Of Endless Rooms and Imprisoning Walls


Hello, friends, and welcome to the Sunday dance update!  I’m sorry I’ve kept you waiting for an update on my dancing.  There’s two things you need to know: 1) My lesson this week was at Friday at 3:45 p.m., and so will next week’s lesson.  2) The primary reason for this is I have a school activity I’m participating in on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  I’d rather keep the nature of the school activity to myself if you don’t mind.  Anyway, as a busy college student, you’ll probably see me bouncing around my private lessons times a lot more.  Please bear with me.

Okay, so I didn’t really tell y’all the entire story of last week’s lesson.  Yes, we worked on school figures–and still are–but we also covered some aspects of social dancing.  For example, what is one to do when one comes to a corner?  Is it appropriate to use this particular move at this particular time?  I honestly thought this was just for social dancing, and I embraced it because you never really know when you might run into a lead that’s newer and doesn’t know basic floorcraft.  In such cases, he or she would be my responsibility during the dance, so I wanted to be prepared.  All this has an underlining component that is absolutely crucial: alignment.

Alignment is the dancer’s position relative to the room.  For example, LoD for a follow would be when the woman’s back is facing straight in a counter-clockwise position.  In this situation the man would travel forward, and the woman, in the opposite direction.  The other two alignment terms are diagonal-center (d-center) and diagonal-wall (d-wall).  This where it can get a bit tricky, especially if you tend to get caught up in technicalities, like me.  Let’s start with the easier one.  D-wall for a follow would be when the woman is angled about 45° toward a wall.  One thing to bear in mind is that it’s always about the wall closest to you when you’re dancing, even if you’re simply traveling LoD.  I couldn’t really conceptually perceive the latter for a while so I was very confused when Nick tried to explain d-center.  D-center is for a follow is when the woman is facing away from d-wall toward the “center” of the room.  This is what tripped me up.  Technically, my back was always facing a wall, and I wasn’t really facing the center of the space, but once I let my left-brained rant settle down, I understood.  Nick told me to imagine that the studio was an endless room.  If it was, I’d actually be facing the center of the room when I positioned myself d-center.  Alas, the walls imprison and confuse me!

Does this sound complicated?  If it does, don’t worry.  It still sounds a little complicated to me, though it is much clearer.  Here’s the good news:  d-center and d-wall is all there is besides LoD.  If you’re in an angled position, it’s one or the other.  Here’s something Nick taught me that will definitely help you visual learners.  Do you have any hard-wood flooring at home?  Notice how the pieces fitted together form many straight lines?  Put both your feet perpendicularly on a line, like so…

My feet are perpendicular to the line in the floor and they make a rough 90-degree angle with a dog leash I placed over one of the panel lines for clarity.

Okay, now try shifting your feet 45º counter-clockwise.  For me, it would look like this:

Do you see the rough 45-degree angle I make with my right foot and the dog leash?

Angling your feet in such a way shown above in a dance setting would either place you d-center or d-wall depending on where you are at that specific moment.  (This authoress would now like to apologize to any certain, sensitive readers that believe feet are utterly disgusting.  She’s known people with this quirk before and was always careful to leave her shoes on around them.  She would also suggest such readers find a different reading venue as dancers love to look at their own feet, as well as others.)

This also comes in handy when you’re sandwich dancing because, let’s face it, if you were constantly in a straight position with your leader, he’d always bump into you.  Not smooth at all (no pun intended).  I also need to know this to test out of Bronze II.  The waltz has a figure called change turns that utilizes alignment.  It involves a slight turn and a change step (half a box) done in an alternating fashion.  Wow, just typing this step makes it seen absolutely nasty!  It isn’t.

So, that’s yet another component of ballroom dance that I’ve done my best to explain to y’all.  Pssh, and people think dancing is easy!

Not that I don’t respect footballers, American or true ones (soccer players). But, I’m thinking of my guy-friend that guaranteed me that soccer was more “athletic” than my dancing. No hard feelings. I just need to think of a way to get him into some tights and ballet shoes/Latin shoes, then we’ll broach the subject again. *evil smirk*

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