Blackpool Update & Lesson 12: Rumba Play

Happy Friday, ballroom dancers!

Who’s been following Blackpool? MEEE!

USA wins the team dance round! Here it is! So funny.

The highly anticipated Pro Latin event was insanity. First place went to Michael Malitowski and Joanna Leunis of England (2,1,1,1,1) , who with this win have a record total of eight first place finishes. Second went to our own Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko (1,2,2,2,2). Third in all dances to Maurizio Vescovo and Andra Vaidilaite of Canada. Another of our beloved American couples, Stefano di Filippo and Daria Chesnokova, were fourth in all dances. Fifth, from Slovenia, were Andrej Skufca and Melinda Torokgyorgy. Sixth place went to Jurij and Jagoda Batagelj, also from Slovenia. Seventh, from Denmark, were Troels Bager and Ina Jeliazkova, in their first competition as professionals.

It was pretty cool because I had no idea Troels and Ina were going pro. From the footage I’ve seen, and considering they made the Blackpool final, their pro debut was amazing. I loved their choreography!

Even though I was wrong about the standings, I had a feeling something would change this go-around, and that I was right about; the Pro Latin field is going to look a lot different next year. Three of the finalists also announced their retirement: Michael & Joanna, Andrej and Melinda, and Jurij and Jagoda. Michael and Joanna danced a rumba for their retirement honor dance!

They did a beautiful job. She seems like such a lovely woman.

The Smooth exhibition also happened! I wonder, mostly, how it was received. I’m not sure if this is true, but I’ve always heard that Smooth and Rhythm aren’t very highly esteemed internationally. Which is so unfortunate! I hope that’s not true. Even if it were, maybe this will remove the “stigma”?

The Pro Ballroom is tonight! Go Arunas & Katusha and Victor and Anastasiya!!! Team USA is about to take over Blackpool.

Veering away from the happiness of the World Cup of Dance (that’s how I describe it to nondancers), I had my lesson yesterday. It felt like it had been forever! Teach beat me to the studio for probably the first time ever and had already signed me in with my nickname. It’s a nod to the Yankees, so that had me walking in there grinning like an idiot. We chit chatted for like 10 minutes (he moved the lesson up 15 minutes and I still got there super early) and I found out he JUST learned that you can set pictures for your contacts on his iPhone. Major fail.

I put on a pair of sparkly pants, took a couple of minutes to stretch, and we began. We’ve taken to warming up with our rumba routine, which I’m really liking. I just have a lot of trouble remembering almost anything after a third of the way through. Oops.

Teach has me, though. He’s got a bunch of other students and a professional partner who he’s competing with. I have no idea how he remembers it all.

We spent a while going through the routine, and he pointed out different spots where I can redirect energy in different ways to give more dynamism in my performance. I cannot deal with this. He’s too good. All over again, I know I’ve made the right decision in choosing him.

I also just now realized how kinky the title of this post sounds: “Rumba Play”. Oops.

Then we revisited lock steps in cha cha. I spent the past week practicing those, so they’re getting good. It’s just a strange thing that there is a point in lock steps where your butt actually goes out. It’s one of those moments when you find out that a rule you thought was hard and fast really isn’t.

That keeps happening lately.

I’m having trouble really finishing the separate actions in the lock steps, though. But I kept at them and Teach, I guess, saw that I understood it. “All right, now – ” he thought, then changed his mind. “You got it. NEXT! Back locks.”

This was weird. I totally overthought the back locks. And then he fixed me. So I did them again. “…that’s it?” “That’s it.” “Seriously?”

I’m wondering about what our Cha Cha routine will look like. That should be a lot of fun. I always had this theory when it came to dance: everybody has “their” dance and everybody has “their” dance with everyone else. And even on my first go-around in the ballroom five years ago, whenever I danced with now-Teach, I always felt like Cha Cha was ours.

AAAAHHHH I’m so excited!

Who’s looking forward to seeing the rest of Blackpool? It’ll be amazing!


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