how are your lessons going? thread II

Lessons lately have been work, and not a lot of fun. Some "bad" fundamentals are stopping me from making much progress until I get them fixed- slow leg actions and dropping or losing my frame when I get stressed about a move. My Instructor is frustrated because we've gone over these literally hundreds of times at this point, but the problems underlying it are going to take a while to correct -- I need to build up strength in my feet, ankles and core, and improve flexibility. Nothing is going to happen overnight. In addition to ballroom lessons, I've been squeezing in ballet and jazz classes and hitting the gym. So, back to work on all of that.
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
Sometimes when I get into a mode like that where nothing is coming together, I have to focus on one thing for a while to the exclusion of everything else. I may pick out one thing, say not rising too early on 2 in waltz, and I'm going to drill-and-kill that until it is in muscle memory. In the meantime, if my frame is sagging, I'm not going to worry about it until I'm doing the rise properly and consistently without having to think about it. Once I'm there, then I'll work on frame.
 
Sometimes when I get into a mode like that where nothing is coming together, I have to focus on one thing for a while to the exclusion of everything else. I may pick out one thing, say not rising too early on 2 in waltz, and I'm going to drill-and-kill that until it is in muscle memory. In the meantime, if my frame is sagging, I'm not going to worry about it until I'm doing the rise properly and consistently without having to think about it. Once I'm there, then I'll work on frame.
I endorse this method of practicing. You can't fix everything at once, and trying slows down your progress on anything.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
Extra lessons with Pro this week and next to make up ones missed while he was out at competitions. Plus he's going to be out for almost three weeks at the end of the year. :eek: He did a lot in the lessons this week to fix what has been bothering me the most in waltz and then fixed something that should have been bothering me but wasn't; didn't realize how off it was until the incredible difference afterwards. I showed Smooth New Guy before I left and he loved the difference. (And a thank you to SNG who wasn't working at the time, but didn't object to taking the time to do this.)

SNG started doing rounds with me a few weeks ago and we do a set every lesson. It's been incredibly helpful. I'm getting much better at dancing through mistakes and staying focussed on what's happening at the moment.

Rhythm New Guy and I have been splitting our lessons between smooth and rhythm. We've been leisurely working our way through the steps that I am supposed to know in rhythm with the goal of my being able to do them on my own...which I could already do in some of the dances. The ones that I find more stressful are a complete blur. :D So, part of the lesson is on my learning one step thoroughly, part of the lesson is on technique in that dance, and part of the lesson is on one of the smooth dances we have been working. The "leisurely" part is because I'm not doing rhythm at the competition I'm going to in January. It's nice not feeling pressured about it!
 

Sania

Well-Known Member
My lessons are going fairly well. I am cautiously optimistic that I won't embarrass myself dancing open at Nashville Starz in January. I would *so* not be ready if I had intended to do Ohio this year.

On the plus side, I did get a comment that my pivots were feeling really strong. So much so that it got a "what are you thinking about that's making so much of a difference?" Of course, I also got a wryly amused comment from her about how odd it was from her pov that things like those pivots were going so much better than things like my dips and turns. Which I think are more slightly alarming and slightly hilarious respectively. While my smooth is really going pretty well overall, I admit there are times I wonder where I'd be with my dancing had I stuck with focusing on my standard.

My pro talked about getting some coaching sessions in specifically to work on my tricks. And one of the instructors in Huntsville was a professional ballet dancer back in the day. While she's not someone who'd be a good fit for me as a regular instructor, I'm seriously considering taking a block of lessons with her specifically and solely to work on my turns.
My pro is talking about Nashville Starz - not sure if I will be there, but some of my friends should be!
 

