Come Let Me Take You On A Party Ride

Well, I did it! Finally. This weekend I got the choreography from Lord Fabulous for the last routines that we hadn’t done yet, so I have something for everything now. ElectricBoogie1EVERYTHING. Some of the new ones are fairly easy. The American Rumba routine seems like simple figures in an order that is fairly close to our previous routine from the last competition. The Hustle routine is fairly short and pretty straightforward in syncopated timing, so I don’t think there will be much trouble keeping that down. For West Coast Swing we weren’t given any direction at all. It was confirmed that much like last year during the Spring Fling, this year Sparkledancer and I would probably be the only two on the floor again, so we were told to use any figures we know in any order that we want. Since we won’t really be doing much different than we did during the September competition, I’ve been trying to think of ways to make our West Coast Swing performance memorable and fun. I’ve been wondering if it would be difficult to dance in sunglasses. I’m not kidding – I think it might be funny to go out during the last West Coast Swing heat, pull out sunglasses from my pocket for Sparkledancer and I and put them on really dramatically before starting the dance. It would certainly be something different from last year, and I’m fairly certain the audience would get a big kick out of that move. I just need to go through all of the moves while the two of us are wearing sunglasses to make sure that the turns don’t cause the sunglasses to go flying off into the crowd…

It’s the American Cha-Cha that I am most worried about of these final four routines. I’m sure by most people’s standards, the figures in this Cha-Cha routine are not that difficult. With a little practice, I’m sure I can even get them down in order so that I can dance it without messing up. The hard part is going to be making it look like proper Cha-Cha. Also, there are shine chases in the routine, and I just don’t like shine chases. I may inadvertently leave them out during performance, or change them into progressive lock steps, which I like so much better. Sir Steven told me that progressive lock steps are essentially a different form of the shine chase, but I see them as two completely different things. The only figure that we added into this routine that I didn’t know prior to getting it in writing was something called the ‘progressive sweetheart,’ which is like a normal Cha-Cha sweetheart except you do this funny running back and forth thing in the middle. So, much like Hustle, there will end up being a lot of practice of this routine to try and get it memorized, but it’s so far down on my list of desire to do that if we don’t practice it enough to memorize it and just do leading and following during the competition, I wouldn’t be sad.

Otherwise it’s been all practice this week for me when I’m not in a coaching session with someone. Any time that I might have otherwise devoted to group classes or (cough) having a life has been relegated to working on these routines. In fact, during last Friday night’s dance party at the Land of the Loft, I convinced Sparkledancer to come out and dance in the hallway with me so that we could work on our routines without being irritating to all the newcomers on the floor. It allowed us to repeatedly run the same things over and over without getting in someone’s way, other than the few people who came out to watch us for a while during the night. At home, I’ve put a list of all the different routines up on a wall and divided them into four groups so that I know what dance styles to work on each night. I should be able, over the course of four nights, to practice every routine before repeating a dance style. Much like when you are lifting weights you don’t want to work the same body part two days in a row, I don’t want to work on the same dance style two nights in a row and neglect other things that I am less excited about (sigh… like Cha-Cha). I have tried to stay very well-rounded in my fitness for many years, and I’m going to try and take some of the principals I’ve learned from that endeavor and apply it to my dance training and hope to get results that are just as good.

Last Saturday night I went to the *official* grand opening party of the same place I had gone to party at the week before – the Electric Dance Hall. Much had changed in that short week between the two events as the man that the royalty put in charge of affairs at the Electric Dance Hall, known as Lord Junior, had been hard at work getting everything in order for the party we were all attending. The ballroom looked opened for business now. All the walls had been freshly painted and adorned with artwork, the bar area had been fully stocked with an assortment of high-class wines mounted to the wall on display, chairs had been setup around the perimeter of the room for the event guests to sit in and relax during the evenings performances, and the Lords and Ladies of the Dance Kingdom who were in attendance were all dressed in their finest to help welcome this new land into the fold. They started the event with a Salsa group ElectricBoogie2class geared toward newcomers. With this being a brand new dance hall, they had expected most of the attendants of the party to be newer students, so the class catered to that. The class was fairly large, but we all managed to rotate through partners without getting all mixed up. Lord Junior was quite amazed by this, since apparently he always has trouble getting ladies to rotate to new partners. I guess telling everyone to move counterclockwise makes things too confusing for some people, even with a big clock hanging on the wall. We covered the basic Salsa footwork, a couple of turns, and a few variations of the head loop to get out of handshake position – nothing overly fancy. They promised that they would put on a fair number of Salsa songs throughout the dance party to give people a chance to practice. As the class wound down, we were released to our own devices to dance the night away.

Throughout the night, we had a couple of breaks for some performances. The first was a few routines with some higher level students, one of which was an amateur couple dancing an International Rumba together, and the other was a student dancing the Paso Doble with Lord Junior. I had talked with the amateur couple before the party started. I arrived early enough to witness them out on the floor working through the same moves to the same song over and over for about fifteen minutes, so I knew they were up to something. The female part of that duo told me that they were nervous to be getting up in front of everyone, so while they were out on the floor during their performance I did my best to cheer them on. Watching the Paso Doble routine made me a bit jealous, since my skills with Paso Doble don’t look anything like what they did on the floor that night. Maybe someday I will learn some more fancy things, but right now I look like a total novice by comparison. The second performance much later in the evening was Lord Junior and his professional dance partner doing a couple of numbers. She was out there wearing a dress that covered next-to-nothing, and he was wearing a shirt covered in so many rhinestones that must have required him to be very secure in his masculinity to put on. They started with an ElectricBoogie3International Rumba routine that I recognized some of the figures in, because they looked like more advanced versions of figures in my current International Rumba routine. Seeing that made me happy, and I made sure to point things out to Sparkledancer in my excitement. Afterward, they did a Jive routine that they must have learned by taking karate based on the number of kicks they did during the routine. It’s a good thing no one else was on the floor, otherwise they would have ended up with very sore shins. After that performance, everyone went back to dancing, but I didn’t stick around much longer since I had to go home and get some work done. The party was a lot of fun and I’m sure the next time I hear about them hosting one at this location I will be there.

My friend Sparkledancer has been telling me all kinds of harrowing (and sort of hilarious) tales about her struggle to replace her dance shoes. She had been ElectricBoogie4using the same pair for the longest time, until they finally fell apart. From what she told me, the shoes she had worked well, but weren’t great. Now she is looking for a pair that better fits her feet, but since there are no retailers nearby that carry shoes in her size, she has been looking online and trying to figure out what to order without being able to try anything on. This is one of those times where it is nice being a guy – our shoes sizes are pretty standard, so I am almost guaranteed that if I order a replacement pair of shoes in the same size, even from a different company, they should fit almost the same. I’ll have to tell you more about her grand quest to find shoes next time…

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One Reply to “Come Let Me Take You On A Party Ride”

  1. I can relate to Sparkle Dancer’s shoe woes. I have very narrow, long feet and have a heckuva time finding shoes, particularly the closed-toe variety, that fit well. I’ve found that the British-made brands tend to run narrow, but even with those, have spent a bundle on return postage.

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