Saturday, January 16, 2010


At least two significant things happened at dancing tonight. First, I finished the accelerating waltz with my feet on the ground and some semblance of rhythm and/or grace (a personal first!). All credit should go to my partner, of course, for taking smaller steps and reminding me to hold on for dear life. Otherwise I almost certainly would have skittered across the dance floor like the ball-bearing in the pinball machine, causing dismay, mayhem, embarrassment, and possibly a few broken bones. Not fun. But as opposed to previous accelerating waltzes in which at the end my feet leave the ground either out of centripetal force, my own clumsiness, or my partner's idea of something funny/interesting to do at 370 bpm, this time I ended on my feet. A miracle!

Second was a "difficult" Zweifacher -- a dance composed of waltzes and pivots in a repeating pattern -- which we were actually getting (by the end of the dance). The pattern was hardly a pattern at all: Waltz, waltz, pivot, pivot, waltz, waltz, pivot, pivot, waltz, waltz, waltz, waltz, pivot, pivot, waltz, pivot, pivot, waltz, waltz, and repeat. When the repeating unit is 9 and a half bars long (and since it's 'and a half', it's not really a repeating unit -- you then have to do it all on the other foot, which is different enough -- so the repeating unit is really 19 bars long), it ceases to be a step and becomes, well, a choreography. The only difference being that you could really hear it in the music. But it was great fun and my partner was a very good sport about the whole thing and by the end we were totally getting it.

Oh! And that's forgetting the wonderful cross step waltz/schottische cover of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." That song made my night; the intro was 3/4, slow, and somewhat syncopated -- a cross step -- and then halfway through the first verse it switches to 4/4 and a bit faster -- a schottische. Besides the part where schottische is one of my favorite dances and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is one of my favorite songs, I was lucky enough to have a partner who not only knew what he was doing, but had a fondness for pivots and the "role-reversal" schottische (also known as the "sex change schottische" because for the second half the woman dances the man's part); fun times!

It is perhaps worthwhile to note that the most dizzying dances (the ones listed above) were probably also my favorites. At one introductory lesson a woman asked the teacher how to avoid getting dizzy while waltzing, and the teacher chuckled and informed her that the point of waltzing was to get dizzy. I don't entirely agree with that, and in any given waltz I'm unlikely to get dizzy (and glad that I don't get dizzy easily! How inconvenient would that be?), but one of the things I enjoy about waltzing, and especially fast waltzes, is the almost-dizzy feeling of one too many pivots (or is it just the right number since it's almost-dizzy and not outright dizzy?). So I guess it isn't surprising that the dances I generally like best are the ones that leave me slightly out of breath and slightly dizzy. Well, those and the Bohemian National Polka. You've just got to love the Bohemian National Polka.

Although, given the number of pivots in the BNP, and the fact that I often subconsciously try to add pivots (I mean, who wouldn't want to do 16 pivots in a row?), perhaps that one could be classified with the above as well.

No comments: