Tonight, we had a lesson with Kora, our first since before Grand Ball over a month ago now. Since we've already worked on quickstep for the past two lessons and are saving up tango for a visiting coach coming into town next week, we decided it had to be foxtrot. We've worked on waltz a lot already.
This was a productive lesson. I, for one, was thrilled to have a lesson just focused on making our execution better, versus putting together choreography. It's a great feeling when you finish the lesson dancing better than when you started. We only made it through the first short side of our choreography, but it was enough to affect most of our routine since we repeat a lot of the same figures and movements throughout.
First off, Kora had us work on getting into frame in a good position in relation to each other. Essentially, we need to stop fighting over space. Anna Mikhed told us the same thing. So as we get into frame, Brandon needs to stop looking at me and keep his head and side left, while I need to do the same, though I need to focus my gaze more up, rather than more left, and risk pulling the partnership down on that side. This made a big difference right away. I don't know about Brandon, but I felt like I had a lot more space and breathing room.
Then Brandon worked with Kora on some directional issues, and finally, Kora reviewed some head turning issues with me. I either turn my head too late or too fast, and I need to think more about timing the head with the body. That sounds obvious and simple, but it's really not. What helped me the most today was to think about looking up and drawing peripheral circles with the top of my head. My tendency is rather to pull the chin in as I try to keep my back line straight, but as a result it looks strained and sometimes broken. One thing I'll need to practice more but which is a new way for me to think about what my head does is to think of it as tracking with my moving foot. I had never really thought of it in those terms before.
Finally, perhaps the greatest improvement on my side was the revelation that my nose/chin should be chasing my wrist as I dance natural turning figures going forward. It's very counter-intuitive, because as a lady you're always thinking about being left and out, rather than forward, which you would think would kill the extension. But no, I actually found myself making it around on some of those figures that I have been struggling with for quite some time. Yay for progress! At the end of our practice session following our lesson, we tried to dance a run-around in waltz using the new principle, and it felt ever so much easier. Brandon was quite impressed by how he didn't have to pull me back from the brink to get into promenade at the end. I'm looking forward to implementing this new concept more in all of my dancing.
After the lesson, we practiced quickstep a bit. I'm starting to enjoy it more, finally, perhaps because we have some fun choreography now and I'm more comfortable that we will be sticking with it for longer period. I also think I danced my best "pepper-pot" to date tonight. It was light, staccato, and fast...exactly what we want. I wish I could do that consistently though.
All in all, a good lesson and practice session. We're slated to dance rounds tomorrow, so we'll have to see how that goes. And tomorrow, I start physical therapy for my knee! I'm really looking forward to leaning what I can do to help myself get stronger again after my recent knee injury, since it continues to inhibit my dancing quite a bit.