Dances: Night Club 2-step, Waltz
Tuesday night was going to be a sort of testing the waters practice for me after my injury Monday night. I can walk okay, but my knee feels a bit stiff and hurts and feels really shaky when I bend it with too much with weight. I've found that after these injuries though, the sooner I can get over my fear of using that leg and my body's innate tendency to guard the injury, the quicker I'll be back to normal, as long as I don't do anything crazy like hit up the stair master, run, or dance low in the knees tango right away.
After warming up with night club 2-step, we started in on waltz. I could tell I was rushing through any part that required my left leg to be bent, and Jeff could definitely feel it. I also slipped up on the turning lock at the beginning, which Jeff pointed out I have never done, I think because I lost footing. It got a little better as we went on, but the injury was definitely affecting my dancing. All the same, I think I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and dance myself back into my usual form, because otherwise I'm just postponing the problem. I'm going to be scared to put weight on it no matter when I start up dancing again, so I might as well get over that sooner rather than later, as long as I'm careful.
We worked on the outside spin into natural spin turn into turning lock bit, focusing on keeping out connection low throughout. Towards the end of practice, I thought it was feeling quite good, especially the smoothness of the transition in the figures going around that corner. I also figured out that to keep from going too far outside Jeff when I go outside partner for the outside spin, I need to focus on keeping my hip connected and not worry so much about where the frame is. Again, sometimes I think I follow the frame too much in determining my direction, when I should really be following the body and leg movement. Still, the greatest challenge on this step is making sure my feet stay together on the spin part...it's so easy to cheat on that! At least our position felt a lot better by the end of practice.
I also experimented a bit with straightening my left leg more as I go down into the contra check; normally I am very split weight (which is correct), but the front leg is very bent while the back leg is extended back. In the video I posted recently and in others I've seen of top pros, I noticed that the lady usual has more of a long leg line with the left leg to match the frame, lengthening th leg as she extends. I'll need to do some more research though to see if that is an across the board thing or more of a stylistic preference. It's a bit harder to maintain the split weight when the leg is straightened, but it does look nice.
We ended with a waltz run through to "Moon River," the slow piano jazz version. I wasn't feeling quite ready to test my luck with the tango lead/follow I had on our practice program.