As a quick side note for anyone who actually looked at the pictures I did last week – that’s probably the most you’ll ever see of me unless you attend a dance event that I am also attending. Then again, if you are at one of those dance events and I am lurking in the crowd, would you somehow know I was there? Anyway, I tend to prefer anonymity on the Internets, but the idea for that picture was just too perfect to pass up on, so that’s what I took.
What about this past week now? Well, last Friday night I ended up at a social dance at the Electric Dance Hall, which is the first dance party I’ve attended on a Friday night in quite a while (if you don’t count the dance I only sort-of attended last Friday where I didn’t stay too long). It had been a long week, and I will admit that I was pretty tired out, so my dancing might not have been the most technically impressive that night, but I still had fun. There were a lot of people who had shown up for the dance that I feel like I hadn’t seen in such a long time as I made my way around the room. I tried to get to dance with all the ladies there at least once if I could do it, though with all the churn of bodies in and out of the dance hall I can’t say for sure that I was successful in that goal. Among those, I made sure to specifically ask the old lady who likes to hold me in a death grip out for a Waltz since that’s her favorite dance, and I challenged the fitness instructor girl to go out and do a Tango with me since she had been at the Tango class earlier in the night. Lord Junior wasn’t feeling too well, so he ended up going home early. He had brought in a DJ to keep the music going because of that, which also allowed him to slip out after a while without killing the party. I did have one criticism of the party, and that was that the DJ seemed to be in her own little world that night, not really paying much attention to what the crowd was into and instead sticking with songs that she could either sing along with or that she wanted to dance to. Some of the songs were a struggle to hear the downbeat on, not just for me but for most of the people who tried to dance to them. When you play a song that you call a Waltz and everyone hears it differently, so everyone is dancing on a different timing, I would say that there’s a problem with using that song. She also really liked playing a lot of Cha-Cha numbers, but after the first half-hour or so, not many people went out to the floor to dance during them. I tried to drag Bony out to the floor to dance Cha-Cha with me whenever a song came on, but there were so many of them that even I got tired of that running gag after a while (which is unusual for me). Still, it was good to be out and about that night, especially since I had a work thing going on Saturday night that was preventing me from going out to dance then.
Saturday afternoon I got together with Sparkledancer and Sir Steven for a while at the Endless Dance Hall. The air in the dance hall was abuzz with a weird sort of anticipatory energy because of changes going on. Sir Steven told Sparkledancer and I about some of those things during our session. For instance, there were some new people who were holding lessons on the floor of the Endless Dance Hall at the same time Sparkledancer and I were dancing. I recognized one of the guys there, but couldn’t place him at first. Turns out that he had been a longtime instructor at the Prime Dance Hall, and there had been a falling out with a lot of the instructors who had taught there and the lady that owned the place recently, so here he was. I had seen another former instructor from the Prime Dance Hall who I did recognize over the last several weeks, just practicing with his professional partner at the Endless Dance Hall with us, but I didn’t think it meant anything until Sir Steven confirmed that he had left as well. That’s kind of crazy. And then there’s the news about the new studio that will be opening here sometime within the next month. This studio is being headed up by Lord Dormamu, and many of the people who were borrowing floor space to teach at the Endless Dance Hall (including Sir Steven) are going to move over to start using floor space at Lord Dormamu’s new place since the Endless Dance Hall seems to be more interested in being a venue for parties and receptions of late. There have been lots of times where we have been in the middle of a lesson and they have started bringing out tables for an event being held later in the evening even though it’s not even lunchtime yet, effectively cramming all the people trying to work into a small portion of the floor. So, people are going to start taking their floor fees elsewhere in protest. I can’t say I blame them, but I haven’t gotten to see the new studio yet so I don’t know how it compares to the Endless Dance Hall (which I’ve always liked). From what I’m told, the dance floor that Lord Dormamu has put together is longer than the floor at the Endless Dance Hall (which will be crazy long!), but not quite as wide, so overall they come out to slightly less square footage. They apparently haven’t set a date for their grand opening party yet, but Sir Steven says that we may be able to start having our weekend lessons there soon if they get their certificates and inspections finalized. So change may be coming to the Dance Kingdom soon. We’ll see what kinds of adventures this all brings with it!
