Thursday, January 2, 2014

I'm Still Dancin'


With two full semesters of dance lessons under our belt, we approached an end of summer wedding ready to demonstrate our skills.

The combination of a couple months without rehearsal, and returning from the continuous walking of a Disney trip only two days before affected our ability somewhat.

Our reaction to most of the music was:
“That sounds like a (Rumba/Hustle/whatever). 
Do you remember any steps?
Me neither.”

The classes couldn’t restart soon enough.

They usually move the tables and chairs.

The classes restarted too soon.

Both of us had “Flu Like Symptoms.”

So flu like, in fact, that we probably had the flu. 

I was at the start of the infection, Rosa was in the middle, and we could barely stand, never mind dance.

Week 2
There were two couples from the previous beginner’s class, and one from ours that we recognized on our expected to be less than triumphant return.  The notification that we’d be working on the Hustle did little to increase our confidence, since Rosa’s Latin genes were of no help, and my genes were an actual hindrance.

Having the end of a sinus infection and being back on Plavix combine to make me dizzy if I looked left too quickly, forget performing a spin, didn’t help matters much either.

Amazingly, I discovered the beat, and acted on it without breaking my knees. We even worked out the cross body lead and several turn varieties without me falling over.

Two revelations greatly added to my success.

1) All the interesting stuff happened on the “two three” not the elusive “and one.”

2) There are many moves where the guy was allowed, nay expected, to stand still.

I can stand still really well.

Week 3
Our first return to the Rumba, and it was back to square one, or box one, anyway.  We couldn’t remember back and forth at all for a while, which we “experienced” dancers are supposed to start with instead of the “box,” but it eventually returned. 

The beginning of the routine was exactly as we had done in past classes, but now Tony was adding the unreasonable demand that we had to look good while doing it.

He gave us a printed list of names to allow us to review and practice the routine. That would have been helpful if we had any clue as to what the names meant.  His demonstrations of something that sounded like “alla- mine” looked different every time he said it.

I needed some step and hip remedial lessons, and was also given suggestions about my arm positions and complaints about my posture.


While I was trying to figure all of that out, Rosa wanting to try the new steps they displayed lead to me getting head butted in the nose.

The dance of love, indeed.

Week 4
With the Rumba list in hand all week, we didn’t actually practice Rumba anyway.

This didn’t end up mattering all that much. The beginner’s class was doing Salsa, which our group merged directly into.

Tony informed us we were picking up directly from where we’d left off, therefore it should be simple.  That may have been fine for everyone who didn’t have the flu the first week, but we were leaning heavily on Rosa’s genetics to keep up.

We did remember the basic step pretty quickly, although the Plavix in my system made the turns nightmarish.

Once comfortable, we tried to recall the ever elusive cross body lead.  The instructors thought this was a good idea, and focused the class on it, tossing the Rumba list into the vortex.

We had been trying to cross into the open position. Tony came by and told me my steps were too big. Considering I almost left the room on a couple of occasions, he may have been right.  He showed us how to practice in hold, for a closed version of the maneuver.

Once we had it down, he informed us we were far too close together to end up in open position.

When that was settled, we couldn't figure out the timing of us doing alternate turns afterward.  Phoebe saw us, thought we couldn't work out the cross body lead itself, and walked us through it all over again.

Luckily, we could do the cross body lead by that point, and were able to demonstrate it flawlessly, right up until massively screwing up the alternate turns, which she then taught us.

Week 5

A whole week of the Hustle.

Combined with my genetic opposition to the dance, there was a great deal of new spin based moves.  I don’t really want to talk about the results.

Amazingly, I found the beat for long enough to figure out some of the steps. I also had to hold on to a table to make the room stop spinning afterward, but I took what I could get.

The teacher’s crazy, far beyond us, demonstrations made it very hard to figure out where we were supposed to stop.

On the way out, we heard the following week would be Samba…oh boy.

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