More on tap

Mon, Aug. 28th, 2017 07:32 am
scarlettina: (Default)
Yesterday was the last day of the current session The teacher had us doing some pretty complicated work at speed. I was having real trouble with it. I had planned to move on to level 2 at the end of this session, but this class in particular just felt like defeat to me. I couldn't get the sequence down consistently, and it seemed like every time the teacher's eyes were on me, I just failed. I cramped up, or my steps were too short, or I just got confused. It may have been exhaustion--I was tired after a very full four days--or it may have been genuine lack of developed ability, but it was clear I was missing something.

At the end of class, I went up to Josh (the teacher) and said to him, "Honest assessment: am I ready to move on to level 2?" He told me that I had some things down cold, but I had more work to do--maybe another round at level 1 wouldn't be a bad idea. So I'm staying in level one. I'll be bored for some of it, but it will give me time to hone things. And I need to practice more.

I admit frustration. At the same time, I'm pretty sure I'd be a lot more frustrated if I moved to level 2 and couldn't do any of it. I want to go on. I need to stay where I am and nail what I'm doing first.

Big :: sigh ::

Tap dancing

Sun, Aug. 13th, 2017 09:32 pm
scarlettina: (Default)
My tap teacher was complaining about being old today. He's 35. I'm in the oldest person in the room by at least 20 years. I suspect he knows I'm older than him; I'm not sure he realizes by how much. I'll tell him at some point.

Last class, we did paddle rolls, a step I remember from childhood. I can still do them, and do them fairly quickly. I did them in front of the teacher and he asked me why I wasn't in Level 2 yet. "Next session," I told him. "I wanted to make sure I had everything down." Practice, practice, practice.

Which reminds me, when I have money again, I need to order myself a practice floor.

I came home today and massaged both my feet. I've had some pain in both my feet and my ankles. I'm going to keep dancing. I will not let this stop me. I will just have to baby my feet and ankles more. Also lose some weight.

I'm loving these classes. It gives me joy to be doing this. I feel competent and I'm having fun. And it's something only three other people in my life are doing right now, one of whom is far away. It feel like it's mine. I know that sounds strange. No one has a monopoly on their art. But I love that it's different than anything nearly anyone else I know is doing. You can see a little video of me with a small sample of what I've been learning, if you like. It all makes me wish I'd done this a lot sooner.
scarlettina: (Default)
1) I had a perfectly marvelous 55th birthday, and I'm hoping that as I have begun, so shall I continue.

2) I have acquired new tap shoes that fit me better and I'm delighted with them. I took my first class in them yesterday. My feet felt better, I didn't get unreasonably tired, and I mastered the steps we were doing a little quicker, I think, for not having to compensate for shoes that were too long. I'm actually looking forward to practicing!

3) I am excited about the new Doctor. It was time for a woman and I find myself ready to reengage with the series. I liked Matt Smith well enough but found the storytelling in his seasons weirdly disjointed. I liked Peter Capaldi, but after disengaging with Matt Smith's Doctor, I found myself unable to reengage. I am curious and excited about Jodie Whittaker as 13. I'm in and look forward to her premiere. When, now, is the regeneration episode?

4) Farewell to actor Martin Landau and director/auteur George Romero. Landau looms largest in my experience as Commander Koenig of Moon Base Alpha in Space: 1999 and, of course, as Bela Lugosi in the film "Ed Wood." I know, I know, Mission: Impossible--but I was too young to be captured by it at the time. As for Romero, he changed the world with "Night of the Living Dead." He certainly changed the horror genre, giving us a new kind of monster that has survived generations and multiple iterations. Respect to both of these gentlemen.

5) I need to devote a couple of evenings to finishing laying down the ideas for the board game I've been thinking about. This idea will not let go.

Dancing

Sun, Jun. 25th, 2017 11:23 am
scarlettina: (Default)
When I was a kid, raised on movie musicals, I wanted to take tap dancing lessons. I saw Gene Kelly, Ann Miller, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, and I wanted to dance. My mother insisted that all dance grows out of ballet and I had to study ballet first. So for a couple of years I studied ballet. Finally, I got to study tap and I adored it. Of course, by then, some of my passion had waned, mostly because I had to do what my mom wanted me to do first; it was harder for me to want to practice, and my mom badgered me about it. (It was thus with music as well. I wanted to study violin. She didn't want to "have to listen to that scratching all the time" so I played flute instead, and wasn't as passionate about it.) Eventually lessons stopped because there was no money for them, and that was that.

In my thirties, I tried going back to ballet and I enjoyed it. Problem by then, of course, was that my body hadn't grown into ballet form, and so by the fifth or sixth lesson, I was having pain in my legs that meant I was actually damaging my hips. I went to the doctor about it, and was told that I had to stop or I'd do permanent damage. When I quit the class, the teacher was disappointed. She said, "But you're good. You're the only person in the class that actually knows what she's doing." C'est la vie.

