Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Return of Tick-Tock Timing
Practice tonight was pretty focused, once we got down to it. I chose foxtrot to work on, and Jeff said he had a feeling I would pick that. Well, we can't seem to work on quickstep and tango two days in a row without wanting to throw in the towel, so I thought foxtrot would be good since it always needs work and we usually end up with a good practice from it because we know some good practice techniques for this dance.
It just so happened that the foxtrot level 1 class was going on right next to us, so we ended up having music for a good part of practice. Oh, and we musn't forget the white construction worker hat that we found on a chair that Jeff had to try on for dancing Viennese, just because that seemed most appropriate. (!!!) Of course, that gave him the idea that I should wear a helmet when we dance Viennese because he's grazed me so close to the wall, mirror, or pillars so many times, as a safety mechanism. I declined, on the arguement that I trust him. See how I got out of that one?
For practice, we worked on our feather three step combination very very slowly. I'm not sure what Jeff was thinking about other than not falling, but besides that, I was thinking a lot about foot pressure and not transferring weight fully all at once too quickly, allowing my body to pass over my feet smoothly and really tracking the floor with a lot of foot pressure. This in turn gave me much better balance and also meant that I could stop more easily whenever Jeff did, and he did too, in a lot of strange scrunched up positions, so I was quite happy with how well I was able to keep the connection even at that crawling speed.
When the class was over, we turned on our old friend the metronome. This took some figuring and getting used to as we tried to figure out how the timing worked with the body movement and steps. If you recall, our breakthrough was realizing that the steps occur later in the beat and the movement on the down beat. Interestingly enough, I was just watching a clip of Marcus Hilton (many time world champion) lecturing on waltz and foxtrot, and he stressed this very thing "move in time with the music...do not step in time with the music." He said that several times. It makes a lot of sense and looks much smoother when you do it, but it takes a lot of untraining when you're so used to marching along in time. The one hold up we ran into was (Jeff said it was just me...I thought it was both of us, but okay) moving on 1 and stepping on the "and" of 1, rather than on 2, but I realized that you really have to collect and gather energy on 1 by starting the CBM or whatever body rotation is coming up, then start to move the body across the feet and start tracking the floor on the "and" (NOT on 1), and then step on two, and repeat the process over again, though of course on the quicks you move the body on the 3 and 4 and step on the "ands" of 3 and 4. This will probably make sense to my choir friends and nobody else, but that's how I think about it. It feels awkward and tough when you dance it this broken down and slow, but after a while the motion starts to make sense you begin to feel how it will go at normal tempo. Gradually, I've noticed, I've begun to move more on the beat rather than rush to step on it, in both waltz and foxtrot more especially, and this gives it a much more refined and, well, silky feel. I think we should work on this a bit in waltz next.
Overall, a solid practice. We're getting smoother, making progress, and that's what counts.
Posted by Sarah at 12:55 PM