Dances: Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Nightclub 2-step, Rumba, Salsa, West Coast Swing
The Friday pre-practice workout got started a little later today, so that meant that, although we whizzed through it, practice was cut pretty short, maybe down to 10-15 min. or so. We ran through our waltz routine, and then worked a little on Viennese waltz. I'm still very inconsistent with getting into the reverse fleckrels; sometimes I get it in time and sometimes I don't and just peddle around. I've found that if I think about the possibility of doing fleckrels as we're doing reverse turns, I tend to read the lead and go into them correctly, but if my mind is not there then I generally don't get it. I feel like I really shouldn't have to think about it though, I should just feel it and go. Then I was getting flung off balance by the force of the rotation some of the times, so I think that we'll have to work more with our coaches on when and where it happens, because right now we're not feeling that balanced at all. Again, thankfully we won't have to compete with this figure for quite some time.
After that, it was off to the Friday night dance party. Tonight was an open house, which meant a very very crowed floor, very little standard (in fact, only two waltzes comprised the sum total of it), but a free cover! Jeff and I danced the waltzes, some of the rumba (since that was what the pre-party class was focused on), salsa, and nightclub 2-step. We also somehow ended up in a bachata mixer (Jeff and I, the bachata haters), but when we went for the first rotation, the couple after us didn't rotate and I was left out for the rest of the dance, which was really fine with me. Our waltzes were quite a feat of floor crafting for Jeff, I mean, it some places you could hardly move. Perhaps because of the high risk lead follow situation...I had a few fumbles, but I think we did pretty well. I think that as a couple the nuances of speed and shape and power are becoming more unified, especially in situations like this. In some places, Jeff had to really go for it because there was an opening, so I would put my foot on the gas and away we'd go, using the frame it's rotation to give us momentum and space. Other times, we'd have to condense the whole thing, including our frame, and move small and stay compact, but in either case, I think I was doing better about feeling what my partner needed in those terms at that moment, so Jeff could more easily put me where he needed me. Gotta love the crazy Asian driver in those situations though.
We also danced a bolero towards the end, a bit more successfully this time than last, though I think I could benefit from actually learning the dance a little. It's definitely a leg workout, but my feet were actually feeling it the most because of the need to maintain the appropriate rise and fall at that slow and controlled pace. One thing I found that is absolutely critical in bolero to avoid otherwise certain death, and that is to maintain an absolutely straight alignment in the back and connection all the way up to the shoulder blade, any curve backward in the lower back is pretty much deadly as it pulls the balance back and down too soon. Once I got that feeling that my back was basically a straight rod rooted firmly in and perpendicular to the floor, I found that I had that control and balance I was missing. Obviously, a straight back is necessary for all of the dances, but in some there is more give and take, and you can get away with a little backward sway without dying. Since bolero seems to require a bit of extension all the same, I simply took care not to exaggerate it and to make sure it only happened from the shoulder blade up. The position ended up feeling to me rather like a combination Latin and tango frame...quite comfortable, actually.
One thing I noticed about my dancing all night was that I was really on the outside edges of my feet, which is not good. I ought to be using the inside edges more and not rolling out so much, but I suspect my shoes may have something to do with it. They've always been more on the loose than the tight side, and now that they are so broken in, I think they are not providing as much support anymore. I need to look into getting some padded insoles that I could put in to help shore up the support and make them fit more tightly again.
Thus ended a full week of practice. I think in the end, while not all of our practices are equally beneficial, we'll find that it's just the plain consistency of it is going to pay big dividends.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that Jeff's latest haircut looks great! Just like Victor! He's trying to find the best comp look for the unruly Asian hair, and I think he's found it. As I was telling him tonight; we're going to be such Victor and Anna wannabes when we start competing. Jeff with his Victor hair, Asian heritage, musicality, and confident ballroom presence, and me with my (hopefully by then) darker hair slicked back into the low bun with the curlicues on the sides, my similar height, long arms and back, my tendency to break my right shoulder line, my penchant for stretching out and pushing my limits extension-wise, and my Anna style ballgown. That shouldn't be a bad thing though, at least in my book.