Okay… I haven’t blogged about Edinburgh yet, so I might as well write something about both exchanges.
In terms of general style of dancing, I’ve been mostly sitting out of anything fast, because there can be less playing in fast lindy, and it becomes a test of your fast swing-outs (which are a completely different move from normal ones) rather than an actual conversation between the dancers and the music. Also, it’s possible to make the same song seem either fast or slow depending on what emphasis you put on which parts of which basics. I could do a blog about why I hate soil-dancing fast lindy, but that will have to wait. The only good fast lindy dance I had was with Meg, who usually needs really heavy connection, because she [almost always] delays the hell out of the start of swing-outs, so that she can come in at a stupid speed and force a heavy connection. It didn’t seem like it took any extra effort at all to do fast swing-outs with her than normal ones, because she just dropped the delay, and came in at the same speed.
At Cambridge, since going to lots of Tango lessons, and not much Lindy, I had the aim of being as subtle as possible, while still leading whatever. This had some good responses, especially from Heather, who said that I seemed responsive to what she was wanting. I was also trying to play with the feel of the basics I was doing to fit the feel of the music, after the musicality workshop (though generally without changing the footwork too much, since that would require a lot of bal-like-fu). My next challenge on the lindy front will be to incorporate the subtleties of the rhythm/melody into a standard basic like the swing-out. I do suspect that in order to get it followed, I might need to change the footwork in some noticeable way.
I think that a special mention needs to go to Erika. At Edinburgh we had some random fun dances (including one in which brownies and ice cream were consumed, if I remember correctly (I’ve decided that I can feed myself better when leading than following [blues])) but nothing that made me go “wow” any more than the dozen or so other amazing dancers at the exchange. Then, on the Sunday night, there was a blues after-party with a little alcohol and tea, and I nabbed a few dances with her. At some point she led some smooth blues on me, as an “I really love this kind of thing” demo, and she managed to make me do something with my arse that I may never understand. I gave it a shot at leading too and there was definitely a lot of melty. I was very tempted to just keep dancing with her forever, but I knew that attempting to do so would probably result in less dances in the future. I also became aware that the more I danced with her, the more likely I was to do something stupid (made even more stupid by the fact that I had consumed a variety of beers, ciders, and chilli that evening). I remember thinking that I wasn’t in much control of anything: Everything I led was dictated by a mixture of what she was [/we were] already doing and what the music was doing.
In Cambridge, on the Friday night and early (before one) Saturday night, we had strings of really playful dances. I felt like there weren’t more than a handful of basics that weren’t twisted and stylised somehow by one of us [insert reference to Andrew Sutton's ideas on levels of leading and following], and there were a good few bluesy-flourishes thrown in too. I actually offered her all of the remaining dances of the night at one point, and would have done so if I hadn’t signed up to help out with the refreshments for the next hour. By the time I started looking for her again, she was pretty engrossed in dancing with James (another Edinburgh dancer). I spent the next half hour or so variously trying to pretend that I wasn’t supremely jealous (and didn’t, in fact, have a massive crush on her) and sleeping, so that I could help out with the packing up at 6 like I’d stupidly offered to do. I think I may have refused a few dances in that time which I never managed to get back (and at least one from Holly, who I felt like I had danced with at least half a dozen times that night anyway). When I eventually got my blues dance with Erika, it was dreadful. Probably a good thing, as it meant that I could more happily let her get back to dancing with James, and have a few decent dances with other people myself.
On the Sunday of Cambridge, we had some decent dances again. I caught myself leading slow tuck turns (in the same way) more times than I might have liked, but honestly, who cares: at least they turned out as slow tuck turns and didn’t morph themselves into one-footed pivots [mentioning no names]. I just love it when you feel like you’re picking up on everything in your partner’s body[/mind], as well as the music. Due to my being all bunged up and probably infectious, and breaking some of my own terms, I think that Erika came firmly under the heading of “I know this is a really bad idea… why do I want it so much?”
It’s probably also worth observing that Gill looked stunning in her saturday night costume, but since we were busy pretending not to know each other, I didn’t say anything. I’m sure there will be pictures on facebook for the curious.
In terms of health, my shoulder went to hell again on the sunday when we were at the pub. I think it was probably just one dance that was the last straw, after a weekend’s punishment. I really need to go easy on it over the next few months, and do all of the exercises that my physio showed me. I suspect that it may mean ducking out of troupe, which is very annoying, as I really wanted to be part of an ADC show before I left. I guess this gives me yet another reason to focus on Tango.