Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Enter the Blues: Do it Yourself Weekend 2010

Late last year the coordinators for Enter the Blues announced that this year there would be not one, but TWO Enter The Blues(es). Numero Uno would focus on dances and mini-classes with an emphasis on setting up your own private lesson, while Numero Dos would be the full on, blow out weekend. I shan’t speculate too hard on whether the February date just crept up on them too quickly, so they knew they needed to throw something together fast to appease their fans.

Anywho, as usual my body wasn’t willing to dance 7 hours a night on top of classes, so I skipped classes and just stuck to dancing. My knees and back behaved better than they have… basically ever, since all my aches and pains started. I’m getting stronger, hooray! The weekend itself was a bit of a blur – I housed 9 people, including Seattle Josh and Patrick & Beth from Macon. It was fantastic, and lots of excellent conversation occurred in addition to the dancing.

The other notable lead for the weekend (outside of the obvious choices of Patrick and Josh) was Chris from Florida, who I originally met at Blues and Soul 2. Gods, such a blues crush do I have on him. We probably danced 6 dances Saturday night; we just move so incredibly well together. Heavenly.

I have a few dancing things I was working on over the weekend.
• About a month ago at Northside I started a dance with John and his light flowy frame made me realize that I’ve been getting really tight and heavy the last few months. This is mostly due to dancing with Bert – we dance amazingly together, but the thing that allows us to do Cool Stuff ™ is a connection largely based on counter-balance. I realized that over the months my frame has gotten tighter and tighter to accommodate that… even when I’m not dancing with Bert nor asking for counterbalance. I corrected the problem right away – so abruptly that after the dance John remarked that it was the most relaxed he’s ever felt me. It was like flipping a switch… and I spent a lot of the weekend making sure that flip stayed switched.
• In addition to keeping my frame lighter, I’ve started focusing on lead matching again. So hard. So worth it.
• Dancing with Patrick at Statesboro Blues made me realize I’ve been playing grabby-hands, often coming back into a close closed position when I haven’t been asked. I’m not sure what cause that habit to develop, but I imagine it has something to do with trying to stay clear of drunks at Northside. I manage not to do it if I’m paying attention, but it will take a few weeks to really break the habit.
• The bit of Westie I’ve been dancing has made me realize a few things about turning. First of all – I basically always pirouette, and maybe ¾ of the time I style by crossing my feet. I almost never step through my turns, and when I do I always travel. I haven’t been taking the opportunity to do doubles when they’re offered. That’s a big pile of stuff to work through. For now I’m just trying to pay attention when I turn so I don’t always default to crossed-pirouette, and also to take doubles more often on free turns when I have the momentum. Patrick was very obliging on the latter item, occasionally refusing to take me back until I had turned twice. Bastard.

I had planned to list a few things that I want to start working on going forward, but that’s kind of a big pile already. Maybe I won’t add branches to an already blazing fire… I’ll just keep working these things. I’ll have lots of opportunity this weekend at Sweet Molasses Blues in Boston!

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