Cleaning

No, not physical cleaning.

In this post I’m going to talk about some things which are obviously related–social dance, glowsticking, and popping, and something that’s not obviously related–TGM (tetris).  Sayuri also has a little bit to say I think–she’s probably going to post an FB note or something.

I went to Friday Night Waltz, which was really fun.  Possibly even more fun than Jammix (possibly because it was april fools’).  The classes were a bunch of line dances and then a bunch of sequenced dances, which was fun but bad because it contributes to the need to “clean” (more on that later).  Somehow it wasn’t as tiring as Jammix usually is for me–I guess that’s because after the classes me and Yii Wen took a break.  And I also avoided doing any polka, yay.  (no accelerating waltz either, though we did do some crazy stuff for april fools, like the chicken dance…)

So I guess I should go back to those wee little times when I was back in social 1 (the first time).  When I was in social 1, I was a GOOD lead.  Partly just because I picked up the stuff quickly, partly because I had already known swing stuff.  But I definitely had at least one person think that I had taken the class before or something.  Anyways, that was that but then after I started taking social 2 I started going to Jammix and I was like WHOA!  All of a sudden I can actually dance without just doing whatever we happen to be practicing that day.  And I was comfortable enough that I was starting to be able to mess around and have fun just basically “doing whatever”.  Especially back then I would just make intentionally vague leads and then rely on my follow (only good follows!) to interpret it into something that worked.  And that was fun!  And I started to really like waltz because I could just spin around and do random stuff and it would somehow work out in the end.

Fastforward a bunch and nowadays I’ve gotten somewhat better at leading in general but I’m still mostly just messing around a lot, I find.  Sure, I still do a bunch of moves and stuff, but it’s nothing very interesting–all of the interesting stuff that I do is just of the “messing around” variety.  It’s fun and spontaneous, but not very clean–not very polished, not very refined.

Compounding the problem is that I’ve been playing follow a lot more recently, which is sort of a self-propagating problem–I feel like I don’t have as much fun as a lead because my leading isn’t confident enough, so I end up playing follow, which doesn’t do anything to help my leading…(somehow I’ve also lost the ability to ask girls to dance…i don’t know when that happened, oops!)

And the messing around stuff is fun, but…it’s getting a little bit dull.  I feel like my dancing isn’t really going anywhere–I’m stagnating.  I’m having fun playing follow, but it feels like the only things I need to learn as a follow are how to follow lindy (properly, not just faking it), and some other random stuff like dips.  And this has probably been apparent for a while but I didn’t start to really take it seriously until today when I decided that I probably need to do something about it.  So for the last dance I tried to be a little bit cleaner–it actually kind of worked a bit, which was nice.

But there’s still a lot of cleaning to be done.  Instead of just fooling around I need to actually expand my vocabulary–my “toolset”, so to speak.  I’m not sure yet exactly how to go about that, but I guess I can start by leading a little more often and not -hiding- by playing follow, and also just concentrate on doing things cleanly a little more.  It’s going to take actual practice.

And the same thing applies to glowsticking (and popping)–I’m at a point now where I’m not going to improve anymore by “just dancing a bunch”.  I’m at the stage where I need to actually concretely work on concepts and -practice- them, cleanly, in order to improve.  Even when I do it a little bit–for example, “hey, why don’t I try concentrating on integrating tosses really smoothly without breaking flow”, I can see the difference.  But I need to do even more than that–I need to go “hey, let’s think of a new short toss combo and practice it”.  Or “let’s practice a thread sequence”.  Or “let’s do a trace sequence and see where we can take it, but keep it clean”.  The thing that I notice about other freehanders whom I respect is that they often have a style which is really “refined”.  You see their movements and it’s almost as if they’re stringing pre-planned moves together (and in some cases some of them are).  There’s nothing inaccurate about it–every trace and movement seems very clean and practiced.  And that’s what I need to work towards.

So how does this relate to Tetris?  Well, I’m at a point in Tetris where I’ve been contemplating a style change for a looong time, but I haven’t managed to do it yet.  You see, my current style is fine for where I’m at right now, but in reality my ideal is to eliminate all of the fancy moves that I make.  Not only will that allow me to play more “simply” without gimmicks, but it will also set me up for faster speeds when those kinds of things are a liability instead of an asset.  The problem is that when I sit down to play death mode I just play how I normally play and that’s that.  So I need to really buckle down and do something like play a whole bunch of TGM1 and strive to eliminate all of that stuff from my play.  Yes, it seems ridiculous that I’m aiming to eliminate triplerotates while I’m playing TGM1–the game where triplerotates should ALWAYS be possible and applicable.  But this is my ideal style, so I should start taking steps towards it.

It’s a sort of balance though, because these are hobbies after all, and I shouldn’t be sucking all the fun out of them by just concentrating on practicing for improvement instead of just doing what I want at the time.  But I have ideas of where I want to be, and those are important to reach as well.  And right now I need to shift the balance towards more diligence.

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