• Break it down and sleaze it up!

    Our ballroom class is learning a rumba routine for performance in the Madison Studio’s recital at the beginning of June.  These four dancers are superstars: all adults with little or no dance or performing experience but they have agreed to get on stage just a few months from now.  So we’ve gone from learning basic steps to mixing in a few more showy, exhibition-type moves.  Nothing complex, but stuff that requires commitment on the dancer’s part: arm styling, hip motion, flared fingers–in short, all the gateway drugs that lead straight to shimmying and butt-drumming.  Last night they learned a few new moves (breaking it down) and then we did some work on making those moves look good (sleazing it up!). We came up with some useful mnemonics including “hot steering wheel” (for flared fingers),  “I’m a bird!” (for raising arms elbows-first), and “My hair is pretty! My dress is pretty!” (arm motion that sweeps around head and down one side).  Ridonkulous, but it makes it fun and (I hope) less scary.

    When you’re used to moseying through life in khakis and a sweater, trying not to make waves, it’s challenging to suddenly be asked to show off.  But showing off is part of what makes ballroom dancing look exciting for other people to watch.  I mentioned offhandedly (and partly in jest) to the two ladies in the class that we’d all be putting on false eyelashes for the recital.  They reacted with a mixture of amusement, amazement, and shock.  Of course, nobody has to wear any eyelashes, but for me, putting on the costumes and shoes and makeup and spray tan and all that stuff that I don’t touch in my day-to-day life makes it more exciting and makes it easier to do the showing off.  Your “ballroom self” is related to your “real self,” of course, but they don’t have to be exactly the same person.  Just don’t be surprised when you start standing up straighter, dressing brighter, and putting on a little more eyeshadow for an average Tuesday at the office.  Ballroom Self is tenacious and contagious.

    In other news, our ballroom selves will be put to the test again soon.  We are planning on competing at the Garden City Dance Challenge at the end of March and my parents are coming out to watch us compete!  How exciting is that?  They have seen us dance, of course, but never in competition.  I’m looking forward to having them there and showing them the ropes.  It’s always such a fun atmosphere.  Here’s hoping we get at least one first place so they will be really impressed.  A scholarship would be even better… Hmm…

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