Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Undefeating the Quickstep

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

After the arms and back workout which we kept at a pretty good pace, we headed in for the beginning of the week practice. We warmed up and then danced a round. It's something we're trying to get back in the habit of doing, because, although it's tiring, we've simply got to get used to it and get that endurance built up. Today during our practice session we had a brilliant new idea for our rounds. We're going to start dancing them to the audio from competition video footage...then we'll get a really good feel for the length of the songs, the time between dances, and background noise that's always there. We were cracking up as we imagined ourselves waltzing around an empty room to the sounds of music mixed with applause and the ambient sounds of Blackpool or the City Lights Ball. We both came up with this idea at the same moment as Jeff turned on a competition video to prove to me how our waltz fit with a competition length song. We'll have to see how it goes, but it should be fun.

Today we decided to look at quickstep again as it continues to be the weakest link. Recently Jeff was going off on his take on the title "undefeated" and what it really means, and how you can't claim that if you've been beaten at a certain competition or level prior to becoming the steady winner. Somehow the word morphed into a verb as we discussed how we'd like to undefeat gold before going into the open levels. Our plan is not only to win a comp, but to undefeat it...a more challenging goal, don't you think? So right now, we need to undefeat quickstep, because as it stands now quickstep is winning against us.

Our focus yesterday was the last short side in our routine, mainly since we rarely dance it because of where it is in the circuit. Now last night I was having a problem with turning the second quick-open-reverse into a double reverse spin, and I was trying to explain to Jeff why they feel so similar to me going into them. Both require a long step back with the right leg going into heavy reverse rotation, and I'm drawing my free leg under the body in both, but in one I turn on the heel and stay in place, while in the other I pass my feet and move through outside partner. Granted, I think it was a problem with me rather than with Jeff's lead, but to me the entry to both figures is quite similar. After a bit of a discussion about it, and Jeff commenting that doing a double-reverse after a reverse pivot was a really awkward thing to do, and why would I ever want to do it...I remembered that my silver waltz routine and I believe also my quickstep dancing pro-am with Simeon both included this combination, which I danced and practiced over and over. That would explain why I feel that it's a natural progression and probably why my body keeps defaulting in that direction. Once we figured that out we ended up okay...in fact, the very end of the routine is quite blah. A change of direction all in slows, and then a chasse reverse, which is basically half of a box. I really want to shape right on the hesitation though, even though Simeon wanted me to stay left for some reason. Right shape gives it some interest and seems to bring some kind of finality to the section. Jeff doesn't care either way, it seems.

I forgot to mention that when we danced our round, the foxtrot felt quite good...unusually so for the past several weeks. It was a good feeling; I think perhaps some for my part was inspired by a video we had seen of William Pino and Alessandra in which they spoke about and demonstrated a very simple and gorgeous foxtrot that they danced lead and follow only for a Blackpool competition. The way those dancers move as a single unit is so, so beautiful, so I was thinking about what that must feel like, and maybe it helped. Anyways, we felt more together than sometimes.

We ended with some lead and follow waltz. We're getting pretty used to it by now, since that is the one dance we usually get to dance quite a bit in social situations. I enjoy it a lot when Jeff gets creative with the shaping...hesitations, etc. and I think we're continuing to improve in our connection and ability to give and take in those lead/follow only situations. Heck...I'm not surprised by anything in waltz anymore....reverse waves, patty cakes...rumba crosses even; I never know what's going to happen so I just do my best to stay totally in the moment and enjoy the ride.

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