JudeMorrigan

Well-Known Member
My pro is talking about Nashville Starz - not sure if I will be there, but some of my friends should be!
It's a really nice competition! Although looking over the entry forms, I was a bit disappointed to see that the age categories for the open scholarships are a bit different than what I'd thought. I'm going to be stuck in Open A for my scholarship. On the plus side, that takes away anything vaguely resembling pressure on me for results. I am really, really not going to be in any danger of making the finals in that likely field. And it should be kind of fun being on the same floor as those dancers, even without actually being competitive with them.
 
Lessons went better this past week. I spoke with my Instructor about the current focus (on stuff I can't change quickly due to underlying issues like lack of core strength and flexibility). We agreed that the primary fundamental to fix is frame. We will focus on that, but be grateful for small improvements since this will be a very long, slow road to climb. We also agreed to work on another area that is likely to improve faster. This definitely helped - we worked on specific steps/foot position, CBM, and that will clearly improve faster than my frame as I'm not facing underlying physical limitations. I'm hoping this helps make the lessons seem more rewarding in the long run. Am also continuing with strength and flexibility training outside of our lessons, too, of course.
 
finally fully 100%, but my endurance is for crap now. Good lessons in smooth and rhythm yesterday, rounds prep for comp this weekend. I'm happy that my mental state is improved too! (i've been doing my mental "workouts" as well, which sounds silly, but it has really helped!), had to do an impromptu performance last night for another student, and i didn't get too tense, even though there were two off balance mistakes. Cha, rumba, swing are now consistent. Bolero and mambo are...not. Smooth, all the dances are going well!
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
For some reason, several of the studio instructors were away yesterday... so I show up for my private and FLOOR SPACE! CONTROL OF THE SOUND SYSTEM!:dancingbanana:

Quickstep ensued. Then FT. Then a teensy bit of waltz. Much dancing, not much stopping and explaining... quickly becoming my favourite kind of lesson, as it lets me tinker with small adjustments with a partner, and diagnose and fix things that feel less than awesome that were working fine while working solo (though it does reduce pro to my expensive interactive dance prop).

Goal set after last comp: no more dancing safe. Apparently it's been achieved, and while I'm still occasionally losing balance as I really go for it, that's happening less and less. Pro's quote after a FT run-through last night: "That was freakin' good." (I knew it was, but it's always nice to hear, especially from someone who is not exactly lavish with praise.)

How I know my dancing has changed: I'm coming off of the floor lately with serious core and leg fatigue. I'm not in less shape than I was a two months ago, and if anything practices have been shorter, so I have to believe it's because I'm using those parts so much more than I was before. Conclusion: big shapes and lots of extension = core workout.

(The not so awesome: My legs were done about an hour into ballet last night. Thankfully, the instructor is totally understanding that she is my last class of a heavy dance evening, and doesn't mind when I need to simplify or sit out the odd exercise.)
 
Really great lesson today - was going to be collecting syllabus routines for my partner and I but since we have a comp this weekend my coach overrode my request and made it a comp prep lesson. It was great, I was able to find the feeling I had during my really strong lesson and showcase a few weeks ago that was notably absent in rounds this past weekend. Goal of the lesson was to find my key words to focus on in each dance, and that was achieved (one word reminder type things I periodically remind myself of while dancing). Here's hoping I'm able to find the feeling again in two days!!!
 

IndyLady

Well-Known Member
FYI, turns in ballet are different than turns in ballroom - ballroom dancers separate the ribcage and hips a lot more for the turn than ballet dancers and create more of a ricochet / snap to create a visual speed in the turn. Not saying ballet won't help (you'll get very comfortable with spotting) but don't try to transfer pirouettes or piques directly to your Smooth. But I'd actually say the port de bras you'll learn in ballet is more directly beneficial to Smooth (especially if a good teacher helps you to translate it into your dancing).

Source: coach's partner danced with the Joffrey before picking up Latin.
I'm glad to hear someone say this. I took an adult ballet class for a while several years ago and made the mistake of disclosing that I did ballroom dance. So the teacher kept trying to relate stuff back to ballroom dance (particularly waltz, and this was in the era before I started caring about and working on my smooth dancing, so none of this resonated with me). I remember her criticizing my spotting technique once with one of those "I would have thought you would know how to do that since you do ballroom" type comments (this was an old school European teacher, fwiw, excellent at her craft but none of that ego cradling we do here). It's likely I was just doing more of a latin/rhythm-appropriate spot.

