Saturday, November 12, 2011

Defensive Dancing

Part: Follow
Dances: Nightclub 2-step, Waltz, Tango, Cha-cha, Salsa, Bachata (that's right), Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Bolero
Hovers: 5 + (lost count)

We skipped practice on Thursday night since we were both tired, me especially, from the festivities of the night before. I figured we'd get better practice and dancing in if we were less tired and spent by the time Friday rolled around. I was still tired, but I think it helped.

After a warm up with nightclub 2-step, and Jeff playing a clip from a lovely cello arrangement of a famous classical piece that Jeff wants us to put together a show with...and to which we tested out some dance steps, it was on to waltz. This week I had purposely put waltz and foxtrot towards the end of the week and the harder dances for us toward the beginning since we are fresher then.

The focus in waltz was the closed impetus into reverse pivot. Jeff used to always complain about this figure because it involves a tough heel turn for him. I have always thought that it feels like we rotate the entire body too much and don't isolate the rotation in the upper body enough, which means that it's more difficult to get that torque and counter-rotational energy that you get from turning one part of your body away from the other. As a result, I often feel like I can't get around Jeff enough and that I'm not rotating enough, and sometimes we fall into the pivot. Jeff didn't really see a problem here, but it's been bothering me, so we danced through it a number of times and tried a few different things. For me, I just have to be extremely conscious to initiate the movement from my left side and make sure to have strong CBM on that first step. Our hovers, on the other hand, are going pretty well. I think we're mastering the timing on the right shape, the slow turn to the left, and then Jeff gradually gives me room to extend out to the end of the phrase, and I keep getting better with the extension, so it's looking pretty good in the mirrors.

Then it was off to Danceworks for social dancing. The dancing was a lot better for us than last week; the floor was less crowded and there was more music we could dance to. We got in some good waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, a little foxtrot, and bolero....and of course nightclub 2-step. Social dancing there for the standard dances is really the ultimate floor crafting test for Jeff though, but he's doing pretty well in that department. He did, however, throw me for a loop by dancing a curved feather in waltz. Did not expect that....but I should have known better after dancing with the Jeff-partner for this long. All in all though, our social dancing seems to be going pretty well these days.

I also danced a rather confusing salsa with another guy there who isn't usually there. He wasn't really leading much of anything, but kind of moving around a lot himself, so it was hard to figure out what he wanted me to do. It seemed like he was used to dancing with someone who maybe knew his choreography and so just knew what to do without being told...I don't know, but I was lost. Granted, I'm not a true salsera by any means, but I can generally follow salsa okay if it is led. And in that case I also found myself having to do some "defensive dancing;" I felt that it wasn't necessary to grab me around the waist and pull me in so tightly and keep me there just because another couple happened to pass by. It's remarkable what a little arm and back tension will do as a defense mechanism. It's funny that as a standard dancer I'm totally comfortable with dancing with full body contact with my partner, teachers, and other good dancers, yet sometimes when social dancing with certain guys the vibe is just distinctly off and you want to maintain that polite distance. That's where "defensive dancing" comes in. Having a partner nearby who can come to the rescue if needed is a blessing as well. Fortunately, those situations don't happen often, but when they do, it's nice to have escape routes.

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