Dancing Oasis

Finally, a glass of refreshing ballroom in this depressing desert! After what seemed like MONTHS (ok, it was just weeks), I had dance lessons two nights in a row!  That’s all I get for another week, but they left me with a smile on my face.

Tuesday night was my social dance lesson with Teacher’s friend. He plays music and I try to follow whatever he leads. We dance rhythm/latin until the hour is up or he’s worn out. He jokes that it’s hard for him to keep up with me since he’s used to dancing with women more than twice my age!

Ocassionally, he’ll stop to give me some direction on a particular move or to tweak my technique. But most of the time, it’s just dancing!

It’s been an interesting addition to my ballroom studies. Because we just keep dancing through my mistakes, I have time to feel my way through them and try to figure out fixes on my own without interrupting the flow. Of course, big mistakes like losing balance in the middle of a double or triple spin cause some ripples, but for the most part, I just keep dancing. I also have time to remember technique points that Teacher has given me and apply them while the music is still playing. It’s almost like dancing meditation; I’m just following leads and dancing to the music.

Wednesday was even better. I had practice with Ballroom Viking first. We danced waltz to warm up and then he tried to lead me through his tango routine. We were tango-ing pretty well the second time we went through it! Just for fun, we switched to country two-step when it was getting closer to my lesson time with Teacher. I’m not big on the country dances, but I did have fun just maintaining the quick-quick-slow-slow while BV turned me this way and that. Even during practice, sometimes you just need to take a break and do something fun and easy. With just a couple minutes left, we did a Viennese waltz. BV’s routine still amuses me with its super showy beginning.

We practiced right up until my lesson with Teacher, at which point BV literally spun me out and handed me off to my next partner! I was struck with an odd mix of emotions at that point, as I was happy to finally get a lesson with Teacher after so long, but sad that practice with BV was over because I was enjoying myself!

I didn’t have time to dwell though; it was time to dance with Teacher! After warming up with waltz (common warm-up dance for smooth it seems!), Teacher wanted to focus on connection, specifically with my left side. He gave me a new analogy to help me get the idea of wrapping my left side around his right. I’m not sure if I can explain it well in only words, but basically he said to think about some guy trying to cut in on my left side while we were dancing. If I wasn’t connected, there would be a vulnerable opening. I struggle a lot with not wanting to feel vulnerable while dancing, so it was awesome that for once, my desire to stay “safe” would help instead of hinder. The analogy worked! I felt more securely connected to Teacher but also more relaxed as we danced. I love it when things “click”!

Teacher took me through more waltz and then tango, while I focused on keeping my left side connected. He didn’t stick to our routines (not that I know them at this point anyway, since he keeps changing them!), so I also had to focus on following. But the cool thing was, with my improved left-side connection, following was easier! He threw in some fancy backbend things that he said are done in Standard, just to show me how well I could do them when I maintained that left side. I played it cool, but I was having a ball and my ego was loving the extra praise.

I was sad again when Teacher held his hand up for a final high-five and told me I did a great job. What? We’re done already?? Alas, the 45 minutes were up. But what a great 45 minutes!

Teacher and his pro partner are away at competition again this weekend, so no more lessons until next week. Teacher’s friend has an irregular schedule, so the next social dance lesson is TBD. And, just my luck, my practice partner is as busy as my teacher, so our next practice session isn’t until next week too!

So mixed emotions again – I had some awesome dance experiences this week that lifted me out of a dark fog and into sunshine (which is at odds with my oasis metaphor, I know). But they were over too quickly! My thirst for dance wasn’t quenched, not even close (there ya go, back to the oasis metaphor).

So back into the desert, but at least my brief stop at the ballroom oasis will help make the wait until next week more tolerable.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend that hopefully includes some dancing!

P.S. – If you need something to do on Friday night, watch Teacher compete on the Star Dance Tour!  He and his pro partner will be dancing at DBDC in Boston, MA and once again, we the awesome viewers get to vote!  The final round of the Open Smooth round is scheduled around 10:20pm EST (7:20pm PST). The show dances will follow right after, and then it will be time to vote!  They have won the audience vote at every competition so far, so we need to keep this streak going! Just look for Kris Suakjian and Briana Haft, #177.

You can watch the livestream at http://sdt.dancebeat.com/index.php/m-streaming. As usual, I will be posting on Facebook and Twitter, so please stop by and say hi!

P.P.S. – Kris and Briana won the audience vote again! They also placed 5th in Open Smooth and 4th overall in this leg of the Star Dance Tour.

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