how are your lessons going? thread II

Great lesson with my coach yesterday - it's weird having the focus be more on physical feel than theory understanding, but I'm liking the shift of perspective. Got a lot of things sorted in samba, and the focus on doing helped highlight places where my theory understanding was off - including a leg action I'm totally missing in all cruzado walk type actions.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
Pro said "that was perfect" in reference to, oh, 2 or 3 beats of VW last night. Lesson nearly had to stop I was in such shock. I am pretty sure those words have never left his mouth before while teaching me. He said, "maybe once per decade, so you'll have to wait quite a while to hear it again". ;) Also lesson (only one at class--they always have trouble with Friday night classes) with Smooth New Guy. Once again, he said wall of reverse turns in VW was best he had ever felt me do. Sooner or later, these improvements will translate to the rest of the dance....

Preparing for a competition which is ever so slightly nerve racking when Pro was just gone for three weeks. It will be fine...it will be fine...it will be fine.... Honestly, it likely will be fine as long as I believe that and don't freak. :)

Most important part of lesson with Rhythm New Guy might have been his banning me from making negative comments about my dancing. Sort of a la The Inner Game of Tennis, the goal is non-judgmental observations.
 
Have really been enjoying lessons lately. Prior to the holidays we spent a couple weeks doing rounds, which was fun and let me get more of a "flow" of the dance into my routines. But after the holidays, it's been back to basics. We've been working on very detailed technical improvements again, especially in rumba (basic walks forward and back, alemana, lock steps) and waltz (lots and lots of basic boxes). Lots of me practicing by myself with him standing on the side watching and then giving specific corrections. In the past, I've gotten overwhelmed with the number of corrections that get thrown at me when we do this. Not good, because mentally I shut down, don't execute that well, and he gets frustrated repeating the same corrections over and over; he abbreviates them into short, curt comments that are not at all helpful. This time, it's all ok. I'm not sure if I'm handling it better, or if he's spacing out the corrections a little more, or if my dancing has actually improved enough to get through it (well, it's probably a little of all three), but the nasty mental piece isn't there.

We are also putting together a new cha cha routine. It's fun and flirty and I am proud of myself for taking a little more active role in the choreography and being able to pick up new steps enough to try different combinations. It will take some work to get it "show ready" because it is noticeably harder than what I was doing and will require more technical precision to really pop. But this is the first time where he's made a routine a lot more demanding and I am confident that I will (eventually) get there.
 

JudeMorrigan

Well-Known Member
My last pre-competition lesson was this weekend, and it definitely went better than the previous weekend's. I am not overwhelmed with confidence, but that's ok. This is the first competition I've gone into in a while where my expressed goal is really just to feel like I belong in the fields I've entered rather than having specific goal-orientated results. And this last lesson went well enough that I feel like I should be capable of that. In theory.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
Stamina practice sucks. Especially when it's stamina practice, heavy on the VW, because that is where you tend to think too much, work too hard and burn too much energy. And when you're reminded several times that "You're dancing open now, when I lead something different than the routine, you need to really commit to it. Your instincts are right, and you're following well, but you back off because you're not sure of yourself, and that shows. Just go."

But this happened:
We finish a run-through.
Pro: Have you ever tried biathlon?
Me: Blank stare.
Pro: "You know, where you ski and shoot?" (mimes skiing)
Me: "Yes, I know what it is... where did that come from?"
Pro: "Well, I was watching biathlon, and I was thinking you might be really good at it. You have the right mentality."
Me: More blank staring.
Pro: "And the Canadian girls are not as strong as the men... [rambles for a bit]... have you tried it?"
Me: "Well, I can ski, and shoot... but no, I've never tried it."
Pro: "Oh."
And then we dance some more.​

WTF, Pro? So random...
 
learned the rest of my new bolero yesterday. Some parts were bumpier this time, and some parts were way better. ran through the new cha cha and the new mambo as well. it was a bit of a rough lesson, i almost know the routines and am trying to dance them more but....not so much. i am glad i have two months to get them nailed down. My body was crazy tired - weight loss challenge at my gym has turned into crazy hard exercise challenge instead. Pro is tired too, new baby-itis. so not great, but will get better
 
Posture and poise are going to be the theme of the year - coach made some tweaks yesterday specific to my strengths as a Latin dancer (body and hip action) and admonished me yet again to quit trying so **** hard with my leg and feet actions. Putting the adjustments into practice today, I can feel amazing potential, but it's going to be a long, sore road putting them into practice. But it feels great to be focusing on emphasizing a strength as opposed to just shoring up weaknesses (of which I have plenty).
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
<< is nodding in agreement and commiseration, because she is kind of sad that one of her strengths is back flexibility, meaning she's been a little sore for months as she build up the muscles to hold and control at the end ranges of her flexibility.
 
<< is nodding in agreement and commiseration, because she is kind of sad that one of her strengths is back flexibility, meaning she's been a little sore for months as she build up the muscles to hold and control at the end ranges of her flexibility.
Lots of commiserating here! I am pretty sure my abs, back and shoulders are massively underdeveloped relative to my legs, so the fix is going to be some quality time in the weight room with pull-ups, rows, presses, and overhead squats (in addition to my main strength program).
 

