Work It Hard Like It’s Your Profession

The Friday night classes at the Land of the Loft on the day after Thanksgiving turned out to be weird. Because of some work commitments, I didn’t get to stay for the social dance that night or go out with everyone for dessert afterward, which was kind of sad. But… Bony came to group class that night, and she brought Flexy with her. If you remember, Flexy was banished from the Dance Kingdom quite a while ago (see this post for more on that), so seeing her enter the Land of the Loft was quite the shock. Apparently she had come back home from college for the holiday weekend, and had been having dinner with Bony beforehand and was convinced during the meal to come and make an appearance at the studio. She didn’t come prepared to dance with us, and didn’t want to use Bony’s extra pair of dance shoes, so the whole time she was there she just sat in a chair by the front window watching everyone else dance. Lord Fabulous and Lady Q never acknowledged her presence while I was there, and from what I was told after I left they continued to ignore her the whole time. So, that was pretty weird.

Lord Scarry was also there to spend some time with us. Because I had gotten there earlier than I normally would since I had the day off, I got talked into sitting in with everyone during the low level East Coast Swing class that Lady Q and Lord Scarry were giving that evening. He and I were in the back corner during the class when Lady Q had the men and women separated on both sides of the room, and we kept making silly comments about what was going on for WorkB1laughs. I probably should have taken the class more seriously, but it was the day after a holiday and I was just feeling silly. Lord Scarry also joined us in our last International Rumba class of November as we went through the final pieces of the figure we had been working on all month. As we rotated through partners and practiced the figure, I ended up in the front by the windows, right in front of where Flexy was sitting. Because she had just been staring at what everyone in the room was doing (when she wasn’t doing things on her phone), I kept making faces at her every time I noticed her watching me to try and make her laugh.

The dance field trip I went on this past weekend was to a rather impressive location. It looked like an old warehouse that had been converted into a ballroom. The floor was immense. I spent the first couple of Waltz and Foxtrot numbers trying to see if I could get all the way around the floor before the song ended. I failed miserably at that, of course. With songs of higher tempo I could do it, but the slower the song the less likely I was to get more than three quarters of the way around. With so much space, there was plenty of room to try out all kinds of things without worrying about hitting anyone who might be passing nearby. Our little group who attended this outing was smaller than normal, due to most of the regulars being out of town for the holiday. Several people whom had said they were going to show up also did not make an appearance, so it ended up just being me, The Heartbreak Kid, Sparkledancer, Bony and Gable. Sparkledancer had some pain in her knee and was wearing a brace on it, so when she and I danced together we tried not to do anything too intense for fear of having it act up. The worst I think was one Viennese Waltz both of us wanted to do – as the only ones in our little group that knew how to do Viennese Waltz, we went out there together to show off. It was fun, but I think that was a little too hard on her leg. She didn’t end up stay the whole night because of it. Near the end, the pain got to be too much for her so she decided to go home and give her leg a good rest.

With a smaller group and lots of open floor space, it was easy for us to work with each other on things. For instance, The Heartbreak Kid, though he originally wanted to learn to dance so he WorkB2could do swing dancing, hadn’t really learned much East Coast Swing yet. Sparkledancer and I spent some time going through some basic steps and turns with him so that he would have something more he could do at our next Friday night social dance at the Land of the Loft. We also had an audience apparently watching what we were doing that I didn’t notice until it was too late. I did one (and only one) Tango the entire night, and it was with Sparkledancer. We were just playing around, and I don’t even remember what steps we were doing. Many songs later, an older gentleman who had been sitting against the wall near the corner where our little troop was sitting came up to Sparkledancer and me and started to talk about “proper” technique for leading a girl into promenade position. I couldn’t hear much of what he was saying over the music, but he was being very gentle about turning, even pulling Sparkledancer up to demonstrate gently turning with her to get into promenade position. It was nothing like what we had learned in all the Tango lessons we had taken before. In everything we had learned, Tango was always promoted as very dramatic dance, and we were told to make the movements crisp and energetic to amplify the effect. Because of that, I don’t know if I will ever use the gentle movement he was showing us. I didn’t get a chance to talk to this mysterious social dance teacher again that night, but he pulled Sparkledancer out for a Waltz later in the evening and apparently was commenting to her during that dance that she needed to reach her legs more when she did the steps with him. I guess that amounted to our free dance lessons for the night.

This month in group classes we are doing Bolero on Wednesday nights with Lady Q. The first class went… well, it went. There are a lot more people in this class it seems than there were when I took the class the last time it was offered several months ago. Based on how far we got in this first class of the month, one could tell that many of them were not exactly ready to be in there with us. With this month being shortened because of the holiday at the end, we should be going through the figures in the syllabus more quickly than normal if we hope to get through everything before the month is over. In our first class, we didn’t even manage to make it all the way through just the first figure because many of the people were struggling to make sense of it. As much as I tried to help the ladies who rotated through that I had a chance to work with, some of them just struggled mentally to make sense of the footwork.
Honestly though, that wasn’t the worst part of the class for me. I was having a really hard time because only two of the ladies in the class were anywhere close to my height. All the other women were so much shorter than me that by the time class was over my left shoulder felt like it was going to disconnect from my body because of the odd angle I had kept my arm at for most of the night to match my arm to theirs. I should bring some rope to class with me next week in case we go through the same exercise again. I should find one of those shoulder braces before class next week that would allow me to lock my arm into that position. It might help take some of the strain off.

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