Slow foxtrot exercises

As I said I wanted to take a little time to digest my last lesson.

The good thing was that a few of my exercises got progressed, including my spin turns, samba and jive (yes, jive!).  I will say that doing 2:30 of samba whisks is brutal compared to the bounces.  Great for endurance though.

One of the main focuses right now in my lessons is slow foxtrot.

Similarly to jive in latin, foxtrot is like my nemesis dance in standard. I avoid it whenever I can.

I have been working on a feather step exercise and today was the first time I was able to work through it on my own.  As I was working, it occurred to me that it was actually the first time I could remember working on foxtrot beyond just the steps in an exercise on my own.  Previously, because I struggled with it so much, Boss didn’t want me working on my own, and I was quite content to leave it.

The exercise involves moving from step to step in the right position gradually making the transition to CBMP (at least as far as I understand it right now).

One of the most surprising questions from Boss during my lesson was a request from him that I focus on and keep track of the various feelings and sensations I experience as I try to move through the steps.

This was surprising because previously, Boss was very adamant that you can never rely on your feelings to let you know things are being done right.  That was about two years ago and he and I discussed it at length and in the end agreed to disagree on it.  For me, feelings and sensations are fundamental to how I learn.

It took a lot of trial and error, but eventually I was able to find the right position and at the same time found the ‘key’ sensation I needed to begin to understand what I was trying to do.  One of the biggest issues I have is difficulty telling how my shoulders are aligned with my body.  In standard, I need to move my torso from my hips to my shoulder as a block and I just couldn’t figure out how to tell when I was together and when the block was ‘broken’.

The new sensation I discovered during my lesson is quite interesting.  It’s necessary to know that I am stretching from opposite hip to opposite shoulder when I move.  For me, it is like there is a band stretching from the front of my hip, across my back at an angle to the front of my opposite shoulder. I also discovered it is better for me to think of pulling my glut back rather than pushing my hip back.  When I think of moving my hips, I tend to rotate and it falls to one side.  When I think of moving my glute, things seem to stay in line.  It’s like stretching from my glute to my opposite chest muscle.

Working through this exercise for the first time on my own today was a bit of self discovery.  I think I was actually doing the movements right for the most part, but I am also not really sure.  Part of me though wants to tell Boss to let me work through in over the next two weeks on my own before returning to it in lessons.  I don’t know what he would think of that at this point though.  He has told me that this exercise is going to be one of the most crucial in standard for the next little while and I can already see why.  Just with the little I have done, I am already starting to have a better understanding of how I am moving on my own in standard than I ever have previously.

Now that I am starting to gain that understanding, I almost feel myself hungering for more.  I want to work to experience that level of detail in sensation in all my steps.  It makes me feel strong, controlled and grounded.  It’s like there is a key level of understanding sitting just outside my grasp waiting for me to grab it.

I am curious to see what my next lesson brings.

Next week will be a challenge for me.  I expect my work hours will be increased, and I have new more challenging exercises from the rehabilitative specialist.  I will be decreasing my rest time running by 15/seconds per interval.  I will have a full week of work, strength training and dance.

Last week was short one day because of the holiday yesterday (Happy Canada Day to all!!), and I ended up practicing today because I couldn’t get to gym while it was open yesterday with the reduced holiday hours.

My goal next week is to have my work hours increased and to do all my workouts, practices and lessons.  Monday will be the hardest day.

Let’s see how I do.

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