I am going mental for the dancing. Lynsey and I will have been learning for three years next month, and it’s starting to feel graceful for minutes at a time, rather than just occasional moves. The waltz is probably the best for this, although the quickstep is getting there. Then, at the recent Christmas Ball we managed to complete a foxtrot without stopping. I cannot emphasise enough how big an achievement this was 🙂 The foxtrot has been our nemesis for a long time, and to do it ok and feel vaguely elegant at the same time was fantastic.
We’ve been greatly helped by starting private lessons, which we began after my university course began in October. Getting to London just wasn’t compatible with a dance class the night before – catching a train at 2130 wasn’t great as we had to leave the class after only 25 minutes, and I then ended up walking down deserted high streets at gone midnight. Didn’t like that very much. So after a few weeks we decided to go for private lessons instead, this time on a Tuesday. It was a shame to leave the group of people we’d been with for so long, but there wasn’t much choice.
As it happens, the Thursday class has now pretty much folded. A bunch of people left after it became obvious the rest of the group wanted to hone existing moves rather than learn anything new, and most of them were only turning up one week in three anyway. We got out at the best time, I think.
The lessons are obviously better than a private class, as we get one-to-one help. Our every move is dissected. Shoulders down. Move with the waist, not the legs. Look up. Etc. It’s sometimes tough, but you improve quickly 🙂 Also, we’ve progressed more in a couple of months than we did in a year at the class. We can pick up new moves fairly easily, and it’s nice to be able to set our own pace.
The only thing that’s missing is a practice session. The hour’s tuition is good, but we tend to stick to one or two dances. At the class we’d get a chance to practice all seven (don’t really go for the Paso Doble, sadly) every week in a general music session after teaching, but now it can be a long time before we get around to our weaker ones. At the most recent ball I did the Samba entirely from muscle memory. We’ve found a few Saturday-evening dances, which should help (if I’m around) and there are rumours of adding a practice hour to Tuesday nights. That’d be perfect.
We’re starting a six-week intermediate jive class tomorrow. It’s half an hour’s drive away, but I won a competition so the lessons are all free. Should be great. The jive is my favourite of all the dances, and definitely the best exercise. The DJ at the Christmas Ball tried to kill me by playing two jives, followed by a 4.5 minute Viennese Waltz. I confess I had to have sixty seconds rest between the two, but a 3.5min Viennese Waltz isn’t too shabby.
Dancing is totally unlike anything else I do, and I love it. I never expected to be this enthusiastic, but I want to work on the medals too. Happy to progress until we hit the stage where fake tan is necessary, anyway.