Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mind + Body + Soul = Chemistry

Dances:  Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep
Part:  Lead
Workout:  Arms and back at the gym.

Well it's the beginning of the week again.  Sarah had decided to workout with me today and I decided to really plow through it.  We took minimal amounts of break and in my opinion, really got a great workout in.  I managed to keep my heart rate fairly elevated throughout the entire duration.

We started out practice with a round.  Everything was normal except for the Foxtrot.  We danced it exceptionally well today.  It sort of felt like how it used to before it somehow got broken.  But we were very in tune with it today.  So that's good news.

Over the weekend Sarah and I had gotten together to watch a video of a seminar given in 2007 by William Pino and Alessandra Bucciarelli.  I've been collecting various videos of seminars recently since I think it's important when fighting any battle, in this case competitive ballroom dancing, to leverage any advantage you can get.  These videos are of the people who are and were the best in the field talking about various topics.  All very interesting and definitely filled with great information.  In this particular video William was talking about the chemistry between two people in a dance partnership.  How chemistry even by definition was the art of transformation.  As dancers we are the alchemists of motion, and we try to transform motions and emotions.  He went on to break down the components of good chemistry into three categories:  Mind, Body and Soul.  For mind, his main point was trust.  How the trust between the two people had to be no less than 100%.  So no matter what happens or how the other person is feeling, you just need to trust that they know what they are doing and their decisions are sound.  He brought up an example of one Blackpool Competition he had competed in.  For some reason he just didn't feel like dancing the Foxtrot that day.  So he told his partner Alessandra that he wasn't going to dance their routine that day, and instead only dance a Foxtrot based on the Reverse Wave.  She simply said "That's fine.".  It's a funny story, but thinking about it, that really takes a tremendous amount of trust (and guts) not only in your partner, but yourself, to pull off.  For Body, he talked about touch and the importance of genuine touch.  Just because you're dancing in body contact doesn't mean anything unless your touch conveys your intentions.  You're touch needs to mean exactly what you're trying to accomplish and it's characteristics will change depending on which dance or which figure you're dancing.  In a sense it's like acting.  You can't be afraid or shy to touch your partner.  You're there to do a job and get it done well.  William wrapped up the lecture with Soul.  Of course this meant the emotional side of dance.  How it's important to be able to recall any sort of emotion you need at any given time.  And make sure those emotions have been tested.  For example if you wanted to portray happiness you might think about a beautiful wedding you attended, or a concert you went to.  You then take that and apply it to your dance.  Overall a great lecture.  Sarah and I learned quite a bit from it.

Today's practice was to go over our last short side of our Quickstep.  Due to the size of the room we dance in, we usually either run out of space or another couple when we get to this last section.  As a result, we seldom dance it.  It's really not too difficult other than the two Quick Open Reverses (2 through 3 of it) and Reverse Pivots in a row.  Somehow Sarah likes to read a heel turn in between the two.  I didn't quite understand why that would even remotely feel like a heel turn lead, but either way she felt it.  We later discovered that her Silver Waltz routine with Simeon had a Reverse Pivot into a Double Reverse.  I'm willing to bet anything that's why she automatically pops up into a heel turn in our last Quickstep section.  Other than that we have a Change of Direction into a Chasse Reverse.  Not too hard considering anytime we have a Change of Direction in any other dance, something crazy and awkward follows it.  I'm not sure why Kora decided not to try and kill me in the Quickstep Change of Direction.  Maybe she forgot.

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