Thursday, May 8, 2014

Group dance classes

But, I did take one group class last weekend and was really excited about it.  There is a dance studio in our town, but they had no groups this month, so I was going to their branch in a city about 30 minutes from here. They also didn’t have beginner classes this month but I was told to take the second level class. I’m glad, because this class is really basic that I can’t imagine how slow the beginner class is.

The class covers East Coast Swing, Cha-Cha, and Salsa.  In our 40 minute class we covered some swing and cha-cha.
For swing, which I’ve done before, we learned a left under arm turn.  Like I said- very basic.  For cha-cha, which I haven’t learned before we learned a step I can’t remember that opens up to the sides, and then a right under arm turn. Since I hadn’t really done cha-cha before, I also learned the basic step. I just pretended I already knew it, and followed along J

The groups were neat.  In this class there were the same number of men as women, so that was nice.  We learn the new steps in two lines facing each other (leads/follows) and then pair off. But rather than stay with your own partner, we would do the step once (sometimes with music) and then rotate to a new partner. I thought this was really nice because you got used to doing the steps with someone else’s style; but also if (for example with the cha-cha basic) I wasn’t real comfortable with the step, but the guy was also not comfortable with it; I rotated to a new partner, where the guy could help me out a bit, so by the time I got back to the first partner (there were only 3 guys) I could help him out; rather than us both fumbling through it.

I’m really looking forward to picking up classes once I’m cleared to have the brace off.  Even more I’m looking forward to sleeping again and for the pain (which isn’t too severe, but still sucks) to go away. But also dancing!

Monday, May 5, 2014

First Waltz

Last Friday I took my first ballroom private lesson. A grad student who dances with Hawkeye Ballroom and who was captain (?) of her college’s ballroom team when she was an undergrad offered me lessons. She isn’t a pro- but that means her lessons are a lot lower in price than the pros at the studio. Much more in line with what I paid for skating.

I had previously done some waltz when I took an 8 week ballroom class at Kirkwood, but other than 1-2-3 and a box step, don’t really know much about it.

So I told her that I was more interested in the route of competition dance, not social dance (even though I doubt I’ll actually compete) and that I wanted to learn the technical side of dancing. I think that made her happy because she (let’s call her E.) only competes, and doesn’t do social dance.

So we learned the basic box step, and I also learned how to use my feet in it.  First- feet always come together, and are in parallel. Despite having horrible turnout for ballet, every time I looked at my feet, I could see them slightly turned out or with a gap between them.  Oops! Need to work on parallel.
I also learned how to lead with my heel on certain steps, or toes on other.  And a bit about the rise-fall, and having a long stretched out floating step on “2”.

We did box steps for awhile, and then in hold, and then adding in more specifics of feet, and then took it to travel across the floor.

At the end of the lesson we started working on what I think she called a “whisk” which is the step needed to turn the corner. Apparently you can’t just step on your partner’s foot, say sorry, and then face the other direction. I don’t know- it’s always worked for me before J. Anyhow, the whisk is a step out of the basic step, where you cross over and shift your weight (I have problems shifting) and then chasse forward (also have isssues here) and then you are facing 90 degrees from where you started, so you can continue down the next side.

So mostly, what I came away from this half-hour with was “waltz is hard.”

We are going to wait until finals are over and set up lessons for the summer. E. has a year left with grad school, so then I will have the same issue I had with Carson- but she is applying to med schools, so hopefully she gets in the one here!