Friday, December 2, 2011

Return of the Metronome

Part: Follow
Dances: Nightclub 2-step, Waltz, Tango, Viennese, Foxtrot, Quickstep
Hovers: 0

Last night ended up being leg day since we had skipped practice and working out on Wednesday, and since I don't normally do that workout, it was good for me to test my strength a bit more in that area. My knee has still been giving me grief, but as long as I go easy and keep the weight pretty light, it's not too bad, and will probably end up helping my knee in the long run.

Practice began as usual, and I thought our round went better than our last, though Jeff had a memory slip at the end of the quickstep, and we both had a very literal slip when we passed over a particularly "icy" patch in the floor during Viennese. Both of Jeff's feet and one of mine hit it, and it was a dreadful feeling, like when you're in a parking lot walking fast and hit an ice patch and lose all traction. We didn't fall, though we came pretty close!

After that, I suggested that we work on foxtrot, and maybe bring back our old metronome practice to see if we could still do it and because it's just a good exercise. Of course, when I had thought up this plan I hadn't realized we'd be working out legs right beforehand, which makes this particular exercise more difficult, but since we'd skipped practice and workout the day before, I think we felt a little more up for the challenge than we would otherwise.

So, we turned on the metronome and got to work. My strategy for approaching this practice was quite different than before. This time, my total focus was going to be on matching Jeff's speed, alignment, whatever, as best I could. I was working on strong legs, eeking out the extra time by sliding my feet more slowly and with more pressure across the floor, using my knees more, and always focusing on keeping a consistent center. I thought about bolero and my discovery about the ramrod straight back. As for the metronome, I did my very best to ignore it, and because I was focusing so much on other things, I don't think it really bothered me. I left that part up to Jeff entirely.

We actually did surprisingly well, considering that we hadn't practiced this way in at least a couple of months, and it seemed we were both falling into steps less and had more control over our movement, even at those speeds. A few times Jeff felt that I was dragging him or falling, but I didn't feel that I was at all, and I usually know when I am, but there were a few times where I know I got back-weighted or had a bad curve in my spine, and that would certainly contribute to that feeling for him. With this exercise, it is guaranteed that you will lose your balance sometimes, and not have perfect posture for the entirety, at least for dancers our level. The point is that we try, and in the trying, we improve. I am quite happy with the fact that we got through some really large chucks of the routine at the crawling speed without falling over or having to stop.

One thing we'll have to work on is some of the more dramatic shapes. Jeff feels like I'm pulling us over and falling into the shape, while I feel like he's knocking me over and it's all I can do to keep from falling. Probably we are either breaking our frame or else just not counterbalancing the shapes well; we'll figure that out.

Overall though, I felt this was a very productive practice, and it's a good feeling to know that we hadn't taken any major steps back since we had practiced our tick-tock timing.

Warm down was a little bit of tango. Something I noticed about my promenade that I want to make a note to self to address. A lot of times when I end a figure in promenade, my weight pitches forward too much, so that I have a tendency to bounce off of my forward foot as my weight goes forward and then I pull back into correct position. Ick. I need to stay back the entire time without getting heavy on Jeff's arm.

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