Dances: Waltz, Quickstep, Foxtrot, Night-club 2 step
Wednesday practice; this time we were joined by three Latin friends, and it was brought up that Latin outnumbered Standard, Asians outnumbered whites, and men outnumbered women. On the other hand, if we were to add up hours spent practicing in that room, I'll bet standard wins hands down! Still, it was fun to practice with other dancers around.
After warming up with the traditional night club, Jeff asked me what we should practice, and I suggested quickstep. We've been ignoring it a bit again, and I really wanted to work on the shaping in the rumba crosses because I never feel like we're together there and it's just really bumpy and choppy. We started at the beginning though, and Jeff mentioned that he feels me lagging behind in the six quick run bit after I come out of the hover on one corner. I figured out why; it's not that my steps aren't big enough, it's that the direction is off. I wasn't totally connected with the direction of his hips, leg, and body, and was kind of going off on my own in outside partner, so it felt to him like he had to drag me a little bit. Basically the alignment of my hips was off and thus throwing off the direction my steps. He noticed a huge improvement though, once I fixed this. I'll need to focus on making sure my alignment is perfect in relation to his, and not let my own steps stray too far just because I'm outside partner. Sending my left side well forward also helps me get the distance he needs to execute this figure smoothly.
Next, we did work on the rumba crosses. I suggested that we stop at the lowest point of the shape to see if we were lined up, as I suspected we often aren't together here. It's not by choice, but sometimes the shape Jeff has feels incredibly awkward and I feel like I can't match it and not fall over at the same time. Maybe I'm doing something wrong or maybe he is, but I wanted to see what it looked like. When we finally nailed the position and stopped, it actually looked pretty cool...kind of like a line figure. I'm noticing that I seem to be getting more extension (or look like I have more) without as much effort; I didn't feel too crazy stretched, but in the mirror we had a pretty big top line. I credit that to Jeff's hard work on his frame and my own increased flexibility. Next came the dreadful part where I have to cross in front and Jeff behind. Here, I always fall off balance. When we attempted to stop at the top, where we are crossed on our toes, we crashed...i.e. lost balance. But in our attempt to stop there, I realized what I was missing, something I can't usually tell when we're running through the whole piece. My shape was not being counter balanced, so I was trying to tilt from the waist up, but wasn't shifting my lower body weight to counter that, plus, I dropped my left side away from Jeff as part of that tilt. The next time, we nailed it! There we were, crossed, on our toes, balanced. This time, I formed more of an arc with my body, sending my hips right, while making sure to keep my left side lifted and forward. I'm not sure what Jeff did, if anything different, but it worked for me. Now the challenge will be see if we can do this at full speed and in transition.
The struggle for me in this figure is trying to figure out how to provide my own momentum and facilitate the heavy rotation, without creating my own. Seems like I'm either not following or I'm a dead weight. When we dance it slowly it's much better and I can feel where I come in to counter balance and rotate, etc, but when it's fast, it is of course much more of a challenge.
We also danced through our foxtrot, as well as waltz. This time in foxtrot I worked on trying to match my frame with Jeff's more precisely, because I could see in our videos and been told that this is a chronic problem for me. Usually it's a matter of timing the shapes or over shaping on my part. It's sometimes a hard thing to feel though.
I don't think I've mentioned it, but I've always enjoyed the turning lock in waltz, and now ours is going pretty smoothly. We're also taking up the entire floor and then some in waltz, so that has to be a good thing.
Finally, we ended with the 20% project, and more night club 2-step. If I haven't mentioned it, I am the worst at full weight drop dips; I either peddle myself around with my toes and cheat, or else just drop like a dead weight and can't be moved. Otherwise, it's going pretty well.
Since we focused mainly on quickstep yesterday, here is a video of perhaps the best quickstep couple I have ever seen. This is their basic demo video, so the basic routine has a lot of the figures that Jeff and I are working on, including the "Big Fish" (see 0:58). If you look up their show quickstep routines, however, prepare to be stunned. Jeff and I could hardly believe it when we first saw one of their videos; then we looked at their Blackpool marks, 1st place in quickstep. Sounds about right. The clarity of their movement, perfection of their lines, speed, and turning radius are truly impressive to watch. Due to these qualities, quickstep and tango are definitely their best dances.