Dances: Salsa, Waltz, Foxtrot
This week we decided to get back to our practice plans, so for this week I had volunteered to write them up. Our basic template involves selecting a warm up dance for each session, a focused dance (of our competitive dances), a figure to work on, the new addition of a lead-follow only dance, and usually work on our fun dance, currently night club 2-step. Jeff had fun giving me grief about the one or two sentences of detail I gave about the focused dance and figure; I had spelled out some of our known issues with the figure and what I though we and/or I needed to work on. Okay, I'll admit, I think things through a lot and I like specifics. He can say what he likes though, because guess who is up to date on blog posts? Thank you.
So anyways, last night we warmed up with salsa, for a change, not in the program, but we did because Jeff was so excited about his "Incredibles" theme salsa that he found. I'll admit that it's a pretty fun song, and I like how Jeff has gotten creative with the salsa by integrating all of our night club 2-step figures. After that, we looked at waltz. After dancing through the routine once (the floor was still dangerously sticky and painful to dance on), we got to work on the wing. I had noted that we needed to work on wing in both places it occurs in our routine, and specifically on getting out of that position with grace and aplomb. It turns out that Jeff felt that just getting into wing was an issue in and of itself, and I think he's right. For me the exit is more challenging than the entry, but for Jeff as a lead, obviously the entry is critical. We figured out that our frame often breaks as I swing around into wrong side, usually his arm dropping down below the rest of the frame, and the arms in general breaking away from the shoulder line. As a result, he focused on keeping the frame consistent and instead rotating me around by turning his spine on its axis, essentially, so that the shoulders and arms rotated as a unit. Once he got that motion down it felt really smooth for me....really really good. Jeff said that he just needs to thing of the rotation as being like that in the contra-check, where it's more rotation that accomplishes the shape rather than dipping. For me, I need to be extra careful not to drop my left side...and I also was thinking about my head position. It was better yesterday, I could tell in the mirror, and I've discovered some helpful stretches for my neck that I think are helping me. As for the exit, it still needs work, but essentially I need to get better about feeling the length and direction of his leg so that I can match it with my own as we exit.
The new element that I thought we should add to our practice was a lead-follow dance; basically one of our standard dances, but one for which we just turn on the music and Jeff leads what he likes, mixing up the figures from our routine or other ones. For me especially, this is going to be extra good practice. I'm obviously supposed to be following no matter what, while leading for Jeff isn't going to change too much from our routines to this, though one requires more memory and the other more quick decision making. Ideally, we want our lead and follow to be the same in both situations, so I think this will help. Last night, we practiced this with foxtrot. That was when one of our silliest moments to date happened.
Jeff got really excited and said, "Oh, Sarah...lemme try something!"
So we started dancing, feather step, three step, feather step, three step...and I'm still waiting for the exciting new figure to happen.
"Wait," said my partner, "did we just dance a feather-three-feather?"
"Of course," I answered.
"So a reverse wave backwards is really just a feather-three-feather?" The realization was just dawning on him.
I collapsed laughing. Obviously, as a follow, if I've heard it once I've heard it a million times that the reverse wave is simply the feather three step combination reversed so that the lady dances the man's part and visa versa.
"And you take two heel leads in a row in the reverse wave too?" Jeff persisted.
Then Jeff realized how his incredible invention was actually just the most basic combination ever danced in international foxtrot, and we both broke down laughing again. So on that hilarious note, we ended practice for the evening.
Later that night we had another good laugh with our coaches about that one. The funniest bit was how excited Jeff was about his new creative discovery, only to come to the slow realization that he had just danced the most basic steps imaginable. The look on his face as he figured this out was priceless.