Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Had a snowy and cold past few days, so we are sticking close to home.
This gave me ample time to spend lots of time dancing. Youtube is a great resource for travelling through the world of dance! I watched latin ballroom lessons, soul line dances,
Cajun/zydeco dancing, and discovered a line dancer in Malaysia (under "senipadu")
that is the best line dancer that I have ever seen! "Senipadu" has over 700 Youtube entries!
She is my dance hero. And yet..... I have to find my own artistic identity.
It is interesting to observe the different dance styles. I have quite a variety of step sheets and music already, but I got additional ones off the internet. It was lots of fun to try to imitate the different styles. I lost track of how long I was dancing, but I'd say several hours.
I did reaffirm that my main focus is line dancing. Current line dances uses all types of music. I love the variety of music, culture, imagery, beats, and movement patterns.
I would not want to give that up to something that has lots of rules (like ballroom and especially ballet.....not a big fan of ballet.....although I very much like graceful movement).
I would say that the styling of a particular line dance is more of a suggestion of a genre, showing the influence, rather than a strict adherence to that form of dance.
So, I am going to communicate this thought to my dance teacher and then see what she'd suggest. I do feel I need some feedback of some sort. Her studio does have a wall of mirrors and, of course, she has seen a lot of dancing. So, between the mirror and her comments, I will get responses that I otherwise would not. I feel that I do have enough background to recognize and appreciate quality dancing when I see it, but need to work on imitating that movement myself. I have to really notice a lot of details about the way someone dances to try to get the same feel.
This has been quite a flurry of new ideas, images, and activity. Now I need to chose and focus!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I am still venturing forth!
I found an explanation on youtube to help people relate to the Latin beat.
Here's the link www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5FOwr-jDwQ
I've added whole body stretching to my routine since the Latin moves require more
flexibility, plus I have revived the body part isolation exercises from the jazz classes that I took a long time ago. I do feel myself loosening up. Flexibility is a big part of dance, and I had gotten away from that. Leslie Sansone and line dancing don't require much flexibility.
In fact, I realized that I was getting stiff from the band exercises in the Leslie Sansone DVD.
I'll still keep doing that, just remember that I need to stretch daily and work on body parts that other activities may have stiffened. A few days of stretching and I feel much looser already. Love that feeling! A dancer's body is their instrument and they have to keep it in excellent condition so they are expressing what they intend to. Not quite a "dancer" yet, but may as well give it a whirl.
I've assembled a CD of Latin songs that I had and downloaded a few more.
When I am in the car I am listening to the CD's so I can absorb the sound.
I dug through my DVD's that included Latin movement of some sort, looked on youtube for examples, and ordered one additional DVD with four types of Latin dance.
Last night I did Suemba (my version of Zumba....my name is Sue....haha...get it?) :-)
So far, I am thinking Zumba classes are not what I want to get into. That might change.
So.........I'm still having fun with it and considering that the Latin lessons are inspiring quite the flurry of mental and physical activity!!
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Well, my honeymoon phase with latin dance might be over already!
You know when you try to learn something and it just makes you realize how much you have to learn and don't know? I'm at that point. Plus, I am finding that since the style is quite different from country dance technique, I have to unlearn some habits of country dance to learn the latin (type of hip movement, foot placement, even counting
beats seems different in a way that I can't quite figure out). I am hoping that I can get to a point that I switch gears without unlearning everything country.
I guess that is the way it goes when you try different styles. I did feel a little better, for a minute, when I thought that I probably was the only 64 year old woman in the country trying to learn the Bachata. Then I thought.....why?? I mean, is all this sexiness really appropriate and necessary.
And....sad to say....a little silly? I am starting to think my husband is right...it's futile, pointless, and a waste of time and money.
On a positive note........the teacher mentioned she never pointed out anything about the way I use and hold my hands because they were so good (unlike my foot placement and hip movements...too percussive... which are very country and very unlatinlike). Apparantly my hand movements are more versatile! (?) That did make me feel good. It also was interesting to me that never actually came out and purposefully told me that my hand/arms were done well ...it just kind of came out in conversation. Made me realize that sometimes we can be doing something right and not even know it. Would be nice to get positive feedback from professionals/teachers/parents/coaches. Maybe they figure that we already know we're good at something.