Earlier this spring, I started taking tap lessons. I love it. I'm good and I know it. My teacher says so. I'm practicing (perhaps not as much as I should be, but I am). The things I learned as a kid are coming back almost instinctively. I went yesterday afternoon to try to find better fitting shoes than the ones that I have (mine are too long and the ball of my foot isn't hitting the toe tap the way it should). It felt good to go looking for tools for my art that were actually appropriate. Thank goodness that beginner tap shoes aren't as expensive as street shoes! Anyway, because my feet are short and wide, the shop is putting in a special order to try to get some pairs that are suited to my strange-for-dancers feet.

I have a tiny little dream. My tiny little dream is to get good enough to perform locally. I don't know if that will ever be possible, but I want to try. I love being in front of an audience. I know I have presence. I love the bling and shine of being on stage. And I think I can entertain; I've done it before. And so we go.
scarlettina: (Creating yourself)
1) Loving my swing dance class. The last session is next Tuesday, and the instructors suggest that students proceed to Jitterbug 1. I'm thinking about that. I'm thinking either that or West Coast swing because one ought to be bicoastal. No decision yet but it's coming. Also, many of the take-aways from my first class (see second-to-last paragraph) still hold.

2) My Halloween costume was a huge hit. Haven't taken the time to write about putting it together--especially the makeup--yet but I still really want to, even though Halloween is nearly two weeks in the past. For those who haven't seen it, here's a glimpse: What if Jane Austen were assimilated by the Borg? She'd be Austen, Powered....

Austen, Powered
Austen, Powered: prosthetic by me and [livejournal.com profile] ironymaiden, makeup by [livejournal.com profile] ironymaiden, dress created by and on loan from [livejournal.com profile] akirlu

More pics, and a how-we-did-it post to come...

3) By every reasonable measure, the Kobold Guide to Combat book signing at University Bookstore was a success. We had five of the contributors plus me at the store and ran a panel on combat in games. We all signed books. Other events around the signing conspired to take some of the celebratory sweetness out of it for me, and I'm still sort of recovering from that. A lot to process, but it's not my stuff to talk about. Here's a pic of all of us.

KoboldPanelPic
Left to right: John A. Pitts [livejournal.com profile] bravado111, Rob Heinsoo, Chris Pramas, Jeff Grubb, Steve Winter, yours truly

4) My kitchen light fixture broke in my hands when I tried to clean it last week. I've got a temporary fix in place that is satisfactory for the moment, but it looks like I'll be spending some money to replace it. I wasn't a big fan of the fixture in any case; I just wasn't planning on attending to it right now.

5) There are things about which I'm feeling discontent and impatient about in my life right now, but some of them are just beyond my ability to change. It's making me cranky.

Dancing

Tue, Oct. 21st, 2014 07:14 am
scarlettina: (GWTW: Pleased as punch)
Some of the most fun I had at the wedding a week-and-a-half ago was the dancing. My companion for the weekend, JB, is an enthusiastic dancer and once the dance music started, we danced until we couldn't see straight. I don't dance enough, which is ridiculous given how much I enjoy it, how much I studied as a kid, and how much I enjoy living in my body when I'm active. I've been feeling lately like things have to change, like I need to put different kinds of activities into my daily life. What with my friend BF's competitive ballroom dancing and other stuff that's entered my consciousness lately, getting more dance into my life seemed like a Thing To Do.

So last night, I went over to the Century Ballroom in Capitol Hill and got myself into an East Coast Swing class. Why East Coast? It's a lot like what I saw my parents dancing as I grew up. It's danced to music I really enjoy. I've done it before, at least informally, and I have a certain comfort with it. Also, fun.

The instructors did a great job of getting everyone comfortable with each other. I learned that while my raw instincts are good, there's a discipline in a more formal setting there that helps improve the experience enormously. I liked the puzzle-solving of getting my feet to do what my head was learning. We rotated partners pretty regularly, and it was comforting and fun to find that everyone was open and working just as hard to learn. Everyone was in good spirits, and any unfamiliarity there was at the beginning of the evening was gone by the end. Everyone ended the evening a little sweaty but very happy. When all was said and done, my pedometer had me at 11,000+ steps for the day, and I'd done it without even thinking about it.

I learned other things, too: how important it is to stay close to my partner, to take smaller steps than my energy and enthusiasm might provoke, to look at my partner--not the floor or the instructor. I also learned that some men seemed to think we were taking a wrestling class rather than a dance class. A good partner can make you feel like a good dancer; a bad partner can make you feel like you're Clumsy McTripsalot--which made me really want to be a good partner. Good shoes make a difference. Wearing a skirt and a tank top will be more comfortable and a lot cooler than jeans and a long-sleeved tee shirt (which is what I wore last night).

I have four more classes in this series, plus a free pass for one of the regular dances the Ballroom offers each week. This is going to be fun.

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