If Seeing Is Believing, Then This Heart Has Never Been Beating

This is going to be a much shorter post than last week. I didn’t go out and do much dancing this past week, as you might have guessed. Not because I didn’t want to, but because of the way all the holiday days fell on the calendar. A lot of things got cancelled for this week since everyone was out visiting with family. So rather than go out and have interesting dance adventures that I could write about, all I had were mental dance adventures… and some time with ice wrapped around my ankle. I don’t know what I did to it, but it has been bothering me. I think I might have landed on it funny when doing some plyometric training, but I can’t say that for sure.

Anyway, last weekend I did get to have a lesson with Lord Dormamu, so I have that to write about. Hooray! As we started off that afternoon, Lord Dormamu told Sparkledancer and I that he wanted to check on our progress in the Waltz, but then we would move on to work on something else. The check on our progress somehow ended up taking the whole time from start to finish though… I don’t even know how that happened. One minute he was telling us how much he can see the improvement in the actions that we were told to practice last time we met, and then he starts going over all these other bits and pieces he wants us to incorporate to make everything look slightly better. Before I know it our time was already up!

There were a couple of points of note to mention so that I remember them. First off, I was told to make yet another adjustment to my frame. Just when I start to think that I have been getting the hang of the last adjustments that I was asked to make, I get told to adjust things again. Why does he keep doing that to me? Now I’m being told that I need to work on having a slight backward tilt to my posture once again. Last week I was supposed to keep my spine as long and straight as possible – now I have to keep it as long as possible, but with a slight kink in it in my upper back as I pull my shoulder line slightly away from my partner.

The visual that Lord Dormamu gave me to help explain what he was going for was useful to put the idea into terms that I could wrap my brain around. He told me to picture Sparkledancer and I having a funnel in between us. She is already pulling her upper body up and over my right arm when she gets into frame with me. Now I need to do something similar. When both of us shape like this, as we rotate our bodies around it should stay wide at the top and then come inward toward the point where our right sides meet in body contact, just like a funnel. Can you picture it?

When doing this, it felt like I was contorting my back a lot to hold the position he was asking for. However, according to Lord Dormamu, when he watches from the outside as we travel around, it makes my posture look even straighter and stronger. I’m not exactly sure how me pulling my shoulder line away from my partner makes my body appear even straighter, but I will take his word for it. He is the one who is able to watch me from multiple angles while I dance after all. Not even recording myself can give me that kind of feedback.

The other point of note – after working through that change for a while to make sure both Sparkledancer and I were comfortable, we went back to look at the Whisk figure again. Lord Dormamu told me that he had been thinking about it, and he finally figured out a good analogy to use to describe to me what he sees as being ‘off’ about how I do the figure. I was expecting to have a serious discussion about this, since the figure seems to come up quite a bit, but the whole thing devolved into something kind of silly. Extremely useful for me, but silly. Maybe that’s actually the best way to get points across in my brain?

Lord Dormamu told me that the problem he has is that he normally pictures me as this huge, muscular fellow. When I’m dancing, I give the impression that I have a lot of power (because I actually do have a lot of power) in my legs. So he watches me and imagines that I am just this huge guy that is breaking through walls as I drive forward. He started to demonstrate this by pretending to punch through imaginary walls as he danced down the floor like something out of a movie.

Sparkledancer watched this, and then she laughed and said that I should start yelling “Oh yeah!” with every forward step I take. Yup, she totally went there.

Anyway… when it comes to the Whisk however, Lord Dormamu said it looks to him like I am running into a wall that I cannot break through. Like an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. The third step of the figure looks almost like I am bouncing off backwards, which completely breaks the perception of power that I normally give off while I am traveling. That, he has finally determined, is what has been bothering him when he sees me do a Whisk. Oh no!

To counter this, we talked about a couple of things. First off, Lord Dormamu said that I can try thinking about the third step where I cross my foot behind as still traveling forward in the same direction as my second step, rather than being a step backward to cross behind. This should help keep the figure from appearing as though it breaks the frontal plane. I also asked whether I was taking too big of a step when I place my left foot behind my right. My thought was that if the left foot was too far apart from the right, when I transfer weight on it to put my heel down so I can push into the next step it will look like I am shifting backwards. Lord Dormamu told me he hadn’t noticed the step looking too big from his perspective when he watched, but that could certainly do it if that was in fact the case.

So I tried my best to think about moving forward when I take the third step and also keeping my legs as tight together as possible when I cross my foot behind. That slight change (it wasn’t much of a difference between what I was doing before, just fractions of inches) seemed to be all I needed to fix everything. I was told after we finished running through it two or three times that these were the best Whisks that I had ever done in my whole life. Hooray for me! Now all I need to do is remember all of that and do it every time and the figure should no longer be an issue for me from here on out. Oh yeah!

And that’s… all the all the important notes I made about the dancing I did this week. For real! Sparkledancer went off on vacation the day after our lesson with Lord Dormamu, so I didn’t even go out and practice with her during the week. In some ways it was kind of nice to take a break. It’s given me time to get caught up on other things in my life, and hang out with my cat, and the aforementioned icing of my ankle.

Before I finish up though, I do have one last item I want to mention: for those of you who read this and are also members of the Ballroom Village, I have once again made some changes site links. You might say that I went through the list and checked it twice… OK, maybe not quite like that. There were two new sites I added and one dead link that I removed. Since I have been sort-of unofficially maintaining this list now that the original creator has disappeared from the face of the Internet, feel free to copy the changes I made to update your own lists. And, as always, if you know any other sites that should be added just let me know and I can square that all away.

Next week should be a bit more entertaining, since there will be New Year’s Eve dance parties that I can attend and write about, and after that normal dance events should return. Plus, next Thursday will be my first post for 2019, so maybe I will be feeling reflective and ramble on about where the time has gone. That makes me sound like I’m getting old, doesn’t it? I promise, I’m not that old yet! I’m still young and spry enough to chase you around the dance floor. Just let me find my cane first… I can never remember where I set that stupid thing down… crazy kids and your rock’n’roll music, and my lawn, and the weather. Why, back in my day…!

Oh yeah. 🙂

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