This week during Latin Technique we ended up going over Rumba. There was one older lady who joined us for class that night, someone whom Lord Junior knew pretty well who had apparently been out of dancing for a bit due to a foot injury and was just starting to make her way back onto the floor, so Lord Junior decided to start her with something a bit slower even though he had been meaning to go through Samba in class for a couple of weeks now. Not that I’m complaining – I still can’t honestly say that I’m all that fond of Samba. Why is that? You would think it would be up my alley, since so many people say it’s so much fun. Is it one of those lingering effects of my white boy hips? Anyway, the pattern we went through in Rumba wasn’t all that long, with the most difficult parts for the ladies probably being the Spiral Turns. We actually started out going through just that figure a couple of times at the beginning so that the one guy who had never seen Spiral Turns before, and the lady who hadn’t danced in a while could figure them out before trying to do one with a partner. Once we had practiced those, we started our pattern by facing one another with the Leads holding their left leg back, and the followers holding their right leg forward. After a forward checking action, we led the ladies into a Curl (this is the second time in two weeks I have seen this figure, having never even heard of it before then) that released the ladies into Fan Position. To help with the turn, we made a point of putting a hand on the lady’s back as they came around in the Spiral Turn, to help them end facing the desired direction and also help them maintain their balance while spinning. We did a syncopated close from Fan Position, giving the ladies extra time to really roll their hips around as they closed their legs before taking that next step forward. The men just did a Cucaracha while the ladies did that, giving us some minor hip action to try to match the feeling of their movement. We went into a Hockey Stick coming out of Fan Position. If everyone turned things just right in the process, the Hockey Stick should have turned the ladies back an 8th of a turn, sending them back in the direction they came from before they did the Curl. To keep things interesting right up until the end, instead of just turning the ladies to face us at the close of the Hockey Stick like one normally would, we had them do another Spiral Turn by bringing their arm down as we turned them around and rotating their wrists slightly, which (if done correctly) would turn their bodies to face away from the guys. That put us in something sort of like Shadow Position. We finished by doing a checking action forward together, turning the ladies back around to face us at the height of the check, and then taking two steps with the lady walking forward at the end. Not too bad, right? Who wants to jump in and give it a try with me now?
For Standard Technique class this week we ended up doing Tango. If my memory serves me, this is only the second time that we’ve covered Tango during this class, but the figures that we used seemed awfully familiar despite of that. Mostly because we had covered these same figures in different dance styles before. More fodder for my theory that all dance styles are going to merge together someday into one dance style that will rule them all which works for everything. The first step we looked at was the Fallaway Reverse Slip Pivot. I think that this means I have officially looked at that same figure now in International Waltz, Foxtrot and Tango, so unless it also happens to be in Quickstep I think I’ve covered them all (since there are only seven figures in International Viennese Waltz, and I know what those all are, I know it’s not yet considered a figure in that style, though that could always change). When we completed the Fallaway Reverse Slip Pivot, we ended up with the Leads facing line of dance. From there we took three steps – (from the Lead’s perspective) one forward on our left foot, then a side step with the right foot, pivoted 180° and then took another side step travelling down the line of dance with our left foot to end up holding a line that looks like you are lunging in Promenade Position. We used this line to transition into an Oversway. This was the figure I had the most trouble with during the evening. Getting into the line in Promenade Position was fine for me, I could not twist my body to turn the lady into the Oversway position very far. The muscles in my back just didn’t allow me to twist very far without dropping some of my weight onto my back leg and bending my knee, which allows me to twist more of my core while I was turning, but I got called out by Lord Junior for doing that since it destroyed the line we were trying to hold. So staying in the lunge with my right leg straight and not supporting my weight, I could rotate maybe an 8th of a turn at most, which is kind of pathetic. After the Oversway, we went over two different ways to get out of things and back to dancing. The easiest was just to do a simple transfer of weight to your back leg while unwinding your body from the Oversway, putting you back into Promenade Position to move on into whatever you wanted to do from there. The more interesting and difficult way to get out was to go into a Spin going against the line of dance, turning a full turn before doing a Progressive Chasse to the Right, followed by a Whisk action just to throw in a dramatic leg flick before stopping in Promenade Position. The Spin and the Progressive Chasse run together, so the movement is very fast if done in time with the music, but it looks really cool and dramatic if you can move things that quickly and then stop on a dime ready for Promenade at the end.
This Saturday I am going to be out helping with the next dance party hosted by the Royal Dance Court I am a member of. Hooray! Has it really been a month already since the last one? Man, time is flying. That should be a fun, and hopefully there is a big turnout. We’re still trying to get people signed up for our big formal party in April, so if a lot of people show up this weekend, I’ll try getting them interested in coming to that event. Do you want to go? Just let me know! It’s going to be a masquerade party, so if you have a fun mask to wear, you can bring that along too!