Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Parking Vulture Evasion

Part: Follow
Dances: Foxtrot, Quickstep
Hovers: 0

I'll just start out by saying that today was an off day for me in general; I was tired, but not more so than usual, things were just not going well for me throughout the day and I had the general feeling that life was out to get me today. In any case, I did get to the gym pretty early, early enough to put in a half hour on a cardio machine and try to burn off some frustration, eat something, do my Pilates stretch routine, and then join Jeff for weights before practice.

One noteworthy situation that I often find myself in at this gym that I have not yet mentioned in detail here is that sometimes I like to do the first phase of my workout, and then go back out to my car and get my bag with my dance gear and eat something for dinner in my car before going back in to practice or finish working out with Jeff. Due to the less than satisfactory amount of parking available, there is always someone eager to take my parking space, of course thinking as I am walking out to my car that I intend to vacate the premises. I once had a woman in her car stopped for at least five minutes with traffic piling up behind her as she waited for me to pull my car out, which of course I never did. Often waving the cars on does no good, they are like vultures circling their prey. One time Jeff had come out to my car and completely faked a bunch of would be parkers to the point that they honked angrily at me when I left my car because I had dared to stay there while apparently looking like I was leaving. Now it has gotten to a point where I find myself sneaking out surreptitiously to my car like a criminal, skirting my way between vehicles to lose the scent for angry unfortunates behind the unparked wheels. My latest tactic has involved kind of tacking across the parking lot rather like a sailboat, fooling the excited drivers into thinking I'm parked at the other side that they've already passed, or continuing to walk past the waiting cars, only to skirt around the back and come to my car on the other side of them and quickly dodge into the front seat to eat my hasty salad or yogurt.

Practice itself focused primarily on foxtrot and quickstep. In foxtrot we wanted to work on the content from our recent lesson, but we really struggled to figure out how to actually practice this. While we know exactly what the problem is, we do have a hard time feeling or seeing when it is right or wrong ourselves, so our attempts seemed to have little fruit because it was so hard to gauge the correctness of our execution ourselves. We tried a few funky things with our frame, trying to lock it in in such a way that we couldn't move our shoulders out of the alignment but only our hips going into promenade, but Jeff kept swearing that it wasn't working and that he was still turning the side away from me. A bit frustrating, but we decided that we should ask our coaches for some better ideas on how to practice this.

We then moved on to a bit of quickstep, which basically turned into Jeff lecturing me about how impossible it is to turn and step at the same moment, because I had asked a question about how much rotation happens on each part of the "quick-and-quick" in our tippsies. I tried to get us back on track by protesting that that was not what I meant, but my partner was on a roll and proceeded with full on demonstrations. He's right though, I think, that we are not rotating enough on one of the steps; I was just trying to figure out where I need to focus on helping out that rotation so that I don't focus my efforts in the wrong spot. After clarifying what was in question, we danced through the first half of our quickstep and called it a night. Determining what to practice and focus on has become somewhat difficult for us lately, so we have decided to come up with some kind of official practice schedule for ourselves that will lay out for us what we need to work on for each practice, and hopefully this will help our efforts become more focused, efficient, and productive, as we have been finding that some of focus we had while working on particular issues that are now more or less fixed is gone.


  1. Be careful. Someday, you might have someone come up to your driver side window and knock on it demanding when you're going to leave.

  2. Actually, that happened once. A woman came up to my car door, knocked on the window, and asked if I was leaving yet! It was the same woman who caused the pile up I mentioned above.