Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Competition Simulation Strategy

Dances:  Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep
Part:  Lead
Workout:  Chest and shoulders at the gym.
Temperature Outside at 12AM:  39 Degrees

I always write a little blurb about my workout and sometimes I feel that it gets fair repetitive.  But nevertheless, it's tradition now.  Workout today was pretty intense.  Without Sarah along for the ride, I tend to push myself MUCH harder with far less time in between sets.  Not sure if that's a good or bad thing.  Either way, I got a great workout in.

Sarah and I recently stumbled across an interesting technique/strategy while pursuing our quest for the physically untaxing round.  We usually put on some music for each dance and dance through each of our routines once through.  I had measured them all before and with the exception of Quickstep, they all are roughly the length of a competition heat if you dance them completely through.  A few nights ago, Sarah argued that our routines are actually a little bit under the standard heat time of 1:30.  To prove my measurements to her I played a video of the Professional Standard Competition at Seattle Star Ball this year (it was actually the video of Kora and Simeon in that competition) and we danced through the Waltz.  Turns out I was a little under but not by much (about half the first long side).  After dancing through it, we kind of looked at each other and came to the same realization at the same time.  What a great way to dance a practice round.  By playing videos of entire championship level competitions we not only wouldn't have to worry about changing the music for each dance and cutting them to the right length, but also would be able to simulate everything else.  Everything from the ambient sounds, to random fans screaming, to the roll out and bow at the end and prepping for the next dance.  After doing this for a few days the biggest gain for me is getting used to the pacing of these events.  Since I have never competed before I think this is a great way to simulate that environment, particularly the pacing, and in doing so give us an edge.  Anything helps at this point.

After our competition round, we started working on our Waltz.  The last part of our second long side ends with a Fallaway Reverse and Slip Pivot into a Drag Hesitation and finally to a Back Whisk.  While the Fallaway Reverse and Slip Pivot will always require some work, its not too bad right now.  The entrance into the Drag Hesitation was a little clunky though when it comes to shape.  Oftentimes, it's really easy to dive into it in order to bring the partnership to halt.  So I made sure we were within normal limits there.  Next up was the real bear.  The Back Whisk.  Not exactly the hardest figure to learn, but in my opinion, a fairly difficult one to master.  You basically need to end up in Promenade Position with your left leg behind you.  Along with that is some shaping to the right which Sarah and I never quite get right.  Every time we try, we topple over backwards.  It's actually quite amusing.  In the end, I gave up on the shaping until we can get some further assistance with them from our coaches.  I'm pretty sure we're doing something wrong.  Other than that, things seem to be falling into place.

Upon Sarah's constant insistence, we ended with some Tango lead and follow.  It actually went very well.  I don't think floor crafting will be an issue at all for us once we get to competitions.  We practice that aspect of our dancing quite frequently.  Not to mention the crazy Asian driver at the helm.

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