Friday, September 23, 2011

A Frustrated Follow

Part: Follow
Dances: Foxtrot, Night club 2-step
Hovers: 0

Thursday night is always a tough one. I think I'd have to say that this, for me, was the most frustrating practice for me personally since we started dancing together. I should mention as well that we did get a decent workout in beforehand. The positive thing there for me is that I actually pull enough weight now to get an actual workout out of it, meaning that my heart rate goes up and I can really feel my body working.

Jeff asked me to pick what we would practice today, so after the traditional night club warm up I suggested metronome practice on foxtrot, but this time with only him listening to the metronome on his head set. We started out, the same as usual, only now it was silent for me. With no beat to worry about, my concern was with balance, staying with my partner, and keeping our connection at a painfully slow tempo. So that is what I focused on, if anything at all. Now as usual it got a bit precarious in a couple of places, and I did lose my balance sometimes, and we definitely gaped as well. But then Jeff stopped at the end of the first side and told me that I was just flat out not following. He felt like I was pulling him into each step, and again, said this is a constant problem with me. While it's tough to deal with when I have no idea that I'm doing it or how to fix it, I'm still glad he at least tells me what he's feeling from me. I really didn't know what to say to that, however, because I was just so confused as to why this was suddenly a tremendous problem when it had before been sort of a chronic thing that tends to happen but that I've been working on. So when we tried it again, during a couple of the figures where we gaped pretty badly (like the hover telemark, where I think our body rotation is off, and I'm pretty sure both of our hips get behind us), Jeff stopped and again said I was rushing and making us lose the connection. And again in the zig-zag, and any other figure that we struggled with at that tempo. Even the basic feather...we were losing connection, and to him it was due to me rushing. (Whereas at a fairly recent lesson it was due to both of us, but Jeff especially, sticking our hips out behind while dancing it, hence the 2x4 prodding by Kora that has since become a little famous.) So essentially I felt that every problem that we encountered when dancing deathly slow foxtrot (and pretty much all problems we've run into most times we practice this way) was suddenly all my fault, or at least that's what it seemed Jeff was saying. That was just so discouraging, and I felt powerless to do anything about it because I couldn't even tell I was doing it; in fact, I felt like I was trying really hard to do the opposite.

So...we ended up having a long discussion about the whole issue, but ultimately I came out very frustrated and not sure where to go from here. I like to fix my problems or at least have a solution that I can implement, and right then I saw none. And apparently this is becoming a huge problem for Jeff when he's leading me...and, well, I began to be afraid that if I'm really that terrible of a follow at this point, is it worth continuing? Because if I can't feel or see the problem, I don't know how I'm going to fix it. Hence, my frustration. I'm sure I'll get out of this rut eventually, at least, I hope so; it did happen to me once before about a year ago, when I got really depressed about my dancing and questioned whether I had the ability and talent to eventually take it to the level I wanted...and I ended up overcoming that with my first competition experience.

That was essentially it for practice. We're going social dancing this weekend; so I intend to just have fun and not care about all of this. If Jeff has to drive around an out of control merry-go-round, so be it. At this point I think worrying too much about it will just make the problem worse, and make me forget why we're dancing in the first place. And that's the last thing I'd want to lose...that pure love of dancing.

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