Dancers, I’m writing to you all on a Tuesday! It’s deceptively easy to fall behind on these things. But this past Saturday was my birthday! I took a trip for the weekend with my best friend to hang out with some dance friends of mine and had my greatest birthday thus far, so I was bursting with happiness all this time. Now, back to reality.
Last Thursday I had my seemingly long-awaited lesson. My teacher surprised me and brought me a birthday present! I had gotten him one for his birthday a couple of months back, but didn’t expect this and therefore was oddly touched.
It’s all been such a blur that I have zero clue how the lesson started. I got all excited when I saw him enter, stopped stretching, and sat down to gossip about how I deliberately stalked him and found his final from a recent competition on YouTube. Then I put my shoes on and he goes, “You ready to do this?” I shot up onto my feet and exclaimed, “LET’S GOOO!”
I have too much energy. But these are things about life I can never change.
We danced through our rumba and cha cha routines. Like, a million times. It ended up being one of those lessons where we both got so into things that we went over our lesson time.
That day, he had me really focus on dancing rumba with my ribs and center, with miraculous results. It’s also what made us take forever to go through the entire routine. My first time around the ballroom, I prided myself on my Shakira hips. I swear it wasn’t just me! I knew people in the studio who told me they called me “swivel hips” in their minds. But I didn’t seem to have that same range of motion when I started dancing again.
I learned down the road that the hip action I had back then was “surface” movement, like I only used placement. To hopefully clear that up, I really only was putting this foot here and moving my hip forward, sideways, and back. And it looked pretty lame.
Anyway, I’m over here spending all this time trying to better my legs and feet, and now I see why the center is the most important thing a dancer can learn. The center of my foot started burning after five minutes, too. We also talked about finding the heaviness in rumba and when to direct energy high or low. Ooh, we also did something in the Natural Top we hadn’t done before.
I don’t know about you, but it’s one of my favorite things to do to “play” in routines and find ways to convey different emotions, or different dynamics in the relationship between you and your partner. See, I never really liked the Natural Top until Teach gave me some options as to the way we could do it. We could either dance it very close to each other, or we could create space between our bodies. I picked the second one because that’s what made me see the point of the step – I like how when you create space in a Natural Top, it shows the way a man and a woman dance around each other.
I think Karina’s face says it all.
When we went through cha cha, Teach taught me how to create the action and step at the same time. It didn’t make sense to me because I’m so used to doing a delayed action, but I was able to learn it quickly. He was thinking out loud, spat out a certain word, and I started dancing like that word. That ended up fixing a lot of what I was doing wrong, and I could see that it looked way different! That was really exciting.
Then we ended up chatting about a competition not too long ago that he and his stunning pro partner attended and won. He was doing Manhattan Dancesport this weekend! Manhattan in 2011 was the first competition I ever went to, plus it’s in my city so I’ve got a soft spot for it. It was where I first saw Riccardo and Yulia and where I first fell in love with Emmanuel and Liana! I remember Liana had the most stunning white lace dress in the final!
I usually hit Manhattan Dancesport if I can and root for my Teach, but as I decided to go away, I wasn’t able to, but, of course, I stayed very alert on the internet so I would be able to see the results as soon as they appeared.
Results are after the jump! I got all the pictures from the Manhattan Dancesport article on Dance Beat’s web site!
(1) Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko
(2) Troels Bager & Ina Jeliazkova (Denmark)
(3) Andrei Kazlouski & Asta Sigvaldadottir
(4) Nikolai Voronovich & Maria Nikolishina
(5) Kamil Studenny & Anna Pelypenko (Canada)
(6) Jean-Philippe Milot & Laurence Bolduc (Canada)
(1) Peter & Alexandra Perzhu
(2) Mikhail & Galina Zharinov
(3) Mazen Hamza & Izabela Jundill
(4) Nick Cheremukhin & Viktorija
(5) Travis & Jaimee Tuft
(6) Yegor Novikov & Alexandra Smirnova
(7) Kyle & Allie Spinder
(1) Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova
(2) Marat Gimaev & Alina Basyuk
(3) Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva
(4) Alexander Voskalchuk & Veronica Egorova
(5) Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsh (Canada)
(6) Mikhail Avdeev & Olga Blinova
(1) Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine & Liana Churilova
(2) Nazar Norov & Irina Kudryashova
(3) Andre & Natalie Paramonov
(4) Mikhail Vlasov & Vanda Polakova
(5) Azamat Evgamukov & Kateryna Angelone
(6) Danus Jaksevicious & Yuki Haraguchi
I’ll also throw in the Amateur Latin just for fun. It’s probably my favorite event to watch because it’s always the most ferocious! Everyone’s so hungry for it!
(1) Morten Lowe & Roselina Doneva (Denmark) (the Danes are taking over!) (1,1,1,1,1)
(2) Pasha Pashkov & Daniella Karagach (aka Pashkova) (2,2,2,2,2)
(3) Alexander Chernositov & Arina Grishanina (5,3,3,4,6)
(4) Pasha Stepanchuk & Gabriella Sabler (4,4,5,5,3)
(5) Denys Drozdyuk & Antonina Skobina (3,6,4,6,4)
(6) Tal Livshitz & Ilana Keselman (6,5,6,3,5)
That one must have been fun to watch but impossible to judge. I included the results on that one to show just how tight the race was between the couples.
It’s also interesting when I think about, I guess, the progress of the Amateur Latin couples. I remember Pasha and Daniella vividly from my first Manhattan Dancesport when they were still ten dancers and they placed third in both the Latin and Standard amateur events, when Denys & Antonina won the Amateur Latin and Tal placed 5th with his former partner Vlada. Then Pasha and Daniella stopped doing Standard and have beaten Denys & Antonina in almost every competition since. I find this fascinating!
Is it just me? Because I’m not sure what it means, but I think it’s so interesting when results begin to flip-flop! Where’s the fun in watching a final when you know exactly who’s going to place where? Maybe that’s another reason I like to watch amateur competitions over professional ones…