Precision and Joy

And so begins my first full week of work, practice and lessons.

Before I get into today, I want to take a small moment and talk about the social dance I went to on the weekend.

It was hosted by Boss and included a potluck.  It was a small crowd, probably due to the time of year and high heat, but the crowd that was there had great energy.

I chose not to dance a lot and to just observe, which as I have mentioned before is something I really enjoy.  One of the things I absolutely loved to watch was just the expression of pure joy on the faces of those dancing.  It just radiated out from them and it was clear that every person was enjoying what they were doing.  Watching just reminded me how much I also enjoy dance. It will be a while probably before I go to another social dance (as this is the slow season for dances), but I hope when I do I will be stronger to be able to dance more.

Moving on to my next item: Precision.

Precision is very important to me.  I work slow when I practice so that I am able to make sure that I build muscle memory to work precisely when I do things faster. With precision, comes sharpness, if it is done right.  One of the things that has diminished in my dancing while I was undergoing treatments was the sharpness and precision of my movements.

Today’s lesson had a great element of precision and sharpness to it, and Boss had me working in a way I haven’t in quite some time.

One of the things I really appreciated about today’s lesson was that it started with Boss telling me what we were going to cover in the lesson and what the goal was of what we worked on.  That quick summary told me that he had taken the time to work through a plan.

We started by looking at trying to fix some issues Boss noticed on Friday in my rumba and samba with moving to my right side.  Today, that issue seemed to have resolved itself (I think just his pointing it out allowed me to fix it).  What was a little surprising today was that I was very stiff in my movements in rumba and I wasn’t allowing myself to ‘settle’ into my hips.

I was a little frustrated by this, but only because one of the last things Boss told me before he went on vacation was that I was moving too much in rumba.  It seemed I over-compensated in trying to fix that issue.  It took a while, but eventually I started to relax some and allow my hips to move and settle as they should have.

One of the things we started to work on that led to precision was working through a sequence of a hip twist to fan to hockey stick in rumba and Boss had me work on ‘tightening’ up my turns and adding a little bit of speed to them.  At first I was overturning because I was using too much of my upper body, but eventually I was able to control the movement by using my hips to turn, which made the entire movement a little more sharp.  It was great to work on details like that–it’s really something I enjoy doing and it’s one of the ways I challenge myself and keep myself motivated–to master the details.

We ended the lesson with standard and began working on the feather step in foxtrot and getting me to be able to do it on my own with the proper use of CBMP and body position throughout.  We just started to work through it, but I found that my understanding of standard position and CBMP is much better now, from the exercises I have been doing.  Things went much smoother today in working through the standard details than I ever remember happening before.

After my lesson I went through my practice exercises wearing my ‘full’ practice shoes.  It made all the exercises a little more tricky, especially the standard exercises (the heel is a 1/2 inch higher than I usually wear for standard), but it was not as bad as I thought it would be and my feet weren’t bothering me as I expected.  The great thing was that I am still able to feel the work my muscles are doing and feel them working hard.  Even when I was doing my rumba walks I found my legs were getting a little like jelly and weren’t always responding as I wanted them to.

While I am tired after all that I did today, I am not exhausted, although I can tell I am close.  I still felt a little bit of a ‘high’ after my practice, which is the main goal I am looking for this week.  I still have moments of nausea from the HT, and some muscle aches, especially in the morning, but even the hot flashes seem to be dissipating and the headaches are finally gone.  I did notice that if I don’t take the HT close to the same time each day, then the side effects are worse.  It’s a good thing to note.

A small minor good note today was a bit of an unexpected comment.  I was talking with Boss about my dress fittings and mentioned that it seems each time I go the dressmaker has to make the dresses a little bit smaller because I am slowly shrinking in size.  Perhaps because he has been away, Boss made a small comment that yes, I am getting smaller.  I was surprised because while I know how much size I have lost, I didn’t think it was noticeable by anyone else.  It’s encouraging.  I will post more about weight and size later in the week.

Tomorrow night will be a new experience for me.  I have decided to take a group class during the summer focused on technique.  It’s offered by the local dance society, but taught by boss and is for levels bronze-gold.  I usually avoid group classes as I find they are slower than I like to go, and rarely focused on the things I want to work on.  I am making an exception for this because it is a technique class, so partners are not really necessary, and it is only 5 weeks in the summer.  As I am rebuilding, I want to spend some extra time on the floor, so I figured this would be a good way to do it.  If I find the class boring, or frustrating, it’s only 5 classes.

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