DWTS Week 2 Review, My Jam Monday!

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No dance intro?! I like the show’s intro numbers. I think there will be something next week since it is Latin Night!

On to the dances …

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Private #9 – Revisiting Rumba, Cha Cha Technique & Samba Run-Through

Tonight’s private was a lot of fun and well-received.  I usually try to go into the studio with my mind open and ready to learn.  I think I was very tired during my last lesson and I got mentally frustrated with myself and left feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything.  Well as you all know, this ballroom game is not cheap and I made a promise to myself to make every lesson worth every penny and productive.  Today’s lesson, as you can see, was very productive.  Three dances in 45 minutes, what?!

We started with the neglected rumba.  It has been over a month since I’ve danced rumba.  I was a little rusty on the routine, but saw overall improvement.  My rumba walk and hip movement is much better.  C didn’t have to remind me to open up my hips as much as before (I still had some reminders of course) and I have gotten better at settling in my hips.

Next was cha cha.  More drilling technique with my legs.  It’s funny how my legs feel straight but they’re not.  C said judges love it when your knees are locked, the shape of them.  They apparently go crazy for bowed legs.  Well, these bowed legs of mine that I’ve kept from locking all my life are finally good for something! (This is not the bowed legs looking at them from the side, but when your legs are straight back)  I still have some things to work on with my footwork.  C had me record him to do drills as practice at home.

For the last five minutes, we touched on samba for a bit.  He put on a really fast samba and I just didn’t have it in me at that point to even attempt it.  After doing rumba and cha cha for forty minutes straight, my legs instinctively would straighten and not bend like it’s supposed to in samba.  He would stop and we would dance to half-tempo, and I’d be fine.  I guess that’s one skill I have to work on when it comes to doing a competition and dancing to heats of different styles of dance, being able to change technique right away.

I finished the lesson proud of the work I put in today!  I will continue to try to practice more at home so I can continue to improve with each lesson 🙂

And to end this post, some 2008 bronze dancers at the Ohio Star Ball:

Private #8 – Cha Cha & Samba Review

Little late in posting this, so hopefully I remember everything haha :p

Wednesday night was my private lesson with C.  We started with reviewing samba from my last lesson.  My feet are okay, it’s the general Cuban body movements that I can’t comprehend for some reason.  C demonstrated while I had my hands on his side to see what muscles did what.  I determined he was Gumby.  More to attempt to practice…

Cha cha was second..  We haven’t done cha cha in my lessons for about 3 weeks, ever since my spotlight performance!  I was a tiny bit rusty on the choreography but that was okay.  Then he started really hammering into technique.  I started to get frustrated.  It was partially due to being tired and thinking what I was doing before was correct only to find out it wasn’t quite there.  I have to get sharper on my Alemanas and my turns in general.  I hope I remember to practice this weekend.

Maybe C sensed my frustration and asked me to do him a favor … I got to have a bit of fun after class and got to play dress-up with the dresses in the studios little boutique area!  He knows I love the dresses and I always spend some time looking at the new ones that come in.  C and E (the owner) were pulling out dresses left and right.  I spent about an hour trying them on and modeling.  I discovered that I really like fringe.  Pretty much obsessed with fringe.  I don’t like feathers so much because I feel like they retain heat and stick to your skin with the tiniest bit of perspiration.

I want to learn how to sew and make costumes.  I got some nice ideas on how to construct them, what I like and don’t like, and what styles I prefer on me.

I want rhinestones on everything!

Overall, it was an enjoyable evening.  There are things I have to work on, but that is expected at this and every point in my dancing.  I should never be complacent no matter what skill level I achieve.

For fun, here’s throwback video to 2003 and 2002, respectively, with Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Elena Grinenko dancing samba at a competition. She sure loved to change up the hair:

Valentine’s Social – My Spotlight Performance!

Thursday, February 12 was the studio’s Valentine’s social. In all of the other days when I knew I had a performance (PTA meeting in school, salsa performances in college and one at a studio after college), I would be a ball of anxiety all day. I was surprisingly calm and actually excited about the performance. That was definitely a first! Maybe it was my relinquishing all control of what happens and choosing to enjoy it instead the night before? Could be. It was a great way to go about my day.

I felt a little bummed because I didn’t think anyone would be able to come see my performance … until I chatted online with my oh-so reliable, supportive and amazing sister! She lives about an hour and a half away in Tampa. I was chatting with her as usual, we start talking about the performance. She asks me what time it starts, I tell her 8pm and I’m expected to go on at about 9pm.

“I think I can make it.”


So we planned on meeting at my place and then we head to the studio together. Well, with rush hour traffic, that plan was nixed.

We walked in the studio and it was decorated really cute (a little cheesy, but aren’t all Valentine’s decorations cheesy?), with a table full of food and drinks. I started to get a tad nervous there, but C and I social danced for a little bit, going over the choreography. I danced with another instructor, then the first set of performances began. Another studio joined us and some of their students performed. It was really nice to see all the different levels of students. Some were nervous, some came there to have fun. There were a couple where you could really see they loved to dance. I hope I came across that way.

A little more social dancing, then my performance! We shared “Uptown Funk” with some other couples, who were also doing cha cha. There were two other couples, male students with their female instructors. They did a bit of choreo together and C and I were “tagged in” do to our part. I’m pretty sure I smiled the whole time. I messed up a couple times, but I kept going with it. C said I did a great job. Of course he knew I messed up, but he said the great part about it was that I kept going and didn’t let that stop me. Awesome!

I have video, but I’m a little wary about posting it, to be honest. Watching the video, I am pretty critical of myself (naturally). Maybe I’ll post it later, maybe later as a “before and after”/”look where I started” kind of thing.

Overall, it was a really great experience to have, especially as my first time performing. I’m actually looking forward to more opportunities in the future, and they’ll actually come sooner than later 🙂

And now I leave you with a bit of “Uptown Funk”:

Private #4 – All About That Cha Cha

This week was jam-packed with something every day after work, I completely forgot to post about this private!

The lesson mainly focused on the spotlight performance we were set to do on Thursday (another post on that soon [as in as soon as I post this, I’m going to write up that one]). I had the choreography for the most part. I was either tired or thinking too hard, and that is when I would mess up. That’s how it usually works out, isn’t it?

So we worked up a pretty good sweat. I started to get a little frustrated with myself because C started to get a bit more particular with technique and my brain just wasn’t working. On the drive home, I decided to just have fun with the performance. I love the dance, I love the song (“Uptown Funk”!), so there was no need to mess up this experience of my first performance by making it bigger than it actually is.

I practiced a little bit more at home that night and took a deep breath 🙂