Lesson 2: Rubik’s cube and tell me: How about these kids?

Happy Monday, dancers!

I still can’t believe it’s already 2017 and that it’s already March. A lot of awesome competitions coming up, huh? Hopefully I can at least go watch some of them πŸ™‚

So, last week was a change of scene! For my lesson with Matt, I jumped on a bus and went out to Rogers Dance Center in Hackensack.

…in New Jersey.

I’ll be honest; as a born-and-bred New Yorker, I’ve spent my entire life talking a lot of smack about New Jersey and everything associated with it. It came back to bite me in the form of really gross water that I had no choice but to drink. That was totally my fault, though, I got distracted by a clothes store in Port Authority and forgot to buy a bottle.

Anyway, I hopped this bus. Matt was so nice, trying to make sure that I understood the travel directions. I mean, I just got on the bus, entered “Rogers Dance Center” on my phone, and stayed on it until Siri said I reached my destination. As it was a thirty-minute ride, it would have been very difficult to screw up.

So I got to this studio and couldn’t stop giggling. It was way bigger and much nicer than I expected. I got there almost an hour before my lesson was to begin, though, and I didn’t know he was already there, so at first I just sat in the waiting area and did some timid stretching. Then Matt said he was upstairs and I went to check. He was indeed upstairs in a lesson with someone else. I stuck my head in and said hello, then instead of going in there and practicing, I just spent the time in the upstairs reception area stretching for half an hour.

Okay, okay, it was probably counterproductive, but I didn’t want to interrupt!

I stayed outside and watched the last, like, three minutes of this lesson, while they danced salsa, and was marveling at how well this student followed him. LOVE IT.

Then I continued to stretch until I saw they were done. I went in the studio and Matt introduced us to each other. We all chatted for a second, then started our lesson.

“Any questions?”

Me: “What am I supposed to do during the progressive rock?”

My attempt at clarifying that one step turned into a complete dismantling and reassembling of my samba routine. My teacher picked the entire thing apart, so now every single step of it is completely clear.

I don’t know why this is, but the way Matt teaches samba, it’s way easier to understand (and do!) than anyone I’ve ever learned it from before. And I’ve done it with a good amount of people (eight, off the top of my head).

After samba was said and done, we hit rumba. We didn’t get through so much of that routine! We were ironing out some kinks with different ways to do back breaks and ways to style different figures. We did a Cuban rock and Matt nearly had to snap my spine in order for my back to move at all. I thought it was just because it had been months since I’d taken a stretch class, so I don’t have the same flexibility I used to. Nope.

“Sometimes you hold your center so tight it’s difficult for your body to move around it.”

I can’t even tell you how upset that made me! I never even had a center before and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to create one in preparation and now I don’t know what to do. I later complained to my best friend, who danced for most of her life, and she said, “I can see what he means. You alternate between being not centered and too centered. I can tell because your shoulder blades lock really tight.” Then she told me to think of it like a Rubik’s cube.

I’ll figure that out later.

A good portion of the rumba part of my lesson was spent finangling my back breaks. It was an assault on my hamstrings and the center of my back. It’s insane, though, how many different ways there are to do this most “basic” figure.

Well, my lesson last week was canceled due to that snowstorm. I didn’t even get an extra day off. Oh, well. Matt and I are going to be working together again Wednesday! I’m looking really forward to it.

On a more or less completely unrelated note, an old friend of mine just tagged me in this video.


I haven’t yet been able to embed it here, check that out. Here’s a picture, presumably from the same event:

Antonio & Maria Rosaria

Antonio & Maria Rosaria

I have mixed feelings about it. I know this is quite normal in the ballroom world, but then again, I didn’t grow up in the ballroom world so the little girl’s outfit (and probably the boy’s too), combined with her movement, puts me off a bit. On yet another hand, I’m impressed by her (their) spunk! I guess it’s a separate division from when the little girls wear the long-sleeved dresses and frilly socks under their shoes? What do you all think?

Also, is anyone watching Dancing With the Stars? I think my DVR is still set to it, but I still haven’t decided. There’s no Derek, no Mark, and no Karina. On the other hand, I love Sasha and Emma, both together and separately. Emma is a sweetheart and a total class act and Sasha is vastly underrated as a pro.

I’ll report back with what I end up doing.


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