Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Tale of Many Dance Parties

Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese, Quickstep, Nightclub 2-step, Salsa, Bolero
Hovers: Lost count!

This post is going to have to cover four dance parties! Since they aren't technically practices, and some we dance very little, I'm going to combine them into one post.

Thursday was the Aria practice party. The first half of the dance Jeff is dedicated to dancing with students, as he should be, so I didn't dance at all until that first half was over as the students who stayed on for the dance ended up being primarily women, so grabbing one of the new guys was not really going to work for me. I think we ended up dancing a couple of the standard dances, but Jeff was more tired than last week since I think he danced a lot more dances at the beginning this time with the students.

Friday was the salsa/Latin party. Since the crowd who ended up staying wanted more variety in the music, I somehow ended up dancing a tango with Simeon, and a foxtrot and waltz with Jeff. The part with the most potential came when Jeff had the brilliant idea of a nightclub 2-step "Simon Says" game, in which he would dance a figure that Simeon had to copy...but then that turned into foxtrot "Simon Says" with the only two couples on the floor being Simeon and Kora and Jeff and I, and that was kind of a fail. Jeff said he couldn't see what they were doing because of our direction and the way we were facing, so we couldn't copy the figures. I laughed, "Sure. Of course it's just because you can't see them. Otherwise we'd be dancing telespins and tumble turns and who knows what else no problem." Jeff agreed. It was a fun idea anyway and we'll have to try it some other way, though Kora brought up the point that having a caller for the figures would essentially turn it into square dancing. Somehow that sounded less appealing.

Saturday night was the ballroom party. This is intended to be a much bigger party, and this past week it was a lot of fun! Even more dancers came than the week before, Jeff did a great job on the playlist, and everyone, including us, had a great time. Lots of dancers, lots of dancing happening, and plenty of good music. I think we hit all of our dances, and the craziest was when we dived into our quickstep (yes, dive is the right word), and by the end of our first long side could not continue with our routine due to floorcrafting constraints, so Jeff suddenly went into basically a whole side of open naturals, very fast with lots of rotation and shaping and it felt like a roller-coaster. Yay, Asian driver! Somehow I stayed with him though and we ended on balance, with me in the kind of huge hesitation oversway thing to halt the momentum, which was pretty fun. It was nothing like our routine, but I was proud of Jeff for pulling that out of his hat (because normally quickstep is the hardest for us to deviate in), and of me for following through with it. I think we're continuing to become a better team in the floor crafting department; Jeff has always had extra talent there, but now that I've become more flexible and also have the ability to move a lot when I have to without running away, I think he's able to do more with it. Viennese felt really good on Saturday too, and my neck didn't hurt this time. I've been trying to be more conscious of moving my head in Viennese as I should so it doesn't lock up by delaying the head a bit in the natural turns, and using it to assist in the reverses. It seems to help if I can keep it moving. We also danced a bolero, and apparently afterwards someone complimented us on it...which Jeff thought odd because we don't really know it. But as standard dancers, I guess we have the basic principles of the movement in place, so even the basic figures kind of work because we're using fundamental techniques of movement and posture that make it look like we know what we're doing. Actually, to be fair, Jeff does know a bit of bolero, but I knew nothing until he started leading me through some of it. I really like it though and would love to learn more. Our nightclub 2-step was also good...it usually is these days. Now we're trying to think of new figures to add.

Sunday was the West Coast Swing dance. After the lesson (taught by Jeff), the turn out wasn't as great as some of the other dances, so I didn't dance much. A few random other dances besides West Coast were played, but I maybe danced 3 dances over all. I didn't really get the chance to see if I could apply anything from the classes, although I had one half of a WC dance where I tried. I feel pretty confident with the basics now though; I just need to get better with lead and follow of it and the many variants.

After the dance, Jeff and I and another instructor at Aria stayed a bit late talking about dancing, specifically dance partners, and our friend's rather unfortunate luck in that regard until just recently. It made me realize how lucky we are, to have been partners this long with still no fights, can communicate with each other like reasonable adults, give and take criticism, and actually enjoy dancing together after all that. It doesn't always work out so well for everyone, as we found out. Sure, we have our tough days, but overall I feel very fortunate. So many things have to come together for a dance partnership to work, and so often at least one of those pieces is missing. Anyhow, now that our friend has a new partner and it seems to be working out very well, we're hoping things will be looking up for him so that he can pursue his competitive goals and dreams too. Though now he is "threatening" to dance novice standard, and Jeff is being facetiously discouraging, because guess who wants to dominate that event? Uh huh.

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