Saturday, 12 June 2010

Minor Injury, with picture

Now, this is a very minor injury, and a very common one, but it hurt a lot for quite a while. It had more or less already healed by the time I took this picture. It happens all the time, and it's caused by one couple invading another couple's space to such a degree that one woman's heel passes across the other woman's instep. If this happens, and you caused it, it probably means you were tailgating. Don't.

It's difficult in London because the standard of dancing is generally low and varies wildly from place to place and night to night, but it's not rocket science.

There's a comment on Arlene's blog today which appears to say (I cannot believe it sincerely means this, that's just too bizarre) that the writer suffers from a psychological problem that prevents him having good floorcraft, no matter how hard he tries. If this is you - what entitles you to take out your psychological problem with violence on women's bodies, or indeed men's, is exactly nothing. Intentional or otherwise. Seek appropriate professional treatment; if it is ineffective and your illness means you can't dance, it means you can't dance, it doesn't mean you have a right to come and batter me. I am sorry for you, and I hope you get better soon, but that doesn't mean I should put up with being battered and say that it's OK. Nope. It's not OK to come dancing if you have the measles, either, or a streaming cold. That's what it means to be an adult human being.

Nobody thinks you did it on purpose, and nobody cares. We just want you to stop hurting and embarrassing us. Just stop it. Do whatever you need to do. Print this out and take it to your therapist, or your tango instructor, if that would help.

This injury is not the fault of the woman whose heel did it: she is keeping her heels down near the floor, or this wouldn't even be possible. And she doesn't have eyes in the back of her head.

I got this on my first Friday back after Les Cigales. At Cigales I did seven milongas, all as long or twice as long as a normal London one, without a single injury of any kind.


Tangocommuter said...

Really sorry to see that, and hope it's better soon.

I hope even more it never happens again, but maybe that's hoping for too much, even at the best milongas in London. When people are taught choreographies and not the freedom of improvisation, when demonstrations show wild kicks, and when dancers aren't very experienced it's all too possible. Sadly, worse happens: Mimi told about a guy who was rushed from milonga to hospital with a severed artery, but generally our legs and feet are better protected.

ghost said...

Ouch. There's another defensive floorcraft article in the works. I've come up with some nice tweaks and despite my best efforts was unable to harm David at Negracha when he was using them.

The one problem I have is something called a West Manhatten in Ceroc. If anyone knows a solution I'd very much like to know! If 12 o'clock is the direction of dance, you turn ACW and take the follower to 6 o'clock with a few steps, then turn back CW and take her back to her original position 12 o'clock with a few steps.

You can see the first half here from about 43-48 secs.

The leader can see there's space to do the move when he starts. However halfway through when he turns back, if he's in close embrace he can't see the 12 o'clock space anymore. A few seconds have passed so he know longer knows what the situation ahead of him is.

The result is often that the follower slams her heel into the couple in front at double-time speed. As an added bonus, she's also probably stepping "through" the person she's hit for extra damage :(

Ideally people should just not lead this move unless there's a truckload of space. I can't figure out a decent defence against it that doesn't involve the leader basically facing against the line of dance and watching the couple behind.

PS For guys - two pairs of socks helps provide some armour against this

ghost said...

I think I messed up the link. It's here

Tango en el Cielo said...

Ms H, Ooh, looks painful. As you say, this happens all the time in London milongas. I also know of two people here who've had bones in their foot broken by someone stepping on them. That's why I rarely wear my elegant shoes in London- I usually wear practice shoes that protect the tops of my feet, but that also limits me to trousers.
Problem is many people here aren't taught the importance of respecting other people's space, nor are the mechanics of how to do that sufficiently integrated into teaching, IHMO.
It's not necessarily all the leader's fault. One of the things a follower learns v quickly in BsAs milongas is not to extend her foot backwards beyond her own body space. Also you learn to place the ball of foot first when going backwards and to lower the heel gradually so you can stop if you feel something underneath that isn't the floor. Many London followers haven't learnt this, and I suspect some may even have been taught the contrary, ie to step long automatically, without regard for what's led nor the space available. A good leader should of course realise this straight away when leading a new partner and take special care to try to contain her movements and allow a wider than usual margin.

