Friday, November 12, 2010
Cross Body Lead
In August, I signed up for another round of salsa classes. This time, I decided to dispense with the angst of group classes and doubled down on classes with a private instructor that my dear pal Lillian recommended. The first visits to the dance studio were predictably fraught for me. I don't even think than in the first class we *danced* at all, as such. I was so nervous that I could actually barely move. With a little bit of extracurricular coaching from Lillian, my awesome teacher Franklin, and a commitment to attend one of the studio's practice parties each week, I have started to see improvement. I can often stay on the beat, can follow more complicated leads, and can often get my upper body and hips to move all at the same time. The challenge remains to do all of this while I keep my posture straight, breathe, refrain from looking down and sucking in both my lips as I do when I am concentrating (see me pictured here in 2007 for an example of exactly what not to do.)
The more important improvement for me is psychological one, though. I am way less prone to getting defensive when some earnest dance partner tries to give me feedback. My emotional recovery time for mistakes has been cut in half. Having a bad night is not accompanied by a downward spiral of emotional flagellation. It's not to say that there isn't some internal pressure going on. Because when you start to do something from scratch, if you don't employ some sort of self-criticism, then you won't make progress and you won't get better. But I feel like I am balancing the reckless abandon with the objective gaze better. I don't want to jinx it, but it is way more fun than it has ever been, really what the goal is in the end.