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Dancing: Reasons and Priorities

After my first Ceroc dance class, I was not keen on going back anytime soon. The reason: I was elbowed in the face. It hurt, my glasses fell off. It was five years before I took another class.

Five years later, I was dragged into another class by a friend and I found my Ceroc class to be enjoyable. I enjoyed putting the music in physical form. Recently single, I loved the way my social circle exploded. In short, Ceroc was fun. It still is. But there are many rough edges.

Injuries are one of the rough edges. They are not fun. I was dancing with a guy who used his thumbs, and pulled my arm out suddenly. Sure, my weight could have been sitting differently, which would have made the injury less bad. As it was, I had a sprained arm, and was not able to use it properly for a week. Dancing was out of the question for about three weeks.

Then there was an incident that is best graphically explained:

injurytheory

That one tore my teres minor, and set off a pain syndrome in my back.

These are the worst dancing injuries I have had, though not not only ones. I get that people make mistakes on the dance floor, and I understand that accidents happen. But both of these accidents stemmed from bad technique, and were avoidable. Both were from people who thought they were wonderful dancers, and who would correct me and blame me when things went wrong on the floor.

Thumbs in Ceroc are generally** a big no-no. Some men say they cannot dance without them. Well, I cannot dance with men who use them. It is too risky. My shoulder girdle has had enough problems. Lack of thumbs mean that I can let go if someone wants to pull my arm out of its socket. Lack of thumbs mean that moves will be invites rather than brutal yanks.

As for that lift, well I need to work on the strength of my latissimus dorsi for a number of reasons, but the way that lift was performed did not give it a hope of doing anything. Teres minor had to take the burden. This little muscle just could not do it and was torn. Of course, I was corrected by the guy while this was happening.

Many have injury horror stories way worse than mine. Concussions have happened. I do not want to see how much worse things can get. I have been observing when accidents happen and why, and I have put together a list of what I look for in a lead I am likely to get injured with:

1. Superior attitude without a darned good reason. This is a massive one. If someone thinks they are a good dancer, and always blames the follow when stuff goes wrong, they are less likely to amend their lead and learn from their mistakes. Incidentally, they are less likely to become a good dancer. Many teachers who are among the best dancers in the country will admit to me that a lead did not work due to their poor leading*. If a teacher or advanced student is correcting me, cool. If anyone else is, I will not listen to them. Related: Dunning-Krugar syndrome.

I have often observed that this is a man to woman thing. Men thinking that they are generally superior to women and manspalining. I detest this in dance and in life.

2. Likes doing big tricks with beginners or lower intermediates who have not been dancing that long. Why oh why can’t these be done with people who know what they are doing? The amount of skill in dips, drops and lifts is just as much for the follow. You are putting yourself and the less experienced dancer at risk if you do these with them. Just don’t.

3. Habitual thumb usage (see above)

Untitled

4. Being a yanker. A thumby yanker is the worst. I always avoid thumbsy yankers.

5. History of hurting other people on the dancefloor and/or being known as ‘rough,’

6. Being a dancer that people avoid.

I hated writing that list. The negativity annoys me, but it is needed, because I need to keep myself safe, and I need to have a strategy for doing this. I do Ceroc for fun, but the reality is, my priority is not enjoying myself. My priority is staying uninjured, because injuries can cost lots of money, stop me from enjoying other things, stop me from being able to cut my steak***, and generally impair my life. I love that Ceroc is all inclusive, with anyone of any body shape, and level being able to dance with anyone else. I feel rotten that I cannot model the all-inclusive approach that I love so much, but I want to stay unbroken, so that I can enjoy it more.

* It is possible that they are just being nice.

** It has been used as a tap tap lead, and thumbs are good in butterfly hand grips, and lifts. Otherwise, keep them away from me. But consistent thumb pressure throughout a dance. Maximum no!

*** This happened when I sprained my shoulder. My mother had to cut my steak for me.

An open letter to my orthotic

Dear Orthotic,

When I was first told that my posture sucked, the messenger thought that my feet were the cause, and that I would need you. The feet are the basis of how you stand, he said, or something like that. I have been told that so many people since. I think that this is rubbish, and my podiatrist agrees with me. It is not the feet, she says.The cause is always above the feet.

