how are your lessons going? thread II

FancyFeet - Oh my. So I have nothing else to suggest. It does sound like your relationship is complicated though, and I do hope it all works out.

BrokeForBallroom - I have taken lessons for a few years but somehow have been though a number of pros (either because I've moved, they've moved, or they've stopped teaching). Except for my current pro, we've decided together in detail what to work on- so what I'm interested in and what they recommend or gently suggest I should focus on based on where I'm at currently. (With the obvious exception of one pro who only did Rhythm, a known fact going in.)

My current pro would definitely prefer that I turn my training over 100% to him, but he understands that's not going to happen completely. Having said that, I respect him immensely, and I am generally going to listen to him on what I should be working on around technique, styling, steps, etc. In short, from his perspective, it's great because I do what he says. But, I would prefer to work on all 10 dances, and I know (at the moment), he is going to favor standard -- consciously or unconsciously. So we discuss, some, and we both compromise. His teaching style works very well for me (even if I do get frustrated at times and even though he can push my buttons like almost no one else in my life), so I give him a lot of leeway. But in my own experience, the norm has not been the pro deciding (especially unilaterally) what I am going to work on, but rather me deciding, or me actively seeking their input.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
I "get" some input into what we work on, but Pro is the primary decision maker. He and I are both perfectly happy working on some small detail of technique for...oh...forever, and it definitely results in my being a better dancer, but as we get closer to a competition I do need to see that I can actually dance all of the dances for 90 seconds straight. o_O He has come to be reasonably accepting of that. :)
 

Dr Dance

Well-Known Member
I had a wake up call earlier this afternoon. My dance partner Sherri wanted me to take a private lesson with her from her teacher and coach Slava, a superb instructor! (He and his am partner Pinky danced wonderfully at Blackpool recently.) Sherri's goal for the two of us is to dance "showcase quality" when we dance socially. My thought was, "Be careful what you wish for!"

The dance du jour was slowfox. Having not seen us dance together, Slava suggested that we dance around the studio for about a minute and a half while he assessed.

He loved my top line, posture, and frame. He felt that my "poise" was a bit weak. To fix this, he had me dance a stronger left side. He did not care for what was happening with my legs and feet. Bottom line: Push and pull was "weak." He thought that I was being "too careful or tentative" with my much shorter partner Sherri. His literal translation: "I was moving like an old person." Well... I'm 63.

"I think that you have the ability to move much better."

He then worked with my legwork and footwork. To step forward, I stretched my free toe out as far as it could go until the toe became a heel. Then he had me "push even farther" before I left the back foot. Okay, now the push was working. But then I lost musicality because there was no controlled "pull." To improve this control, he talked about the first "quick" for the feather step being a "fast quick," and the second quick being a "lazy quick." This had the effect similar to the way that an ocean wave forms and swells when it approaches a shoreline.

My own group instructor Ron had broached this more focused push and pull during his group fox trot classes. But he "dropped that subject" when the ladies in the class were completely bowled over by my efforts. Either the gals could not match my push and pull, or I was like a rampaging bull in a China shop with all strength and little grace.

Since I had little fear that I would overrun my private instructor Mary, I've always been much bolder about push and pull when I danced with her. But Mary is taller than Sherri; and, Mary is more skilled. The point to today's lesson was to improve my partnership skills with Sherri.

Sherri too was unprepared for my increased push and pull. So Slava worked with her to improve her own backwards push and pull to better accommodate my improvement. We then danced better together. But doing this consistently better will take MUCH practice.

We changed to a feather finish and a wave to provide a venue for me moving backwards as she moved forward. Strangely enough, Sherri and I adapted to this much quicker than we did to my forward motion for the feather.

Later that afternoon, Sherri and I put these principles to work by dancing some slowfox at a party. The results were mixed. But curiously, my increased push and pull seemed to "bleed over" into other standard dances such as waltz and quickstep.

Sherri absolutely LOVED our paired lesson.

