Dance! - The Road to Heavies: lesson 69, June 12, 2015.
FLOPPY! A beautifull hall and a new, very fast dance
This friday, I also practice at work. I normally don't, with class in the evening, but Wednesday my break started later and Thursday a big attack of hayfever ended the day early.
I get the Saint Patrick right the first time. With certain movements, I now finally seem to be able to have about the same control over my left ánd right foot. Where most hits with my right foot are usually spot-on, I still have quite some trouble doing the same with my left.
Now, my left foot is suddenly present and I don't miss a single hit. When I start a series of trebles just to see what happens, I suddenly notice how my legs seem to 'detach' from my body. Hitting the floor with my right foot become louder and especially left hits are now far better compared to what it used to be.
I suspect I'm doing something wrong. Not anything that's bad for my body, but that I forget about my arms (not keeping them straight) or my posture (bad turn-out). Ah well, I'm already glad that it suddenly seems so much easier than before.
Off to another hall. Destination Amsterdam West
There's another surprise waiting for me when I get home. For some reason I check my e-mail before I leave, something I normally never do. And that proves to be a good decision. Our teacher got word that the room we normally use is still occupied by the stage-scenery thet was already there last week. She ignores the invitation, to use the alternative hall, considering how dangerous it is.
She decides to use a studio in the former Chasséchurch in Amsterdam Oud-West.
WoW! I have to do some research on when I have to leave. With my break-walks from a few years back in mind, when I still worked in this area in Amsterdam, my best memory is that this is close to the Willem de Zwijgerlaan. I'm right and even better: I don't even have to leave home earlier to be there in time. Conveniently, I even arrive earliever than at the NDSM-wharf, even though the tram has to squeeze it's way through the always busy city-center.
Another humid day
This is just like last Friday. Today also features very humid, moist weather, with the difference there are no showers or thunderstorms at all.
I hope the airconditioning in the building isn't set too 'heavy'. Fortunately, that's not the case. It's a well thought-off system with the vents covered to prevent cold airflows as much as possible and keep the room cool as a whole, without being bombarded with a jet of cool air.
The hall itself is a breath of fresh air compared to the NDSM-hall. First of all, the changing rooms are very big. The hall itself is very well lit, one wall is completely covered with mirrors and I don't think I'm exaggerating when it's twice as big. The floor feels nice and 'solid' (no hot spots), is clean and has no worn gaffer-tape on the seems of the protective rubber layer.
A nice feature (for the teacher that is) is that there's no messing about with cables and mixing-tables anymore. There's a kind of socket in the wall that features a direct connection for an MP3-player and put the music through to two large loudspeakers. I do get the feeling the low-tones are well-boosted, because the contemporary Irish tune we warm up to, booms through the hall.
Light Jig with hurdles
Warming up is now completely different, with so much space at hand.
The soft-shoe stuff goes pretty well, though the Light Jig still is tough. One of the girls asks me what it is I have against the dance, but I can't think of more than that it just isn't my dance.
With the performance on Sunday coming close, the soft-shoe stuff isn't practiced all that much. When I get my heavy shoes on and start a few trebles, I really notice the difference in floor. The sound is far more impressive and makes doing something different while the girls are practicing as well far harder as well. Even the teacher now has trouble making herself heard with all the noise from the shoes.
For the performance, the teacher goes through all the scenes: me (and the others) don't know what she has though of as yet. The other groups, from classes on other days of the week, are also involved. Only the story, The Children of Lire, has been explained globally.
I'm not jumping with excitement when I hear that I get to play the kind and will just be standing on stage.
The teacher emphasizes that I don't have to do anything, but that's my main issue. In competitions, standing in line, waiting till it is your turn to hit the floor is something I consider to be one of the worst moments. Once I get going I'm going for all or nothing, but before that moment, I rather have the floor to open up and swallow me.
I ask for some clarity about the steps I need to do on my heavy shoes, but the teacher and the rest look at me confused.
I leave my question unanswered, even after explaining it 3 times, but that leaves a ....... feeling. Being the perfectionist that I am, I want to do it right and this confusion does not help.
The part we will be doing for the performance works out well. The teacher says I was the only one who did not make a mistake, something I don't find completely fair, as I'm doing less than the girls.
We practice it again, which satisfies the teacher more, although someone (apparently) made a mistake again. I joke that we will overdub the sound at the performance with the recording I made so mistakes won't show, something the teacher answers with a playfull look that could kill.
A new dance: a Hornpipe
After the Saint Patrick passing the line of dances on practice today, I get to try a new dance together with my fellow-beginner and one of the more-or-less-beginners. A hornpipe!
The teacher warns that it's a treacherous dance she hates.
They basically are 2 trebles, but than in a different rhythm and faster, which makes you have to pause after them with the leg up in the air at that particular moment. Then you have to make a hard, powerfull move to the front and back again.
Well... yeah, just practicing this works out more or less. While one of the girls is dancing something different, we practice the step for a while.
But after her, we have to dance it to music. At competitions, I was always surprised when the contestants would start dancing. I can now find the moment to start without any trouble at all, but when our teacher starts dancing, I'm completely lost when I notice how fast this goes. I try to get along, but this is going so fast, I can't manage at all.
'That's something for next week' is the only thing that runs through my mind and I decide to shut up shop.
I'm so used to not having a room to change that I just change in the hall itself and walk out.
The airconditioning is set pretty low after all. When I step out of the building, a warm, moist blanket falls over me and I instantly regret putting my cardigan on.