Roll The Windows Down And Take A Breath

I’m three for four now, as I managed to get together with Sparkledancer and Lord Dormamu this past week to work out my Quickstep routine. With Waltz and Foxtrot already done, that only leaves the Tango left to finish. Unfortunately, the three of us were not able to find a time to get together to work through that routine before Lord Dormamu got on a plane to take a trip overseas. I think that he said he would be gone for ten days, so that means that it will be the week after next at the earliest that we can get my last routine done.

On the bright side though, that gives me ten days or so to make sure that I have the three new routines that I do have already locked into my memory so that I can pull them out correctly from any starting point when asked. I feel like ten days should be more than enough time for getting that done, don’t you? Maybe I can even go over them using what’s written out in the book to make sure I have all the figures on par with the way they are written out, which is the bare minimum needed to make sure the routines are presentable. Can I do that much in ten days? We’ll have to see!

Before going any further, let me list what’s in my new Quickstep routine. Partly for my own documentation, but also so that anyone else reading this can picture what I am trying to do:

L Wall 1 S Wall 1 L Wall 2 S Wall 2
Starter Step Natural Spin Turn Natural Spin Turn Running Right Turn
Natural Turn Reverse Pivot V6 Quick Open Reverse
Natural Spin Turn Double Reverse Spin Quick Open Reverse Progressive Chasse
Progressive Chasse Progressive Chasse Four Quick Run Forward Lock
Quick Open Reverse Open Reverse Turn Natural Turn Natural Turn
Progressive Chasse Forward Lock Backward Lock
Fishtail Natural Turn Running Finish
Natural Turn
Backward Lock
Running Finish
Natural Turn

 

This routine has a feature that I was not given in the other two routines: a specific place to cut things if I am dancing on a small floor.

On both long walls you can see that there is a Natural Turn near the end, and after that both go into a Backward Lock and Running Finish before doing another Natural Turn. I know I didn’t write it down, but on the second long wall the Natural Turn is actually the beginning of the Running Right Turn if you look at the figure in the book, so I thought that putting it on the list would be A) wrong and B) redundant. Anyway… this small section of figures I was told to keep in mind for use on any floor that was long enough to support them, but on a shorter floor I can just drop them and end the wall at the first Natural Turn instead.

The part that gave me the most trouble in the routine was the Running Right Turn. This was a figure that was not familiar to me at all when Lord Dormamu showed it to me. And for good reason – according to my notes (which I keep on this site) I have only done that figure twice before, both times in Standard Technique  class. The first time was way back in October of 2015 in a class that Lord Junior taught on Quickstep. The second time only back in September of 2018 – which was much more recent, but I didn’t remember this particular instance because we were doing a modified version of the Running Right Turn to use in Viennese Waltz.

After finding my notes on the figure I feel a lot better about the mechanics of it now. Had I known that we were going to incorporate the figure into the routine, I would have tried to look it up beforehand to help me avoid looking stupid. Ah well, such is life. Next time I see Lord Dormamu, I hope we can spend a few minutes going through the Quickstep routine again so that I can show him that I can get through the whole routine competently now.

The other exciting thing that I did this past week was to go to Standard Technique class on Wednesday night. Lord Junior ended up asking me before class started what it was I had been working on in practice, and what I told him ended up being the material that everyone got to work on during class that evening. I feel a little bad for the other people in class because they were forced to struggle through a figure that I wanted to do, but not bad enough that I wouldn’t do it again if given the chance. Like maybe next week. 🙂

The figure that I wanted to look at was the Hover Cross in the Foxtrot. I was pretty sure that I had all the steps right, but I wanted to look at it with Lord Junior to see if there was anything that I could be doing with the figure to make it look better. He thought that was a great idea for the class. Apollo however did not like my idea at all, since Foxtrot is his least favorite dance style.

What we went through in class was pretty short, since we spent a majority of our time looking at just the Hover Cross. Both Sparkledancer and I had an advantage as class started since we had been working on this figure in our practice sessions lately, but everyone else who came to class that night had never seen the Hover Cross before. The whole class was spent along one of the short sides of the Electric Dance Hall, and Lord Junior built this progression of figures to start off heading toward diagonal wall at the end of the long side, turn the corner using the Hover Cross, move down the entire short side and then turn the corner again with a check action to start going down the next short side.

