Ballroom Dance > lessons: what are you working on?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by alemana, Mar 8, 2006.

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  1. caityrosey

    caityrosey New Member

    Oh yeah:rolleyes:
  2. JoeCZilla

    JoeCZilla New Member

    I had a private lesson last night: Complained to my instructor beforehand that I still couldn't get the Foxtrot and Waltz to feel like dancing and couldn't put steps together fast enough ahead of time to keep the dances smooth without stopping or running into a corner. Grr! And the one dance I felt somewhat comfortable with (Hustle) I couldn't keep up with the faster paced music played at the practices without feeling like I was skipping or hopping on the coaster step, even after trying to shorten the distance I moved. So ended up working on Hustle for the entire lesson. Putting together series of basic steps I knew and making sure I was leading them well. At one point when I improved on an underarm turn she shouted, "That's it!" and hit me in the chest. Then apologized for doing it, she said she got excitied when I did it correctly.. I thought it was funny. Wasn't sure what she was apologizing for at first. It's nice to know your instructor can get excited about your learning sometimes. I thought I was boring her to death. :)

    After that I had a group Viennese Waltz beginner class. We did forward and backward walks, side steps w/2nd position?,an underarm turn, and a promenade step ( forget the name). The movement felt much more natural to me then the Slow Waltz and Foxtrot; We didnt do any turning though so that may be the reason. I had trouble finding the right position for my right foot when taking forward steps though. Not sure if its the frame, my stance or how i'm taking steps. I always feel that i'm going to step on the followers right foot when I step forward on my right unless were almost square in front of each other. :( And I did actually a few times "only lightly". Phew! I usually end up walking like a penguin with my toes pointed out trying to avoid stepping on their right foot.

    Tonight it will be practice on my own. No interesting classes going on around here tonight and noone to practice with. :( Would be so nice to find a practice partner, but its so difficult. :(
  3. alemana

    alemana New Member

    it really is.

    i LOVE it when my instructor gets excited.

    this happens infrequently but lately more, and mostly around the issue of connection, because (duh) that is something he experiences very personally in my dancing. i sort am having a burgeoning breakthrough around this - last night i realized in a sudden burst that it FEELS SO GOOD not to feel like i'm dancing alone anymore, that i am sharing the task with him!
  4. JoeCZilla

    JoeCZilla New Member

    :D The whole Instructor/Student relationship seems so sterile to me, it is nice when a little bit of humanity slips through :)
  5. alemana

    alemana New Member


    i promised myself i would remember how good it felt to be on the receiving end of genuine instructor excitement, so i could apply it in my side career as a personal trainer.
  6. chica latina

    chica latina New Member

    When it's hard to tell if someone is arriving on the ball of their foot vs. flat.
  7. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Hey Alemana! Go for it! I love the idea that people want to stretch their horizons in dance...I have also found that the standard has helped my latin! I am much more comfortable getting into dance position with my pro for pivots, close cucarachas, etc. And the feeling you can get from doing Standard is can feel like you're floating, gliding or flying across the floor - it's sooo cool!
  8. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Thanks! That's a great idea!

    Oh I am also having a hard time remembering to bend my knees when I do some of the turns. It's like I know what it looks like when I watch them do it a million times, but it's still not registering in my head when I try to do it myself lol. So, yes it is frustrating, but I know that I will get used to it the more times that I dance! And suggesting that we practice turns for an hour is probably what I'll do one of these days! Great idea! ;)
  9. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Hi SPratt74! I can sooo relate to these problems. Balance is a problem of mine too (especially in those darn heels!). When I am particularly shaky I try to remember to activate my center and push down from my center into the floor. I also try to "tighten" my ankles, they have alot of play in them from doing gymnastics early in my life and they wobble sometimes if I don't think of keeping energy through them. Also, I find that self confidence is half the battle for me. I have to tell myself not to be tentative, if I fall off balance that's okay, but I need to go for it!

    And as for those turns, finding the correct alignment of where your body lines up correctly over the foot is key for me. If I'm having that type of problem with my turns, I have an exercise I learned in ballet that I do: first I do the turn slow a couple of times with as much correct posture as I can...I then take careful note of how I'm falling out of the turn (are you falling forward, back, sideways?), then check the parts of the body that might be contributing to that symptom - is your center activated, are you getting all the way over your foot, are your hips directly over your axis, is your seat sticking out, is your upper body and/or arms pulling one way or another, is your neck and spine stretched correctly? If you are uncomfortable doing this yourself, ask your teacher to check your alignment. Once you know where the problem lies....practice, practice, practice!

