Hustle class this past Friday ended up being a bit boring. Somehow we had more men than women for the class. I was really surprised at that; that almost never happens. We had started out doing rather simple things again, and since I had a lot of time where I wasn’t dancing with a partner, I started going through the Follower’s steps just to challenge myself. I’m not sure if I could now go through and follow someone’s lead through all the figures, but I would have a better chance now of faking it at least. We managed to get to get through doing the closed- and open-position basic figures and a couple of different turns. Sir Steven spent a few minutes explaining why we were going through and doing the basics without the rock step like we had done the previous two weeks. Basically it comes down to the way that the Hustle has evolved over the years as a ballroom dance style. The rock step is the way they did things back in the ‘70s, and having the men point their legs off to the side is the more modern style. Either way will work, he just said that whatever is picked when you start dancing to a song, you stay consistent until the end of song to keep your Follower happy. Near the end of class we started to talk about the way to do a figure called the Half-Nelson. We spent time going through how best to get the lady’s arm twisted around behind her back without yanking the arm out of the socket. We never got the chance to finish up the figure beyond the arm position before time ran out, but Sir Steven did demonstrate how the full figure looked with Points to show the entire class so that they had something to look forward to doing in next Friday’s class.
Everyone was finally back from their vacations this past Saturday, so I got to meet up with both Sparkledancer and Sir Steven in the afternoon for coaching, and get back to work. I had talked to Sparkledancer on the phone after what I wrote a couple of weeks ago, because she wanted some further explanation of what I was talking about that Sir Steven and I had worked on during out time without her. Let me tell you, when we finally got together and Sir Steven could both demonstrate the idea with her, and then I could try it out, and there wasn’t that awkward half-hearted attempt we both had trying to fake it with each other, things made a lot more sense. Sparkledancer ended up being totally cool with the pelvic thrust idea. Sure, there was a bit of giggling the first couple of times we did certain things (honestly, I think that deep down, none of us really progress beyond awkward teenager mentality), but we managed to work through things pretty well. It’s going to take some practice for sure, but I have a good feeling we’ll be able to manage this new concept together. It will add one more thing to the list of things that I do while dancing that would sound awkward if I tried to explain it to non-dancers, so I will probably never tell my family or friends about it. That’s another reason why I explain things here in my dance notes, behind the veil of Internet anonymity! Plus, a few of you have probably tried the technique before, either having pressed your core forward into your partner to make them stretch back, or having stretched back because you felt your partner press their core into you. It truly only looks like a pelvic thrust when I am watching myself try to do it in a mirror without a partner, I promise. With an actual partner, it doesn’t look out of the ordinary at all.
We worked through that particular concept with the first part of both our Foxtrot and Waltz routines. We didn’t go through the whole routines – Sparkledancer had asked at the beginning of the lesson to take things easy on her, because she was worried that she would have forgotten everything in her two weeks off. There was one point when Sir Steven was going over a part in our Foxtrot routine, and comparing the things he wanted to see us doing to the Wing figure that he saw us doing in Waltz during the last workshop we went to with Judge Dread. After going over everything, he asked us to put it into the routine and see how it looked. I stepped through the portion of the routine with Sparkledancer fast before we went through anything with any kind of rhythm or technique, because she was giving me a look that told me she didn’t know what portion of the routine we were going through. That helped get us both on the same page. Once we got done working through Waltz, we changed gears (and shoes) and looked at Cha-Cha for a while. We managed to move beyond doing the basic chasses that day with both of us there, and we got into doing New Yorkers. Somehow, when working on technique in either Latin or Rhythm dances, it always comes back to doing New Yorkers. I’m not sure why that is…
I convinced Sparkledancer to come to the dance party that was going on that night so that we would have a chance to walk through some things once or twice. The dance party was going to be all kinds of fun because I found out that Indiana was going to be teaching a lesson beforehand, and I haven’t had a chance to see her in quite a while. Before the party started, I was standing over in the corner talking with some of the other people I knew about life and dancing and whatnot, and Indiana came over to join us. She was worn out from having been in heels all day teaching a children’s ballroom workshop. I guess the children she works with have a bit more… enthusiasm… than her older students. She asked about the Cha-Cha class she was planning on doing, to see if she could figure out something that we didn’t already know to go over. I thought that was really cool of her. When the class started, there were a few people in attendance who had no Cha-Cha background at all, so we spent the first twenty minutes or so just going through the basics. When we had everyone on the same page, she had us go through a figure where the Leads would do a turn and swap hands behind our backs before chasseing to the left perpendicular to the Follower while she did a forward Lock Step. When we got to the end of the chasse, the Follower would start doing a Crossover Break, but we would stop her with our left arm, and then we would chasse to the right while the Follower did a three-step turn in front of us. At the end of the chasse, we would switch hands and do a New Yorker with our partner to bleed off the momentum from the previous move, and then we could go on to whatever else we wanted.
