Feels like a quiet week this past week. I had to meet with Sparkledancer and Sir Steven for coaching last Thursday night since Sir Steven was heading out over the weekend to some big competition to compete with his partner and make his own coach proud. I heard that he did really well, taking first in some of the events. I haven’t seen him long enough to hear the whole story from his mouth on how things went, so hopefully when I see him this coming Saturday there will be fun dance stories for him to tell me about! But, take heart – just because it feels like it’s been a quiet week, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have any fun dance stories to tell you about now! Let’s see, what did I do in the dance world in the last seven days…
As I mentioned last week, this past weekend the Royal Dance Court I am a member of was hosting a social dance, so I got to go and play host for a while. I’m getting good at hosting parties. Maybe I should look into changing careers so that I can do this more often? Since it was mid-January, this was a winter-themed dance party. Of course, winter in my part of the country just means that if only gets to 45° during the day, which still requires people to bundle up in winter coats. The only snow we had for our dance party were some cutout snowflakes that were hung in front of the dance mirrors, and some white and blue light strings hung to look like icicles. So wintery! I got to the venue early to help get things set up, and I got to talk with a couple of the other Royal Dance Court members while we were working. We all found out late the night before that the conference that the national group had been planning on holding in our area had gotten cancelled, they said because of “circumstances beyond our control” in the letter they sent to everyone. I’m not exactly sure what that means, and to be honest – in some ways not having to worry about setting up the conference is a relief, but it is also a disappointment. I thought that we could do really well, and that would make our little area in the world of dancing look really good, so the next time people looked at taking a dance vacation they might have considered coming here to visit us again. But, there’s always hope that they will reschedule the conference for a later date in the Dance Kingdom, which would give me another shot at making my dreams come true. Even all the other Royal Dance Court members who were there setting up with me said they would be totally for putting something like that together, as long as they could be given more than a handful of weeks’ notice. As people started showing up for the party, I got elected to be up at the front to greet people, get them signed in and collect all the money for the dance, and I stayed doing that right up to the point before the lesson preceding the dance started. They were short a few men, so to help even out the numbers I jumped in there and one of the ladies on the Royal Dance Court took over behind the desk for me to greet any late comers when they showed up.
The lesson was fun. We had brought in an instructor who usually spends his time at the Star Dance Hall to go through some American Waltz. He had everyone pair off, but didn’t make anyone rotate partners during his class just to keep things simple. When I joined the class, I danced with a young lady named C.C., who has been attending Lord Junior’s Standard Technique classes with me pretty regularly lately, and we just stuck together for the whole hour. The pattern we went through wasn’t difficult, but it could cover a lot of ground if you have long legs (like I do). We started with a pair of syncopated Open Change Steps, using four steps in three beats of music. The third step involved crossing your back leg behind your front (for a Lead, that’s left behind right). After two of those, we did a closing with the same footwork for the first three steps, one step on each beat, so that we ended up holding in place on beat three with the leg crossed behind. We unwound by doing a normal timing Open Change Step with Solo Turns, linking back together with our partner and having the Lead do a Progressive Chasse to the Right while leading the lady to do a Underarm Turn. Coming out of that, we went into a Developé, and we were told that we could use the figure to cover a three count or a six count, depending on how dramatically the lady wanted to extend her leg. We closed back into normal dance position with a Change Step, lining us up to turn around a corner. With some extra time left in class, he quickly added on a Fallaway going down the next wall, just to keep things moving. With class being wrapped up, we moved on into normal social dancing. Waltz seemed to be a theme that night, since the DJ seemed to play quite a few Waltz numbers. I mingled around through the crowd, dancing with lots of the ladies and spending a bit of time talking with some of the men, trying to be the best dance ambassador I could be (like I was elected to do). I did have to cut out of the party a bit early, since I had some things for work to go take care of. Lucky for me, Sparkledancer had had to come to the party a bit late, so she offered to help clean up after the party since I had been there to do the setup, allowing me to go get things for work done and not stay up super late that night (if you see this, thank you for that by the way!).
