It appears I am focusing on latin lately.
It makes sense as now I have 4 of the 5 latin routines for my test and more so than standard I need to try to get them memorized. For whatever reason, if I blank in standard I can just resort to following (which sometimes may be better!) but I have a harder time doing this in latin.
Working on the latin routines has been, well, strange.
Of all of them, cha cha is definitely the strangest.
It took me most of practice last night just to work out the timing for the routine with Boss’s help. There seemed to be a lot of steps I really had no clue how to do on my own, and that is a little concerning. I went in early tonight to practice some before the latin class because I honestly wasn’t sure if I would be able to stay late enough for the class (I did in the end, but I was pretty much a zombie the whole time). I managed to get through the rumba, minus one step at the beginning, then I focused on cha cha.
One of the most odd things about latin in general, whether rumba, samba, cha cha or Jive is that anything we do in hold seems completely alien to me–like I have never done anything in hold for Latin before. It’s to the point where I find myself questioning where I am supposed to put my left hand (shoulder, back, bicep?), and I keep stretching my right arm out like for standard (and then constantly reminding myself to drop my elbow–at least I remind myself!). I feel like I am either too close or too far, about to trip Boss or fall over forward. It’s really bizarre.
And then there is cha cha specifically. For whatever reason, as I am working on it I can’t seem to incorporate ANY technique I have worked on. Of course then I remind myself that I can’t really remember the last time I worked on cha cha technique that wasn’t forward lock steps, cuban breaks or time steps–but I can’t seem to put even those into context. Most of my latin focus lately has been rumba (for the last couple years) or samba (more lately). Rumba technique has a lot of crossover, but that just isn’t coming into cha cha.
Granted, I really am focusing on working out the sequence of steps right now, but I guess I expected that I should be able to at least do a basic step with some semblance of technique (which isn’t happening right now). When I try, the best I can describe is that it feels ‘odd’ and like I am trying too hard and off balance. And that is just the basic step, and other steps feel like there is no hip movement going on and I can’t keep my legs straight. In short, nothing about cha cha seems to be muscle memory or automatic, but I do vaguely remember a time it was.
I am really confused about this. I know I can do time steps, whether fast or slow, with no issue on my own, and even with Boss they are not too bad. But the minute I do a step that is pretty much not lateral side to side (and has forward and back steps), it just gets weird.
I can’t figure out if this the work I am and have done in rumba trying to adapt to cha cha (but not really succeeding with the speed), or if I have really forgotten my cha cha technique. Even New Yorks feel weird and off balance.
It doesn’t bode well for my test, although I probably have higher expectations of myself than Boss does. At this point though, I feel like the cha cha I do now is actually weaker than the cha cha I was able to do for my bronze test, and it is really uncomfortable to feel.
Samba still has that in/out feeling for technique I have described before, the out being mainly the voltas and some rocks (which are more a I hate how rocks look issue). I haven’t had a chance to work on it on my own yet, but I am not concerned about it as samba routines seem to come together fairly easily for me. It will be a project for tomorrow’s practice.
Jive was actually a bit of a pleasant surprise. It’s a bit like samba in that the technique comes in and out, but it is more ‘in’ than ‘out’ than I expected. Practicing it on my own is a bit tricky as in the end the ladies part is a lot of just turning (while the man’s part has hand changes) and without a partner for reference it is hard to know what direction I am supposed to be facing. I still have to work out the timing for it, but that will be the main focus for tomorrow’s practice. The main thing I need to figure out is where the knee lifts are and making sure I do the rock step on bent knees (which is easier for me than straight as it’s an ingrained habit from my rhythm days that seems to have stuck). Once I remember that, it came together better. Endurance still sucks though.
So I am not really sure what to do about my cha cha conundrum. Really at this point, I don’t think there is much I can do as the test is only two weeks away. Better to focus on the things I can control, improve, or at least stabilize, rumba, samba and jive, and be prepared for cha cha to be a mini disaster.
Haven’t done the silver Paso yet, but I am hopeful it will be pretty much my old closed silver routine which should come back fairly easy. I can’t think of any silver steps in Paso that would give me issue, and because it is mostly in hold it is easier to follow than the other latin dances.
I haven’t started working on the standard routines yet, although I have them as I feel latin is where I need to focus–it is more independent than standard. I have also done a lot of work in standard lately so the steps and techniques are more familiar (and they transfer more through each dance).
I have surprised myself lately with the amount of energy I have had for my own practice–far exceeding what I expected to be able to do. The side effects from my injection are starting to abate and I even slept through the night last night–first time I can remember in recent history.
So it appears cha cha somewhere went sideways in the last 6 months–literally–side steps seems to be the extent of what I can do.