Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Backyard Blues – 6/3/08

The beginner class was a “pre-baby” intro class to both blues and tango. We mostly practiced taking steps in each and talked a lot about the differences in lead and frame between the two. The large majority of the time was spent eyes closed, practicing very subtly lead weight-changes. Tango is... odd so far. Stepping backwards feels strange, and I’m not sure I’m correctly drawing my weight up. Taking my legs so far out from under my center of weight feels strange as well – it’s such a non-swingy thing to really stretch out your legs like that. Looking forward to learning a bit more at Buenos Aires Blues this weekend.

Last night’s intermediate class was something that I should have expected from the title, but just didn’t make the connection... it was a master class, which basically means everyone gets up and dances one at a time (or rather two at a time, but with everyone focusing on the person whose “turn” it is). I’m exceptionally glad I came to the beginner class first, because it got my nerves entirely un-jangled, so I wasn’t too tense for the mater class. We played spin-the-bottle to pick who was going first and who would dance with them. Of course I ended up being first -_- My partner was Angelo, who I’m much more comfortable dancing with now than I used to be (now that I know he’s actually fun and goofy in spite of the serious face he puts on while dancing). However, I have a bit of a hard time sometimes because I’m a good... oh... 6 inches taller than he is, so it’s really easy for me to get strung out and disconnected. Bleh. I don’t feel like I did a really great job – it was nerve wracking being the center of attention, and I was concentrating so hard that it actually made it harder to follow.

Still, I got some good feedback – FG complimented my footwork, which is nice. James reminded me to look up... I thought I’d been doing better about that, but maybe it was the nerves. Mike’s feedback was interesting... the first bit was to commit as solidly to being “up” as I am to being “down.” It’s kind of hard to word-ify without demonstrations, but basically as much as I get down into a nice low frame and commit to it, I should also take the same energy when I’m in a more up-right frame. This is an interesting observation, and makes me think that while I’ve mostly broken the habit of getting too high or on my toes during turns, I may still be doing a lot of low-energy “standing there” while I wait for things to happen sometimes. Definitely something to keep in mind.

The second bit of Mike-feedback was to trust my lead and commit to the actions he’s leading, even if I don’t know where they’re going. This is something I’m fine with in lindy with pretty much everything, I think the trouble last night just sprang from the fact that I was nervous, not as comfortable with Angelo, terrified of screwing up, and not nearly as confident doing blues as I am doing lindy.

Good feedback overall, and I was pleased with the opportunity to get to know a lot of the folks that came a little better. Nothing gets you comfy with each other like constructive criticism! I had some nice dances later in the evening, as well. I feel like I’m still fighting with James a bit when he and I dance – I can’t figure out why I tend to get my feet tangled with his. I do better when I just fucking relax though, so I should focus on that. It’s not like James can be intimidating, since I was the one who dragged him into dancing years ago. Dancing with Ken is also getting better, though there’s still a bit of awkwardness from time to time. I had a nice start of a dance with Angelo before work called him away – he promised we’d finish it up another time. I also danced blues with Reggie for the first time, which was goddamn heavenly... I hope my inexperience doesn’t scare him off, because damn it was nice. And, as always, I had a number of good dances with Bert, though the music tried to skip out during my favorite song, which was Le Sad.

Right, that’s probably more than enough about that.

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