About Me

My photo
Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Independent as a Hog on Ice: Dance as Metaphor

Had an interesting email exchange with the Good Brother over the long weekend. We were discussing how difficult it is for him to learn to dance [and how determined he is to do so].

1. Mine to him, entitled “I think I’ve figured out what the problem is”
Remember that you were saying how country music and country dancing are hard for you, because you’re a rock and roll kind of guy? Rock [as you well know] is on the back beat, 2 and 4. Ballroom and Latin and country are on 1 and 3.

If you watch Brother Yummy, he’s absolutely fantastic with formal dancing, very smooth. He’s a 1 and 3 kind of guy. And if you watch him freestyling, he is obviously not in his happy place. [Though he gets points for trying.]

You are a 2 and 4 guy, and so you avoid that whole “ frog in a blender” disaster when you’re freestyling.

Good news is, 1 and 3 can be learned. I have. Maybe it’s the ballet and tap that I took when I was a girl; maybe it’s innate. I do have to think very hard when learning ballroom, and then I have to learn how to unthink in order to be graceful.

It’s like driving a stick shift, or milking a goat. You have to do it enough that it becomes second nature, like breathing. Kudos to you for wanting to try.

And as for two-step? Just keep telling yourself that it’s simple enough for a drunken cowboy to manage; that will take a good deal of the fear out of it! [Note to all y’all: I have my friend Tinks to thank for that concept.]

Brother Yummy’s girlfriend is a good teacher. She won’t steer you wrong.

2. His response
I think you might be on to something...either that or I’m really a 5, 6 kind of guy. The other problem is that I learn real slow but when I learn I learn everything there is to learn completely. In martial arts, similar to dancing in some ways, I learned the kata’s one step at a time and then once I really internalized the step added the next step, it the end, the entire kata flowed like second nature. I just need to do that with dancing and I think I can get it...

3. My response
I totally get that “learning slow” bit. I’m a visual and kinesthetic learner. I learn by reading something, and I learn by doing something. The stuff that I learn by reading, usually comes quickly. The stuff that is physical, comes more slowly. But once I have it, it’s part of me. [If you tell me something, and I don’t write it down, then unless I sing it to myself, it’s as if you never told me. This is why I have that big red planner.]

That very simple line dance that I do, took me a month of practicing while standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes. One-two-three-kick, one-two-three-kick, back-two-three-rock-rock-rock-kick-and-turn. And that turn that I sometimes add when I’m going back? Took me a year. But it’s like singing triples in “The Lord Is My Light”, where you have three very fast notes in the same space that normally holds one. I’ve been singing that for almost 33 years now, and sometimes I still flub it.

One of the reasons that I dance so well with Brother Yummy is that I’ve been dancing with him for almost ten years. It’s like driving a car that you know very well; thinking is no longer required, you just enjoy the ride.

4. His response
I find your emails thought provokingly (is that a word) humorous.

Now there is an idea...practise [sic] the written instructions for the line dance thing. Still though, the idea of an “I don't need a man” dance is so appealing to my lazy side!

Ah yes, [Brother Yummy]...the old car...

5. My response
Thought provokingly humorous is a good thing. Thank you!

As for the “don't need a man” dance, that is just a fact of [my] life. I go to those dances to dance. If I wait for a man to ask me, I will mostly sit. And possibly get cranky. So I get up and dance with the other women, and I do my one simple line dance, and every so often I get to dance with a guy [thank you and bless you, and (my other dancing friends)].

And being the rock and roll girl that I am, I actually prefer freestyling to ballroom. That way, nobody else’s opinions get between me and the music.

And yet. And yet. Every so often, somebody shows up who is an even better dancer than Brother Yummy [I know: hard to believe], and then it’s three to five minutes of sheer bliss. There was an Hispanic brother, several years ago, who showed up occasionally and moved as if he had no bones. Dancing cumbia and merengue with him was about as much fun as the commandments allow.

Inserting photos that I snapped yesterday on the way to the temple, to signify a change of topic.

I’m not sure if I was in Highland Park or University Park when I took these. They are two small independent cities marooned in the middle of Dallas, two pockets of artisanal truffles in a bag of M&M’s. People buy charming old houses to tear down and rebuild á là McMansion so their kids can go to the Highland Park schools, which are allegedly excellent.

I took a picture of the lovely fountain where Oak Lawn becomes Preston Road at Armstrong, but what I got is what I see when I wake up in the morning, before I put on my glasses. So, no.

Had a moment of panic about half an hour ago, thinking that I was going to be late for the train and have to drive in for the third day in a row. And then I remembered: I have a dental appointment this morning.


Bonnie said...

Yeah for dental appointments to take the panic out of your morning. That's the reverse of what many people think when they have a dental appointment, but hey, we never said you were a conventional kind of gal.

Jenni said...

I got a letter in the mail from a dentist soliciting our business and he was sure to let us know that he offers flat screen TVs and headphone for even a simple cleaning. I do think that not being able to hear the dentist for a while could be ok.