The “Smooth Day”


It’s been a busy week friends, but I’m somehow managing to post at least once a week.  Yes, today is Sunday, and yes, I am late.  I had three reading assignments, a math assignment, and a paper over this weekend.  Luckily, all that is done now so I can dedicate some time to this blog of mine.  This week’s lesson was at the same time as last week, on Friday at 3:45 pm.  I’m still trying to find a time within my schedule to go to the studio to discuss yet another change in my weekly private lessons.  Until then, I’m just going to have to wing it as the days go by.

I was really satisfied with Friday’s lesson because the focus was entirely on Smooth.  Most lessons, the focus is on Rhythm.  Now, I like Rhythm as it seems to fit my personality better than Smooth, but I want to be a well-rounded dancer.  I’ve seen some competitive dancers that focus on one or the other, but I want a good mix of both under my belt for when I seriously start competing.  It’ll definitely take a lot of work, but I’m more than willing to put the effort in.  Nick and I are still meticulously going over the school figures.  We started off with a review of the change turns in waltz, the trickier of the two school figures.  Then we moved onto tango.  The two school figures in tango are the doors and the flare promenade.  The former is definitely trickier because I have to go outside of partner and pivot in a specific direction four times.  I still haven’t gotten the specific alignment and pivots down, so I’ll definitely ask Nick to go over it again next lesson.  Next, is the visually appealing flare promenade.  I couldn’t really find a picture of it, and I’m not the best at visual description.  All I can really say is it’s definitely one of those “picture moves” that make absolutely perfect material should you catch it at the right moment.

The main technical focus of the lesson was what I like to call the wind-up trick. (No, that is not the proper name, so don’t quote me on this.)  It’s where the dancer twists his or her upper body in the intended direction as far possible then brings the lower body in alignment with the upper.  This natural opposition produces a sharp, snapping action.  (Edit on 10/29/12: I’ve found out after some looking around that this is actually called “contra-body movement.)  It’s used in both the doors and flare promenade, but he’s also taught me this technique in regards to crossovers in the cha-cha.  I’m naturally flexible, but as I continually find out, dancing puts you in all sorts of positions that are certainly not natural.  Therefore, practice is truly the best way to get this technique down.

Speaking of practice, I’d like to give you guys a more general update on my dancing.  Ballet and Tap have disappeared.  I really hate this because I love them both.  I fear losing my hard-earned muscle memory in ballet, and I certainly didn’t start tapping just so I could quit.  Ballroom remains, and even that has faced major cut-backs.  I used to go four days a week consistently.  Mondays were for group class, Tuesdays were solo practice sessions, Wednesdays were my private lessons in addition to a specialty group class later that night, and Thursdays were a group class and the weekly social.  Now, I only go twice a week for my private lesson and weekly social.  I’m grateful ballroom hasn’t disappeared completely, but I really miss the consistency.  The former routine also gave me time to focus specifically on working on my splits.  Now, I’m so dance-eager that all my stretching consists of  trying-not-pull-something, so I can jump right up and begin dancing.  I’ve lost a good deal of flexibility, and this saddens me.

It truly is a balancing act between college activities and dancing.  The academics I can handle just fine.  I’m heavily involved in two clubs, and am constantly being encouraged to join more organizations.  But, I commute to school, and I just really cannot handle all the activities most of my friends can without driving myself crazy.  That, and I’ve chosen to make dance a priority in my life.  Until I am physically unable to do so, dance will always be a part of my life.  I am willing to sacrifice a good portion of dance, so I can enjoy college while it lasts.  However, I am not willing to sacrifice it completely, and this resolve won’t change even when I start living on campus next year.

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