This section of my website used to be dedicated to triathlon training, personal race results and certification reviews, like Turbo Kick. I am expanding it to include more generic health & fitness topics. Also, I talk a lot about "D" -- he's my husband (Dave Liu)!

Sunday, May 09, 2004

2004 Mother's Day Step Special

Margaret lent me a step video by Andre Houle. This was months ago, and I only just finally watched it and copied down the routine. It's mostly tapless material, with some great moves I had never seen before. Interestingly, there were moves that were very similar to the ones I saw at another instructor's class a couple of weeks ago although they called it different things.

Armed with these new combos, I went to teach at Palo Alto Y today. I can't believe it's been four months since I've taught there due surgery, holidays etc. The first class was Basic Step. During my absence, they've moved the class from the gym to the studio. Earlier this year, I would expect maybe 8-9 participants. There were about 15 people today! And on Mother's Day no less!

I was a little nervous because Helen was there to conduct my annual review. Some coordinators review by watching, but Helen actual did the workout along with the rest of the class. I was told there may be some nominal pay raise associated with the review. Woo hoo!

I never know what to expect with the Basic Step class. There are days when there are beginners stepping for the first time, but most of the participants have stepped for months if not years, but they come to this class because it fits their schedule better. I used a couple of my golden oldies combos as the first two, and then threw a variation of an intermediate combo I saw posted by Carole on a thread on The 64-count, self-reversing combo was:

L-step (RL, 16)
Knees 3/4 Around the World (R, 12)
Mambo to East corner (L, 4)
Charleston kick, ski on the floor (L, 8)
Charleston kick, ski on the floor (L, 8)
Turn, straddle, scissor over (L, 8)
Turn, straddle, scissor over (R, 8)

I figure teaching Around the World was going to be a challenge in itself, so I modified the combo to:

L-step (RL, 16)
Knees Around the World (R, 16)
Charleston kick, ski on the floor (R, 8)
Charleston kick, ski on the floor (R, 8)
Ham travel x2 (RL, 8)
Repeater ham (R, 8)

Class went well, especially since I used my brand new 80-minute mix. Since I asked for it, Helen later came up to me give me some feedback. She said it was fine, my cueing was spot on, she got a good workout. The only things she would suggest for improvement were (1) more low-impact options (since I did a lot of jumping jacks and skis) and (2) asking the class for feedback partway through class with regards to music volume and speed. Cool.

Since there were a few newbies in class, I ran a Step Clinic afterwards to review fundamental steps and also L-step, Around the World, and Revolving Door.

Advanced Step came afterwards. I used some borrowed/stolen choreography thinking that everybody would love it. BUT... to my surprise, I received mixed reviews. About half the class said it was too easy and wanted more combos next time. The other half said it was just right. One member suggested fewer turns - I understood where she was coming from since there can be a lot of pivoting and spinning involved to create a tapless routine. She also asked whether I could take over the Monday evening step class. I'd love to but my workload has significantly increased with my Real Job.

Another helpful lady suggested putting in more repetitions of a move: I think she meant some intervals like lunges. I'm glad she gave me specific feedback on that last point. I usually do throw in intervals and this is the first class I've done in a while where it was all choreography.

One guy complained that it was too basic. He later came up to me and said he hoped he didn't offend me. Then he added that the reason why he was providing feedback was to even out the skill level of all the instructors in Advanced Step rotation, and that I was essentially the worst one of the lot. Ouch. He didn't quite say it like that, but my ego was sufficiently bruised. Time to hit the drawing board and improve my routine for next time.

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