ATS® General Skills Day 2

On Day 2 we jumped right in to zills, ATS® style. Hmmm. Zills I can handle, if that’s ALL I have to handle. I can play the ATS® R-L-R pattern all day long, or at least until my wrists drop off. I can even walk with it. But with ATS®, whenever you are doing a “fast” move, you are zilling. At least there is ONE primary zill pattern, triplets (R-L-R or Dum-tek-tek) played with most moves, and one supplemental pattern, Military, (R-L-R R-L-R R-L-R-L-R-L-R) played with two specific moves. Then rarely there is the Moroccan 6/8 pattern of R-l-r-L-r-l played ONLY in special situations for slow moves — the exception to “zills with fast, no zills with slow.” Sound confusing? Not as bad as you think.

Until you get to the two moves with which you use that Military pattern. Up-Tw0-Down-Three isn’t that bad; it’s just two hip bumps up, then three down. But the other, the Reach-and-Sit, with footwork, balance shifts, hip bumping, and arms going back and forth, all while zilling…HOLY CRAP. My brain exploded at that one.

We finally got a break with some slow moves. Circle step I sort of knew, but needed to tweak it for ATS® style; the same with torso twists. The slow turns were a matter of learning the specific cues for three different turns — not so bad, really, once you learned to give and read the cues. Plus they are slow turns so don’t make you dizzy.

We had touched on the fast move Turkish Shimmies in the morning, but the afternoon followed up with all kinds of variations of arms, turns, spins, you name it, each with its own subtleties. Compared to that the single bump & double hip bump were a piece of cake.

We ended the day with an introduction to and practice with “the chorus.” It was not merely how to line up. Entering the center from the chorus and exiting back to the chorus are key! It is nice to know that the chorus follows the K.I.S.S. principle in terms of the moves being done. Basically with slow songs, you either taxeem or body wave, with maybe a circle step thrown in. Fast moves — no turns, no wild arm movements — there is no space!! Whew! Sounds easy? Well, not so much when you’re part of the chorus for a fifteen minute set, playing zills most of the time and trying desperately to keep those arms and elbows UP. I need to work on those muscles…a lot.

Again, I headed home & plopped when I got there. The body was pooped out, but the brain wouldn’t shut up because there was SO much to process before Day 3.