get to the point where I can run things like they would be heats – back to back for two minutes (or four to five minutes, if I just let the song play until the end rather than trying to time it), that would be a good way to work on being prepared. I’m going to do my best to have fun with it while working, so that it doesn’t turn into an exercise in frustration.
Maybe this weekend… it’s time for another dance field trip. It’s a long weekend after all, and dance field trips always seem to help me feel like I’m a good dancer, because being out in public with people watching, I actually look like a good dancer. That will also help keep the fun in dancing, because right now with all the practice it feels like a lot of work. I think I will see tomorrow if anyone wants to go out to some kind of dance club Saturday night. You can all go with me too, if you want. We will party all night, showing off for all the people in the city who we run into. We’ll bill it as a confidence building exercise. Yeah, that’s the ticket.