Lift Me Up, Don’t Hold Me Down

Well, I did it. I successfully took a weekend off and avoided most of the physical activity that I would otherwise have done. Sure, I still worked out a bit (because I can’t go entirely cold turkey), but I didn’t do any other dancing this weekend after my regular coaching session was over on Saturday afternoon. My exhausted body was quite happy with that particular life choice, and my cat was also quite happy with the decision since that meant I was around to pet her quite a bit. What a little rascal…

Anyway, I did still go to my regular weekend coaching session to meet up with Sir Steven and Sparkledancer and continue our work on this showcase routine we’ve got coming up. I mean, I can’t stay away from dancing for an entire weekend, as I’m sure you could guess… We didn’t finish the choreography for the piece entirely this week like I hoped, but there was a good reason for that, and I’ll tell you more on that in a bit. What we did do this time was put all the separate pieces that we had worked on previously that were not connected before all together, giving us something that we could practice that will more-or-less resemble the finished product (barring any changes we decide to make, of course). So yay for that! It looks like what we have worked out will only contain elements of the three different dance styles that I mentioned before, without adding any other dance style surprises. That leaves us with Samba, Quickstep and Lindy Hop. All in all, I hope that the piece is as much fun for the audience to watch as it will be for me to perform. If I can pull that off, then I will consider the performance a success. There are some parts of the Quickstep that seem a bit new and strange to me. Like coming up on the first chorus, as we get ready to transition from Quickstep to Lindy Hop, we basically start running around in a circle. No fancy technique, no extra syncopated steps or lock steps, just twelve quick steps in a row that turn for a full circle and a half, just like we were running. Is that something that people do often in Quickstep? I’ve never seen any straight-up running done before. Coming out of the first chorus as we start transitioning back into Quickstep, we are also doing this strange thing where we are running back and forth and shaping as we move. The way we are shaping reminds me of what a boat would do if it was rocking forward and backward during a storm. Then we go right from the boat move into something called ‘Polka Hops’ to complete the transition back to Quickstep. It’s kind of like a step and hop at the same time, and I really don’t know what that has to do with Polka, but that’s what Sir Steven keeps calling the figure. These last few parts of the Quickstep are still at that phase for me where I keep stumbling over my feet, so I haven’t gotten through them successfully with the music playing on repeated attempts yet. I can do it once, then I screw up a lot, then I might be able to do it again later. There is definitely still work to be done on what we’ve got before it’s ready for others to watch.

Now, why didn’t we map out all of the choreography last weekend? Well, I am happy to admit that it was because I was wrong. I mentioned last week that the lift that we were working on for the showcase routine was to be performed during the first chorus of the song, and how that was surprising to me because normally people do lifts at the end of their showcase dances so they can finish things on a high note (get it? High note? Lift? It’s funny to me!). Well, at the end of the session this weekend as we were wrapping things up, Sir Steven said that he had thought of a couple of options that we could use for the ending of the routine, both of which involved another lift that we could use to wrap things up. That’s right, I get to work on another lift for the same performance. How cool is that? Sir Steven had us step through the basic idea of the two options that he was considering for the ending so that we could get a visual of his thoughts. The first one would start with Sparkledancer and I side-by-side with her holding my right hand, then she would roll in toward me and jump as she got close. I would catch her mid-air and hold her up in front of my chest. We would then do something fancy, like I would walk along the floor in front of the audience holding her up while she kicks her legs out forward, before setting her down and both of us walking offstage. This ending would have no ‘Dip’ in it (which is a common thing that you see at the end of a lot of showcase numbers) – it would just be me holding her off the ground for a while and then we leave the floor. The second option would be more akin to a normal ‘Dip’ but much more athletic. Basically we would get into a position close to each other at the end and I would pick Sparkledancer up, swing her from side-to-side around my body, and end by holding her off the ground and bending at my waist so that her head is close to the ground but her feet are up in the air. Sparkledancer doesn’t weigh much, so holding her off the ground like that for long periods of time won’t be too difficult for me. It would be a lot like me dipping her, except she won’t have her feet on the floor. After we went through those, Sir Steven clapped his hands and said that we could choose whichever ending we preferred. He said that she and I could discuss it and let him know next week, and he could work with whichever one we wanted to do. Hooray for options!

The only other thing that I did this week was go to Standard Technique class yesterday night (obviously with Monday night being a holiday, Latin Technique class was cancelled this week). Before class started, we were all sitting there thinking about what dance style to look at, and Tango was brought up as something that we hadn’t gone over in a while. Everyone seemed on board with that, so we went ahead and got started. Lord Junior decided that we would go through three figures that night – one Silver-level, one Bronze-level and one Open-level, just to keep things interesting. Two of the figures I have seen before, but the first one I hadn’t, so that was something new for me to work on. We initially started out using two Tango Walks and a Promenade Link to transition smoothly into Promenade Position, but as we progressed through the class we eventually dropped those first steps and just started off already in Promenade Position for everything else. The first figure that we looked at was a Fallaway Promenade. If you have never done this before (like I hadn’t until last night), you basically do a curved Promenade for three steps that starts moving down the line of dance and turns to have you moving toward the wall. At the end of the first three steps, by the book you would take the next three steps moving backward straight toward the center, collecting your feet at the end. Lord Junior told us that no one ever does the figure like that in practice; most people you will see using the second half of the figure to travel farther down the floor, so you would rotate to travel more diagonal center rather than straight toward the center. The figure begins and ends with you in Promenade Position, so once we finished things up we went into a Natural Twist Turn. This figure, though a fairly common one, really confused one of the men in class who had never seen it before. He kept shifting his weight to stand on the wrong leg after he finished the turn for some reason. The third figure we did was another step done entirely in Promenade Position that I had seen in a Standard Technique class a while back. These were Tap Swivels, which is basically a side-step in Promenade Position followed by tapping your left/right toe (depending on whether you are Leading or Following) on the floor before putting the foot down and taking another side step in Promenade Position. Easy enough, right? Next time I see you at a social dance party, I hope to see you using this pattern as you travel the floor…
LiftMeUp3 Well, one quiet weekend is enough for me for a while, so I will definitely be out and about dancing this weekend. There are things going on both Friday and Saturday night that I will likely end up doing. We’ll find out next week what kind of excitement I find attending things this weekend!

Tell Me Something Fun!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: