Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Diagnostic Round (or two)

Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Night Club 2-Step
Hovers: 2

Last night was essentially a glorified round that was kind of a diagnostic practice, I suppose you could call it. We're trying to get back on a good schedule and just see where we are with all of the dances in order to know what to tackle next.

This time we danced through all dances maybe twice or so, with music to see where we were. Here's what I thought about each of them:

Night-Club 2 step: Kind of our "go-to" warm up dance these days. I think we should keep it that way and plan on entering the open night-club fun competition event at our first competition. We both like it, it's relaxing, relatively simple, and a good warm up.

Waltz: Feeling powerful; lots of movement, and we keep running out of floor. Spots that need work include the fallaway-reverse-slip-pivot into double reverse section, all out of wing (much improved but still not great), and the drag hesitation or whatever it's called in the last corner. Also the closed impetus still feels over-rotated to me, or like we aren't isolating the upper body enough from the lower in the rotation. Good things included our movement, balance, and promenades, which we seem to fall into much less. Also, I know I'm now being much more patient as a follow, because during a part that I used to rush (so Jeff has told me) where we do a left whisk into right shape with hesitation into contra-check, Jeff really slowed down and maybe got a bit behind...but I stayed behind with him. This is good.

Tango: Our long side of doom is dramatically better. Like I said before, much tighter, straighter, and balanced. I'm keeping steps close beneath the body and rotating the upper body more, and it's working for me, while Jeff is busy keeping his frame in a straight line. We're also moving more quickly and sharply too, and becoming less and less polite. To work on: my head snaps...they're still too slow. Also the second long side is just kind of boring and dead, and we need to figure out how to make it look interesting.

Viennese: Felt pretty good last night, for once after that last lesson. I'm getting smoother with my head, and actually enjoying the feeling I get from using my head to help the turn in the reverses, and on the naturals, focusing on letting my body swing under my head versus actually doing anything with my head. I think that may be why it felt better to Jeff; sometimes you just have to think about the same concept differently for it to have the effect you want. We still move a lot. I still could work on swinging my sides more though, and I still turn out my feet quite a bit on this dance, I think.

Foxtrot: Still good. We're working more on the lower connection thing, and we'll need to continue working on that. The reverse wave shaping needs to be consistent; when Jeff remembers it's pretty good though, except for once last night where he turned into a dump truck and almost landed me on the floor. The zig-zag is actually working now, but we still refuse to like it. I'd like to get back to our slow practice on this dance though to see if we've reverted or still have the control we developed when we practiced like that for a period of time.

Quickstep: Jeff had some fun new music to try. Quickstep music tends to be either terrible, or really fun to dance to. This dance obviously needs the most work; it's just a little out of control right now. Jeff and I both tend to dance with quite a bit of energy, and when we don't have the necessary finesse in a particular dance or figure it can get messy and be a wild ride. I think it'll look good once we get some issues hammered out. Just going for it when you're not entirely sure what you're going for can be a little dangerous in this dance, it demands a lot of precision in shaping and step placement because of the speed, but it's really kind of an all or nothing kind of dance. Jeff likes to say that it's "pass/fail," but I think there are definitely degrees of good, it's just that you can't really dance it half way without failing miserably, but if you go all out you can die a terrible death. Quickstep is always risk; we just need to work on reducing that risk level a bit. Tipsies, rumba crosses, and maybe the closed impetus continue to be problem areas.

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