Ever feel like there is so much going through your mind you can’t quite catch it all?
That is what I felt like after dance last night. Not necessarily a bad thing, it just seemed like a lot of pieces ‘clicked’ into place. At the same time, I am not entirely sure that what has ‘clicked’ is right.
It started in my own practice. One of the exercises I had been struggling with just seemed to come together. In the process, I tore the suede off of both my heel protectors on my shoe, but I glued them back on after practice. It was back steps in standard. For whatever reason, everything I had been struggling to do came together and I was able to move through the steps in one fluid movement instead of broken up into pieces.
When I got to my lesson, I still had some exercises to go through that we didn’t get to at the last lesson, but Boss wanted to have a look again at what I was doing in samba and cha cha lock steps, to make an adjustment to how I am stepping forward. Essentially, my goal now in stepping forward in both exercises is to focus on keeping the leg as straight as possible and my upper body over it. I hadn’t been focusing on it before, mostly because I was focusing on other things (and thought I was supposed to do differently), but once I did it a couple of times, it just made sense. In my mind I was actually thinking ‘why didn’t you just say so’, but sometimes that is just how things go. I am not really sure if the same idea applies to rumba, or if I am already doing it.
After the exercises, we were working on a section in tango that is basically a contra check between two different fallaways. What was interesting about it was that it gave me an opportunity to experiment a little with my position to get a better idea of what is closer to right, versus well into wrong. By the time we finished, I had a much better idea of what I needed to do, but also what I could allow myself to do, such as settling down into my knees for stability. I have a habit of ending leaning back when I close my feet, and not noticing until I stop moving. I noticed though that part of the problem was I was closing my feet completely together instead of offset which affected my balance. Once I started off-setting them, the issue got better. Still have to keep an eye on it though.
My right foot is slowly coming in line, but I have to stay on top of it to keep it from turning out. Overall, more than a few pieces fell into place for tango.
After tango, we worked on the section in waltz we have been doing with a spin turn to turning locks to the right. Mostly I was doing it on my own to try to get some better control over what I was doing, and to figure out a little bit of the alignments, but we were also doing it together. In contrast to what I am doing in latin, one of the challenges in waltz is to NOT straighten my knees too much and to keep them bent and flexible.
The other challenge is trickier. I am still warring with myself about how much I can do. I can tell I am still being cautious most of the time–even when I intend not to be–and I am still trying to find what I would call a ‘new’ comfort level. Usually what happens is I push myself outside my comfort zone, then freak myself out, and scale it back. Trying to find that balance is still eluding me, but in many ways I guess knowing is half the battle.
Later on last night, I had a bit of a revelation, although it could be completely wrong. I was going through my rumba routine in my head, and thinking about how it would work with the lead and follow. Somewhere it occurred to me that perhaps when my hip goes back and my upper body goes forward, then the resistance through my arm from my should should follow what my upper body is doing. I don’t know if it’s right or not–it could be the opposite of what I need, but what is significant to me is that I am finally starting to connect the lead/follow with movements my body makes, instead of just guessing. I am just not quite sure which movement should determine the direction of the follow–my hips or upper body.
It’s interesting how things seem to just suddenly come together.