Sunday, October 12, 2008

Collegiate Ballroom Workshop

I attended a Collegiate Ballroom Workshop with the Michigan coaches and students from Michigan and Penn State. The workshop ran over three days and included lessons on a number of dances and performance techniques.

The welcome night was an opportunity to meet the students from Penn State and learn some fun dances, the Hustle and the Paso Doble. We also learnt a Polka mixer. Girls start on the right of the guy holding his hand. Both take 3 walks forward starting with guys left, girls right. Tap foot. 3 walks back, tap foot. Separate with 3 sidewalks, tap and clap. 4 sidewalks back in. Do 2 full polka rotations and start again. The tricky part is doing this in a circle, when you come back together for the polka, the girl has to move to the guy in front to do the polka steps.

The actual workshop was from 12.30-8pm on saturday. This was tiring, we covered waltz, tango, quickstep, chacha, rumba and samba. In the ballroom we learnt ways to start in the middle of the floor, along the long side or from a short corner. All techniques needed when you have many couples fighting for space on the floor. We also learnt floorcraft, a technique often left out in classes. These included check steps, change of directions and promenade positions.

Latin however took on a rather unusual form. As a bronze/silver workshop, we have a set syllabus we can follow in competitions, however rumba started with an open routine to lose whatever modesty we might have had. Grinding into a guys crotch while clinging to him will do that :) The routine starts with a beckoning from the girl and a game of playing hard to get. The goal we found out is to translate a fancy routine story into a simple routine with the same story in syllabus steps. Same thing for chacha. I hope to get the routines on camera to bring home.

For those of you who often laugh at the ratio between girls and guys at ballroom. We had 4 more guys at the workshop than girls, quite a change from the usual surplus of girls. Now imagine the guys doubling up to learn the open rumba routine. Funny times.

Today is the competition preparation lesson which will probably take a lecture form. I'm hoping so at least as we still have social dancing this evening and my feet are killing me. They are battered and bruised.

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