Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
Private Lesson With Ivan
I don’t always know what I am getting myself into when I say yes to opportunities that come my way. Today was the first day I felt bona fide fear course through my body on a dance lesson. You see, because Ivan and I sometimes practice out of Dance Starz Az (http://www.dancestarzaz.com/) and because I take some group lessons at the studio, there is a possibility that I may be able to participate in an upcomming showcase. For those of you who don’t know, (I didn’t), a showcase is like a recital. Performers can dance to any song they like and add tricks and creative choreography.
Now, I have yet to participate in a showcase performing a solo number. In fact, the last time I was on stage was probably in high school in a production of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. So I’m excited. Especially because Ivan let me pick the song I wanted.
I am totally into Latin Rumba right now so I picked Volveras by Gloria Estefan. It is a sad song and I love it right now, for whatever reason. I have never claimed to understand myself!
Realistically, I’m thinking we will do pretty much just dancing because you don’t do lifts with girls my size unless you want a hernia. But Ivan starts in right away with all sorts of tricks and I’m totally out of my comfort zone. I know Ivan is strong and all, but can he really support all this weight? I am scared to find out.
The first move isn’t so bad, kind of a develope’ kick up in the air. Then another move where I lean a little and put my back leg in attitude around his hips. I’ve seen similar moves on Dancing With The Stars (forever to be known as DWTS from now on in this blog). I’m mostly on my own feet and feel pretty comfortable and on balance with a little assist from Ivan serving as my barre.
But then he really gets going. He wants me to plie with my legs in a parallel position and squirm up back onto straight lets. This is a no go – I’ll need to strengthen my legs with some serious squats before I can master this maneuver. Then he tries a half-split thing, encouraging me to put 75% of my weight onto his arms and he will attempt to spin around. Fail.
Then my heart really gets pumping. He’s gonna attempt to drag me. I’m to push down on his shoulders and he wants to drag me using no arms. We manage with one arm and I’m super impressed. I didn’t even think this kind of thing was possible at my size right now. Props to Ivan for trying all this stuff.
Then a dip. I’m to keep my legs straight and he rests me on his bent knee. Holy crap! I’m scared. How is he holding me up?
He doesn’t stop there. The scariest one for me is one in which I lean to the side, he is supporting pretty much all of my weight and I’m to develope’ and reach outward away from him.
Finally, he’s had enough. I did not know agreeing to work on a showcase number meant I’d be bent into a pretzel and risk Ivan throwing out his back! It just isn’t prudent, or so I thought, at my size.
Whew! I survived! Thanks again, Ivan, for busting through some of my self-imposed limitations. Again, I do not know what is possible and what is not. We discovered some moves that worked, others that don’t right now, but we’d not have discovered any if Ivan and I hadn’t been willing to try. I seriously thought he was crazy…but who’s the crazier one? I followed!
But now Ivan is having me count Rumba and Cha Cha. My brain is about to explode. It is really hard for me to put verbal skills together with dancing. At one point I count two, four (instead of two, three, four) and Ivan accuses me of indulging in some vodka this morning. No, Ivan. Really, my brain just becomes mush trying to talk and dance at the same time.
But it is really a good exercise. I so need to start being aware of when to move, when to pause, when I’m rushing, when to accent the movement. For instance, I am rushing on four and one counts and moving sluggishly on the two count in Rumba. I am hitting two and four hard in Cha Cha, instead of punching beats one and three with pizzaz. Ay yai yai! I totally see how I count affects how I move and also how I breathe. Again, lack of cardiovascular conditioning is not my friend. I am so winded and I hate it. When will this stop being such a burden?
“Oh, Ivan. I am so ready to feel better when dancing. I can’t wait to drop some serious weight and make this easier on myself. The cardiovascular conditioning is killing me.”
But I’m saying this just after doing a Samba. I gotta say it – I have some great hip movement, yes I do! So I’m doing this move, really dancing it, and Ivan is like, “Wow.”
He then said something unexpected.
“I thinking about this. I actually prefer you big. I see you everyday moving like this. Just imagine how other people will see it. I thinking you no need to lose weight. Yes, it not possible to do the lifts and all this, but that’s okay. You can lose the weight, you gonna be skinny. Better the people see you move like this now. They thinking, all the other peoples is skinny but they not moving like her. Let them see you now. In fact, go to McDonalds! You can spend a lot of time and energy and money to learning dancing and never move like you do. But this moving is you.”
Am I like the luckiest ballroom student, ever? I get to dance and go to McDonalds! Just kidding. But wow, what recognition of me as a dancer, no matter how I am packaged in the moment, and from someone who I think is the bee’s knees, in terms of both being an excellent dancer and human being. It means so much to me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so over the idea of staying fat just so people might possibly be impressed by how I move. It is unhealthy and I hate the way it feels. It is beyond time to change. I am happy to report that I am right back on plan after Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I’m also thinking about ways to intensify and augment my cardiovascular exercise as well as some weight training. The goal for January is to be 20 pounds (or more) lighter. And, update, I am down another 2.8 pounds since December 20th, current weight 265.5. Not bad for the holidays.
And…just like Linda Dean said, I have to know I am fabulous right now. So thanks, Ivan, but no McDonalds for me. I have plans of doing that split-spin-lift-thing someday, and sooner rather than later!