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 #3 – Cha Cha & Rumba Review/Styling, More Samba and A Couple Revelations

Today’s post will be short. Not sure why, maybe because the lesson was mostly review…

I felt so much better for last night’s lesson in comparison to Thursday night’s lesson.  I got to about 85% recovery yesterday, and with the exception of being a little congested and a stuffy/runny nose, I’d say I’m at about 90% today.  This up and down weather in Florida kicks my butt every year!

We went over the same cha cha and rumba choreography as last week, adding some fun styling into the routine. Trying to add some sass and maintain the technique we were working on is some tough work!

Our instructor/student relationship is developing as well. I’m apparently pretty witty and had him cracking up at a few times and we even have a “thing” now.

A few lessons ago, we had an intro to samba, now he started to dive more into technique. The hip action doesn’t feel as natural to me just yet when broken down, but when in motion it makes more sense.

Revelation #1 – My toes hurt! Yesterday’s lesson was the first time I didn’t wear socks with my dance heels. They are new shoes and I wear socks to help break them in (and I don’t want to make the shoes too sweaty). I didn’t realize how constraining socks were. I felt more grounded, more of a connection with the floor. I woke up today with just my toes sore. It’s pretty interesting.

Revelation #2 – I’ve always known dancing is not an inexpensive hobby to have, especially if you plan on investing time and doing performances and competitions, which is my intent. I have come to the conclusion that I am willing to getting a part time job. A couple nights a week after work and maybe a shift on the weekend. I hope I will find something soon!

Private #2 – Cha Cha & More Rumba

Today’s post will not be as long or detailed as the other posts. I started to get a sore throat Thursday (the day of this private lesson) and it got worse that night and even worse Friday. I spent pretty much all of today in bed taking medicine, sleeping and drinking soup while watching The Mindy Project in between. I haven’t been this mentally and physically drained due to illness in a very very long time.

My brain was a little foggy that night, but I was able to focus and complete the lesson. It was pretty productive. We reviewed a bit of the cha cha routine, concentrating on technique. A majority of the lesson focused on the rumba.

C led me through what rumba we went over the last lesson, then continued on. I was able to follow most of it successfully and at the end he said, “and you’ve just learned the whole bronze routine.” Very cool! I felt pretty accomplished, but I knew there was a lot of work to be done with my technique. I realized the one thing holding be back with cha cha and rumba is that I don’t lead my body with my upper body, I lead with my legs with the rest of my weight a little behind. Maybe it’s a reflection of my living in flat shoes, maybe it’s a reflection of my “go with the flow” personality? I’m not quite sure.

At the end of the lesson, C let me record him doing my part of both choreographies so I can practice at home, as well as a couple drills for me to do. Being sick, I haven’t even looked at any of those videos. I’m hoping with my excessive amount of sleep today and more sleep to come tonight, I’ll be well-rested enough to enjoy at least one day of my weekend and practice before my next lesson on Monday.

My study material:

Private #1 – Cha-Cha & Rumba

Wait a minute, isn’t this your fifth private lesson? Technically, yes. However, my first four lessons were a part of the intro package. Now I’ve committed to 50 (!!!) private lessons (it was the best deal and I’ll use them) and they’ll be 45 minutes versus 30 minutes. I’m starting the count over again.

I will add an additional preface to this post by mentioning that work has been ridiculously busy this week! This lesson was Tuesday night. I usually try to post that evening or the day after, but it’s been just nuts. Hoping my memory is nice to me …

So we went over cha-cha and rumba Tuesday. We started off what a fairly easy combination for my spotlight dance next Thursday. I get the steps, now it’s a matter of making it pretty. I’ve gotten pretty used to dancing with my feet turned out, presenting the leg with a slightly bent knee and landing with a straight leg. Now I have to work on getting the hip action connected with it. C says he works from the feet up and I am witnessing that in action with myself. I even catch myself outside of the studio standing with my feet turned out, weight on one foot, toe pointed now lol (especially when standing in a line or waiting somewhere).

It’s pretty much the same with rumba. I get the steps and the timing/rhythm, now I just have to clean it up.

I went home after and practiced for another hour alone. I think I have finally connected the hip action to rumba and slowly integrating the Cuban motions as well.

It was really nice to have a lesson longer than 45 minutes. I think I am finally getting more comfortable with requesting to repeat sequences and clarifying on steps. I think I do that so often now, that when he asks if I have any questions, I usually say “no.” If I don’t know something, I don’t stand there and try to guess, I just say “no” lol (I have dancing to do, no time wasting!).

And because I love performances, here’s a fun cha cha for your enjoyment. It’s completely different from what I’ve seen, and for that I love it! The music, the styling … it’s just hot:


This is also my video from the DWTS Live Tour show in Clearwater, FL featuring Emma Slater and Sasha Farber (if you couldn’t tell).

Happy Pre-Friday!

Private #3 – More Rumba & A Little Cha Cha

My private was on Thursday night.  It’s Sunday.  Not sure why I waited this long before posting about that night’s lesson, but this is what I remember lol:

I learned two moves that are not in American-style dances (what I learned with the previous studio) and that are pretty much used in only rumba and cha cha. The first was Alemana and the second is Hockey Stick. It was broken down with rumba first, and then we danced cha cha towards the end of my lesson and did the steps in cha cha.

Alemana wasn’t too difficult. The most challenging part for me was to apply enough pressure so get enough rotation. With my previous dancing socially, I’ve gotten used to doing most of the work myself

Hockey Stick needed a little bit more work. The most difficult part for me to remember was the little weight change and not step on two. I’ll just take some practice for it to flow naturally from me.

To help myself practice, I will use the ever-so-helpful YouTube to watch other dancers to see if I can pick up anything from them to help me.


In other dance news, there will be a Valentine’s Day social on February 12. There will be some spotlight dances featuring students and their instructors. My instructor wants to dance with me! I’m thinking cha cha, but what song? We both really love “Uptown Funk”, but I’m not sure what other songs would be good to do too … I’m so excited for this, but this will be my first performance in probably 7 years. Any advice?