Monday, July 25, 2011

Intentional Whiplash

Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Night club 2
Hovers: 2

Yesterday Jeff and I took our 13th lesson together, this time with Simeon, and the dance in question was tango. Apparently the problem is still our tips too much and sometimes we aren't as lifted and forward as we should be with our outside sides. This is such a tough thing to work on, because as we said before, it doesn't feel wrong and you can't see or feel yourself doing it. The tipping is the hardest to pinpoint; I can feel when we're not as lifted towards each other as maybe we should be, but Jeff is "calibrated" (as Simeon said) to feel that a bit of tilt is straight, so we have to figure out a way to hammer at this. There were some alignment issues too that also had to do with amount of turn on certain steps, but in those cases I just had to focus on keeping my connection tight throughout the heavier rotation and less familiar body twist, less of an intellectual problem for me than for Jeff as I simply have to match the shape and turn, rather than create it.

It turns out, however, that my head is awfully slow in tango. It doesn't snap as sharply and aggressively as it should; but this is not news to me. I used to complain about it to Simeon when I danced pro-am, and he always said that tango was one of my better dances and felt pretty good, but now that he can see me he had to agree that my head just isn't making the cut. That is part of why I've always felt tango is one of my weaker dances, because try as I might, I just don't have that kind of speed with my head and neck. I have a somewhat longer than average neck and not a small head, so that probably isn't helping me any. I need to figure out a good way to practice this, without injuring myself, though I don't know if that's possible. I might just have to suck it up and resign myself to some whiplash for a while as I work at this. My neck and head, if you haven't picked up on it already, are really the worst part of my dancing. We also worked on the reverse-outside-swivel, which I can't stand because I never seem to end up in the right position or on balance. Our fallaway-reverse-slip-pivots are improving, however.

After the lesson was the usual Sunday night social dance, which was pretty much the same as ever, except with a lighter turn out due to the balmy summer evening, I'm sure. Jeff made ample use of the hover feather to floor craft in our foxtrot; I think he might have done 3-4 in a row in one corner! Whatever works! We were both pretty tired last night though, so our dancing was a little so-so, but I still maintain that our lead and follow has improved quit a bit. Jeff was already a good lead, but he's gotten more skilled with mixing up elements of our gold and silver choreography as the need arises and seems more controlled about the way he leads everything, including sudden changes of plans, plus...because of our practice we're both more on balance and over our own feet in general, so the message gets communicated a lot more clearly. I've gotten a lot better myself about feeling versus thinking, slowing myself down a lot, and relaxing more. As a result, I think I've become a better social dancer too.

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