Dances: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep, West-Coast Swing, Rumba
As Jeff mentioned, yesterday's practice was a bit of an anomaly, because normally Saturdays are our days off, but since my schedule had precluded practice the previous two days, we decided to fit in a quick make up session. Our coaches were supposed to join us but got stuck in evil traffic, and since I had to leave at a certain time to get to a fundraiser I was helping out with that evening, we missed practicing with them this time.
I was pretty amazed by how much better and more under control the dancing felt for my part since my muscles weren't tired at all. I slept in late Saturday morning and hadn't worked out in a couple of days, and it felt great! One thing I particularly noticed was that I felt that I had no problem at all keeping my left side lifted and forward; normally that takes a bit of effort because everything wants to sag when my body is tired. The tough part of the tango keeps feeling better, for me at least. There were some things I was doing that were making it particularly rocky, and I think I am getting a much better sense of the required lengths of the steps involved, as well as my foot timing in relation to Jeff...plus, I'm waiting for him more in general. Also, he's been sharpening it up and moving from foot to foot much quicker and taking longer between steps, which I had kind of already been doing because I had been "yelled at" for not making my steps quick and sharp enough; but now that we both are moving more or less the same way it is meshing better. On my fallaway-reverse-slip-pivots in all dances I am feeling much better about it; I'm taking a smaller fallaway step now, and longer second step with my left foot angled out, and a very small tucked under cross step, and also waiting longer for the slip pivot and then making sure the foot goes between his for the pivot. I used to always crash into his right leg, but now not so much, and I'm also bouncing up less on this figure, which is also good.
Jeff thinks our waltz is requiring too much effort. Yes, we've got lots of energy going into it and it feels powerful, but he doesn't think it should be this hard. I don't really know. It always looks so easy when Arunas dances, for example, but I tend to think that is an illusion and that they are putting a lot of strength, energy, and power into the dancing. I've seen our coaches and most serious open dancers come off the floor after a round pretty much gasping for breath. I don't think anyone would say waltz, or any standard dance for that matter, is easy or requires little effort. Of course, the better you are, the more efficient you are with your movement, which means that you can produce bigger shapes and more power, but essentially I think you're putting just as much in, you're just getting more out of it. Simeon once explained to me that no matter how good your physical condition, you always want to give 100% physically when you're competing, and if you're not pretty much spent by the end of the round you weren't dancing hard enough. It's a tough question, because I think in comparison to our foxtrot, for example, Jeff is right that our waltz takes more effort. We'll see if it gets easier over time, but somehow I think that particular dance is always going to demand a lot. I wonder if it looks like we're trying really hard when we dance it, because ultimately it's all about how it looks on the floor...not how it feels for us.
I was just realizing yesterday that Jeff and I have been training together for almost three months. In that time we have learned four gold level routines (I had just come out of silver when we started), and now could technically dance a competition round with those four dances. That's not bad! We still have a lot of work to do to make us really competition ready, but I think we've come a long way. This week we're going to have to catch up with a lesson or two and see what our coaches think of our progress to date. I'm kind of nervous, but looking forward to getting some fresh ideas for practice.