A Winter Tango and the Passage of Time

It was another week of weather up here in Maine! Last Sunday, I spent about 2.5 hours shoveling snow after Winter Storm Kenan. It’s been decades since I’ve shoveled that much snow; I was so sore on Monday!

I still went to my 90-minute ballet class on Monday evening. I knew it would be an “interesting” challenge. My body was exhausted and anyone who’s taken ballet knows it’s not easy even when you’re feeling tip top! So no surprise – my pirouettes went from “not great” to “really bad.” Focusing on maintaining form when your energy is waning is a great way to build up stamina though! I did not have that positive of an attitude while I was falling across the floor in front of everyone, but at least I gave myself a break because I knew I was tired.

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Be the Awkward Dancer

While ballroom dancing is my primary dance love, being in Maine without a dance partner has afforded me the opportunity to explore or revisit other styles of dance. In addition to a weekly Zumba class, I’ve been enjoying a weekly ballet class that is proving to be a challenge for my brain and body. When I saw the “adult and teen ballet” class on the calendar, I assumed it would be a class of beginner basics focusing on elements of ballet that would help anyone to improve posture and balance. The class went well beyond my expectations, to my surprise and then pleasure.

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Making the Dance Your Own

After waiting to post until after we filmed our showcase routine in the park, so that I could share that experience with you, I admit I was staring at a blinking cursor for quite awhile this weekend. Not much else happened this past week! At least nothing that you’d be interested in reading. The day job was plenty busy. I went to the physical therapist for an adjustment (pretty sure dancing like a scarecrow on uneven, grassy ground left my body crooked).

So we’re keeping it short this weekend with a fun idea for you to explore your dancing at home.

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Just Enjoy It – Two Great Lessons and a Book Launch

This past week, I had my two regular lessons, one working on rhythm and the other working on smooth. During the rhythm lesson, we danced the cha cha routine to music and I NAILED that stupid spin TWICE! Then we worked on rumba and I “upgraded” my hip movement, according to Teacher. During the smooth lesson, we revisited tango. Teacher wanted me to focus on keeping my right arm forward (I tended to let it pull back, especially when the movement required me to put my left side forward). We worked on these tiny adjustments I could make to be able to take my left side forward without affecting the right.

You know how your teacher will tell you to do something and keep telling you you’re not doing it and then all of a sudden, after making the tiniest adjustment that you may or may not be aware that you made, they exclaim “yes, that’s it!”? Usually, in that situation, I have no idea what adjustment I made. But during this week’s smooth lesson, I actually started to feel it. I consciously made a tiny correction while we were dancing and Teacher felt it and confirmed it was correct!

Sounds like an awesome week, right? Well, it was!

So what’s the catch? There must be something, it can’t all be good.

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Remembering Bronze

During lunch yesterday, I was going through videos and pictures stored on my phone, deleting stuff I didn’t want or need to free up space. I came across a video of Teacher and me dancing a round of bronze smooth, and I realized that it was recorded just a couple weeks before we were supposed to leave for the United States Dance Championships, a.k.a. Nationals. A couple weeks before Teacher broke his wrist.
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Sorry, the Cookies Distracted Me

Hello, my readers! Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. the last few days, but it was Thanksgiving. Roomie and I hosted a small Friendsgiving on Thursday. Lots of good food and LOTS of leftovers!

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The obligatory picture of our Thanksgiving meal

I also like to bake for the holidays.  Instead of shopping this weekend, I made oatmeal scotchies (oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips), chocolate chip scones, and chocolate chip cookies.  So that’s my excuse. I was slaving over the oven rather than my laptop!

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I was productive!

Not a lot to report in terms of dancing. I’m down to one lesson a week for at least a month so I don’t fall too far behind on lesson payments. I did have some fun at my pre-Thanksgiving lesson. We danced tango to a dubstep song called “Demons.”

I cannot get enough of this song; there is just something about it that drives straight to my very soul but makes me feel safe enough to be myself at the same time. So it was easy to get into tango character with that song blasting in the studio. Turn it off though, and I quickly shrink back into hesitation and doubt. Small steps.

I’m leaving for the Sunday social at Dance United shortly. Need to dance off all those extra calories! I hope to see you there!

And don’t forget, another “Ask the Girl” episode is coming up on Tuesday!  Anyone have questions or topics for me?  Comment below!

 

 

Tango Tuesday! (Write31Days Day 20)

When I think tango, I think fierceness, passion and strength.  When Teacher asked me to come up with a story for tango, I envisioned two panthers stalking each other in a jungle. In the human realm, I think of two figures in a dark, smoky bar located down a cobblestone alleyway.

Tango’s character comes from its mix of slow and sharp movements. It’s like a coiled spring that’s compressed and released over and over. It’s hard! Quick movements scare me because if you make a mistake, it’s a lot more obvious! A small mistake during a slow, flowing movement like in waltz is relatively easy to cover up. A small mistake made during a quick, sharp movement in tango looks huge!

Tango was my worst dance because I kept holding myself back, afraid to just go for it in those quick movements (see Tango Curses).  But the funny thing is, because it was my worst dance, I put a lot more time into practicing it. And I ended up winning the bronze Best of the Best at the 2015 California Open with my tango!

As I was reviewing videos for this post, I had to acknowledge my progress in this dance. This tango from December 2014 at the Holiday Dance Classic is pretty good.

But the tango from the 2015 Emerald Ball is so much sharper!

Hurray for progress!

Fellow dancers, what dance do you find the most challenging?


Don’t forget to check out other posts from the 31 Day Writing Challenge!