Oh loyal readers, I fear I have an inconstant blogger.
Life has got the best of me in terms of actually sitting down to write a blog post, but I assure you, I haven’t stopped dancing, or even blogging. I have simply been delayed.
Since the last time we chatted, I had at least two lessons, a coaching with Ron Montez, and a birthday party.
The lessons were fun, but I don’t recall anything particularly worth mentioning about them.
The coaching was amazing, so I’ll mention it.
And the birthday party was pretty much my heaven. My best birthday present was the video I’ll share with you of Ivan dancing with my mom. But besides that, I was surrounded by people I love, doing the thing I love most. I rented out a dance studio for a few hours and we had an absolute blast.
But first – the coaching.
We are lucky enough in Arizona to have one of the paragons of the ballroom world living in our state. Mr. Ron Montez is widely known and respected thoughout the ballroom industry. On top of that, the man is a sweetheart. He truly is a pleasure to work with and so very knowledgable. I swear he can see what is going on wrong with my dancing, and tell me one little thing to change, and magically the dance picture I’m creating changes. Really, he is a master. He fixed like five things on the one lesson.
In the Rumba, seems like I’d been practicing an intermediary movement on the swivels used throughout the dance. I’d been concentrating on keeping my foot pointed out in front of me when turning. This is a good thing to practice to increase stability and sharpness of movement, as well as to keep the hips square when pivoting. But, it doesn’t create the quick movement necessary to generate drama and a contrast between quick and slow. The trick is to immediately step behind when performing a swivel. To hold that line I’d been practicing for only a split-second on the way through to the next step.
Then, in the Samba, we worked on my knees. I’d kind of tabled part of the Samba bounce for the time being, but I guess it was time to add it back in. You see, the Samba bounce is pretty tricky and incorporates a variety of movements. forward and back as well as up and down and also circular. I’d kind of consciously forgot about the circular portion while working on the horizonatal and vertical aspects but Ron didn’t let me continue to be lazy. He had me working my knees left and right on whisks, the basic step and botafogo and this naturally translated into that circular part of the movement I’d been missing.
In Waltz, Ron helped me improve my swing. Doing side by side walks he had me do different arms to create more swing in my upper body, again miraculously improving the quality of the movement. As an added bonus, he fixed one of the steps I strongly disliked because I knew it was always wrong but couldn’t figure out how to make it better. It’s this little walk around step consisting of three steps in a circle and then then three toward my partner. It always felt like there was a lot of resistance in the step and I was always struggling to meet up with my leader. Ron knew exactly what to say. I had been heading the wrong direction and actually had to allow Ivan to come to me rather than for me to try and rush toward him.
Of course, I still need to work on closing my feet in Waltz steps, a detail which Ron reminded me about multiple times. But he also does this cool thing after explaining something. When I did something right Ron would exclaim, “There was the good one!” He does a great job of providing feedback, both positive and corrective. He is an excellent teacher and instructor. Truly, I am grateful I have had the opportunity to work with Ron twice now.
Then, yesterday, it was my 34th birthday and I decided to throw an actual birthday party. I haven’t done that in many years, usually opting to go to a dinner with immediate family. But this year I surrounded myself with family, non-dancing friends, and dancing friends alike. Ivan and Marietta taught a Samba lesson which was fantastic. We even worked on Samba rolls, something I’ve never worked on with Ivan but once. Of course there was open dancing, and music, and food, and wine, and conversation and even cards and cupcakes and presents. I did a little Rumba with Ivan, and a Mambo with my friend Randall. and Mambo with my husband. We also played a hilarious dance game where you had to switch partners as quickly as you could as soon as the music stopped.
But the very, very best part was when Ivan danced with my mom. I promise to post the video as soon as I can because it needs to be shared with the world. It was so dang cute! But at the moment I’m having technical difficulties. It will be up shortly.
Alrighty, I’ll commit to be better about blogging. A week long absence is too dang long!
Ta-ta for now, Stef
Happy belated birthday! So glad you are doing well – was missing you and starting to worry!
No posting of video necessary, leave it to imagination Your Mom
Happy belated birthday! What a fun idea for a party 🙂
Oh Stefanie – I am reading your blog posts from the beginning and although many, MANY posts are touching and wonderful, it was this one that brought tears to my eyes. Strange that I was just talking recently with someone about how grief hits you at unexpected moments, and your comment about your mom dancing with Ivan just smacked me in the face!
My mom died several years before we started ballroom, but I have often thought about how she would have loved to watch us dance and especially compete. At one of our early competitions they played a Dean Martin song for the foxtrot and as we did our set up I thought of how she loved Dean Martin and how she would have loved to have been there to watch and I nearly (soooo close!) started to cry right there on the dance floor. Then somehow the grown-up competitor or performer part of my brain kicked in and reminded the sad, I-miss-my-mom part that maybe now was not the best time for such a little trip down memory lane. Then I had to stop myself from laughing so as not to throw my dear partner completely for a loop!
Ah, the many voices inside the head of a competitive dancer…. Anyway, it must have been great for you to watch your mom dance with your teacher and I hope you cherish that moment with her. I have a few tears in my morning coffee now, but some nice memories of my mom, too.
How special to read your comment today. I’m glad you had a nice memory of your mom, and yes, having my mom there was incredibly special. She’s even started taking lessons with the Bulgarian! Learned some cha cha last week. Anyways, thanks for taking such an interest in the blog! There’s quite a few words to get through….I’m pretty prolific 😉 so I give you major kudos if you get through it all Hahahahah!