Wednesday, October 26, 2011

See-Saw Shaping

Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep
Hovers: 2

Winter is finally here in the Northwest; my fingers are freezing as I type this, and even the gym is no longer overheated except when I'm in the middle of a workout, when any temperature feels too hot. Last night we began practice with a round, this time to competition footage audio. The breaks were shorter than we expected, and quickstep longer than I remember. We'll get used to it though. My thought is that we should eventually work up to dancing an entire song for each dance back to back, so about 5 minutes per dance. That way a regular round should be no problem.

The focused dance of the night was waltz, with a concentration on the hesitation into whisk following the fallaway reverse slip pivot section. We tend to lose connection here, and the shaping is wonky. Jeff experimented a bit with the shaping, since the idea is that you shape right (or left for the lead, I guess) for the hesitation, tilt left and back going into the whisk, and the then come back the other way as you end in promenade at the end of the whisk. It's awkward to do at first, but we did one that felt really good and I think the overall look is very elegant and adds some interest to an otherwise simple sequence. It looks and feels kind of like a smooth see-saw. After some more awkward fails, however, Jeff gave up on trying to do this different shaping since it's not what we're used to doing there and we'll probably want to get some professional guidance before implementing the new styling since we had a tough time getting it consistent. I noticed that the weave on that end of the floor is feeling much better...I'm more with Jeff in general and my head is more smooth with the transition, but best of all I can feel that our frame is much more level. It used to kind of dive into that part and it always felt like a strain to come back up, and even stay on balance. Jeff's been working extra hard on straightening the frame, and I can feel the difference for sure.

We ended with a short tango lead and follow only. Actually, I think that went off without a single hitch...I can't recall us losing our connection once throughout that dance, and I could tell Jeff was trying to throw me (or just playing around) by really mixing up our figures and throwing in stuff we never do. Like I said before though, tango is probably the easiest dance to follow for me. Not that I'm always perfect by a long shot, but because of the characteristics of that dance, the lead is usually pretty hard to argue with, and the frame and connection are more compact, giving you a better feel for where your partner is and where he's going. All the same, it's also not one of my better dances. I'm much better at looking long, flexible, flowing, slow, and graceful, than sharp, quick, snappy, and aggressive. Nevertheless, it continues to improve. I have high hopes for our tango.

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