Monday, November 2, 2009

Dance showcase

Friday was showcase day; I had taken the day off, not really to prepare for the evening, but it was good that I did: I didn't have much time to spare when it was time to go! Also, I had invited Johan and Charleen as guests and didn't want to leave them all alone at the studio.

As usual everyone put in a good performance to make for an entertaining evening. Alexa mentioned it was the biggest turnout of performing students in the history of the studio, which seems reasonable. I remember previous showcases where social dancing between "heats" seemed to go on forever; not in this one.

My two performances were the slow foxtrot and a salsa. The two couldn't have been more different: for the slow foxtrot Alexa drilled the sequence into my sieve-memory, down to the last step. I'm still not sure if I got everything 100% according to the book but it seemed to work. Nobody fell over. Well, a minor glitch at the end: I didn't get my swivel quite right. But nothing that a little improv couldn't repair.

The salsa by contrast was almost completely unscripted. Alexa wanted only three control points: the beginning, the end, and a particular drop somewhere in the middle of our sequence. Again, I nearly dropped her at the start but luckily it shouldn't have looked too bad. Just a little wobble. Everything else was about picture perfect - we got the lines of sight right and the dance seemed to flow nicely.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Preparing for slow foxtrot (Line 1)

I'm not really sure if that's the name of the dance, but that's what I'm doing at our upcoming showcase. Sometime end of October I believe. As Brian said, it does feel quite "flow-ey" and "lazy" and natural. Seems to be a low-acceleration dance, unlike something like the jive.

I think I'm just over halfway through our routine. I think I'm getting it, but there are a few tricky spots where I have to be careful, otherwise I tool it. Luckily my dance partner Alexa (also my teacher) is a young hot blonde so I guess nobody will notice my mistakes. Sometimes it's good to blend into the background.

There's a sort of "star" shape to our lines of dance. Not a sharp one, just a bit of a central "pull": we dance toward the center and then out again, at a different angle. Not really through the center, just a vague gravitation towards it.

While we've picked a track to which to dance, I need to be careful to pick the start properly. The music has a "quick-quick-slooow" rhythm, and our dance starts on the second "quick", which is a bit unnatural. I have no idea how orthodox any of this is, but even if it isn't, it doesn't really bother me.

First line:
  1. Quick(2)-slow, starting left, both steps on heels
  2. quick-quick, starting left, on balls of feet
  3. slow-quick-quick, starting left, and starting a leftward turn. First step angles the foot, quick-quick completes the turn, 2nd quick being a step backwards. Heel, toe, toe.
  4. slow-quick-quick, starting right, rolling onto heel whilst turning left some more. I think 1st quick is a bit like a step sideways to the left? Both quicks on balls of feet.
  5. slow-quick-quick, a repeat of 3 above
  6. slow-quick-quick, a step back then a rocking movement without moving feet, just transferring weight

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Annoying sales tactics

A month or two ago I attended a dance event at Voortrekker High School which was well attended. Plenty of ladies and few gentlemen - what could be better? Well let's just say that almost none of the ladies were in my target market.

One of the few gentlemen was selling himself as a dance instructor. He obviously knew his way around the floor, that isn't the issue. What annoyed me was how he pitched his sale: in terms of a presupposition that whatever dance instructor you have now, must be a retard. He, of course, could teach you to dance the "right way" (his way, no doubt).

What is it about dance instructors that they seem to be so bitchy? Didn't their mommies teach them to share or what? Mine taught me that unless you have something good to say about someone, don't say it at all.

Syncopated epiphany

Last Tuesday I went to my usual dance class where Brian showed us a Waltz step I had been getting wrong since the last time we did it about a year ago. This time I noticed exactly what my mistake was: I was taking too few steps! The key middle of the combination is actually syncopated, which means roughly that you take more steps with your foot than there are beats. Normally it's "one-two-three", but this one is "one-two-and-three". The difference it makes is that you end the measure on the outside foot, not the inside foot, and from there you can complete another step starting with the inside foot, which somehow works out a whole lot better.