I first went to the podiatrist soon after being told that my posture sucked.Within a few weeks, you reached my arms all new and without footprints. Now you look like this:

goodbye

All of my shoes were purchased to fit you, which meant that my shoes became rather dull, apart from the ones that were PINK. I spent many months without wearing real dance shoes, which are not compatible with you.  You were placed in my shoes to assist with patellofemoral syndrome in my knee and sinus tarsi syndrome in my ankle.

You did a great job with the knee, not so much with the ankle.  My right foot was pronated, or flat. The arch liked to kiss the ground, and you stopped it, and kept my knee from hurting. I appreciate this very much.

You did not really solve the problem though. The problem was my crap posture, and weaknesses in the muscles in my legs and bum. The diagnoses above were only one part of this problem, which is a body wide issue. The cures are many and ongoing – my constant life work: getting fitter, making muscles stronger.

Yet sometimes, I reach a milestone, and become utterly proud of myself. Today is one of those days. I have realised that you are surplus to requirements. I am done with you, it is over.

It is not you, it is me. My muscles are stronger and they can hold my foot up much better, and I do not need you anymore.  In fact, when I wear you, I get a slightly sore peroneal tendon, which means that you are over correcting. Dear orthotic, I do not have time for negging.

We are finished, Thanks for holding my arch up, thanks for everything. But I can do it myself now. It is a skill most people take forgranted. But it is actually hard to acquire when bad posture and gait is the norm.

With Adiosic* Love  

The Whimsical Lady    

*Definition coming

Motives to Exercise

A couple of days ago, a lady at work complimented me on my figure told me that my exercise schedule was working. I thanked her, but one thing that I did not say is that my exercise is not about me looking good, or fitting into any particular clothes. I exercise because it makes me feel good.

One thing that annoys me about many gyms is that they assume that weight loss and looking good is what all women want. There is also an assumption that it should be the aim of any exercise programme. Weight loss is seen as the aim for everyone. Maybe this works for some, but not me.

For me, exercising is about getting healthier. Exercising helps my chronic pain improve, and it makes me strong. The pain is decreasing each day, and I am feeling better that I have in ages. I can wake up without a gnawing pain in my shoulder, or my intercostals feeling like they are filled with battery acid. My ankle and leg are giving me less and less problems, because many muscles are getting stronger,  the imbalances that cause the pain are decreasing.

To say that this is unusual in the middle of winter is an understatement. My symptoms often improve in summer and stage a comeback in winter.  I eat better when I exercise, and I stand better, sing better, dance better. Exercise improves my whole life. Maybe I do look better, but for me, this is a superficial side-effect.

I have to admit that I am now being driven my another motivation. As I reach each exercise goal, I cannot help but smile, and this is getting addictive in itself. Being able to do full press-ups feels amazing. Doing drops at dancing with my core automatically bracing feels most excellent. When an exercise routine that felt hard without weights feels manageable with weights, I feel an incredible feeling of achievement.

So for me,  exercise is about feeling better – because it reduces my pain and gives me an incredible feeling of achievement. Any exercise provider attempting to get me to part with my cash is going to fail when trying to target me about superficial things. For me, it goes deeper than that.

Dictionary of Whimsy: DanceClick

Danceclick,

(1) A situation when a dance just *works*. The lead gets what the follow is doing – the follower follows what the lead is doing. It works well with the music, and the dance feels like pure joy for one or both parties. It is plausible that it looks good as well – but this is not completely necessary.

(2) A reason why I dance. They do not happen all the time, but when they do, I talk about them for weeks afterwards – or months afterwards.

(3) A situation when two individuals dance with each other for the first time and it is easy fun straight away. The reverse of this situation is when a two individuals take a while to learn to dance together well.

Notes:

(1) Danceclicks can be mutual or one sided

(2) One contributor to danceclicks (both mutual and one sided) can be physical or sexual attraction, but this is optional

(3) To maximise danceclicks, the key is a good attitude towards the people and music that the dance is with

(4) Danceclicks can happen in social circle dancing situations as well

(5) Danceclicks can happen between the individual and their music in the privacy of their own room, at least they can for this blogger.

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