@Ghost, are you trying to do these ceroc moves in a crowded milonga? Hope they're just for downstairs at Grach!

ghost said...

@ Tango en el Cielo

Lol I'm not trying to do them in any milongas. But I've noticed that a ridiculously high proportion of the times a women gouges the person behind her, she's completing this move. It's probably got a tango name.

Like MsH I assume this is incompetence / ignorance rather than malice,so if I can figure out what the critical conditions are for these accidents to occur and then figure out how to stop these conditions from happening I can enjoy injury-free dancing :o)

Adrian Costa's advice to "use the corners" has definite possibilities....

msHedgehog said...

@Tango en el Cielo - that's true actually, I put my heel down gently so I can pull out if I make contact so it never crossed my mind. If you overcommited it would turn into a stab and that would do really serious damage. I've not had very many stabs. Ow Ow Ow.

@ghost You've got a point about the corners, it creates an unintentional lane change.

Johanna said...

Oh, Ms. H, I have a matching one just under my right outside ankle...
I thought floorcraft in LA as rather rocky, until I started reading about the state of affairs in London. How very sad. And painful.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to see that too, MsH. I'd be mortified if I either led my follower to do that to someone else or put my follower in a position vulnerable to that.

Re: corners; very few leaders make use of the corners since it's frequently been my experience that the leader(s) behind see it as an easy opportunity to overtake...

Jessica said...

Oh, I do so hate being led to step on someone... almost worse than being stepped on, particularly worse when the leader doesn't seem to notice, let alone apologise.

And normally that kind of leader is the sort who then criticises me for becoming less responsive to his lead during the rest of the dance because I'm tense with worrying about who he's going to crash me into next and longing for the dance to end so I can escape...

Johanna said...

@ Jessica
If I feel someone under my heel, I instantly freeze. If it's too late, I physically stop and apologize - whether the lead intended to or otherwise. If he does not, I stare at him until he does, especially if the injured party is ahead of us, since the injury could only have happened under his navigation. Accidents can happen, but I don't tolerate poor manners.

ghost said...

There's a simple exercise for this. Starting in no shoes, put balls of socks randomly on the floor. Now walk backwards around the room. The idea is to freeze when you make contact with the sock. But try not to think too much about the socks and walk "normally". It takes a while for your brain to work out the maths. Then when you're comfortable try it in your normal dancing heels.

msHedgehog said...

@ghost - I'm not sure it's that hard. It's only putting your toe down first.
@Anonymous - your thought raises an interesting point: it might be worth mentioning that I don't care about punishing anyone and I don't really mind if the person isn't mortified, as long as he stops doing it. Conversely I don't care if he is, if he doesn't plan to work on those necessary basic skills.

But of course every clueless person makes it difficult for others. In the absence of real talent, it may only be when the clueless person encounters an otherwise orderly floor that he has a chance to figure out what he's doing wrong.

ghost said...

"When you can walk on the ricepaper..." ;o)

Doing this way will programme a different part of your brain to look after it - and that part of your brain reacts faster. Many snails have been saved from being squished at night because of this. I'm not aware of the snail. I'm thinking of something else and walking normally. Yet my foot will stop as soon as the sole of my shoe it touches them, without breaking their shell. Though sadly it means I don't fully understand the finer points of Andreas' walking technique :P

Or put another way, learn to do it better than you need, so when conditions are less optimal, it still works.

londontango said...

Oh H!
I hate when this happens and I feel mortified if I ever end up doing this to another lady. Hopefully it hasn't happened for years. I don't mind stabbing the men as they deserve it for taking a backwards step, but if my leader isn't paying attention then I have remorse and give the evil eye too.
However, I have on occasion given myself one of these and I just get annoyed with myself for not keeping my feet closer to the ground!

David Bailey said...

Re: defensive dancing:

@Ghost: "despite my best efforts was unable to harm David at Negracha when he was using them" - I was?

When was this?

ghost said...

@ David

Last time I saw you there. Remember I told you afterwards? Your response was something like "That's great. Um, what am I doing?"

I made arcane references about staying close to the edge

Caityrosey said...

I've gotten this one before many many times. It hurts like the dickens.