Lacrimosa Dies Illa

I don’t even know how to begin this. Things have suddenly gotten weird.

Tuesday night I had a session scheduled with Sparkledancer and Sir Steven to work on some things we would be using to build new competition routines. Much to my joy, Sir Steven also spent time with us talking about how he had been working on building a Pasodoble routine for us, and we started working through the first dozen measures of the music, mapping out where each promenade, sur place and cape movement would go, and the stances we would take at the start of the song. We stayed pretty late that night, being ridiculous while working through things, and joking around with Sir Steven after our session was over. Everything seemed pretty normal.

Wednesday night I got there early before the Cha-Cha class that Lady Q would be giving. Right away, something was off. The dance fitness class that Lord Fabulous usually teaches on Wednesday nights was being headed by Lady Q, and Lord Fabulous was off on the far side of the room giving a lesson to Chanel, who normally takes lessons with Sir Steven. Just before the class Lacrimosa1started, Lord Fabulous pulled all of us who were there together to say a couple of things. Apparently, sometime Tuesday night after I had left, Sir Steven had told Lord Fabulous that he wouldn’t be coming in to teach any longer. From the story we were given, there were some family things going on, and he needed to take a step back and figure out how to work through that and also figure out what he was going to be doing going forward. Everyone standing there was shocked, to put it mildly. All of the air seemed like it had been sucked out of the room. Because all of us who attend these higher-level group classes had Sir Steven as our primary instructor, Lord Fabulous said that he either had already or would be meeting with each of us that were standing there to discuss what we wanted to do going forward. With that, he turned things over to Lady Q, and we started to work on Cha-Cha.

The class went poorly, as I’m sure you could imagine. I tried my best to pay attention in class, but the atmosphere in the room wasn’t conducive to learning. Sparkledancer and Diane seemed to be bearing the worst of it – every time the girls would rotate and I would be paired with Diane, she seemed to be in a stupor. I tried to talk with her, to cheer her up a little, but she told me several times that the class felt awkward, and she was having trouble following my lead. Sparkledancer and I managed to get through things by mostly falling back on how we had used the steps we were reviewing in our last Cha-Cha routine. The other three ladies in class had all been there for a class beforehand, or for a private lesson in Chanel’s case, so they had had an extra hour to process the information and were already beyond the initial shock. Still, it was easy to tell that all of us were responding better to the repetitious technique exercises rather than the leading and following portion at the end where we worked on shine chases. The less thought that was required, the better we all did.

When class ended, Jack, Diane, Sparkledancer and I all retreated to the corner of the room. Lord Fabulous had said that he wanted to talk with all of us before we left for the evening, so we changed our shoes and waited for him to finish up the lesson he was giving. When he finished up and came Lacrimosa2over, he tried to reassure us that, though this was all of our first time having to change to a new primary instructor, this sort of thing has happened before so he knew how to handle these sorts of transitions. He said that he had been watching our coaching lessons with Sir Steven recently, and he had all the notes from our previous lessons and the notes that Sir Steven had left him before he left, so he knew what we had all been working on. One offer he made was to let us all go to a sort of team-teaching experience if we wanted – working with different instructors throughout the month rather than just sticking with one person. Jack and Diane had already been doing this with Sir Steven and Lord Fabulous: once a month they would get together for a lesson with Lord Fabulous just to study some off-syllabus things where they could play around for fun without worrying about all the technical aspects. In addition to the offer to do team-style teaching with himself and Lady Q, Lord Fabulous mentioned that starting next week Hot Tottie would be coming to the Land of the Loft on Thursday nights to work with students, so we could also work with him if any of us desired to for the few months that he would be teaching at our location.

Since Sparkledancer and I had scheduled a session with Sir Steven the previous night for next week, Lord Fabulous started with us. With no time to really discuss things, we said that we could keep the time we had scheduled and just have him step in to instruct, so he marked us down. Jack and Diane had scheduled a time with Sir Steven to happen while we were standing there talking, and because Diane was still in shock they decided to reschedule that for another day rather than try and do something that night. Sparkledancer and I took our leave to let them work out the calendar, and exited the building. We stood outside talking for quite a while – partly because we needed to figure out what we wanted to do now as far as training for possible future competitions, and partly to wait for Jack and Diane to come down and talk with them. Everyone else had already left, so it was pretty quiet. We sat with our backs to a brick support pillar holding up the awning above the front door and discussed the day’s events.

There was a lot of discussion last night among the four of us once Jack and Diane emerged; we especially focused on making sure the girls were doing alright. Today I also sent a few messages to Sparkledancer while we were both at work to make sure she was feeling ok. At some point, I will have to meet with her and discuss our individual dance goals and then our competitive dance goals, and figure out how we want to go forward. For now though, it seems like there is going to be a period of grieving, possible for a couple of weeks. Aside from being a great dance instructor, Sir Steven was also someone I would call a friend. Sure, he wasn’t allowed to come fraternize with us outside of business hours, but I still hope he is doing ok. I’m sure many of the other students he had would say the same thing.

So, tomorrow night when I head back to the studio, we’ll see what happens. I’m sure we will be discussing what choices each of us are looking at when we go out for dessert after the Friday night dance. Beyond that, I’ve been wondering if I should schedule some time to work with all of the people Lord Fabulous gave me as options before making a decision on a new primary dance coach. That seems like the smartest move, doesn’t it? Informed choices are always the best choices.

There’s also rumor of another large open social dance being put on at one of the other ballroom studios around town on Saturday night. Maybe I will gently push everyone I know to go to that event with me. This seems like just the sort of abrupt change that we will all need to go to some therapeutic dance field trip together to get past.

One thought on “Lacrimosa Dies Illa

  1. Yeah, I’ve seen my studio go through a lot of instructors and they do seem to leave abruptly. I know most studios don’t promise you a specific instructor but then they also want you to stay so you have some flexibility. I’d say you are right to work with all the other options just to see who fits best. Good luck. Finding a new instructor is a challenge.

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