I took my first private lesson. Ever. It was a couple weeks ago, with Evita Arce, right after Hop Shop. My mind was already overwhelmed with all the information from that amazing event – and this just pushed it over the top.
I swear to you, I felt like I was butting my head repeatedly against a wall. Everything she said, I understood – but I couldn’t make anything function in my body.
Which is exactly what I wanted out of that private.
Like I said, between Hop Shop and Evita, I’m just trying to take it one piece of advice at a time. So, here’s the mountain of advice from Evita! (And remember – this was all given in the course of a single hour.) The following is broken up by concept, since WordPress doesn’t seem to like indented bullet points; you get the drift:
- Move your rib cage more. Connecting a little to Andy Reid’s class – your frame is adjustable. When I dance (now), my torso/ribcage/core is almost solid, like a block of wood; what I want to move towards (as determined by the private with Evita) is a more fluid form of dancing, where my body moves naturally. This can help me be a more reactionary dancer, making for a more solid connection.
- Sink into my rock step like stepping on a pillow – this helps the rib cage move, and it makes the rock-step a more fluid step; less like a staccato beat, and more like I am moving through and taking up the entirety of that beat.
- Move shoulders and ribcage with swivels – when able / asked to, open up on 7&8 so that swivels are more dynamic and move through the entirety of 1&2 using your entire body; lots of contra-body movement.
- The lead can even ask for swivels which start more rotated out (where your body is facing / rotated towards the left) – make sure you are connected through your back, so that the lead can open you up using his own posture and connection.
- Move your left foot, belly button, and shoulder to open it up and really use the whole body to swivel.
- On 3&4, don’t step back – be present and forward on your own weight (refer back to Jaya’s notes on being more neutral on 3&4). Position yourself forward, but still bouncing and moveable.
- If you sink back, you are falling, and it is very hard to move a falling person through a swingout. You essentially become dead weight, which slows down your swingouts and makes you a heavy follow.
And then, there’s also this fantastic choreography that we learned. I was able to get it in class, but that of course meant I messed up during the video! I really enjoyed the not-quite-charleston smoothness which is very present in this choreography – I think it’s very characteristic of Evita’s dancing, and I think it’s an interesting way to push my own dancing.