Monday, June 20, 2011

Hover and Hesitation Calibration

Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Night-Club 2
Hovers: 4!

For me, today was back to working out after a bit of hiatus...four days, to be exact! I think my body appreciated the break, but I was glad to get back into my routine, 45 minutes on the cross trainer machine and then lots of stretching and my Pilates routine. Today I also spoiled myself and got a bottle of kombucha at Whole Foods; it's expensive, but that stuff is seriously a wonder energy drink for me...much better and more wholesome feeling than caffeine, but just as effective, and it's so good for you. I did have a busy weekend so I was still tired, and I think that stuff really helped me tonight.

Practice was good. Since we had not both killed ourselves with a workout immediately beforehand, we were both less fatigued and able to give more to the dancing, and everything was more under control too. After running through our round, we worked on some slow waltz, and kind of petered out on that; I think the metronome practice is losing it's novelty and it's getting harder to focus. We then switched to working on some "trouble spots" (as my piano teacher used to call them) in quick step. Jeff was feeling so good about the whole thing that he expressed a jovial confidence that we could "take Victor" someday, and that we weren't so far off right now anyways. I just laughed, as usual.

The parts we worked on were specifically a combination of quick open reverses and reverse pivots all in a row, which I always feel are too precarious and about to fly apart (Jeff thought the fact that we survive every time was a good enough sign). Again, for me it's about delaying the reverse pivots and then incorporating my head weight into the turn more by leading with my head turn. Jeff could feel the difference in the speed of the turns when I was conscious of using my head, so I know it was working. Jeff then enlightened me with the knowledge that I am often a jack-in-the-box on hesitations because I rise to soon at the end of them, I think because I extend out too fast and draw in my foot too quickly. So we worked on that hesitation that ends that particular section, and I worked on taking my good sweet time with my extension to the left, and Jeff said it felt much better. That's good! I think sometimes I don't realize how much time I have and then freak out and go all the way too fast because I don't think I'll have to time to get out there if I don't.

We then also worked on the hover in quickstep, where apparently I was doing the same thing. There, however, I was artificially creating a shape because I knew there should be one there, and when we figured that out Jeff started shaping it more like he does in the waltz, and this smoothed it out a good deal, because then I could at least attempt to fill the space he was giving me rather than make my own space! That took a little calibrating though, because he once gave me a bit too much, and as both Simeon and Jeff know too well, in general if I am given space and the go ahead (however slight, and sometimes without) I will go with a vengeance, and woe to the lead if he didn't actually mean to let me go that far! So in that particular instance we almost lost balance because I curved over a bit too much for the time allotted, even though Jeff technically gave me the space to do it. It's all about calibration.

Something I have to figure out myself is how to feel how much sway I'm supposed to have when going outside partner with a right shape going into foxtrot weaves and quick-open-reverses and the like in quickstep. I always tilt way too much, so my left side is very lifted and my right shoulder tends to drop, giving me a broken looking frame, even though it would and I believe does feel fine and pretty light from the lead's perspective, because if anything I'm lifting my side too much. So it's not something Jeff tends to complain about, but it's been commented on and I've seen it in pictures, so I want to work on that.

We had quite a nice group tonight practicing together, five of us all together, two Latin dancers, us two standard, and Pat who practices all 10. Tonight Jeff also wanted to continue our project of rating his music 1-5 stars...which means we don't get to dance to my favorite pieces anymore because we're trying out new stuff so we can rate it. This also brought up the discussion of how our dancing rates on a scale of 1-5, if 3 is average. I guess it all depends on who's in the pool, right?

We ended on a fun note with the Jeff cut of a Viennese waltz from "Tangled" that sounds exactly like a medieval circle dance. Viennese is probably our easiest dance, yet is also the most like sprinting. I'm ready for sleep now!


  1. Is there any way you can get someone to film you as you dance? That would probably help you see those problem spots that you don't quite feel.

    Advice from a not-at-all expert. ;)

  2. Sheila, that is indeed a very "expert" idea, and I've mentioned it to Jeff recently. We're both kind of too scared though right now. Watching your own dancing on film is pretty horrifying...but in a good way too. We do need to muster up the courage to do it at some point.