Sania

Well-Known Member
Great lesson with my coach yesterday - it's weird having the focus be more on physical feel than theory understanding, but I'm liking the shift of perspective. Got a lot of things sorted in samba, and the focus on doing helped highlight places where my theory understanding was off - including a leg action I'm totally missing in all cruzado walk type actions.
Tell us more about the missing leg action!
 
reviewing new routines at lesson last night and lately. Joining the sore group too- extra daily challenges at my gym are killing me! the new routines are coming along, but i am a bit frustrated right now as they settle in and as i try to make sure i apply the techniques i've learned to them as well. It doesn't help that i've a ton of work and other things happening, so i don't feel like i have enough practice time. just gotta push through this.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
My notes from last night's lesson:
"5 dances. Zillion things... I have no idea. Central themes seemed to be arms forward in VW, and overall work standing leg more and do less? QS: Lead with head in short wall before Q-o-R. Helps."

Pro was nitpicky. Kept throwing points at me, one layered on top of the other until I got frustrated with how much worse they were making everything and declared I was ignoring all of that and just doing my thing. I hate when he starts tinkering, telling me random things to do that have never been brought up before and stops using his words to explain what he's feeling*... Comp must be coming.:rolleyes:

He did reveal after the lesson - probably because I was looking at him with a "what the F do I do with that" expression (or maybe an "I so want to smack you right now" expression) - that the day before yesterday was just really, really good... maybe the best we've ever danced (his words), and he just wanted yesterday to be like that too. My response: "Well, that doesn't always happen, especially coming straight from work. And I don't think it was that far off from yesterday, to be honest... so when it's feeling pretty good to me and you get on me about things, I get stressed. Especially when it starts 5 minutes in... just give me a chance to work into things." He did listen to that, so here's hoping next week will be better.

*Because it works way better when he describes what he's feeling and I figure out how to fix it... because often what he thinks is going on isn't really the cause.
 
no smooth lesson last night, because the idiot manager at one of my studios screwed up. This may be the breaking point that makes me leave that one. thankfully my other studio was welcoming and lovely and helped me work on my FT throwaway oversway that i just learned and needed help with. :mad:. Rhythm tonight!
 

IndyLady

Well-Known Member
Pro was nitpicky. Kept throwing points at me, one layered on top of the other until I got frustrated with how much worse they were making everything and declared I was ignoring all of that and just doing my thing. I hate when he starts tinkering, telling me random things to do that have never been brought up before and stops using his words to explain what he's feeling*...
Yep, I hear ya on this one. I've told instructors that they have a limit of three things in any given dance that they can give me to think about at any moment. One instructor once tried to wrap up a handful of things into some overall concept like "barrel" (don't ask) and tried to pass that off as one thing, and I was like, nope.

I also hate it when they wait until the end of the lesson (or group class, as happened last night) to drive home some really important point that should have been brought up earlier to give us time to work on it.
 

Dr Dance

Well-Known Member
"Ron's" standard group class was... "eventful." It's a small class that meets each Thursday evening. There are two sessions of 45 minutes each from a choice (two dances) of fox trot, waltz, tango, or quickstep. Last Thursday, we learned quickstep and tango. There were four ladies and three of us guys in the class.

There is one particular lady with whom I have been very unsuccessful with dancing in the class: "Erica." She seems to "freeze up" or "spaz out" with anything that I try when I am partnered with her during the regular class rotation. She has theorized that we are "a bad match." I tended to agree. But last Thursday before the class, I confided in Ron.

"She cannot follow me at... anything. Are we a bad match?"

Ron's answer was priceless, "Because her skill level is much below yours, you must dance 'down' to her level. She needs to feel good about her dancing."

Whenever I dance host at local dances, I always try to match my partner's level if she is less skilled. But I had never thought to do this during Ron's class where the premise is that the student level for this class is "advanced;" and, the objective is TO LEARN. But sometimes, like last Thursday, my lessons come from unexpected sources!

I wondered about how I could "dance down" without compromising too much of my own form. Then I considered the specific issues that Erica had with me: I frequently "bowled her over" with my strong foot pressure and general "abandon" with movements in general. So I made ONE compromise: I deliberately danced tentatively whenever she was paired with me to try a dance sequence that was taught in the class.

The results were immediate and dramatic: She began not only to follow me more successfully; but, she was taking initiative when she needed to do so! She actually began to visibly enjoy the experience. She smiled a lot as her confidence grew because I was no longer killing her during the class.

At a local Sunday afternoon group class, I tried the same tactics with Annette, a charming lady with intermediate skill, but low confidence and poor self esteem. Although she has traditionally not done well with me, she danced very well with me during the class this Sunday. When she would miss- step during the lesson, I never made a big deal about it which seemed to ease her self concern. And I'd praise her when she danced an entire sequence without flinching or having to stop midway. My attitude toward Annette during the class was "very casual." I saved all of my "abandon" and strong foot pressure for my own partner who is gifted enough to give it back to me in spades!

I only wish that I had learned this lesson sooner. It would have saved a lot of angst and dread during group lessons.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
We're running rounds. Every day so far this week. (We do shorter, more intense sessions when we switch to straight rounds - 3 rounds, plus an extra dance or two per 30 min session.)

This week's revelations, so far:
1. I'm in better shape than I thought I was. As long as I remember to relax - and don't try to do more - 3 rounds back-to-back is no big deal.
2. I may make it through VW (my nemesis) after all.
3. I may dance better a little hurt (subscapularis spasm, then knots + aftermath), because it makes me back off a little bit. And the new brand of heat patches I found the other day stay on my back through sweaty rounds - so they're a keeper.
4. When I get a little scared when we're dancing, that means it's going really, really well - we're flying, with big shapes.
 

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