Friday, September 23, 2011

The Rushing Follow

Dances:  Foxtrot, Nightclub 2-Step
Part:  Lead
Workout:  Chest and shoulders at the gym.

Tonight was rough for Sarah.  I think it is the closest we've been to the fight so far.  Though luckily we haven't fought yet.  I know, everyone is holding their breath.  :)  The good news is that we're pretty good at open communication and understanding that we're both trying our best.  That helps a lot in these situations.

It all started with the Foxtrot.  We decided to use the metronome again via bluetooth headphones so only I could hear it.  Now it could be that we're just having an off week seeing as our Waltz practice a few days back was pretty disastrous.  But it felt to me that Sarah was just dancing to the beat of her own drum.  I kept getting pulled into almost every step tonight.  I could tell that her leg extended and arrived before mine did.  The interesting thing here was that I actually did a little experimenting with my own tempo.  Sometimes I'd speed up then slow down.  But in each case, Sarah seemed to just do her own thing.  Even though should couldn't hear the metronome, it was almost like she interpolated the tempo from the few steps I take and lock into a value.  This issue has felt fairly prominent to me all week.  I told her this and we got into a pretty big discussion about it.  I could tell she was frustrated and I don't blame her.  It's one of those things that takes time to learn, especially if you're as independent minded as Sarah is.  Control is tough to relinquish.  But in the end I need to know that she'll go wherever I lead to her go, at whatever speed I set, and match whatever shaping I create.  The fine tuning is really difficult for us.

I explained to Sarah the difference between her and Natalia (my previous partner).  While Sarah knows our routines/syllabus and is really involved in making them happen, the downside is that she anticipates almost everything.  She has a set number or predetermined results, and based on the lead, she chooses the result that best fits it and dances it.  Natalia on the other hand had a very different approach.  Her range of results was almost infinite.  So you could get away with a large gray area.  Even the slightest change was matched it.  The downside there is cosmetic.  The lines won't look as defined and practiced.  So while Sarah looks better, she is much harder to control and predict.  Natalia is easier to dance with but won't look as sharp.

Being a lead I've danced with my fair share (and then some) of women.  Each one is very different from the next.  I think if Sarah can find the middle ground between her style and Natalia's, we'll be set.  But it's definitely not easy.  I am, however, still very proud of how we've handled these trying situations.  Hopefully we'll keep it up!

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