Ballroom, week 8

I never mentioned dance shoes to my instructor before–I figured that if I waited long enough, if he came to believe in me, he’d ask me to go buy some. Today he asked. Hooray! So I went to go buy some, it all seemed pretty straightforward, and they didn’t have any like the ones he described–character shoes and ballroom shoes both had a steel bar through the bottoms so that they wouldn’t be flexible. But jazz shoes, that have split soles, are like little rubber socks. I didn’t want rubber bottoms, and she said leather would be too slippery, but that suede would allow me to slide without slipping, which is what my instructor told me was something I should look for, though he said leather. So I didn’t buy any shoes…though I nearly bought all of them. In any case, I don’t have anywhere good to practice. The kitchen is too small now, so I’ve been doing it in socks in a carpeted room or in shoes outside. It’s all rather silly.

Concerning the Left Box: I don’t know why it’s called that since it goes to the right, though it commences on the left foot.

Concerning the 3-Cs: this is the term to remember the Rise and Fall pattern when waltzing. The term stands for Commence-Continue-Continue. That is, one begins with bent knees, commences the rising action on beat 1, continues it on 2, continues it on 3. On the + of 3 the falling action begins, which would be perceived as a ‘drop’ (an indelicate term, apparently) if the entire falling action took place between the + of 3 and beat 1; rather, the lowering action begins on the +, which is where the knees are being lowered, the weight transferred to one foot, and CBM takes place if necessary. It’s in the next step, on beat 1, that the falling action concludes and rising action begins.

Concerning Rise: Keep in mind that the body will try to compensate for beginning with one’s knees too high by ‘double-lowering’ on beat 2, in anticipation of the rise on beat 3. The proper way to navigate this dilemma is, of course, to begin with one’s knees bent lower, and to Think about it as if one begins low, continues low, and then rises on beat 3. The body will take care of the rest, that is the commencement and continuation on the first two beats, naturally, from what I can tell.

Concerning Fall: In the Left Box, on the + of 3 (where the leader steps backwards on R), the left knee should be bent low enough that it covers the foot. This places one low enough to commence rising on 4. Rise and Fall should additionally be found within the pulse of the music, which will dictate the flow of movement.

Concerning leading a reverse step: This is led by not giving any indication of moving forward but actually moving one’s body backwards.

Concerning Progressives: So called because they assist one in ‘progressing’ down the floor. I’ve learned two reasons why not to go with a dance school chains, the first being that they teach patterns rather than method so that one only knows what to do when dancing with other students of the school. The second reason, then, is that it takes more than patterns to dance well socially since as a leader one must know what the next figure will be at least before closing the previous one–this is because rooms have different shapes and obstacles (such as columns) and a varying number of people who may or may not know what they’re doing.

So I totally bought some shoes. I don’t know if they’re what I was supposed to buy, but the bottoms are suede, and they don’t look like leather socks (which is what jazz shoes seem to me), and they’re special because I’m not allowed to wear them outside or else I’ll ruin them instantly. They’re so much fun, though, I’m very pleased!

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