Thursday, January 8, 2015

More Rumbaish Returning, Remembering and Regressing

Week 7

Tony greeted our class by asking if we wanted to continue the Rumba from last week.
(Which we didn’t do.)

We all shouted, “No!” Instead he decided to do something new, Tango.

Mr. Short Term Memory (but still a heck of a teacher) started us back at the beginning.  Therefore, we did extra good.  I don’t believe this will help us in public. There’s not a lot of Tangos at weddings these days.

We spend most of our class refining that dance.  Then, because it was “date night” again and we could stay, freakin’ Samba again.

I did somewhat better for the two seconds we spent on basic, and flat out refused to change partners for fear of killing a stranger with my random attempts to maintain bounce.

I did step on Rosa’s feet a little, but it was her fault for being Latin and trying to do a real Samba instead of the Ballroom variety.

I continued to boycott partner changing for the safety for those around me while on a quest for the beat once we switched to Salsa.  Forgetting the steps didn’t help my hunt much.

At one point during a complicated turn, I ended up grabbing my own face.
Sure my dancing will never impress the influx of younger Latin students in the class, but I can still make ‘em laugh.

The turn was followed by some crazy dip things.  Between my knees and Rosa’s vertigo, we’re lucky we survived till he switched to Jive/Swing.

Because it was quick change night, we switched over to Hustle before we decided if we were doing Triple or Single Step.

Tony picked out some Lady Spinning moves. (Yes, I’m very technical.) Since the guy doesn’t do anything for them, he pointed at me and said, “For you.”

It’s nice to have an instructor who knows your range.

Still, Hustle has a lot of turns, and I was good and dizzy when we made the final change to Tango for a strong finish.

Date night lost a little of its glitter since our regular diner was being refurbished, leading us to what is now referred to in our home as, “The Crappy Replacement Diner.”

Week 8

There was Swing happening when we got there, going back to the beginning is always a good move for me.

Sharon was the Phake Phoebe of the week, and helped Tony show us the turns and separations again.

I knew the steps, I liked the music, and I could find the beat.

Yet, my legs insisting on stopping occasionally for no reason.  Perhaps I need to find dance classes that do not take place after full, grueling days at work.

Half way through our class, we switched to Salsa, and my beat finding time came to an abrupt end.  Rosa taking off into Latin land did not help this.

I was kind of getting the new steps, in theory, leading me to try to be civil at the call to change partners.  No one else switched, and I ended up with one of the non-Latin ladies.  We stumbled around each other clueless and clunky a bit before deciding it was better to injure someone we knew and returning to our respective partners.

Some more advanced steps were hurled our way.  We did all right with the swivel, as Rosa’s hips were genetically geared for it, and my job entailed the dance move I excel at the most:  stand still and provide support.

Our success did not tempt us to risk all of our surgically tweaked and physical therapy modified joints by trying to slide Rosa under my legs.

Week 8.5

We attended a wedding for the kid who turned our garter toss into one of the greatest moments in Bridal History by pulling a professional wrestling bulldog on my sister’s date and slamming his face into the dance floor as he leapt up to catch the item.

We figured it would be a perfect place to test our reacquired skills.

It’s pretty hard to remember on the spot anyway, and it’s not like the DJ was cranking out Tangos.  We did a bit of Jive to oldies, which would transition right back into hip hop, rendering our skills at formalized dance useless.

There was some country at the end that we were able to dance the Rumba to…sort of.

It wasn’t a Rumba beat, so we threw and extra step in there, and hoped the one other couple attending who had taken Ballroom classes didn’t look too closely at us.

We also did some pseudo Swing to a faster country song, until I somehow ended up dancing with my brother in law.  I get confused easily when trying to count steps.

Week 9

Almost at the end of the semester, we returned to Cha Cha for the first time. Unbelievably, I remembered a large amount of what we learned previously.

The fact that many of the steps are the same as the Rumba routine mercilessly drilled into our heads in the first half of the fall helped a bit.

For a change, I politely and un-angrily obeyed the change partners command.  Of course, this was the first class that had more guys than gals in attendance, leaving me standing alone while Tony danced with Rosa.

It worked out, giving me time to stretch a tad before returning to my wife. 

Rosa asked for a Waltz early on, leading Tony to state we would change when we got the dance we were working on right, jokingly (maybe?) warning we would do Cha Cha until sunrise if we didn’t.

A short while later, he came by and paid us (and me particularly) a giant compliment, indicating that not only were we doing the best of the group, but that I was the only guy who was actually leading.

I tried to point out that Rosa was telling me what steps to do, and then I’d lead those, but all the women in the class quickly drowned me out by making SHUSH noises.

We passed Cha Cha inspection and started on Waltz. Very quickly, “Captain Partner Change” was at it again. We weren’t the only couple upset with this arrangement, especially for a dance with the romantic connections a Waltz has.  Tony sensed the crowd turning ugly and changed us back to the “one what brung me.”

The Latin couple including the young woman who found my Salsa issues hysterical was having Waltz issues.

I chimed out, “Not so easy when you’re not genetically predisposed to the dance, is it?  Welcome to my life.”

Again, can’t impress ‘em with my moves, but I can still make ‘em laugh.

As we left Tony started the remaining gang on Foxtrot, guaranteeing the Latin folks would be better than me at the white folk dances too…poop.

Week 10

No little sandwiches for the finale, bummer!

From the fading moments of the beginner’s class, our last class started right back into Cha Cha. Tony put on a CD of progressively faster pieces to test our mettle.

Rosa asked for a refresher on the “Escape” aka “Three Cha Chas with a Twist” aka, “The Cool Walking Away Thing they do on Dancing with the Stars.

Tony showed her, once I translated from English with a Peruvian accent to Dance with a Greek Accent, and then we were able to do it.

The Phinal Phake Phoebe was extremely young, prompting Tony to pull Rosa in to demonstrate the move to the whole class.  One of the other women asked Rosa for pointers on her steps after that.  We were moving up in the world.

OK, she was moving up and I was not falling down, still – Progress!

I had some difficulties with the more advanced Cuban Cross, but performed passably. I’ve come to accept that pretty much any time there’s an “and” in the count I’m going to have issues.

We switched for a final shot at Rumba, also with varied tempos.  The initial piece was painfully slow, but since he, yet again, switched at the end of the year from keeping time with “Quick Quick- Slowww” to using “Two, Three –FourOne” I used the extra time to run the verbiage to number conversions in my head.

He introduced some dips, which Rosa and I followed for a bit, leaving the crazier, plummet like drop ones, to Tony and the Young Latin woman who’s sub 30 year old body combined with his professional skill levels was less likely to impact the floor due to joint failure.

Even she drew the line at trying a lift, and the class started to peter out.

We grabbed our coats until a last minute return to Jive put us back on the floor.  Abruptly stopping and starting made for unhappy knees, but we put in a valiant final effort before wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and being complimented by Tony on our progress, particularly my leading…

Or more accurately, Rosa’s acceptance of being led.

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