A couple of years ago, I instituted a practice in a storefront that was equally tight and mirrorless, to get the group ready to handle performance venues without a lot of space. We called it TQNM, for Tight Quarters No Mirrors. Those mirrors in dance studios, while they are invaluable for the teacher to see how the students are coming along, are the pits for dancers who do leader-cued improv. It's so tempting to watch the mirror instead of the leader, and it can also wreck the needed feeling for dance orientation ("11 o'clock!") within the group, which leads to formations that don't quite function as they ought to.
The Buzz is a trial by fire without that practice being available to us, but we have been surviving nicely. It's a long narrow space, a typical city-style restaurant. We have found that, in order to dance in formation in the most basic way, it's necessary to staff one end with no more than four dancers. If there are more, they take the other end, which allows for dancing that the entire restaurant clientele can get a good view of, at one end or the other, and also enough space (just!) to move in. It also allows the two groups to set up a dialog in echoed steps across the restaurant if they like. Fun!
My current goal, besides the ongoing work in theory and fine-tuning in teaching, is to bring in balance work, sword or basket, and also the Moroccan Six, a little taste of which I offered in class a few weeks back. I'm also working on learning video editing skills, the better to share what we have been up to.
Meanwhile, we will be back at the Buzz on February 20, dancing two sets starting at around 6:30. The place is low-key and family friendly. It offers great coffee, excellent soup and sandwiches, and loads of local art on the walls. There is no cover charge, but tips are welcome. Come on out and play- it's easy to find, on Lombard in Oak Park's Arts District, just off the expressway.