Friday, August 24, 2012

"All that we have to decide.... what to do with the time that is given to us."
                          ~J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, August 20, 2012


Part: Follow
Dances: Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Nightclub 2-step
Hovers: 1

Saturday was Aria Ballroom's first student showcase, and also was Jeff and I's first performance as dance partners. Amazing, after a year and half, but it really was the first time. Indulge me for a second while I add that it was also the debut of my new red dress that has been hanging so patiently on a satin padded hanger. Of course, since I wanted to save something for competition, I wore long blue gloves instead of floats and didn't wear the rhinestone jewelry that goes with the dress. Still, it was quite effective, and I believe the skirt is a win; it covers my bad footwork and shows off the movement wonderfully.

As for the dances, I kicked off the show with a waltz and foxtrot with one of the students from Aria's youth program, a tall young gentleman with a true dancer's build and good standard frame. And I mean tall as in over six feet tall, so just about the textbook height for me at just over 5'8". One time he made the "mistake" of complimenting the fact that I was "long and lean" and therefore a good standard dancer, and after being reprimanded by an older and wiser gentleman for his choice of compliment, we now tease each other a bit about being long and lean and how that's all that really matters, because of course it isn't. But he's going to go far in the dance world if he keeps up with it, I think, since he is really an excellent dancer and very driven and dedicated for one so young. We kind of were afraid our dances would crash and burn since the balance between us was a little unsteady since we were both a bit unused to a new height match up, but it actually went about the same in the show as in practice the week before, so that's good, and I reveled in my throwaway oversway and hover with develope, oh, and extended reverse wave, even though I know they weren't as good as they could have been.

And then I danced a tango with the Jeff-partner, which went surprisingly well considering that we hadn't danced it in probably a month. We danced this particular dance because they needed more couples to fill in the heat, so we obliged even though it's probably our worst dance of the five. The same thing happened with Viennese, only they ended up playing a slow American style song, and so halfway through Jeff was inspired to drop frame and go unapologetically into full out "patty cakes." That was fun though, and I am pleased to report that I followed whatever odd shenanigins he threw at me after that.

Then we danced a nightclub 2-step, which also went well, but I can't think of time when our nightclub 2-step hasn't worked out. It just flows quite naturally, I think. I also wore a sparkly dress for that and got glitter all over Jeff's vest. I know because I heard about it later.

Overall, I'd say our dancing was a success, especially considering we really didn't practice for it at all. Jeff looked great too in his long black vest and dance shirt and pants, and a dark red tie that matched my dress. The only hitch was that Jeff kept trying to lead me out onto the floor arm in arm on the wrong side. I kept trying to correct him before we went out by placing my left hand in his right but he just didn't get what I meant until I explained later when we weren't on the spot. I also almost didn't let him lead me off the floor  once because it looked like he was leaving without me so I just walked over to the side myself. I guess we just need to review a few details about how to present the whole thing.

Maybe I'll post a photo here if one materializes. In the mean time, I'm so happy to be able to write about our first performance, and I do hope there will be more to come, competitive or not.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Road Goes Ever On

Part: Follow
Dances: TBD
Hovers: 0

It's been about 3 weeks since I last posted, so I figured that this blog at least deserves some small word by way of an update. Certain things, I believe, are beyond the scope of this blog, perhaps a bit too personal in nature to bring too much to the fore, but suffice it to say that our partnership here has experienced one of the most difficult phases so far. Changing goals and priorities not shared by both parties understandably produce strain, and those new priorities and lack of common motivation have definitely impeded our heretofore practice and training routine.

While I don't think it fair of me to make a lot of public judgments about where my partner is with all of this, except as it relates directly to me, I think I ought to add that I have been continuing to practice on my own almost daily (somewhat half-heartedly, I admit). I also have taken a few lessons solo, which is a good thing for me to do anyways since I have a lot of problem areas to work on in my dancing that Jeff really shouldn't have to bother with. In any case, I am really ready to get back to serious practice, and while our busy schedules and perhaps more balanced lives will not allow for the much more generous commitment to practice and training that we had in the beginning, I believe that if we wish to continue dancing together and pursuing a common goal, we must do something consistently. Since I communicated my feelings about this to Jeff, he agreed that we ought to resume our practice sessions soon in some form, so tentatively we are planning to practice at least weekly starting the week after the Aria Ballroom student showcase. Jeff is busy preparing his own students for the showcase, or recital, as it were, and meanwhile I'm practicing our gold waltz routine with another student who is in the youth program at Aria but also is old enough now to compete in the adult category. This particular student is a better dancer than I, and a perfect height match for me at 6'1" tall, so we're having fun putting this together, throwing in a couple of open level figures just for fun. Oversways and developes just make me happy, and Jeff hasn't wanted to touch them with a ten foot pole yet, so I'm having fun playing around and probably looking ridiculous. My bad balance is definitely becoming more apparent, as I don't have Jeff's solidity to counter-balance my craziness here. It's good practice for me though.

There was talk of Jeff and I performing a social style dance for the showcase, lead and follow style, but I haven't been able to nail that one down. Nightclub 2-step or bolero would probably be the dance, if it ends up happening. I guess you'll just have to come to the showcase this Saturday to find out!