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Spitting Out Ping Pong Balls

March 15, 2007

Today is all about frame, well, a little of today because I am planning on going skiing this weekend at the Mt. Hood Snowboarders Weekend for the Bergie ski club. Only costing $20 for 2-nights lodging at the Little Trail Lodge.

It is getting to be spring skiing but what the heck, I love skiing these days. The best way to explain this to someone else is that skiing is like dancing. Especially when you are wired into all the correct ergonomic moves. It’s even more fun when you are skiing under the chair lift thinking someone is admiring your style (or NOT).

I think skiing and dancing are like ping pong. Everyone thinks they are an expert. Everyone needs to think they are an expert or they end up  falling, stumbling, or pulling a ping-pong ball out of their mouth. That said, I would have to say my biggest mistakes in skiing where when I was skiing under the chairlift and not paying attention. A couple weekends ago this was the case when I went out to Mt. Bachelor to help work on the Special Olympics races. Went a day early and thought I was skiing on powder (just learning powder) and was skiing fast to let the skis float and it turns out I wasn’t on powder I was on groomed light garbage and when I hit the powder I went flying and bumped my head and had people come by and ask if I was OK. Spent the rest of my off-slope hours that weekend shopping for a helmet. Got back to Portland, OR and found that I had a separated rib joint oh boy.

Skiing is always good when I have my “frame” working. Like dancing there are certain positions and angles that one’s body should not be doing in order to ski well. You know, feet correctly distance apart, back angle matches lower leg angle, stand up straighter on shape skis, always point your torso downhill. It’s actually a little more elaborate for skiing than it is for social dancing. Social dancing the main aspect of frame is never let your elbow go back behind your side. That’s pretty much the case with all dancing. It’s called “collapsing the frame” and what it does is destroy the unity between the partners. How can I communicate with the follow if I have no connections? Some relationships are like this, where the follow collapses the frame, thus gaining control of the move (or just ruining the move). This happens in real life in relationships Some relationships work that way successfully, but not for me. To me, collapsing the frame is like swearing or slamming the door. It destroys communication between people and between dancers. The New York Lindy Hop dancers call someone who collapses their frame  a “whore” and someone who holds their frame too tight “virtuous” (not sure if I speled that right. . . .). Is it hard to learn frame in dancing? Not at all. A lot easier than skiing “frame”. Probably because in skiing you have the potential of careening out of control down the hill at 50+ miles per hour.

All one has to do to learn frame is to stiffen the upper arm and never let it get pushed back past the side of their waist. This is true for pretty much every type of partner dancing (we are talking about partner dancing, right? Definitely not talking about the Boogaloo or the dancing that Rapture Addicts do). One must exaggerate at first, but with time, any attempt leads to positive results. It doesn’t matter, Waltz, Ballroom, Zydeco, Swing, all require a good frame to dance. Now, since I am a dancing slob, and I am not a dictionary of moves, I’d have to say that just by keeping frame I can create all sorts of moves that normally would take too much time to explain to the follow. This is especially true for a follow. How does this work? IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOUR FEET DO as long as you can keep your frame (OK, and be balanced so you can move in whatever direction is “requested”).


From → Just Wanna Dance

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