The last few weeks, during coaching sessions with Sir Steven, we have spent a lot of time working on arm motions. I have to say, this is going to be one of those hard things for me to work on. Watching Sir Steven move his arms around, he makes it look so… graceful. Watching myself in the mirror, I don’t look anything like that. For years and years, I have trained my arms with movements that involve things like Kenpo or lifting heavy objects. Neither of those training methods involves a lot of finesse, as I’m sure you can imagine. Thinking about moving my arms delicately is a foreign concept to me, focusing much less on power (which is what I’m used to focusing on) and much more on the movement itself. Practicing that type of movement is also difficult. When I’m in a studio setting, there are mirrors all around that I can use to watch myself, but when I’m at home I would have to be standing in the bathroom to see what I was doing. That just seems strange and dangerous, since the bathroom is small enough that my wingspan pretty much covers it. So it really doesn’t happen on my own time. I’m sure that I would improve much more quickly if I actually spent time practicing the movement. Perhaps that means I need to break down and invest in a mirror and hang it in a room where I have enough space to flail my arms around safely. We’ll see. The holidays are coming; maybe I can add that to some kind of wish list.
Earlier this week I also sat down with Sir Steven and Sparkledancer and we discussed our future dance goals related to competition. Sir Steven said that the level we were currently studying at was a good time to start introducing some of the International dance styles into our mix, so we could actually start working on putting together a Pasodoble routine (yay!). The tradeoff for doing that would be that we would also start working on Samba, so that it wouldn’t be us doing everything in American style and then just one International Latin dance. I have only a little experience with Samba, most of that stemming from a line dance I learned way back when I started my journey through the Dance Kingdom. I do know that Botafogo is probably one of the coolest dance-related words I have ever learned, so this might work out. Sparkledancer likes Samba a lot, so I know she is all for it. Originally when he mentioned doing more than one International style dance, I had thought about adding Quickstep, but that idea was shot down because that would be adding one International Latin and one International Standard dance, which would not be ideal. At this rate though, someday I expect the two of us will decide to just compete with everything in all categories. I mean, learning ten different dance style routines is not that different from learning twenty one different styles, right? It should be totally easy…
This past weekend’s dance field trip to the Grand Dance Hall was a lot of fun. This ballroom was having a weekend dance event, which was two nights of dancing to a live orchestra and some group classes offered on Saturday for anyone signed up to also attend. Sparkledancer and I were the only ones that ended up going from our little group, and when we got there we found that the average age of all the other attendees was around thirty five years older than we were, so we stood out in the crowd. Actually, the entire event reminded me a lot of the dance field trip that we took way back in September when we went to the other social dancing night at a different ballroom – a lot of people on the floor for certain dance styles like Foxtrot, Rumba and Waltz, not very many people participating in more obscure styles like Viennese Waltz and Quickstep, and pretty much everyone was much older than us so they didn’t engage in too much conversation with us younger kids.
We did a lot of Waltz. The floor was packed with people, but I managed to do pretty well maneuvering around without running either myself or my dance partner into anyone. The Foxtrot was much more dangerous – for some reason, Foxtrot songs drew many more people to the floor, and there were people in the middle who wanted to dance either Hustle or East Coast Swing to the Foxtrot songs. This made things even more dangerous, since those couples wouldn’t always stay in the middle, and as they drifted toward the outside it would be harder to avoid hitting either them or all the other couples working their way around them. The Rumba dances that we did also tended to get dangerous. When learning Rumba, I was told to try and keep things contained – you have a little circle on the floor, and you don’t drift outside of it or you would lose points. While dancing with all of these people, it seemed like everyone was trying to invade the circle on the floor that I had staked out, even if I started out with a considerable gap between where I was standing and where anyone else was standing. The night dances certainly forced me to keep on top of my floorcraft game.
The lessons offered on Saturday were equally interesting. They offered two levels of classes: basic and intermediate/advanced. Since most places I’ve been to in the Dance Kingdom do not technically rank their classes as beginner, intermediate or advanced like I have heard that other dance studios do, we weren’t sure where our level of training would fall. The first class of the day was a Tango, and Sparkledancer and I decided to go to the beginner level class first to see what it was like. It turned out that beginner level was really just that – newcomer Tango. We stayed for about twenty minutes, then left to go to the other room where the higher level class was offered. This class turned out to be much more interesting. Partly that was because they were going over things that fell more into place with things we had been working on, but also because the class was being taught by a married couple who were making really inappropriate jokes a lot of the time. The male instructor had to be more than twice my age, so some of the jokes he made caused me to cringe a little, but all the older people in class thought it was hilarious. Let me tell you, I am still far too young to hang out with old people making dirty jokes. The three classes they went through that day were in Tango, Rumba and Swing, and each lasted for an hour-and-a-half. Because there were so many people taking the classes and they taught these longer figures in pieces, we did not go over everything they were trying to get through. I ended up recording the instructors doing the figures slowly at the end of each class, and I promised Sparkledancer that I would review what we were doing on the video and write it up so that we could go over it together at some point when we have some free time to get everything memorized.
Other than that, it’s been a rather calm week here in the Dance Kingdom. Everyone I have talked to at the Land of the Loft has told me that they are all geared up for this coming weekend’s Halloween ball at the Great Dance Hall, so I am super excited for that. There will be dancing, and costumes, and spooky-themed snacks for everyone! If you’re in the area, it is an open dance party for anyone who is in costume, so stop by and we can all party together. I can’t believe it’s been a whole week, and now there’s only a couple of days left to go!