Friday, May 18, 2007

Pretty good practica

Last night was the MIT practica, and lately it has been spotty at best for attendance. But my S was DJ-ing the practica, and he sent out an all point bulletin to try to get more advanced dancers to come, and it turned out pretty good. S filmed us for the first 45 minutes or so working on volcadas, colgadas, and all sorts of moves where I needed to keep my axis solid. It was a really good practice session, and I think I got a lot out of it. When we were watching the tape later that night, it was hilarious at times because others were not aware of the camera sitting on the table, and they would come up and lean against the table, with their posteriors right in frame! Ha! Whoops. Oh well.

After working for awhile with S, we took a break and I was approached by a gentleman I had not seen there before. Lately this means brand new beginner, but that was not the case this time. We chatted, he mentioned he was new to Boston and wanted to know where the good practicas and milongas were. Turns out he is from Ann Arbor MI, and I had heard some really good things about dancers from that part of the world, so when he asked me to dance, I did not hesitate. It was a lovely time, he was a very good dancer, and moved in a way differently from the other leaders I am used to dancing with. I can't explain how he was different, but it was lovely. We danced for 4 or 5 songs, and at the end we chatted a little more. He is only here for the summer, and I hope to see him at the milongas and dance some more with him.

Then there was the "Wow" moment for me. Not in dancing, but in practicing. There is a beginner whom I had danced with about a month ago, he could salida at the time, but not much else. However I could tell that there was something there. So when he came up and asked if I would help him, I agreed. He began the dance by saying that he was open to all feedback and please don't be afraid to be honest. So we danced one dance and I listened to his moves. After the dance, I took a breath and gave him some constructive feedback about his embrace, his left arm, and not to look down at his feet. He started laughing and said that I sounded like his teacher as these were the things she was constantly telling him. So we started another dance and I would make mention when his embrace felt good and when it had issues. I learned that if I over firmed my right arm, he would realize his was too soft and he would adjust. And after a minute or two of my saying, don't look down every 10 seconds or so, he was doing it less and less. It felt really good to be able to help someone, and it rather blew my mind that I was at a point when I could help someone. Me! Helping a beginner leader. Who knew the day would some so quickly. We also talked about using the chest for leading turns, and how he needed to open up not only to the left (my right) but to the right (my left), it is harder, but much more important as otherwise I had no where to go. We practiced for about 4 songs I think, after which he gave me a huge hug and told me I was a doll for helping him and being such a good follower. It really felt nice to be able to actually help someone and have it be absorbed so readily.

On a slightly down note, had my foot accidentally stepped on last night, and broke the nail down past the pink, youch!! This is why I don't get manicures. First of all I hate polish, I can actually feel it on my nails, and secondly, I would be pissed if I had spent money for someone to prettify my feet only to have them ruined soon afterwards. I think I'll keep the shoes the main attraction and not the toes.... ;-P


tangospeak said...

Nail breaking at the pink! That hurts. Yeouch. Always wanted to do that (yet terrified to) , do a small film of myself but my camera shuts off after 3 minutes, argh. So, what's it like to see yourself dance?

Debbi said...

Hi Caroline!
It is actually very helpful to see yourself dance, as you can see immediately all the good and not-so-good things that you are doing. It was not until I saw myself the first time a few months ago that I realized I had to really tuck my butt under my hips. I thought that I had been, but then I saw that I was not really. So watching the videos are almost as good as a lesson because you can not avoid the truth in them. Plus it is great to see the moments that you remember as wonderful. I highly recommend everyone tape themselves, if only for a few minutes, and learn from what they see.

Sorin said...

Just keep in mind, seeing yourself dance on a video is pretty brutal. The first time I saw myself on video "dancing" I was very depressed...