We started with a Three Step and went right into the Hover Cross, getting the hardest figure out of the way as soon as possible. Everything after that was pretty basic: we came out of the Hover Cross into a Basic Weave, then went into a Reverse Turn that rotated a full 180°, took one more step into a check action, and then came out in another Basic Weave down the new wall. If you’ve done Bronze International Foxtrot, everything but the Hover Cross should seem extremely familiar to you.

After class was over I ended up hanging around at the Electric Dance Hall for a bit, listening to Sparkledancer and Apollo talking. She was getting an update on how his dancing has been going, since he has been off on vacation recently and hadn’t been around for class, and then she wanted to tell the two of us all about how Seedling’s dance life has been treating him… that got to be a bit weird, and kind of sad.

So… it appears as though Seedling is no longer taking lessons at the franchise studio that he was a member of. But not of his own choice – apparently he got mad about something and mouthed off to the wrong person at the studio, and was asked to never come back. He was upset about the situation, as you might imagine, until he found a new non-franchise studio to join and a new instructor to teach him. The dramatic turn in his demeanor kind of makes my head spin hearing about it. This story is continuing to unfold, so stay tuned and I will do my best to try and explain what I find out is going on with him.

Apollo is quite happy with his own change, leaving the same franchise studio of his own volition to join the Electric Dance Hall. He is still working with Lord Junior, taking private lessons with him that focus on getting his technique up to par. Apollo admitted that some days he has gotten frustrated when he has been at the studio practicing, because if he had originally started at the Electric Dance Hall and learned all of the technique correctly from the beginning he wouldn’t be in this position now. That is completely understandable – I went through a similar period of frustration after I left the franchise studio where I started and was told that in the wider world of ballroom dancing people do things differently than I had originally learned.

Learning through lessons with Lord Junior has been great and all, but obviously the two of them can’t do dance events together. To that end, Lord Junior talked to one of the female instructors that teaches at the Electric Dance Hall about working with Apollo. They met up and seem to get along pretty well, so they are going to start our working on International Latin together with hopes of doing a competition in the near future if everything continues to go well. Because he is basically starting over from scratch, he said that he is looking at competing in the Newcomer/Pre-Bronze category at this event. He told Sparkledancer and I all about the competition and pulled out his phone to show us the web page. You can clearly see that he is excited about the prospect ahead of him,

He even made friends with one of Lord Junior’s Pro/Am students who happens to be home from college for the summer, and the two of them have been meeting up to practice together a couple of times a week. That practice, he told us, has been invaluable. The girl is on her college ballroom team, and competes with her Amateur partner regularly during the school year. Because of that, she is able to point out to Apollo things that he is doing when they dance together that don’t feel right to her based on her experience, allowing him to on fixing it, or to make a note to ask Lord Junior about what he is doing wrong later if he can’t figure it out on his own.

But working with her has made Apollo realize that someday he would want to be able to practice AND compete with an Amateur partner. Unfortunately for him, his wife only likes dancing socially, and so far hasn’t been interested in spending time working on her own dance technique at the level Apollo is heading toward. That means that if he wants to compete as an Amateur he would have to find a partner that he gets along with well somewhere else. While he is starting out with just Latin, eventually he wants to do Standard too, which is why he has been coming to Standard Technique classes.

So if you  know any ladies who are interested in competing in 10-dance and aren’t afraid of starting over from the beginning for a little while with a new partner, let me know! While Apollo has some bad habits that he picked up from his days as a franchise dancer, he is working hard to overcome them, and has made significant progress in just the few weeks I have known him. Any lady willing to help him along and practice with him as he improves will be very lucky, because Apollo has the mindset to go far in this pursuit.

That’s all I’m going to say for this week. Hopefully you have a fun dance weekend lined up. My plan is to put in some more time practicing my new routines, and maybe hit up a dance party on Friday or Saturday night. I know of events going on both nights, and I was thinking about going to one or the other of them (or maybe both, if I’m feeling up to it). Maybe I’ll see you there!

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