Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Turning: Becoming an Insider

Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep
Hovers: 3 (including 1 really good one)

Before I get into tonight's practice session, I have to tell about the basketball guy who staggered into the practice room last night, since I nearly died laughing and to some degree it's a regular occurrence. The aerobics room we practice is right off of the basketball court, and the door is just a ways behind the hoop, I think. Often enough, the guys playing out there run in for a lay up or to catch a rebound and can't stop themselves and so crash against door, so every once in a while our practice is punctuated with a loud crash on the glass door, kind of like when confused birds fly at a window and you wonder what that thudding was. Anyways, last night some guy really had taken it too far, and somehow hurled himself at the door with such force that he propelled himself with a thunderous crash through the door, and landed, staggering, about halfway across the room. He stomped about for a few seconds with a dazed look on his face with a look of "What planet did I land on?" especially when he saw us dancing a deathly slow waltz to a loud and invisible clicker.

Tonight, we had no such interruptions; the only guests were a personal trainer and his client whom he was making "mop the floors," according to Jeff, by dragging around gym towels with his feet. As for us, we danced a round, then the slo-mo waltz, quickstep, and foxtrot. Slow quickstep was especially bad, and the waltz wasn't as good today. There were two reasons for that, I think. Jeff did his legs workout today and so had jelly legs to some degree, and I was just plain tired due to being short on sleep (what else is new)? I had a much harder time concentrating tonight, and since thinking was hard for me I tried to focus on feeling and following for today's practice. I think I'm following much better in the tango now, as in, not jumping the gun quite as much. It's not exactly as smooth as it could be, but I found that if I delay certain steps more than I'm used to (such as the slip pivot in a fallaway-reverse-slip-pivot) it makes certain things less bumpy all around. I have also been trying to be more conscious of when I am on the insides of turns and shorten my steps accordingly. I have the uncomfortable habit (uncomfortable for Jeff, that is) of taking really long strides whenever I have the opportunity, forgetting that it is not always my turn to do so. I think this has helped me smooth out the fallaway-reverse-slip-pivots in our waltz in foxtrot, as I am now taking a smallish under the body step for the first step, and longer and more angled out step second, and very small tucked under step third, and then making sure to delay the slip pivot a bit so as not to crash into Jeff's knee. This way I am less likely to outrun him by driving down the floor as he is trying to get around me. Apparently he still has a hard time getting around me in tango though, so I need to work on that more and figure out what else I'm doing wrong. Probably something to do with the upper body.

We "cooled" down with another round, including a very good hover; Jeff was great and counterbalanced me beautifully, and I was very good and delayed my head turn and extension for a couple of counts so that I could extend fully right before slowly and gracefully swinging the other way and extending over his arm. I even remembered to bring my knees bent and forward as I extended back!

Finally, we stretched and "rolled our backs out." We've both become somewhat enamored of those big foam rollers that you can roll around on and loosen up all those tight muscles, especially in the back, quads, and hamstrings. If you've never tried it, you don't know what you're missing; it really is a miracle remedy for hurting muscles. After a few days of rolling on any particular very tight and painful muscles, I usually find that I can hardly feel the tension anymore, or else it is notably less. Since I don't have the luxury of a weekly massage like my worthy partner, this foam stand-in has been a boon indeed.


  1. Fallaway Reverse Slips...yeah, that figure the guy has to travel alot around on the outside while the follower moves a little bit back. My partner always wants to be a race car and drive straight towards center. After a lesson that focused on that, our instructor convinced her that there are other places where she can be a speed demon, but not there.

  2. Yep, I can identify with your partner for sure. If Jeff calling me "Turbo" is any indication, I think I've been guilty of speed demon too.