Sadly, I will have to report that I didn’t get to learn the Hustle line dance during the party this weekend like I had hoped. Maybe that’s going to have to wait until some night when I can’t sleep and am looking for a way to pass my time. Sigh… we did have a lot of fun otherwise. The crowd that came out to attend the dance party was pretty big, so even though I was standing off to the far side in the back while going through all the line dances, I still had a bunch of people running into me at times. There was one sequence where I even ended up leaving the dance floor and ended up just standing in the back on the carpet, sort of following along as best I could while avoiding hitting the furniture that was placed nearby. We went through a fair number of line dances over the course of an hour, and there was only one that I knew beforehand, which was the last one that was covered. I don’t remember all the names of the line dances (and I didn’t pull out my phone to make notes during the class, much to my chagrin now), so by the time the class was over I was having a hard time remembering what we did during the first few that we covered with so much new material in my brain. The first one we covered was one that was called the ‘Log Roller’ (I tried to look up the steps for it online before writing this, but I was not having any luck). The second was a Tango-style line dance that was built using some common American Tango figures from the Lead’s perspective, like the Forward and Back Tango Walks, Forward Rock Steps and a Tango Grapevine. Once we got done with that, we did a much simpler Charleston-style line dance that only had a couple of figures to it before it turned a corner. The hardest part of that one was the fact that every time it turned a corner, it rotated clockwise. It’s the only line dance I’ve ever seen that rotates in that direction, so it kept throwing me off if I wasn’t thinking about the rotation before it came up. I bet someone thought it was real funny to do that when they came up with the choreography. After that we covered a Cha-Cha line dance, and this was the one that I had to leave the floor and stand in the back of the room during, since people kept running into me. If you weren’t careful, you could cover a lot of space during this one, since they included some basic chasses and some Forward Lock Steps with a turn. I ended up in the back of the room taking tiny steps, and sometimes just wiggling for fun while I watched everyone else go through it. The last one that we covered that night was a biker line dance that you may or may not have seen before. This was the only one of the set that wouldn’t have looked out of place at a wedding or a club being performed by everyone on the dance floor. By the time we got to this line dance, there were a lot of people who had gotten tired and had left the floor, so I jumped back in and looked pretty good (I think) since I had learned all the steps previously.
Once we wrapped up the class, it was time for dancing. I did a lot of dancing that night because (as you could probably guess) there was a shortage of men. It seems like a class on line dances brings out all the ladies. There were a fair number of men at the party that night (not nearly as many as there were ladies though), but the majority of the ones that had come out to dance came attached to a date, and they didn’t end up changing partners much throughout the party unless forced to like in a mixer dance. There were probably only three of us guys who made a point to try and dance with different ladies throughout the evening – myself, President Porpoise and Humperdink. While working the crowd, I got to do some fun dances with people I didn’t know very well. There was one young Hispanic girl I got to do a Salsa with. She hadn’t been dancing very long, and kept apologizing whenever she messed up her steps. At one point during the song after she messed up, she said (very loudly) that the dance was part of her heritage, so it shouldn’t be so difficult for her. I faltered a step in the dance when that came out of her mouth, because I really wasn’t expecting to hear something like that, but we both laughed really hard about it once she threw that out there. I also did a Waltz number with an older lady who was holding onto me so tightly during the whole thing, I could only think that she must have been afraid that she was either going to fall or that someone was coming to get her. The dance party wasn’t all fun and games for everyone though – Sparkledancer told me after the dance was over that she had been really bored all night, and really only got to dance for seven or eight songs, half of those being with me since I tried my best to get some practice time in with her (also, I don’t really trust dancing Quickstep or Viennese Waltz safely with very many other people). I felt really bad hearing about her not having much fun at a party, and that crummy feeling kind of lingered the rest of the weekend for me. I will try to make it up to her somehow.
