Something that always needs work.
It’s funny though, the more I learn about dance, the more I realize that even though these might be ‘basics’, it takes time to be ready to focus on more specific elements of each basic step or technique.
Case in point, tonight Boss and I went through my rumba basic step. It’s actually a step I haven’t really focused on too much in the past as when I transitioned from American Style to International there were more important things to focus on–such as stepping on straight legs instead of bent and learning international style cuban motion. Unfortunately, the transition between the two styles got a little side-tracked by my getting sick only 3 months after I made the switch. So now I feel like I am able to get back on track.
That’s not say I couldn’t do the rumba basic step, but I knew as I did it that there some things that weren’t right and definitely some hip movements that just weren’t right. I had actually been waiting for the opportunity to take the time to break down the hip movements a little more in rumba as that was how I was originally taught back 6 years ago when I was a beginner in Ottawa.
It was a little frustrating at first because it turned out my back steps were working well, but my side and forward steps were quite a mess. In fact, instead of a forward step, I was actually doing more of a ‘break’ similar to what I do in Cha Cha. In all cases except for back I was getting onto my settled hip too fast.
In the end, Boss had to break the motion down into ‘semi’ beats to help me get it all together. The hip settlements all happen on the ‘+’ of the beats so by breaking it down a little more precisely that got me to stop rushing through it. For some reason I was struggling the most with beat 3, but after letting my mind process it a little bit and giving myself a break it slowly ‘clicked’ together for me.
I actually really like working that precisely on stuff. I love focusing on the details. But I do understand more than ever how you have to be ready in order to be able to do that. I think that is what I am enjoying most right now about my post-cancer dance journey–finally I am able to focus into the details again. I feel like I can finally take those basics I started with and elevate them to the next level.
Boss and I had a quick talk today about the areas where he wants to focus and a general idea of how he wants and expects to move forward. Hip movement was one of the things he mentioned about Latin as well as focusing on Samba and Paso because they are quite different from the foundation I have in rumba and Cha Cha I am able to build on in my own practice. In standard it’s about position, swing and sway, but he finds now that I am able to work in a much different way in standard and I am looking forward to that. In general, we are going to focus on me doing my routines on my own, but with the correct positioning with the sway. Basically, we are going to do some really detailed work. That really excites me because I have been waiting for that.
One thing we have been working on in my lesson, as I mentioned is moving in CBMP in standard together with me focusing on maintaining the right position, but also working with Boss through the movement. The interesting thing with that is as I have progressed over the last two weeks, this exercise has evolved from just a CBMP exercise to one for following. It’s pretty interesting how more in-tuned I am not only with my own body and movement, but also with Boss. A few times now he has ended the exercise by changing into promenade position, and today he did a bit of a contra-check into something like an over-sway picture line–just to see how I reacted. I was pretty surprised to find myself automatically stretching into position without even thinking about it. Small victory for me!
One more lesson this week as I will have my drain insertion on Friday, so no dancing that day. I am pretty interested to see how things go on Wednesday, and what we work on. Starting next week, I am going back to my usual of only 2 lessons/week until the next build up for competition. Practice will still stay 3x/week for now though.
Until my next lesson though, you can find me working on my rumba basic 🙂