It seems like all of the things I have done this week for dance started out to be serious, but ended up devolving into laughter somehow…
Saturday afternoon was a good example. Sir Steven, Sparkledancer and I started out looking at our Pasodoble showcase routine that day. We started out looking at a section that will run right before one of the line breaks (that’s probably not the best term to use for something in dance in a typed document, but I find it amusing). We began the piece by doing a Promenade/Counter-Promenade run for a twelve count, then when we get to the end I lead Sparkledancer through what Sir Steven has been calling a Ronde, but looks more like a roundhouse kick to me before she walks around me. Once she makes it all the way around in a six count, we split apart and do some synchronized movements down the floor back the way we came. As we get back to where we started, we do some quick steps, and some have us linking arms like we are Do-si-doing in a square dance, before I go around behind her and into a forward lunge to hit my line while she steps behind me and leans back in a semi-Reverse Warrior type pose for her line. Getting through all of that, we started in on what will be the lift at the end of the routine, adding on a piece at the beginning to help us get into position. To start, we are now traveling down the floor at a 45-degree angle toward the audience for an eight count. At the end, I jump toward her (it’s actually like a hopping motion with me landing with my left leg crossed behind my right) as she spins around, putting her arm up so I can grasp her hand. Then I turn her around to face the audience before spinning her toward them and away from me as I take three steps back. Then… things got hilarious. Sparkledancer thinks it’s really funny to put her fingers up on either side of her head and paw the ground with her foot before running toward me. I had to stop her a few times before she hit me because I was laughing too hard to catch her safely. I might have even one time turned around to pretend to run away from her when she did that. Sir Steven and I also had a conversation around how if Sparkledancer didn’t slide along the floor properly when I set her down after the lift, we could work out a way where I could either give her a push with one of my feet (not a kick, we made sure to tell her it wouldn’t be that), or Sir Steven could throw her a rope from off the dance floor and pull her in the direction she was supposed to slide.
There was another couple who was on using the floor behind us in the Endless Dance Hall, and I think they might have thought we were kind of crazy because we were laughing so hard while working on things. They were being so serious while they were practicing, so I couldn’t tell if they were amused by what we were doing, or put off by all our laughter. I like to believe that my silliness is one of my endearing qualities, but I don’t know if other people who have been practicing dance for a long time see things that way. I know that new dancers find it fascinating, since I am often laughing while doing dance moves they think are complicated, but experienced dancers may be fascinated with me because I’m terrible compared to them and I’m laughing like a crazy person.
I have had Sparkledancer over to my place to practice our showcase pieces a couple of times this week since Saturday So far, we’ve spent much of the time working on that one long section we started with during our coaching session, to try to get things completely memorized, and also up to speed. There are a couple of steps near the end of the section, right before we hit our lines, that just don’t seem entirely possible to do in time with the music. We can work through it slow, and can complete it successfully just below tempo, but once we move up and hit tempo those few steps just don’t seem possible. Sir Steven did mention that he might put in a pause right before that figure to break up the quick movements before that from all the quick movements afterward, so it’s possible that could really help. Otherwise I think we have the rest of that section down now. We’ve also worked on the steps that lead up to the lift. We haven’t actually attempted to do this version of the lift outside of a dance hall yet – we worked on the previous version where I was able to roll her in and pick her up over a weekend at my house once, but this new running start she takes to get us into it doesn’t seem like it will fit in the small portion of my dwelling that has a wooden floor. At least, not without her hitting a wall somewhere along the way, either as I pivot around holding her or as I try to slide her out along the floor. We’ll see if we feel brave enough sometime to try it out by taking very small steps to stay in the exact middle of the room. Even though we didn’t actually try the part where she runs toward me and leaps into my arms, as we covered the piece where I would spin her out and walk away she would still put up her finger-horns and paw the ground like a cartoon bull does before charging. She told me last time we practiced that there is a good chance she won’t be able to resist doing that during our actual performance because of how funny it is.
I guess I need to try to explain to her she’s actually the cape in this matador dance and not the bull…
Monday night at the Latin Technique class I went to was also fun. True to her word, Points came to class that night to take advantage of her all-month free group class card. Lord Junior asked Points and Bony what they wanted to work on that night, since I had requested to do Jive if no one else was going to speak up, but we ended up looking at Rumba. He took a set of figures that he likes to use in his own Rumba routines and gave it to us to work on that night. We started with three Opening Outs, followed by a Spiral for the ladies, and then two Open Telemarks going left. We worked on those for about half the class in an amusing manner – Bony didn’t like getting so close to Lord Junior during the class for some reason, so he kept stopping to tell the ladies that they couldn’t be so far away while we were doing the Telemarks or else the guy would be flailing to get all the way around them. I think the first time we did this, Bony was unintentionally far away from him, but then every time she danced with him after he made a big deal about it she might have been doing it on purpose just to make us all laugh. After we managed to get through the Telemarks successfully, Lord Junior tacked on a non-syllabus figure that we could use to close things out and get back into a more normal dance position, just in case we wanted to use these during a social dance to practice. He threatened that we would come back to this same pattern next week to continue adding on to it and make it even slightly more difficult, just to keep things challenging for us. At the end of class, I stopped Points to ask her how she felt about things, since this was her first time in the Technique class. She had never gone through such advanced figures before, and I could tell during class she was feeling like she as in over her head. She did a lot better than I think she gave herself credit for though. I told her jokingly that the next time we were both at a social dance I was going to pull this out during a Rumba without telling her, and she kind of grimaced at me. That should keep her on her toes the next time we dance together!
Busy things coming up this month! This weekend I have a chance to go to another dance party at the City Dance Hall, which I’m excited about. I like that venue, and I think this time there might be a lot more people I know tagging along, which always makes things more fun. The next weekend I have also heard that there’s another Silver-level workshop going on at the Endless Dance Hall, and I’m kind of excited about that. The last one I went to that specifically said that it was Silver-level helped me come to grips that I might actually belong in that category in the Waltz, so I’m hoping that this next one can do the same thing for my Foxtrot and Rumba (this will be a double feature workshop!). Sure, it will be International Foxtrot and Rumba, but that’s OK. Also, since I raved about how good it felt going through the last one, Sparkledancer has made sure she has no other obligations next weekend so that she can also go to the workshop and get a Silver-level confidence boost of her own. It should be fun! Are you going to go too?