Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Backyard Blues – 7/29/08

Knees were hurting me too much to dance the lesson last night, but there are a few things I wanted to jot down to come back to once I’m all better: mooches, grinds, and fishtails.
  • Mooches are a sweeping of the foot – kind of a toned down boogy-forward. In ventral and dorsal closed, the guy can use his knee between the follows to do these by brushing them to one side or the other. Your feet are offset, so for the leg that the lead has between the follows, he canjust give her a gentle nudge as he does the sweep. For the outside leg, it helps if he makes gentle contact with the outside of the knee and kind of “pulls” her to the side using that contact. Very smooth and light and swishy if done well.
  • Grinds are a step that involve turning in one toe and planting it with the knee bent, while keeping the other leg totally straight, then straightening the bent knee. You make an awkward angle with your legs, then resolve it. The straighter you can keep your opposite leg, the niftier it looks. Definitely want to play with these in front of a mirror.
  • Fishtails are just the same as fish tails from lindy, though perhaps a little lower and with the knees more bent. It seems like they look best if you focus on swinging your hips out and back on the transition from one foot to the other. Again, mirror practice needs to happen.
We also talked a bit about partial weight changes, but that’s lead follow enough that I don’t feel the need to ramble about it.

Hokay, time for my 2 week hiatus from dancing. Here’s to hoping my willpower is strong. I may blog a bit about the exercises my physical therapist gives me, we’ll see.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Private with Mike – 7/23/08

Bert and I did a private with Mike the Girl last week, and it was pretty good. I wish there had been a chance for me to blog sooner about it, but hopefully I haven’t forgotten too much.

The biggest thing we talked about and focused on was really sinking into a downwards pulse, letting your whole body get into it, down through the knee. I think Bert and I both have a tendency to smooth things out too much, at times. It’s something I’ve been considering in myself a lot lately – I danced with Kirk at the last aseda dance and when we were talking about dancing stuff later he mentioned that he really enjoyed dancing with me and that I’m “very smooth.” I keep coming back to that, obsessing over it in a very un-lisa-like way… “very smooth? Does that mean too smooth? Does that mean I don’t have enough pulse? What if I’m separating out my lower body movement so much that I’m not giving solid feedback to my leader!”

Ack, tangent! Point being, we worked a lot on pulse, and I’d like to try and incorporate that into my lindy to some extent, as well as my blues. For me, we also worked on “walking with purpose” which is to say, really putting some “umph” and attitude into my upper body when I’m doing blues movements that are just walking. Same with doing tap-steps – really sink into and commit to the tap, rather than just sticking my leg out and tapping.

The other big theme we touched on was following technique…. Namely really waiting for my leader to lead a step, rather than assuming and going. It’s a veeeery minor form of back-leading, especially considering some of the lindy back-leading troubles I worked through back in the day – but in blues every step should be lead, so I need to hold on and wait a little longer before taking a step. We spent a while just having Bert lead me around and trying to do “odd” things that I wouldn’t expect, so that I’d really have to listen and commit.

I think that’s the big stuff from my side of things… Mike also had Bert working on keeping his hands quiet and his shoulders back. I think my following focus stole the show a little towards the end, but hopefully he also got something out of it. Yay private lessons!

Backyard Blues – 7/22/08

Just a quick blurb on this one, because I wanted to write down an observation. One of the guys I danced with did something interesting when he turned me a couple of times – he left his hand connected with my back and tummy all the way around the turn. Now – this is obviously a bit of a risky prospect, for a number of reasons: you might end up getting an accidental grope, or you might come across as skeezy or make your follow uncomfortable. But, as it turns out, done right an used sparingly it can be a really interesting tool for keeping a gentle connection. It’s also pretty damn sexy. Nice.