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The Learning of Social Dance – A little psychology, and a few comments

img_2839Learning a new social dance is (to use a cliché word), a real journey. A journey in your own body, your mind and soul. Our ability to adapt to each other, lead and follow, is amazing when you think of it. How to tune in into each other and submerge yourself into a two-some, in dance. Under the years I been practicing social dancing, at all levels – I am beginner at some dances, intermediate at others, and advanced at others ( if you can call 20 years of experience for advanced); I’ve had time to reflect and, be amazed at what I have accomplished to learn, the fears that I have overcome, and the lovely friends I’ve met – the friend topic is enough material for a new article. This time I am using a malignous tone on a few topics, not to mock anyone, but to laugh at the situation, since I’ve found myself at some point, in it. Some thoughts, here we go:

More is more: Sometimes the most enjoyable dances are the ones with the leader trying less combinations. Few, clean combinations, elegantly done can be far more interesting than more, stressed combinations, which end up in a stressed follower – and dizziness. Try check here: Is she/he smiling or not? The smile is a sign of having a good time, which should be why you dance in the first place. A way to dare do more complicated moves on the dance floor could be a private practice, or try introduce them on the social dance little by little. Don’t feel bad if they don’t work on your first attempts: Relax, reset, and start over. And remember, Less is more.

To get better I need to dance with dancers that are more advanced than me: Well, besides of being not solidary, it is not necessarily true. Yes, you might get a very interesting perspective when you are dancing with a very advanced dancer. But what you might not notice is that it feels like you are king or queen of the floor, because of the advanced dancer’s ability to compensate for what you still lack. In fact, many advanced dancers like and enjoy dancing with beginners, because it gives them a challenge: how to make my leading so clear that it is infallible. For you that want to improve, you need this challenge. Either as a leader or as a follower. You need to practice with everybody, get the experience from whoever is dancing with you. And to learn the most important technique of them all: the joy!. Remember: All practice is good practice.

To learn better I need to go to teachers that dazzled me on their amazing, one-thousand-flips-on-the-air-show. “Excuse me while I yawn”- [yawn]–This would be me during one of these shows – I rather go to a circus when I want to see flips in the air, I think they go better with a drum roll than with music, most of the times. Some of the best teachers are perhaps not the most impressive ones on show time. By best, I refer to get the students to comprehend and improve the dance quickly, smoothly, and individually. To help you bring out the dance from within you. And on the other hand, some of the most impressive dancers on show need to improve on how to reach out to students. Some lucky ones are both combined!! So my guess is that this is a relative matter, and that you can ALWAYS learn something from every teacher. So give the good show performers a big round of applause, they deserve it for the good job, but don’t believe you will learn what they do through Osmosis.

Yours Truly,

Lili

Sorry for the contrived language, here is a syllabus:

Infallible: That never fails

Impart: To teach

Osmosis: Vital process in microbiological beings that helps them get nourishment through a semipermeable membrane.