Bottom line: It was a challenge to me to employ proper push and pull to dance slowfox with Sherri. But since she is much shorter, she has the greater challenge to match my efforts.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
First lesson with alternate pro happened yesterday... learned a ton. At my request, we worked rumba and chacha, and spent a fair amount of time talking about (then putting into practice) the difference between the 2, and on how little things (poise, timing of weight transfer, personal centre, etc.) are different from standard.

(Alternate pro knows I'm primarily a standard dancer, and who I dance with - we worked my latin routines that I have from pro. It was very non-poachy, which was nice.)

I'm not sure how long I'll be doing this, but I am going back next week.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
Despite that, at my first lesson next week, I'll likely have to endure the spiel about how I was not fair with expressing disappointment, etc.
Huh. No spiel... colour me shocked. He was totally normal - even on the better side of normal.

(I got props for how much I managed to improve natural fleckerl footwork and VW basics over the weekend. No one tell him I worked fleckerls for a grand total of about 20 minutes all week... VW basics, on the other hand, got hours of attention.)
 
two good lessons this week on rhythm so far. 1.5 of the lessons were again on the side by side mambo part - it has tricky rhythms and i'm still working to get it solid AND not react to my partner. the rest was bolero and got very into how to create volume through extending my spine. Which sounds weird, but it made sense. I do like the super-deep stuff we get into right after comps.
 
Hi guys so I have been out of dancing for 2 years now :( due to university which totally rewind my life massive regret and Im 20 I still have about 3/4 of my flexiblity but lost my middle split this is because about 3 years ago I was doing resist splits and I felt a massive tear like somone got a hot knife slashed on my leg but that held 2 mins after I did it bit odd. Then about 6 months later on the very inside of my leg in the middle I ripped and streched out the ripped park and as I did kicks and over splits I felt a clicking overlapping bone or musle feeling and here I am years later no matter how much I warm up that leg It keeps happerning when it happens its a ouch then my leg feels ok but sore and stiff but I can strech it no problem as son as I rip it and then a week later it sets inplace then I have the same problem again and I dont want to rip it of go back to dancing because of it what shall I do it feels so tight!!!! also behind my knees where my hamstring is my teacher would be like strech more im like I cant I have an agonising pain in the back of my knee feeling like somthings going to rip I have been dancing since I was 6 btw
 
lovely lessons continue - smooth movement is becoming more fluid. still a part at the beginning of open waltz that i completely and utterly fail at. If it doesn't get better, it will have to be changed.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
Holiday-afternoon lessons when the studio is "closed" are the best. Misc. thoughts:
  • I have decided that I really, really, really like my new waltz beginning that I got last week.
  • We have somehow gone from "making a few tweaks" to my tango to completely re-doing the routine. I am totally ok with this, as re-arranging things is much harder for me than just learning new. Also, I had huge input and veto power into this one, so it's full of things I like/find fun/do well, and nothing from the list of figures that I hate.
  • Signs you put in a good practice/lesson combo: your abs hurt the next day. Specifically, it's my obliques, from stretching up and using my head to express and enhance.
  • From student before me: my warm-up is tougher than most people's work-outs.
Post-lesson, pro detailed his thoughts on how he wanted to structure his headed-to-nationals student's lessons for the next 8 weeks... I indicated that it sounded like a solid plan, but not for me... then laid out why, and what I felt I needed. I'm now on a different plan than everyone else.

(He was in the mood to listen yesterday, so I took advantage.)
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
Managed to work 4 dances in a single lesson last night... fleckerls are coming along, and can finally be danced at speed without turning into an epic disaster (ok, not so finally - we've been working on them for less than a month), though pro's attempt to add some power and dynamics to them last night was NOT A GOOD IDEA. FF was having a fairly high anxiety day (stupid OCD that likes to be all 'hey, things have been good lately... I think I'll just show up for no reason today') and rocking her confidence by pushing the envelope on something so new was not a good call. Thankfully, we've both learned to recognize when that is happening, and just shut it down to move on to something else. While working another dance, I did get a minor think less, dance more speech... but as we are actively working on me not holding back, I was ok with that one.