I guess the crazy things that we did in Cha-Cha last week weren’t enough to scare the new girl Merlot away, since she was back with us again this week for Latin Technique. To help her along, since she was still in a bit over her head with all the new stuff being thrown at her, this week we went back to again look at the Rope Spin figure that we had gone over last week, except this time we were going through it in Rumba. We used some of the same preceding figures that we did last week to get into the Rope Spin as well – we started in a different position, with the lady already out in Fan Position, but as we led the ladies to close out of that we went into an Alemana just like we did last week, finishing the steps with the lady just in front of us and on our right side. Again like last week we had her do a Spiral Turn and then go into the Rope Spin. Obviously since we weren’t doing Cha-Cha anymore, the guys didn’t have to worry about doing any stationary chasses, so all we had to think about was bringing our feet together after the side break and back rock steps we did. Once the lady made a complete circle around her Lead and was back to where she started, we took her back into closed dance frame and did an Opening Out action, which is what we ended with last week. This time, since we had managed to get through everything quicker, we were able to add some things on after that Opening Out action. We had the ladies do a back rock step during the Opening Out and then turn back to face us and do a side step while the Leaders just brought our together. This put her more on our left side, lining us up so that we could do a Reverse Top. You could have done it by taking a side step with the lady, but it is easier to start turning to the left if the lady is slightly off to your left when you begin, which is why we just closed our feet and allowed her to step across in front of us. We did two sets of walks during our Reverse Top before leading the lady to do another Spiral Turn, and to finish things off that night we led the ladies to walk forward and turn, putting us into the position you would use for an Aida. We stopped there for the night instead of doing anything in that position, since we were already well past the time the class should have ended, but we had been having so much fun with things Lord Junior lost track of the time. Maybe we’ll pick things up from there next week, or maybe we’ll switch back to Cha-Cha and cover similar figures and see what happens!
After spending so much time doing Waltz during the dance over the weekend, it was nice to change things up and do Foxtrot during Standard Technique class this week. It was also a nice class because we had an unexpected addition who showed up a few minutes after class started. There was a guy who used to be at a lot of the same dance classes and parties that I went to quite a while back, someone I called Hips McGee, who decided to stop by the Electric Dance Hall and join us. He said that he had been feeling like he was stagnating in the classes he had been taking for the last few months, so he was looking to change things up and work on some more difficult material. He heard about Lord Junior’s technique classes, and thought it would be a good way to help push his dancing to the next level. He was a bit shocked to see some of us there – I was the first person to recognize him, and then he saw Sparkledancer as well, whom he remembered. There was also Sir Steven having a dance lesson with Chanel on the other side of the dance floor, and he knew both of them too, so he said he felt right at home. We looked at some fun things in Foxtrot that night, which never hurts to keep people interested in coming back. The figure we spent the most time looking at a couple of variations of was a Gold-level figure called the Natural Twist Turn. To get into it we started with a normal Three Step. The first time through, we changed the ending of the Twist Turn to something that isn’t by the book. The first couple of steps we did the same – one slow step forward, one quick step to the side and then crossing the other foot behind to do the twist. After the twist, we used another quick movement just to turn into Promenade Position so that we could go into a Weave from Promenade Position (that’s the second time I’ve seen this figure, and it has such a descriptive name), which had us coming out facing diagonal wall. After spending some time going through some repetitions to make sure that everyone could get that far, we added on another Three Step to the end of the Weave, this Three Step curving slightly so that we ended up travelling straight down the line of dance. At the end of this Three Step, we did another Twist Turn, this time using the normal ending, the one that’s essentially a Hover Feather. Once we went through everything, Lord Junior put on some music and we lined up to run this down the floor two at a time, with the option on the second Natural Twist Turn to use the normal Hover Feather ending or to throw in another ending in Promenade Position if we wanted, which also was good practice for the Followers to make sure they were feeling the lead we were trying to use. We were told that to be successful, we needed to make sure our lead to put them in Promenade Position was very marked and clear, not just a subtle rotation that might confuse them.
I’m not sure what this weekend has in store. There were lots of dance parties I had heard would be going on, but now there is the threat of snow for my area (not like the fake snow for the winter-themed party last weekend), which seems to shut everything down in this place for some reason. Having grown up in a more northern part of the world, I don’t see snow as being that terrifying, but a lot of people around here do. We’ll see if the parties are still going on, and I hope I get to go to at least one. If not, I’ll have to settle for a dance party in my living room!