Focus on the foxtrot was our theme last night. The hip-hop break dance kids were in the aerobics room in full force last night, and hijacked the music pretty successfully too. That meant no round, a night-club 2 warm up with no accompaniment, and then on to foxtrot.
I had suggested we work on the shaping of the reverse wave since Simeon had given us some pointers on that at our last lesson. A few times Jeff will get it backwards, or start it late, or I'll do it without him, or more than he does...so we had a few kinks to work out. It was feeling good yesterday though, and I think Jeff really has a good feeling for it now, and I'm being more conscious about matching my shape too his...i.e. not getting overly excited by the right shape and going too far, etc. It's important that the shape not start too early too, since it can really screw up the heel turn into the wave pretty badly.
We also found that our frame sometimes tips down as we complete the closed impetus that follows the wave; we incorporate a right shape (left to Jeff) at the end of it and it's too easy to make that a dive into the floor. That's how it felt to me, anyways, and once I told Jeff what I was feeling I think he leveled us off a bit and it felt much more balanced. We also worked a bit on the beginning feather into bounce fallaway; Jeff wanted to figure out something with the side leads, and whatever he was doing was making a difference; it felt more balanced and the connection was better. The same concept then carried over into the promenades; when both of us keep our outside sides presented up and towards each other, we have much more control in our promenade position and probably look tons better. I know that's kind of a "duh" concept; but it's one apparently we need to hammer away at since we keep getting comments about it in lessons. While I can't always feel when it's wrong, I can definitely feel the positive difference when we do it right. We just have to get so used to doing it correctly that the sloppy and crooked way starts to feel bad. It's really about building the right habits, in the end.
We concluded practice with a quickstep run through. Jeff wanted to end without running through any dances, but I really wanted to at least cool down with one. Quickstep felt pretty good, I thought, though I think we took it a little slower than we have danced it with music. Speaking of music, I was explaining to Jeff how so often when I'm learning new dance figures, I really feel like I "get" the step once I dance it with the music. I think dancing with music is much easier for me than without; it kind of carries me along and it gives me directions about timing and rhythm...and when I dance with Jeff his lead and the music generally always match up; so it's like I'm getting the same directions via a few different channels, which makes following even easier. He was telling me yesterday that I should be able to dance just as well without music as I do with, and I guess that's true, but I also think that the music reminds me what the dancing is all about. To me, dancing is a further expression of the music, so without it you're missing part of the story. Anyways, I realize that I am very lucky to have a partner who hears music like I do; it is surprising how rare that is, at least on the social dance floor. There, I've had to learn how to completely tune it out, in many cases. I've just got to be careful that my relationship to the music doesn't become too much of a crutch in that I'm using it to cheat and not really follow my partner or not really know the steps outside of their relationship to a musical phrase.