Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tango by the Iron Bar

Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Nightclub 2
Hovers: 2

After taking Monday night off due to Jeff getting old (jk, he wasn't feeling well, probably due to overexertion last week), we were back at it again last night. Personally, due to my recent move, I think that I'm going to start rebounding both physically and mentally, and this is going to be good for my dancing and just the rest of my life in general. Now that I live very close to where we practice, I have a chance to touch base at home before practicing and working out most nights, eat a more realistic dinner; plus, I also get home earlier and can consequentially go to bed sooner. I've also revised my workout plan so that now I'm not trying to do both my cardio based workout plus Jeff's weight training plus practice; now I'm doing one or the other and then dancing. I realized that it's unrealistic to expect my body to keep up with more than one hour of intense exercise in addition to our practice, with the amount of sleep I get and the amount of food I eat and my general physical condition. I expect this new regime will be much better for me, and for our partnership consequentially.

So after we finished our respective workouts yesterday, Jeff and I stretched and headed in to practice. We managed to run all of the dances yesterday, and tested out a new nightclub 2 step that I heard recently and thought we should try, "Never Saw Blue" by Hayley Westenra. It was a slow one, but I liked dancing to it. We were also joined by two other dance couples (or rather we joined them, as they were both there already); one Latin couple we know and who we turned on to practicing there, and the other a bachata couple preparing for a show. That meant taking turns with the music, but it was fine; everyone was really considerate about the others, and it was cool to have six dancers practicing hard all together, different styles on that floor.

Since our last lesson was on tango, we devoted most of our practice to the first half of the routine, particularly the long side of death and also the short side prior. I know that Jeff's been struggling with this tilting frame issue, but I finally had to mention to him after yet another frustrating reverse-outside-swivel (hate) that I always feel like his right elbow goes way behind his shoulder in that figure, and that as a consequence I get stuck behind him and can't swivel around into the right position because I'm stuck back there. He swore up and down that he did not do this, that he was only doing what he's supposed to to make me go outside. I wasn't convinced though, so he said he'd prove it to me and walked over towards the bar bell rack. I thought maybe he was upset and just wanted to walk away for a second to clear his head, but instead he grabbed one of the metal bars sans weight off the rack and came back, laid it over his frame, and proceeded to show me the figure with the bar as a guide. Unfortunately for him, it felt so much better with the bar that we both were surprised. I was so much more on balance, and it kept both of us from letting me slip too far behind, and his elbow definitely stayed forward more than it normally does. Tah dah! New practice technique! A torturous one at that, but effective nonetheless. We spent most of the remaining practice time going through the first half of our routine with the giant iron bar across our frame, and it became immediately evident whenever the frame started to tip because we not only could see the tilted bar in the mirror, it would start to slide off. One thing I noticed due to the bar as well was that, while Jeff's lead to promenade is really good through the hips, the upper body portion had been effected mostly through a kind of see-sawing action of the frame, and when the bar got rid of that, nothing really happened in the upper body. I guess getting the rib cage involved will be the next step. The bar was good for me too in that it forced me to maintain my connection through the body and not the frame, and also prevented me from pulling the partnership down on one side or the other, something I think I have a tendency to do when dancing pivots or swivels.

We ended with our favorite Beegie Adair jazz piano cover of the "Moon River" waltz. No practice tonight for us, since I'm volunteering at a benefit event this evening and Jeff is to be designated salsa man this evening for a visiting friend of friends. Thursday though, we plan to be back at it again with bar bells, slow metronome, and whatever other means of self-torture we can devise.

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