The dance afterward was a good time. Sparkledancer and I didn’t get to practice together as much as I had hoped for; since she had been gone for so long she had to catch up with everyone she knew that was there, which turned out to be really good for her (more on that later). I got to watch the spectacle of HotDog making a move on one of the ladies that came from the Great Dance Hall by the Lake. There is a group of them that has been coming to a lot of events lately. We’ll call them the Condiment Kids. Three of the four were there that night – two of the girls (Mayo and Relish) and their male cohort Mustard. Anyway, HotDog made the mistake of letting people know that he was interested in Relish (as many a good hot dog would be), so Sparkledancer asked him if he was going to get her phone number. He made some offhanded comment that it would be super easy to get, and would only take him a few seconds, so Sparkledancer told him that she wouldn’t believe him until it actually happened. For the record, it didn’t take a few seconds for him to do it – he actually waited until he was just about to leave the party for the night, after she had had a couple of glasses of wine before he asked her. He did succeed in getting her number, so good for him, but it wasn’t as quick of a process as he boasted about. So to finish what I mentioned earlier… being all danced out for the night, a bunch of us ‘kids’ were heading out to make our way home. As we walked by the front desk, The Prez asked Sparkledancer if she could talk for a few minutes before she left, so Sparkledancer bid HotDog and I good night and we took off. Sparkledancer called me before I got home, excited to tell me all about her talk – apparently The Prez thinks that she is so good at talking to everyone and being a Dance Ambassador that she wants Sparkledancer to join the local Royal Dance Court. There are some things that Sparkledancer would have to finish up first, but I think she is going to do it. I have to say, I am pretty jealous of that. I am going to have to step up my game and be a better Dance Ambassador so that maybe someday I could be asked to become a member of a Royal Dance Court. Do you think that kind of power would go to my head?
During Latin Technique class Monday night we did some Rumba. We had a new face join us in class this week. Actually, she’s not really a new face, I’ve talked to her quite a bit, but she has never come to that class before. I’m going to have to call her Bean (it makes me laugh). Bean has told me that she used to teach Yoga, and now she is interested in becoming a dance teacher. Lord Junior has taken her under his wing, so I have seen her around the Electric Dance Hall quite a bit. The figure that Lord Junior wanted to work on in Rumba was the Opening Outs, but we got into them from a Natural Top and then had the lady do a Spiral out of it. He wanted the ladies to do the fancier version of the Opening Outs where it looks like they put their arm out, then retract it, then put it out again before the Lead flips them over to the other side to repeat with their other arm. This was a fairly easy step for the guys, since our part is just a Cucaracha whether the lady is doing the fancy arms or not. Dancing with Bean was interesting – we had never really danced together before, and she is tiny. I felt like if I accidentally flexed my arm while we were in frame, I would have crushed her ribs. Lord Junior spent a lot of time working with her on things to make sure she could get it perfectly, since she wants to teach this stuff to others soon. Abracadaniel and I didn’t get too many comments on what we were doing, since our part was fairly simple. Either that or we just did it perfectly the whole time, because we are awesome!
So much dancing this weekend! There is a dance party tomorrow night, coaching on Saturday afternoon, a dance field trip to the Cherished Dance Hall on Saturday night, and then another workshop with Judge Dread on Sunday afternoon that I think I will end up going to as well. Whoa. What kind of dancing are you doing this weekend?