Because I have some things going on in the office over the upcoming weekend that I need to be a part of (this is the sort of thing I have to do because I accepted a promotion…), I had to push up my coaching session with Sparkledancer and Sir Steven, so I got to meet with them last Saturday afternoon and then again on Tuesday night for things. Sir Steven was all kinds of wound up on Tuesday night, and he had so many things to talk about. Do you remember me mentioning that there would be a new ballroom studio opening in the area soon? Well, there will be, and Sir Steven has been helping them get the place put together. I guess they are almost at the point where they will be able to start laying down the floor boards, assuming their final inspections are good, and they hope to open the place to the public in March. From what he said, after their final measurements of the area where the dance floor will be laid, the floor will end up being longer than the floor at the Endless Dance Hall, but not quite as wide, and they have some partitions they can use to divide up the space so that they can have classes and lessons going on at the same time without the worry of people running into each other. This new studio is going to be headed up by Lord Dormamu. Sir Steven also said that since most of the people that have signed on to help teach at the studio have spent most of their time dancing International Standard and Latin, Sir Steven has been consulting with Lord Dormamu about the syllabus that the studio would use for American Smooth and Rhythm. Apparently that has been a funny challenge, trying to teach our American ways to an internationally acclaimed ballroom competitor who has never done American style before. I guess at one point while Sir Steven was showing Lord Dormamu some steps in American Foxtrot, Lord Dormamu stopped him and asked how it was that they turned around without using heel turns. Sir Steven laughed and told him that there were no heel turns in American style, and I guess Lord Dormamu told him that that was really stupid. So it sounds like it could be exciting to do some dancing at this new dance hall once it opens, and if no one has spent a lot of time doing American style dances that I should be able to feel pretty advanced by comparison… at least until they look at my International style dancing, and then they will probably laugh me right out the door. Six of one, half-dozen of the other, right?
No one was sure what to do for Standard Technique class Wednesday night, so Lord Junior told us that we would choose democratically. The only caveat was that we weren’t allowed to choose Quickstep or Viennese Waltz, since we had done Quickstep last week, and the older people in class never seem to want to do Viennese Waltz. After a quick vote, the results were three to two, Foxtrot over Tango, with one person abstaining from voting for some reason. Veep was one of the three of us who voted for Foxtrot, and she really wanted to go back and look at one of the Gold-level figures that we had looked at a couple of weeks ago, the Curved Feather to Back Feather, because she had some questions about them. So that’s what we started with. For some reason during the first part of class I kept leaving my leg extended as I finished up the Back Feather, rather than collecting my feet, and I got called out on that a few times. Of course, that made me self-conscious about not collecting my feet for the rest of class, so near the end of the pattern when Lord Junior put in a figure where we would strike a line with our legs purposefully left out, I kept trying to collect my feet there anyway… What we ended up with that night when all was said and done was doing a Curved Feather to Back Feather to start, followed by a Reverse Wave (which is essentially just a Three Step going backwards) that we curved so that we were travelling down the line of dance. At the end of the Reverse Wave we did an Open Impetus to turn and face the direction we were travelling, and then Lord Junior threw in a figure that he kept calling the ‘Rollercoaster’, though it probably has a fancier technical name. The figure is just four quick steps forward in Promenade Position with gradual rise, lowering on the fourth step before you go into the next figure. It should look kind of like going up a hill and then going down again at the end, like a rollercoaster would do (hence the name). This was the figure where at first he was going to have us strike a line at the end, so rather than closing our feet on the last step as we lowered down we would leave our back leg out so we could go into some kind of Oversway or other line of our choice. He changed his mind though, since he said he always ended things like that, so after we got to the last step we just added on a Feather Finish, which did allow me to collect my feet normally. By the time class was over, he told all of us that since we all were the ones that came to the class pretty regularly, we were all starting to look really good in Standard, so now he was going to have to start finding even harder things to throw at us every week to make sure he would still look better than us for a long time to come. To that I say: bring it on, since this class allows me to get an introduction to many of the Gold-level and Open-level figures I might actually be ready to use in my normal choreography in a few years, which is a lot of fun.
I’m not sure how much (if any) dancing I will get to do this weekend (which is sad), because as I mentioned I have some things I have to finish at the office. Hopefully this will be the last time I have to be physically in the office over a weekend for a while, since I prefer to just do things remotely from home if I can. There’s always hope though that we’ll be able to finish up early on Saturday night and I’ll get to go out somewhere. Tune in next time to see if I can do it!