Have also been musing on the few latin lessons I've taken with alternate pro... realized that I haven't gotten a single correction about footwork (yay, me!), and that it is apparently really clear what figures I am dancing. It's all been how to make it more like latin - so initiating things with/using the body, and where to send my weight... both of which need more practice to become automatic. Last time we also did a little bit on how to make the arms more 'dancey', and on what I am trying to say with the movements. Kind of liking that alternate pro feels I'm at the point where we can be working on those types of things... though there were a few comments along the lines of what I sometimes get in standard (don't hold back, go for it, trust yourself, etc.).

Central theme: I need to get comfortable with being a little more "Look at me. I'm awesome." and a little less humble. Le sigh.
 
lessons are going really well, fun too. frustrating but fun, if that's a thing. lots of concepts finally coming together and i'm applying them. i need to now apply them more consistently lol. thank goodness they are good because my work is fresh hell right now.
 
It's been back to basics for me for the past couple weeks, and it's been great. We're slowly revisiting basic steps/movement in each of the 10 dances. Although the focus has been on one dance at a time, there are a couple broad themes. I am not consistently getting all the way over my foot (Latin) or rolling through my foot (Standard), so my weight is not consistently where it needs to be for the next step/movement. A lot of this relates to how I hold/move my upper body. Also, and probably related, I am not finishing earlier movements consistently, especially when I change direction I cut the earlier movement off. Seeing these themes gives me a very good sense of where to focus to improve and get a pretty big "bang for my buck", if I can just do it. For each dance, we're also focusing on movements, body positions, hand positions, etc. to try to give each dance its own flavor. I find this more difficult to feel and execute consistently even than the broader themes.
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
well...have lessons thurs but they will be the last for the foreseeable future...there are simply too many other demands in life right now, such that I don't have the time or money to invest heavily for a while....thank goodness the current pro is a real awesome human being and made it all feel less horrible
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
Really sorry to hear that, Fasc. Dance has been such a big part of your life, and I imagine it feels like a loss. I have sympathy for you.
thanks...I am actually okay with it because it is indisputably what my family needs right now and my family was incredibly generous about the time and expense that I put into dance over the past 13 years...my new job really demands that I put in the time and there are numerous other factors that make it the right priority right now...I am hopeful that it won't be years and years or anything...and I am very grateful to be dancing with someone whose first concern is my well being...I am hopeful that I will find a way to keep my toe in the water on occasion until things change... and I have seen this coming for quite a while....
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
Isn't it funny how the lessons where you don't even want to go can be the ones where you turn out your best dancing? Had one of those today... a little sore and stiff, a lot tired, hungry, overheated, and just wanting to sit down, put my feet up and have a blender-cocktail... yet got told something to the effect of: "Yes. You're dancing like a champion. That was powerful, and musical, and calm. And humble, but confident... do it again."

You guys, I might be learning to dial in that sweet spot, after years of either trying too hard or not hard enough (but TBH, mostly the former). Here's hoping I'm less tired and sore tomorrow, but dance equally as well.
 
You guys, I might be learning to dial in that sweet spot, after years of either trying too hard or not hard enough (but TBH, mostly the former). Here's hoping I'm less tired and sore tomorrow, but dance equally as well.
I am really pleased for you! That's an enormous accomplishment and some great feedback from your Pro.
 

JudeMorrigan

Well-Known Member
well...have lessons thurs but they will be the last for the foreseeable future...there are simply too many other demands in life right now, such that I don't have the time or money to invest heavily for a while....thank goodness the current pro is a real awesome human being and made it all feel less horrible
Being on break myself, I so completely feel your pain. It's not a happy thing, but sometimes it's the right call, isn't it?
 

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