Leaving Footprints All Over Town

We finalized a couple of other routines during my last coaching lesson with Lord Fabulous on Saturday. He now says that when the three of us meet each week, we are going to switch between International and American styles every other week. This past weekend being the first like this, we started with American styles. We went through and completed a Foxtrot routine in the first half of our time together. It reminds me a lot of my last Foxtrot routine, except it seems like every figure finishes CatchMyBreath1with a three-step turn. It almost makes me feel weird with how many times we will end up doing that turn in each of the two minute heats. Once we finished up putting that routine together and going through it a few times, we switched over to Viennese Waltz and finally put some order to all the pieces of that we had been working on for the last couple of months. That one shouldn’t be difficult to get memorized, just difficult to find space to practice the whole thing without running in to anyone. Lately it seems like there are always a ton of people milling about on the floor at the Land of the Loft, making it hard to go through things there. I’m wondering if I’m going to have to set aside some time to stay there late and see if I can monopolize the floor after most people go home.

Part of what we did when finalizing these routines was to put in some options for variation. This competition is being billed as something more like advanced social dancing, rather than the fixed competition routines we had worked out for the last competition I was in. The ballroom routines are just a baseline to use that can be altered depending on what other people are doing on the floor. The Latin and Rhythm routines shouldn’t have that problem necessarily. Last year when I did this same competition, there was one extremely high-level student that was there using the space to practice for an out-of-state competition she was doing the next month, so a lot of the other competitors were thrown off by what she was doing that took up most of the floor space. If they had told us last year that it was more like advanced social dancing and it was ok to break routine, I think I would have prepared for it in a much different manner. This year, I will be going into it with enough variation (and much more experience) to avoid getting thrown off by anyone doing crazy things that aren’t expected. Here’s hoping that is a huge improvement over last year. I’m excited to be able to directly compare my scores to see if I’ve gotten any better.

The lesson I had with Lady Q was also on Saturday, and we finally finished stepping through the initial layout of the Paso Doble routine. None of the pieces are all that difficult, but it will take a couple of runs to get it memorized, and the real test comes once that happens. Generally, when I have a routine down in memory and I’m feeling more confident doing it, I will take larger steps.  There are some pieces that may have to be adjusted if we find that we can cover more than the allotted space while doing the routine, since it is built to start and finish in the same spot once you go all the way around the floor. Lady Q told us that she doesn’t really want us to hold back and take smaller steps to force the figures to fit the room, rather she will alter the routine based on where we end up using the normal length of my stride. With that routine also now finished and added to the list, that gives me five total routines that have been mapped out to completion. I’m pretty sure that I technically also have an International Viennese Waltz routine, since I’m still considered Bronze level and there are only four figures to choose from, but I’ll just keep that in my back pocket until I’m given the green light to use that.

I also got an invite from Indiana (the girl I met New Year’s Eve who turned out to be a dance instructor) to come to a class that she was teaching at a studio downtown. She was in town for the weekend, getting things set up to move down here in a couple of CatchMyBreath2weeks, and had wanted to put together a group class so that she could meet some people from the area and get to know what the dance scene was like, and let people know what she was like as an instructor. She billed the class as Advanced American Waltz, so it sounded really intriguing. Putting the word out to some of my fellow dancers from the Land of the Loft, we had a small-ish class with her and a lot of floor space on a Sunday afternoon to work with. Indiana had a particular pattern that she wanted to go through with everyone, something built for Waltz but that would also function for Foxtrot with some minor changes. While dancing with Indiana, I talked with her about moving. She was super excited to be coming to live in our fair city with all of us, and said that she would even love to accompany us on some of our dance field trips that we take once she is all settled in. The craziest part of that class was near the end, when some people started showing up for some kind of competition class. They were warming up in the back corner – doing push-ups and jumping rope, then they started running laps around the studio. They looked very serious the whole time. I would much rather do a serious workout with a softer floor, but that’s just my personal preference.

Otherwise, it’s the last week of the month, so all the group classes at the Land of the Loft are wrapping up. Wednesday night was the last Jive class. We spent some time going over a figure that they kept calling “side by side kicks,” though when I originally learned the East Coast Swing version they called it the Mooch. I’m not sure why exactly they decided to call it something different now. If Lady Q had called it by the name I knew, I don’t think she would have had to step through it so slowly. I was expecting there to be something different, but there wasn’t. I’ll probably still refer to it by the name I am more used to when I talk to people about it (you know, all those times I’m wandering around and randomly fall into Mooch-related conversations with strangers). Thursday night we had the last Rumba class of the month with Hot Tottie. CatchMyBreath3I started the class worried I was going to be the only guy there, but Jack showed up a few minutes late to help out. That improved my mood greatly. Corte was in class with us tonight, and I spent my time dancing with her talking about her Little Mermaid t-shirt, and how I could probably sing all the songs from that movie even to this day. Luckily she didn’t ask me to try, or I’m sure that would have caused the class to end early and everyone to rush out of the building.

It’s almost February, can you believe it? There is one more International Waltz class tomorrow night, and then we start new classes next month, with all new fun things to review. Sparkledancer and I have been having discussions when we see each other at the Land of the Loft about possibly starting to do a coaching session every other week with Lady Q. I think both of us have kind of gotten fixated on the idea of really having a routine down for every dance style by the time the April competition shows up, and having Lady Q work with us as well as Lord Fabulous should help make that a reality. Plus, Lady Q will be able to go through some things with Sparkledancer that Lord Fabulous just won’t know, because she knows the female part better than he does. So, with a new month coming up, we may start doing that as well. There’s all kinds of things to look forward to in February!

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