Anyways, on topic.... had a couple coachings this week and am looking forward to the rumba choreo provided for the upcoming Showcase and the cha cha technical advice she provided for existing routine to be redone. Also some choreo changes to that cha cha that I much appreciate. She made a point of telling us (instructor and me) "quality over quantity, not fluff", which ljs I think was a beneficial message.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
The technique heavy twice a week classes that are (supposed to be) going through the bronze syllabus step-by-step, dance-by-dance continue to be very beneficial. I love getting some things nailed down that went over my head the first many times I was taught them. I've also gotten multiple more or less free private lessons when I was the only person there (policy is changing after the 1st of the year, but I cannot complain). Unless the teacher feels otherwise, we stick to to planned dance when it's just me, but frequently work on Silver after we cover the planned Bronze step. I'll admit that those free privates have helped me a lot in terms of getting to where I want to be before the next competitions. Last night it was me and a Bronze student...and I somewhat shockingly opened my mouth and made a suggestion when she was dancing with the teacher. :eek: It just popped out. They both seemed to be more than fine with it however, so I got to indulge my inner teacher and make more suggestions during the rest of the class. Yes, I know that it would not be appropriate with just about any other student and teacher combination. :eggface:

My private lessons are also going well. Pretty constant improvement at the moment, though, of course, sloooowwww. Terrific coaching this week where we got to work on my current nightmare step. There was an enormous difference afterwards and I had extra lessons with Pro setup (more make-up lessons from him being out of town) so we got to work on it all again.
 

3wishes

Well-Known Member
Pro and pro wife just returned from Paris where their son and his partner competed, so haven't really had any, plus acute bout of a month long cough literally laid me down and out.
Start looking at calendar for potential lesson scheduling to return to technique work on smooth and the DH says in passing, "when are you returning to dance lessons, your not getting any younger" SCREAM in my head, ugh!
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
Tinkering with a complicated bit, working on making it really fly and not muscling through it - with both of us making minor adjustments.

Me, after a run through where I felt pro pulled me off of my foot with his right hand: You know, my imaginary dance partner is really considerate. He never gets in my way, or squishes me, or pulls me off balance.
Pro: Yeah, well, I'm not like him.

Much laughter and ridiculousness insured about how much better imaginary partner is than pro.
 
Learned and videoed a syllabus Paso routine for me and partner, will also be getting a syllabusified version of our open, both for learning and practicing this weekend.

Debriefed on the comp as well - the results were rather disappointing and highlighted that partner and I need to dance much "louder" to get marks on a crowded floor in early rounds and also need to set up our travel to train the couple days prior to a comp (we're long distance and our first round is consistently *rough* and looks like we're rusty because we are). On the plus side, coach confirmed our dancing had definitely improved, even if the marks weren't good.
 

scullystwin42

Well-Known Member
first post-comp lesson on rhythm was good! i looked so much more grounded, FINALLY. pro was pleased with that. He saw the next two main issues to tackle, and i also got good feedback on little things. His fabulousity at mocking analogies was on full force for a couple things. Smooth review tonight!!
 
I kind of stopping going to most lessons after we pushed to Silver. The repeated Choreo lessons started to matter less and focus on technique became more important
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
Lots of lessons this week, as Pro will be out for the next three weeks after this. Most fun was that I had a lesson with Smooth New Guy today and the work I had done with Pro on tango and VW since my last lesson with him really showed (double on each). Also loved that SNG reminded me of something that Pro had told me, but in a different dance, and I was able to implement it using something I learned in a coaching several months ago; it's great when different threads start coming together, not to mention that it resulted in a much better feeling VW. :)
 

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