Friday, December 30, 2011

Dispatches from Lindy Focus (4 of ?)

After Kevin's Movement Training class this morning, which was pretty much all spin drills, (quarter, half, full, double, right foot going right, left foot going left, right foot going left, left foot going right, why are my backwards doubles more stable than the forwards ones?).... my foot feels much better.  I guess it partially just needed stretched out.

Onward to more dancing!

Dispatches from Lindy Focus (3 of ?)

So night before last, I did some dancing in my socks for a while at the late night, because my shoes weren't very fast and my knee and leg were beginning to protest.

And my feet have been hurting pretty bad since.  Ok, that's not true.  Mostly only just my right foot, because apparently I strike the ground with my foot with unnecessary force when I spin? Or, more nuanced... I am not flexible enough in my ankles and knees and hips when I'm stepping through spins, and so the force that I am using is absorbed almost entirely in the ball of my foot when I spin, and thus it hurts.  Also, I really like to do single-foot spins, and should probably be more amenable to stepping through my turns.....

Anyway, lesson for Christina from Lindy Focus, gratis, via sore feet.  A reinforcement of things I have already been told, but now I know.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dispatches from Lindy Focus (2 of ?)

Dear Men of Lindy Hop:

I now understand why you wear sweater vests.

Tonight I peeled off my sweater vest, and the shirt underneath was soaked, but the outside of the wool vest was dry!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lindy Focus! (1 of ?)

I'm so excited for Lindy Focus that I tremble like a little Chihuahua puppy when I think about it. That is all for now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Declining a dance (a thing that you, Yes, You! are allowed to do.)

So a friend of mine was recently co-teaching a drop-in beginner lesson before a night of dancing; I was watching the door and listening. To conclude the lesson, he said that there were only two rules for swing dancing. Following the obligatory Fight Club joke, he stated that the first rule, was the leads had to ask some follows to dance at some point tonight (and that it would be sad to leave all the lovely ladies waiting). Second, he stated that if someone asked you to dance, you had to say yes.

And then I threw up in my mouth a little.

Can I deconstruct that response for y'all a bit? Why that made me sick even though my personal philosophy still leads to basically same result-- I will virtually never say "no" to getting asked to dance.* I swear to god that I am aware that there will be people who think I'm more than a little "Stop the penis party" with this, but hey, this is my blog and my opinion and you don't have to read any of it that you don't want to.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I am the craft-masta! (in which I glue leather to shoes.)

Fun with craftyness time!
Wednesday morning, much to my frustration, I was shot down at the shoe repair store when I asked if they'd glue leather soles onto my sneakers.  Also I was given funny looks.

So yesterday evening, I took myself over to the craft store to buy:

 1) pretty ribbons to lace my sneakers up with in pretty colors.  :)

 2). Suede and glue to fixie my shoeses.

The process...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

blues practice challenge

So, I am so in love with dancing, especially blues, right about now.

But there's not a ton of blues dancing in my home scene.  Related to this, I am pretty stinkin' excited that a friend of mine who I love dancing with has agreed to make a short trip down to visit in January (when neither of us are traveling much) to work on some blues stuff with me.  I would be excited to work with him anyway, but I'm especially excited because, due to the lack of blues around here, I don't get to practice as much as I'd like.

I expressed this sentiment to him this morning on fb chat, and he totally called my shit.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"No. We cannot put leather soles on those shoes."

These ones. Would be cuter with a red stripe,
but I was in a time crunch.
Picked up a pair of sweet white converse sneakers a few weeks ago, with an adorable little star cutout in the side and everything.  Hurriedly slapped some moleskin on the bottoms for the weekend, and started dancing with them.  I especially like them because they lace all the way up, very close to my ankle (unlike Keds or Ked knockoffs), which actually keeps the shoes ON my narrow, very low-volume feet.

[Keds, Aris Allens, almost every tennis shoe or approach shoe I've ever had, including the ones with the marathon-loop holes laced all the way up- I can still slide my foot out of almost every shoe I've ever worn, without untying it.  These Converses stay. on.]

