Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Convincing Prep Step

Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Night-Club 2-step
Hovers: 2

Tuesday's practice followed a fairly efficient work out. The "twirly" guy had preceded us, and some of our Latin dance friends were there as well. We decided to work more on issues from the lesson, so mainly focused on waltz and tango, though we did dance through foxtrot at least once.

This time Jeff was really focused on getting into position correctly, because, if we're going to have an awesome prep step, we'd better have a truly awesome prep step. So we practiced walking out onto the floor together, Jeff extending his arm, bringing me in...the whole thing. He was trying to figure out at first which foot to put the weight on as he extends his arm to me, but we ended up agreeing that the forward foot (the left one) should have the weight as it looks more presented towards the partner. The order of events, we concluded, should be as follows:
  1. We walk out onto the floor confidently with Jeff holding my left hand in his right (no arm in arm business...that looked weird), and me with my right hand slightly out as though holding up my floats to keep them from dragging.
  2. Jeff leaves me in position and stands about 6 feet away. He may now do a Simeon chin shrug, adjust his collar, etc. Meanwhile I extend my right foot slightly in front of the left in a kind of hint at fourth position and look composed and ready to go when it is time.
  3. Jeff extends his left arm to me and I walk in a few steps (confident heel toe steps too, by the way) and take his hand with my right. That is the first connection point.
  4. I then give him my left side and make the body connection, shift weight to my left foot. This is connection point two.
  5. As I am presenting my side and creating the body connection, Jeff brings his right arm around my back and after I am in position, places it on my back. This is connection three.
  6. My left arm is lifted at this point. Jeff begins the prep step (assuming this is not tango), and as we shift our weight to the other side and start our shape and rotation, my hand slowly and gracefully comes down to rest lightly on his arm. This creates connection four.
  7. We dance. Our prep step turns out to be better than anything else we do. Go us.
Other than that, we worked a bit on our tango. I still have a lot of work to do in syncing up with Jeff better in certain figures, but again, we're much improved and happy to see the progress we've made in this dance. We also experimented with starting our routine with the toughest part, because it looks kind of impressive to start right away with that much movement and rotation. Jeff commented that we don't move enough in tango, and I think he's right. I think it's because our rotations aren't sharp enough so we end up diffusing them throughout the figures and then we get less movement down the floor.

In waltz, Jeff commented on my pathetic fallaway-reverse-outside-swivels coming out of wing. I know they're bad; it's really really tough for me to gauge how large of step to take, because it seems like it should be bigger because I have to get past Jeff and end up well left of him, but he says I keep over driving. I told him that I struggle with measuring this particular step because normally I feel where his leg is going and just follow that, but in the wrong side position my left leg is not anywhere close to his right leg. What I figured out yesterday was that I really just need to step just beneath or just past his right shoulder, because chances are his leg will be there. I tried this strategy a few times and Jeff said it felt a lot better. I still need to think about it for a while though, because this transition is definitely not natural to me yet.

We ended with more work on our 20% project, a.k.a night club 2-step. It's coming along; one of our friends thought we should do it for a show sometime. Maybe one day we will. Right now it's just for fun.

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