Last night, I went to my normal Wednesday night dance class. As usual, I had an absolute blast. This summer has been great review for me. We’ve had a lot of new students in class, which means that Christine has really slowed things down and worked on reviewing technique. This has given me an opportunity to take a few steps back and work on my own technique.
Of course, this has been somewhat of a challenge, as well. To be honest, some of the dance exercises are actually more strenuous when done in slow motion. While I was able to quickly execute certain movements and be done with it before, I now have to move through the motions more slowly. This means that my muscles have to work harder to suspend a leg in mid-air for several counts in some exercises.
Of course, a couple of the new students have decided to watch me during a lot of the exercises. They’ve decided that I know what I’m doing, which I actually think is somewhat of a mistake on their part. I’ve certainly improved over the past six months, I grant you. However, I still make a good number of mistakes, and my technique still needs work. More importantly, I need to work on doing things well consistently.
Of course, Christine doesn’t seem to mind the fact that the other students watch me. in fact, when it came time for us to do our phrase while she watched, one of the women said something about keeping an eye on me so she could follow along. So Christine decided to move me to front and center of the group so everyone could watch and follow. Oh dear. The good news is that the phrase we are working on right now is rather slow, so I’ve been able to do really well. (It takes me longer to really get some of the more upbeat phrases.) And the fact that we’re currently working on a phrase that I learned back in January when I started the class helps a lot, too. (Of course, I don’t think the other students realize this.)
The real excitement, however, came for me when I decided to stick around and take the jazz dance class too. I had previously talked to Marina, who teaches that class, and got permission to take it. I was a bit nervous because I was concerned about confusing myself with two different styles of dance. Then there’s also the fact that originally, the Wednesday night jazz dance class was intended to be an intermediate class, so I was concerned about being able to keep up. Then there were just my concerns about taking two dance classes back-to-back. After all, two and a half hours of almost non-stop dance is quite the workout.
Fortunately, everything worked out fine. The class was challenging, but that was mostly because I’m not used to the warm-ups and exercises that Marina does in her class. And like many dance instructors, she tends to give a long list of exercises we’re going to do over the course of an entire song, then start the music and have us go to it. This meant that I got lost more than once, but I was generally able to recover.
The differences in styles also turned out to be less of an issue than I expected. Certainly, there are differences and I had trouble adjusting to a few things. (For example, I kept wanting to turn out when doing tondus, whereas some of the tondu exercises Marina uses require the feet to remain in parallel position. It takes a bit of mental adjustment.
As for the length of time dancing, that proved to be a minor issue. Other than a blister on my right big toe and a leg cramp last night, I made out quite well. As a result, I’ve decided to attend the jazz dance class for the remaining two weeks in this term. After that, it’ll be time for the Fall sessions to start. Marina said she plans on trying to start up another beginners jazz dance class on Saturdays, and I’m thinking about registering for it. I’d stick with the intermediate class, but I already have other obligations on Wednesday.
Besides, a Saturday class will have me dancing three days a week, which would be good.