Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back to the Barnacle

Part: Follow
Dances: Nightclub 2-step, Waltz, Tango, Viennese, Foxtrot, Quickstep
Hovers: 1 (very good, held for an extra measure!)

Last night was Monday, and I'm not sure why I keep feeling like it was Tuesday, but anyways. We finished the workout and headed in to practice. I think we got a pretty good workout in...perhaps that's why I'm confused; I normally don't do weights on Mondays. This week though I'm planing to give ballet another try on Tuesday night at the usual workout hour, so that's why I switched it up.

After warming up to nightclub 2-step, first to a very sleepy song that wasn't much of a warm up, and then to a more upbeat '80s song, we proceeded with the round. Something was a little screwy with our connection, I think partly because I had done some social dancing on my own over the weekend and I had made some adjustments for dancing with other leads and they carried over to Monday. Jeff particularly noticed that our connection was much higher than usual in Viennese. I also think that part of this is due to me not keeping up with my Pilates routine very diligently last week due to the holiday and the accompanying laziness. Those strengthening and stretch routines really tend to stabilize my core and I think it ends up affecting my balance, my center when dancing, and by extension, our connection. So this week, I need to get back on track, because I don't feel as pulled together in my center as I normally do. Funny how much a of a difference that makes.

Since we missed a couple of practice days last week, we just pulled over the practice plan from last Friday, which was to be focused on tango. I had put that we should work on the fallaway section and keeping the frame straight and not "barnacling" as Kora calls it when I fall too far behind Jeff in our V-shaped promenade and end up almost perpendicular to his hip. I'm not sure how she came up with the "barnacle effect," but it was memorable. I think Jeff actually misread the section I intended for us to work on; I was thinking of the fallaway promenades rather than the fallaway-reverse-slip-pivots, but since those need more work anyways I didn't comment when I realized this. I'm glad we worked on these, by the end we felt more balanced, and when Jeff would stop I was less tipped in crazy directions that would pull us over. I've realized more and more that in tango keeping a very straight alignment is critical, any slanting or sway unless directly called for (as in an oversway, for instance), can be quite disastrous for balance. We both have problems with this, so I was focusing on keeping my head, shoulders, back, hips and feet all lined up with one another while rotating my frame around my spine to follow Jeff's movement, and also being very careful to keep my feet close under my body especially on the reverse outside swivel, where I've had a tendency to let my feet get ahead of myself. It seemed to help.

We concluded practice with some foxtrot. While I feel like the quality of our movement is quite good in foxtrot, I think the CMB and rotation is something we'll have to continue to work on for quite some time. As I was discussing with Simeon and last night with Jeff, there are just some things that are impossible to dance correctly until the body has achieved a certain flexibility and strength, and that only comes through lots of practice and usually some cross training. Although we still have a ways to go in that regard, I think we've both made a lot of progress there, and just have to be patient and keeping working away at it to get to the point where we're actually fully capable of that smoothness and fluidity.

Quick added note; since we talked about Jeff's hair updates in his quest for competition hair, I too have taken the plunge and have colored my hair for the first time ever. Normally I think that natural is always better, but for competition, that contrast and dramatic look is pretty much a must for a professional look on the floor. So, rather than dye my head black, scare everyone I know, and show up on the comp floor looking possibly a bit ridiculous, I colored my hair just a few shades darker than my natural color and am giving it a sort of test run to see what it's like. I think come comp time I'll go one more shade darker and call it good. It'll be dark enough to look almost black when slicked back and be a nice contrast with my more fair complexion, but not a hideously unnatural shade that would look awkward in any other setting. We'll see how that goes. So far I think it looks pretty natural.

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