Minus some minor edge peeling of the moleskin which I fixed with a spot of superglue, they've been fine, but the edges are slowly eroding, losing one thread at a time.

So I decided it'd be a good idea to get some real leather soles put on them. So I go down to my local, friendly shoe-repair store.

I walk in holding the sneakers, and I ask if they can put leather soles on them.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trust is a complicated thing. (Bambloozled class and current dance ruminations. Also... words are hard.)

So yeah. Trust.  It's a thing you need to have with someone you're dancing with... only sometimes you don't have it.

It's a thing you have to have with yourself to dance with, only sometimes you don't have it.

There are a few emotional/meta themes that I have been chewing on in my brain for a while now (my brain chews, apparently? yes, it does.), as they relate to my dancing.  One of them (obviously from the opening of this post) is trust.  Another could be called "confidence."  This post is going to be some of my thoughts, as best as I can articulate them, about trust in partnership and connection, and manifestations of that, physically, with respect to attitude and posture and counterbalance.

I'm going to start by attempting to describe some things about the classes last weekend at Bambloozled, especially picking out the things that I really want to dig into, and circle back around with some things that I have been working on in my lindy, both long-term and more recently.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My (It's not) Bambloozled 2011 (anymore) Blues..

So I walk into our weekly swing dance Wednesday night this week, and catch a dance with one of my favorite leads.  The dance is playful and stretchy and full of confidence, call and response, jazz, and smiles.

Kara and Paul, open Jack and Jill Finals.
Josh Wisely Photos
At the end of the dance, he stops and looks at me with some surprise/admiration and says, "You should go to blues events more often."

Because I’m listening, and relaxed, and, yes, more confident. 

The event in question that I just got back from is BamBLOOZled in Washington, DC.  This was my second year in a row for this event, and it’s one I will make every effort to get back to next year.  It’s workshop weekend, in that there are classes all day Saturday and Sunday, but it also boasts a full schedule of social dancing all night Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so you can make whatever you want out of the weekend.

What I made out of the weekend was something of a hybrid; I danced all night Friday, went to morning classes on Saturday and napped through the afternoon ones, danced all night, skipped morning classes on Sunday and went to the afternoon ones, and then danced/partied all night.  I actually got to meet and hang out with some really cool women this weekend as well, which is something I don't always get to do.  Overall, it was simply awesome.

For the slightly longer version...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Oh no they didn't....

So I work in an academic research lab.  We just moved the lab into new digs.... well, back into our old digs after renovations.

And they put a big fat floor to ceiling mirror in the now-much-bigger ladies bathroom.

I think the designers vastly underestimated my desire to do solo jazz steps in front of a mirror instead of promptly returning to work after I wash my hands.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mechanism of beauty accumulation at high skill levels in partner dancing communities by marginal selective advantage among new dancers*.

Bugs Question of the Day post again!  I feel like it's sort of inappropriate for me to post many-multi-paragraph responses to the QOTD (or my new favorite abbreviation that I just saw on the page, "?/day", when I have my own personal blog for that sort of thing. So since this is my own space, here is my really long answer to today's ?/day.  

First, the question:
@gregory Dyke asks: "A tongue in-cheek question to balance out the overly serious nature of the past few discussions. Is the theory set forward in @1.30 correct? Beauty and good dancing in women are linked because men do the asking, are shallow and therefore invite the beautiful women, thus affording them more opportunity to dance and become good?"
And here is my initial response:
Holy long response that I just typed out and have decided would be a better blog post. Short answer: as an evolutionary biologist, this theory (as in, prettier girls have more OPPORTUNITY to become better dancers because they'll get asked more often at the beginning) is totally plausible and would not require a large bias at all. A very small (or unconscious bias) would be plenty sufficient. As a follow whose default look is butch and scruffy but who can clean up to what might be described as glamour tomboy, I can say that when I make more effort to look more attractive, I get more dances, hands down.

But here is my slightly more complete response....