Lately, I’ve been getting the feeling that Sir Steven likes to make me work on Tango because he likes to see me squirm. Leading up to my last coaching session, I was feeling pretty good about things. The last Hustle group class of January allowed me to pick up one more new Hustle move, one that no one else in class could do very easily. It was this syncopated roll-in move where you give the lady a turn while rolling her in across your body. The trick to the move was that you had to remember to take a couple of side steps while turning her then rolling her in, otherwise she would roll right past your body and things wouldn’t work properly. Being able to pull the move off made me feel good about things, and with all the other new Hustle figures I’ve managed to add to my list this month, I no longer feel like my Hustle is completely stale. Then on Saturday afternoon I met up with Sparkledancer and Sir Steven at the Endless Dance Hall, and he wants to spend most of the time on Tango, and my good dance mood just falls apart. I don’t know why Tango has been such a struggle for me, but I feel like I am always doing things wrong. That afternoon for some reason I always seemed to have my head in the wrong place. Even when I thought I was doing so well keeping it where I was supposed to, I guess from the outside it did not look like it was where it should be. We also briefly touched on Waltz that afternoon, and at one point as we were going down our first short wall Sir Steven walked up behind me and pulled my head back and farther to the left. It startled me a lot, since I had been so focused on what I was doing I didn’t even hear him walk up behind me. Do you think they sell those head traction braces somewhere where I could get my hands on one? Maybe that would help me keep from letting my head float out-of-place while dancing…
As we were getting toward the end, I think Sir Steven could tell that I was frustrated with things, so he had us go change our shoes and we went back to looking at Pasodoble for the remainder of our time. We worked on the standard cape movement that I’m sure you’ve al seen, just to play with the shaping of things. The second half of the cape – where the lady is traveling from the lead’s left to the right – he was having us pull our arms (my left, her right) up to make a large, round shape. It turns out that I am currently incapable of pulling my arm up as far as he would like while keeping my shoulder down. I tried, and at one point Sir Steven even came over and put one hand on top of my shoulder and then grabbed behind my triceps and pulled my arm upward while pushing my shoulder down. This caused me to buckle at the knees, because I just couldn’t bend that much without pain in my shoulder. That’s something I’m really trying to work on. The last few weeks I’ve set aside my weights during my normal workouts and done mostly Yoga, trying to fix the flexibility I lost when I spent all that time putting on upper-body muscle mass. I’m going to have to shed some of that in the process of regaining my flexibility I think, but if I really want this performance to be as awesome as possible, this will all be worth it.
One more of those crazy things we all do in the name of dance…
This past weekend I had also volunteered to play host at another singles dance party, like the last one I helped out at back in November. The crowd that showed up this time was slightly smaller than the last time I had hosted one of these events, and they were all much older than me. There were a few familiar faces that I recognized from other dance parties I have gone to, so it seems like word of the event has been travelling through the Dance Kingdom and some more experienced dancers are starting to join us. As the class before the dance party began, we had more men than women show up – if you’ve been dancing anywhere, for any length of time, you know that that is an abnormal situation. Luckily we had a couple of female volunteers like Bony who joined in with the class to even out the ratios. Up until now, I was used to having to be a part of class during these events because there were more women than men, but this time I ended up watching the door to collect money from any stragglers who showed up to the party late. We had Sir Steven there to teach the class just like last time, and as before he stuck with the format of teaching one ballroom dance, two Latin dances and one Swing dance. For ballroom, this time he went with Waltz. The Waltz done here didn’t get much beyond everyone doing box steps in place – I think there was an under-arm turn thrown in, but I was only sort-of half paying attention because other things were going on. After ballroom, they went with Rumba for the Latin dance. Rumba has been pretty consistent at all the events like this I have hosted – the simplest form of Rumba works great as a slow dance to contrast with everything else that’s more up-tempo. From Rumba Sir Steven demonstrated how the same steps would work for Salsa, so you could do things slow or fast without having to change your footwork. And last he went over Hustle for the Swing dance. Hustle always makes crowds of people who were around when this dance style was new happy. You can see the ladies break into huge smiles as they go through things, and occasionally the men will pull out random Hustle moves that they learned long ago in faraway places during their youth to surprise their dance partners. It was fun to watch that part of the class from the outside for once (and much more relaxing as well).
After the class was over, I came to the middle to speak to all the attendees for a bit (of the volunteer hosts, I had the loudest voice). Just like last time, I told them that we would be putting on a bunch of songs, a majority of which that would use the dance styles that they just learned, and let them mingle with each other, but they shouldn’t feel forced to dance in any specific way, or even dance at all. Last time, when I gave this speech at the beginning of the dance, I think it really helped people go out on the floor and just have fun. Obviously, there is a secret hope that people who attend these events will not only meet someone for a date, but find out that they like dancing and come to join us in all the dance adventures available throughout the Dance Kingdom, so getting everyone out on the floor and dancing without worrying about being judged is a great way to encourage that. To promote people learning to dance, I did end up dancing with a lot of the ladies throughout the evening, leading them through things they would otherwise never attempt with the other guys there. I also got out on the floor a few times with Sparkledancer, and she and I just did things to show off and impress people.
I guess I would call the event a success. I was a bit sad that there weren’t as many people this time as I had hoped, and fewer people came even than the last time we had held one of these events. However, last time we did this, the older crowd had mostly dissipated before 10:30PM, and this time people were still there and dancing right up until the end when the building closed, and we had to forcibly send people out to dance somewhere else. One of the couples that was there dancing together right up until the end apparently used to dance together many moons ago. The lady told me earlier in the evening that they used to do some kind of dancing together, it sounded like it was more than a casual thing, but then lost touch somehow. She was glad to see him here after all that time, and they spent much of the evening with each other. It was cool to see things work out for someone like that, even if we then had to shoo them out of the building at the end of the night so that the staff could close the place down. Here’s hoping that they manage to go out dancing together more often now that they have found each other once again.
There is a rumor going around that the Prime Dance Hall, the place where many of the Dance Lords and Ladies in the Dance Kingdom cut their teeth before going out and founding many of the other dance halls that I have frequented, is having a dance this month that I might be allowed to attend! That will be the first time I get to set foot in those hallowed halls, and I am excited at the prospect. Will that dream turn into a reality for me? If I go there, will they laugh at my dancing and send me on my way in shame? Will I be able to find any dance friends to go along with me to experience the majesty? I’ll let you know as the details unfold!