Arch nemesis exercise step–Voltas!

Had both a practice and lesson tonight.  Both went very well.  I was glad to get some time to run through my exercises since it seems like it has been forever (really only a week), and the last time I practiced I had to stop because I was almost sick.  I am enjoying this ‘mini-break’ from chemo and putting it to good use.

Tonight in my lesson we first did our monthly ‘check-in’ for my exercises, which gives me a chance once a month to ask questions about my exercises and for boss to have a look at things, and evaluate or decide if there is something that needs to be progressed or fixed.  Because I practice at the studio while boss teaches he has an opportunity to observe my practice, and can flag if he sees something that needs to be addressed in my next lesson.

For the most part he just lets me go through my exercises and sees how they go.  Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back to move forward, and especially after we make a change to an exercise it gets messy, then slowly starts to ‘click’ and become more consistent. We always reserve one lesson per month (usually the first) to check things, so he usually waits until that lesson to adjust anything.  It’s taken a while, but about two months ago we implemented this and boss told me he trusts me to work through the exercises to develop my technique, so he doesn’t feel it necessary to run exercises during each lesson.

As I mentioned, I love practicing.  It’s truly ‘me’ time and is meditative.  I have no issue with doing the same exercise over and over again for 2, 3, 4, or 5 minutes.  I am a very tactile person and my mind just focuses on the different sensations my body is experiencing as my muscles move through each movement and tries to recreate the same feeling each time.  Especially now, it is therapeutic.

Because we took the time last month to pretty much go through all my exercises and progress some of them, there wasn’t much to do for exercises tonight, which was nice.  I wasn’t expecting to go through the exercises tonight though, so I wasn’t quite prepared.  Usually when I have an exercise lesson coming up, I will email boss with my questions, so he can prepare and add them to those he wants to go over.

Tonight, he wanted to clarify and add some things to my simple spins and 3-step spins, so that went pretty well and I have new things to focus on there.  Spins are the hardest things for me to work on right now because the chemo affects my equilibrium so I have to work extra hard to keep my balance.  Some days, they just don’t work at all and I have accept that.  It’s nice to make some progress on them.

The thing I wanted to work on was voltas in samba.  Anyone have a step that seems like you will never master???  Like an arch nemesis?  Yep, voltas are mine for latin.  On top of my body just not wanting to do this movement in general, it is has also decided it will consider doing them moving right, but absolutely, so far, REFUSES to do them moving left.  My body can’t seem to figure out how to reverse the movement, so I find myself trying to do the exact same movement I do in one direction, while moving in the other.  This just doesn’t work at all.

It’s been about 2 months that I have been doing voltas as their own exercise and trying to focus on the technique of moving the body while doing them instead of just stepping through them keeping my body still.  In the two months, I have not been able to understand what exactly the movement is I am trying to do, and there haven’t been and ‘aha’s or ‘click’s for this step.  There was a small one going right last week, but I can’t seem to hang on to it.

We did go through them tonight, but since I wasn’t quite ready to discuss them and didn’t expect us to go through exercises, I wasn’t able to really describe to boss what I wanted to do.  The problem is that my body has a very natural way of moving in latin and many steps look like they are supposed to without me actually trying to do anything.  So doing them tonight, the only thing boss had to say was that I need to do more ‘up’ movement on the quick ones.  Um….ok? I am not sure what he means by doing MORE ‘up’ movement because I wasn’t even aware of doing any ‘up’ movement. My ‘quicks’ are also off time.

So I let it pass for tonight, but when I got home sent him an email to describe what I would like to try and ask if we could do it during my lesson on Thursday.  Basically, I want to break down the movement for the slow ones in each direction (since it appears left just won’t naturally reverse the right movement), and spend two weeks focused on understanding the movement slow before trying the quick ones again.  It seems like a good idea to me, but in the end it is up to boss.  We will see what he says, but I am so frustrated and confused with these steps I can feel myself wanting to stop working on them, which is an extreme thing for me.

I will see what boss says on Thursday and go from there.


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