Letting go of the steps in Standard

I had another bad evening.  This time I collapsed during my lesson.  I was ok, just shaken up and my right knee is skinned.  Boss and I were both surprised–there was no warning.  One moment I was up, then next on the floor.  Most likely it is fluctuations in my blood pressure and the fact that it’s taken two different anti-nausea meds to keep me from being sick today.

But again, not what I want to focus on.  I have a week and a half of issues like this, and I am going to make it.

I had a good lesson today despite that.  We were working on standard in preparation for the coach coming in next week, especially since I haven’t been able to do much in standard since the last time she came because of my health.  It’s been a while since we worked in full stretched frame in standard so I asked Boss yesterday if we could do that for each of the routines today–just to see how it went.

Running through the routines was great!

We had reviewed them yesterday, so I was reminded of the steps and today we worked in frame for the first time in almost 12 weeks.  I have been doing a lot of work on my own to get used to the position for the frame, and it was nice to see how that worked in practice.

I had mentioned before I have difficulties with standard because I have low proprioception (awareness of what the body is doing) through my hips and back due to being hyper-flexible (too flexible to feel when I am stretching my muscles).  This is continuing and Boss and I are still working to find a way where I can ‘feel’ when I have moved too far one way or the other.

We tried seeing if using the abdominal binder I need to have for surgery helped (it didn’t, although it made my posture pretty great!), and now boss wants to talk with my dressmaker about inserting heavy duty elastic in a body suit crossing my back to see if that might work.  Luckily we are meeting with her tomorrow to discuss the fabric for my post-surgery dresses.  We will see how that goes.

Working in standard today though, something interesting did happen.  Usually when I dance in Standard, I am very focused on what my feet are doing and which step is when.  I know the routines, and even if I don’t I can follow Boss really well….but I don’t trust that.  All my focus in standard has been primarily on keeping my frame ‘up’ and doing the right steps.

There is no conscious connection between what my feet are doing and what my upper body is doing and for the most part I haven’t been paying much attention to my upper body (which is strange because latin is almost all about my upper body).

Until today.  For the first time I felt myself letting go of the footwork and worrying about keeping my frame up to focus on how my upper body is moving.  I am still subconsciously thinking about keeping my feet on the floor and the steps, but I am using the sensation of feeling the floor to give me ‘check’ for that and building that muscle memory during my exercises.

Today, because I was letting go of the steps and footwork I was able to notice which shoulder blade I was using to ‘lead’ my movement, and most important–when I was pulling my right hand back (which I do a lot in turns and can sometimes pull boss off balance doing so).  The right hand and pushing out from my back is going to be the main focus for a while, but it already made a huge difference in the sensations and what I was able to focus on.

baby steps, but yet progress.

Boss asked me during exercises to start moving while holding my frame instead of just standing still so I can get used to holding the frame while experiencing momentum in my body.  This is also a progression of my exercises.

Now, if I can only get well enough to get practice time in.  Smooth lesson #2 tomorrow.  Boss told me to be prepared for some new exercises when we review this month.  I can’t wait 🙂

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