Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Making Rainbows

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

Practice yesterday started late but was pretty comprehensive; we managed to hit all dances at least briefly. After warming up to with one or two sides of Viennese Waltz to test out a new song Jeff found, we started tackling the issues.

Foxtrot involved application of principles covered in our recent lesson, so Jeff worked on correcting the footwork in the bounce fallaway, which felt so much smoother once he fixed it, by the way. There was also the problem of our illegally curving feather; it was a curved feather that was supposed to be a plain feather but didn't look like an actual curved feather at all, to make my explanation extra complicated. Essentially we were both veering off to the side in our feather-step, I think as a results of the hips following the shoulders too much in our CBMP. We tested it out against a couple of foam mats to check alignment because it's a hard problem to feel or see in the mirror. That way it became obvious where it was happening. We also employed the awkward "death grip" or "hug" practice hold to work our connection and to help us keep from gaping as we moved between figures. I also found that if I stayed a little more left than I'm used to and focused on keeping my right leg connected with Jeff's right, we had less of a problem with not having room to drive through each other. Fortunately our only company for this practice were three Latin dancers, so they didn't even look twice at the strange figure we cut trying to dance a smooth foxtrot with a tight middle-school-slow-dance frame. I have to say it helps though; you can really tell when you gap and loose connection and start bobbing around.

Tango involved more bar work; it's still helping. While I was waiting for Jeff to finish his workout today (I worked out earlier, don't worry!), I was practicing my contra checks with the bar to see how much extension I could get without cheating and still keep the frame level. It's a great way to practice that, and in the end I was liking the shapes I was seeing in the mirror...with the bar. It helped me see the perpendicular angle I was going for between my back and the bar across my frame, and it forced me to extend back from the sternum up while keeping my sides lifted. I think I've gotten more flexible as I seemed to be able to get more extension than I remember; I also tried a few over sways with the bar too, just for fun. Our tango will still need more work though, our promenades are still not that consistent and we V-out too much still in most places. Still, the long side of doom is dramatically improved these days.

We ran through the waltz a couple of times, and it felt pretty good. This time I focused my attention on my head, trying not to be a shot pigeon. I thought about Katusha Demidova and pretended to be her for some of it to help with the neck issue...it sounds goofy I know, but sometimes playing make believe and pretending I'm a really good dancer that I admire makes my technique better. If I'm thinking that I'm world champion Katusha with her long head and not broken-neck Sarah it can fool me into doing it correctly. Whatever works, right? It's basically another way of using imagery "Imagine that you are...."

We also went through some quickstep, but didn't really practice it hard. We'll have to hit that dance up another session, as I think it still needs help. I think it would be good to practice quickstep while high on caffeine.

A note about my blog post title: "Making Rainbows" is the title of an uber-cheesy song Jeff turned on for one of our dances. That's what we do when we dance, we make rainbows! Pretty much the cheesiest thing I ever heard, yet strangely enough I think there's a way to make a tiny bit of sense out of this analogy. You take the raw elements of technique combined with passion and drive, throw them together, and get something beautiful out of it. Okay, end of desperate attempt to find a deeper meaning in the title. It was sappy and cheesy as all get out, so bad that you had to laugh. The end. More tonight!

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