Another realization that I had relates to general health. I am at my goal weight and I have maintained it (even lost a couple pounds) over the holidays and vacation. At a recent doctor visit my blood pressure was 112/72 (BP has steadily decreased since I have been Sparking). Good health and a full, long life is truly what I am working for. Vanity is less and less of a motivation. Somehow, I had always felt that dancing would bring me a beautiful body and health. I guess I always thought that because dancers always look so good. Yes, I do think there is a relationship between all their dance activity and the way their bodies look. However, one does not need to be a professional dancer (or athlete, or yoga master, or whatever) to have a good looking body or be healthy. I helped my personal health by eating right, doing an hour of cardio (Leslie Sansone high intensity & using bands), lifting a few light weights, making sure I got enough sleep, handling stress, and (I gotta be honest) by religiously taking my thyroid medication. My personal choice of food and exercise is WHAT WORKS FOR ME. Some people don't emphasize this much cardio and say that weight lifting is better. I say, try different stuff and go with WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.
I finally decided to give it all I have for one final shot at feeling like the private lessons made sense for me. Truthfully, the country line-dancing is a higher priority. I had thought learning other styles would enhance the country dancing and am not sure now if that is true. It might even set me back due to amount practice time required to learn the latin and possible degradation of current line dance technique.....which I do not want to do.
But, never fear, I have Plan B in mind if this doesn't work out …..
Private lessons in other techniques more related to the type of line-dancing style that are commonly done in this area!
Sunday, January 19, 2014
I have been teaching line dance to my friends and in not-for profit places for about 10 years now. I definitely feel that I have developed my ability to teach. But I have felt an unmet need to develop myself as a dancer. I finally came to the conclusion that I needed formal, personal instruction in styles and technique. I also felt that it needed to be a private lesson at this point of my development. I decided that ballroom dancing was most akin to the current line dance. So, I finally connected with a teacher in a local studio.
I had to pitch it to my husband. He first reacted that I would then be trying to teach line dance in bars and he didn't want that. Then he reacted that I must be intending to promote the idea that we learn ballroom together. I reassured him that I wasn't interested in hustling in bars and I wouldn't try to coerce him into dancing ballroom. I told him it was "All about ME, baby!" So, I had my lesson. Wow, this opened all kinds of new doors intellectually and artistically. For the first lesson, I asked her to help me with Latin rhythms and movements.
We worked on the bachata and the mambo. This style is very new to me and it is an exciting challenge!
Another interesting aspect was facing the huge mirrors. Most all dance studios have one wall covered with mirrors. This just goes with it the whole experience. Apparently somewhere along the way, I learned to look into these mirrors in an objective way and understood that they are there as an instructional tool.
Of course, one is looking at them for the purpose of learning steps, visual feedback, and making adjustments. But, I happened to notice that my impression of myself was that I appeared taller and somewhat thin. That was actually a shock. I am so used to looking at myself in the mirror from the hips up and noticing belly fat and wrinkles. Well, in the dance studio, my waist was covered and it was too far away to see any wrinkles. This forced me to see the big picture. And I did notice some positives. I looked fit. I had defined muscles.
I did not jiggle. This really got me thinking about those articles that suggest we look in the mirror and find something (anything) that we like about ourselves to boost self-esteem.
I also got to thinking about different body types. So, I searched body types (images) and found photos showing the great diversity of body types in the human species. Of particular interest to me is all the body types amongst Olympic athletes.
Another very interesting aspect of this is that it was doing something "real."
Apparently I have an active imagination. When I dance at home, I sometimes pretend I am on stage or in a studio. I also view dancing on youtube and have found this to be an excellent tool. But the mental dancing just isn't the same physical experience.......
for me, what I would describe as a total body, magical high!
I was glad to get out of my head & away from fantasy and experience the multi-sensory physical reality of ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING!
Get An Email Alert Each Time MISSUSRIVERRAT Posts