    Just my two cents....hope it helps you!
  10. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    I noticed with me when I'm shaky I'm not breathing lol. I'm trying to remember to breathe though, because that does help. So, it could be that. It could also be the heels! I never thought of that! And self-confidence is a big issue with me right now, but I am so new to dancing though that I know it will come in time as well as everything else!

    I also never thought of alignment. I know that my instructor has mentioned some of the things that you have said, but I never thought of that as being alignment, but I think that you might be right. But maybe that just comes with practice though. But that will be something that I think about during my practice!

    Thanks for your help! ;)
  11. Lesh

    Lesh New Member

    Well, due to work I'm not taking classes as often as I would like but I have had some great homework before class this saturday. But a bit of background - I'm in bronze, only been dancing like 6 months and have been really light for the last two months due to various things, so complete beginner. I keep notes of everything I'm working on, which helps since I'm doing way too many dances at the moment. Oh it's smooth and rhythym by the way, and I'm not very good at terminology.

    Foxtrot - I'm focusing on doing my raise and lowering timing, trying to nail the whole lowering while stepping together thing since I tend to linger on the lowering and do it while stepping forward into another basic.
    Vienese Waltz - I keep having to focus on keeping this low, so I'm trying to make that habit and trying to put less energy into my second rotation.
    Waltz - recently I've formed a bad habit of rotating in place on the close, so I'm focusing on lowering before stepping on that since it keeps me from that. Also working on trying to add energy to it within a confined space.
    Tango - trying to make the double corte as polished as everything else and also allowing the follow to add energy through one of the promenade turns without trying to pull.
    rumba, chacha, and mambo/salsa - I'm really just working on my cuban motion still, back action and delayed hip action is still new to me so I'm trying to get it down in rumba while also trying to speed everything up for chacha and salsa.
    Samba - still working on rising straight up before moving, and really sinking into the ground.
    West Coast Swing - I have a nasty habit of anchoring late on sugar pushes where I'm playing so I'm working on that, also working on changing up the passes and linking closed into normal movement different ways.
    East Coast Swing - I hate this dance because I still don't get the real feel for it so I'm just trying to find it.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    foot pressure and balance over the standing foot...two new latin routines and silver smooth
  13. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Lesh - whooweee, that is a list....I'm lucky if I can walk straight after reading lesson notes like that! Go for it!!!
  14. RIdancer82

    RIdancer82 New Member

    for me, the question should be more of.... what am I not working on? lol
  15. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Lately we're having a good back-to-basics session in Thursday night group, which we've expanded to include about half of each private lesson. It concerns silver waltz open left and right turns -- the two meat 'n potatoes steps of this dance. There are three things in particular that the instructor is working on:

    * Proper CBMP and body rotation through the turns
    * Isolation of the head movements
    * Proper completion of the turns -- the second three-count in the left turn, and the heel turn in the right turn.

    Up until this class, I thought you were supposed to end the left turn in a promenade position. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why it was so awkward. :headwall:

    I'm also working on getting more movement and extention into my one-count steps. A few weeks ago, something interesting happened: My instructor challenged me to make my ones move more, and when I did, I found that getting my heel out that far put me out of my comfort zone balance-wise. So now I'm working on pushing myself through that barrier. It isn't very consistent yet, but on the occasions when I get it right, I can feel what it is supposed to be like.

    One other thing I'm doing in this waltz class: paying more attention to the follower's steps. It generally helps me to understand the follower's part, but until recently I've been pretty ignorant of the follower's part in silver waltz. No excuses, except that when I was trying to learn it for myself, I didn't pay much attention. Time to rectify that. :oops:
  16. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    I'm working on the mental "game", as well as stamina (my jive killed me yesterday...saved it for the last 10 minutes of a 1.5 hour lesson...ugh) and musicality.
  17. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    I just got bagged practicing in the kitchen at work. I was just waiting for some water to boil, and the landlord walked in just as I was starting paso (of all things!). Busted!
  18. alemana

    alemana New Member

    since you're working on your 'game,' i'm sure you didn't even NOTICE the intrusion!
  19. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    I have a bit more to go before I perfect the mental game. In fact, more than just a bit...ack!
  20. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Hey MQ, I'm intrigued....what are you working on specifically here?
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