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May. 14th, 2006

I realized that I hadn't written much about dancing lately. Currently, I'm working on Tango and Waltz with my teacher. Tango is probably my weakest dance, so I have just been doing a lot of technique; not much in the way of new patterns.

I also seem to have some muscle strain in my right arm. Every so often, I'd notice that my right arm hurt while dancing. I attributed it at first to getting used to my teacher's emphasis on arm position (elbow higher than shoulder). But the past few weeks, I've started to realize that it's painful for me to keep my arm bent that way. With past teachers, I used to get comments about how my right arm was dropping a bit, but it was never really an issue until now. I also think the arm muscles were aggravated somewhat during my vacation from carrying a heavy travel bag and knapsack. When I see my teacher tomorrow I'll discuss the situation with her and see if there is a way to compromise on arm position. I don't think the issue is serious, but I don't want it to become so. Several friends of mine developed arm problems from dancing and at least one needed surgery.

I'm also having "issues" about the time/cost of dancing. Sometime in the next month or two I'll use up my current lesson allotment. I would like to take more lessons but am not sure I can justify the cost or time. Although chorus will be off for the summer, and I won't have any piano lessons for a month while my teacher is on vacation, dancing still takes up quite a bit of time. Even if I find a job, I'm not sure I'll be able to devote as much time to dancing as is necessary to continue to make good progress.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 15th, 2006 07:07 am (UTC)
It sounds as if you are doing studio/competition ballroom, which has quite the reputation for sucking people into expensive lesson plans. You may want to try some of the less expensive alternatives. If you haven't already done the PEERS/Gaskells/Friday Night Waltz gig, if you're a guy, can even spell "frame", can count to three or four as appropriate and are willing to dance, you'll be a hit on the vintage dance circuit.

While private lessons are the fastest way to get very good in the swing/lindy/blues, or the argentine tango circles, they aren't nearly as common for the casual dancers, and the class series' are a great way to meet people and make friends.

Argentine tango seems to be a similar social structure to the swing community, though the dancers seem to be a bit older.

The only arm difficulties I have from swing have to do with beginning followers that use my left arm as a bungee cord. However, when I wear a tendonitis strap, it really helps. I also have to wear the strap when I'm lifting weights or doing anything strenuous with my left arm.
May. 16th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
Actually, I think I'm getting good value for my lessons. It's just that with no job, it's an expense I can't really justify. I don't know as many people in the argentine, swing, or vintage communities as I do in the studio/competition communities, but the general impression I get is that the best dancers spend a lot of money (and time) on lessons, classes, etc. Most of the best dancers I know aren't in the computer field, so they don't have the type of job instability/uncertainty that we do.
May. 16th, 2006 06:54 am (UTC)
I feel your pain.

You are right, the best dancers of any form take private lessons, and spend a lot of money on such.

Part of what I was getting at was that with the different positioning of the hands, you might not have the same physical difficulties.

Also, that you could get in a lot of dancing, have fun, learn stuff that would eventually help your studio ballroom, and spend less money, if you were to switch to something like swing or tango where, at least at the beginning, the classes are a lot less expensive than what you're paying now. Granted, $500 spent on private lessons will probably teach you more than $500 spent on group classes, but $100 worth of group classes etc. would last you a month or two, rather than two hours of private lessons.

Most of the best swing and blues dancers do so for a living, and earn about as much in a week as we do in a day in the tech world.
May. 16th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC)
I met with my teacher last night, and she helped me with various types of repositioning (shoulders, back, arms, to name a few). The way she describes it, my dancing will really improve (and I'll be in less pain) when I improve my overall posture.

I've thought about taking group classes instead of private lessons. Generally, I find that when I take group classes, I need the private lessons anyway to work on the finer details of what's covered in the classes. Even if I can remember everything that was taught in a class, the private lessons augment the class because there's more time to spend on the lead, the frame, etc. In addition, I learn more of what I'm really supposed to do because the private teacher is an experienced professional, whereas when I'm dancing with other students in the class, when things are difficult I'm not sure if it's something I'm doing wrong or if it's my partners. Experience, technique, etc. tend to vary quite a lot in the group classes I've been in.
May. 16th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)
It's my feeling that to improve the most, you should do a mixture of private classes, group classes, weekend workshops, and of course, social dancing.

If you can afford private lessons, you'll definitely learn more in them than in group classes.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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