Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Demolishing the "House"

Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Tango (socially, a lot more)
Hovers: 2

Sunday this week was a little out of the ordinary, at least lately. Jeff and I actually had a lesson! I think we haven't taken one in about six weeks due to various scheduling issues, etc., so it was good to get some feedback and new things to practice. This time we were with Simeon, and we told him prior to starting that we were going to give him a time limit so that we could be sure to get both waltz and tango in during this lesson, since we know how it typically goes; we start part of the routine and get about half way, and then we get stopped and work on one figure for the entire hour. This time we had some definite questions and knew we needed help with the contra-check, so we made sure that we covered those.

After commenting that our prep step looks really good (Simeon's notorious compliment that always precedes his critiques of our dancing), we started working on the usual problems. Apparently our waltz is pretty consistent; there are no parts that jump out as problem areas, at least to the professional eye, but the tipping frame is a consistent issue. Jeff's right elbow also has a tendency to droop, and I don't always match his frame with mine, giving us a broken appearance. So Jeff found that he is himself sometimes guilty of what he calls the "house" frame, where the lead's arms droop below his shoulder's, forming a traditional rooftop profile. After a few tweaks and different explanations, Simeon was happy with it. We will need to practice it plenty though to get it consistent. Then we worked on our contra-check. Here, Jeff needs to "dump" me less and rotate and lift more, while I need to give more with my hips and not pull away with my lower body as I extend on top. I think we got the general idea and it's looking better already.

Next we focused on a section of our tango. Simeon took a look at our frame, which had been somewhat uncomfortable for me lately, and told Jeff that he should lower his hand on my back a bit. This made it hugely more comfortable for me, since I can now more easily wrap my arm over and around without popping my shoulder out of place. I also needed to change the alignment of one of my steps in that figure where Jeff was having to drag me around, and also drive more so that I can provide more of my own momentum. Otherwise, it was pretty straightforward.

This was a good lesson for us; I think we both came away feeling that we had a clearer understanding of what we were trying to accomplish in some problem areas, and got new visualizations to help us fix the issues. Plus, we covered two dances! That's a rare thing.

We also ended up staying for the Sunday night social dance. I thought we danced pretty well; our Viennese especially felt good and though my neck did hurt (it was already though), I don't think I was pulling away on the naturals as Jeff has complained about, and I felt like I was more with him in the shaping and that my body was turning smoothly under my head instead of visa versa. Jeff did mention afterwards that ironically enough, he thought floorcrafting there was harder than at Danceworks, even though the floor was multiple times larger. I speculated that this could be because at WA Dance Club, you expect the couples to move more because the floor is larger, and then they don't, and you almost hit them, while at Danceworks, you don't expect them to move, and they don't, so it's just like weaving around poles. Jeff thought that sounded about right. I also had the opportunity to learn the lindy-hop basic since a friend of mine who is into the swing scene showed up to check out the venue. That was interesting; I think it looks really fun, and I was able to get the rhythms, but I had a hard time picking up sometimes which figures went back into 6 count from the 8 count swing. I'm also too erect with my posture, I think; my standard training has ingrained that in me and I don't think I can break it. In that style of swing; I felt that it pulled the balance off a little. Anyways, Jeff and I got a lot of good dances in, including night club 2-step, and even part of a polka! That was a first, I think.

It was good to see the old crowd again and dance on the familiar floor; this time it was much less slippery than usual, which was really nice. Large floors make my long legs happy; though I guess from a lead's perspective the type of traffic congestion one has to navigate is more of a concern. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to lead! For my part, I just keep trying to be a more sensitive follow; the kind whom he can trust will come with him when he needs to go somewhere unexpected. And I will say, Jeff's lead has consistently getting more and more controlled and clear. Maybe it's just that I'm becoming more and more familiar with and used to it, or maybe I just needed to be strong-armed before (quite possible and highly likely), but I know that I used to feel much more like I was being hurled around and tipped off balance...now that rarely happens. This is a good thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment