Frustration. Exhaustion. Bitterness. Relief. These are just some of the emotions people express (or repress) when they feel proper technique at work. It’s hard! I remember my frustration when I found out I’d been dancing “wrong” for years!? “Why didn’t they teach me this in the first place?! Why train my muscles the wrong way?!” There are a variety of answers to these questions (none of which change the past) but the most honest is – dancers are built.
Becoming a good dancer takes time. It takes effort. It takes getting the correct information when you’re ready for it. You’ll hear lots of things throughout your dance training, some of it will be a direct contradiction, especially where beginner group classes are involved. Beginners, I love you, (I was one of you for three years) but we teachers have to say a lot of things to keep you from poking someone’s eye out with your enthusiasm. (Believe me, I was the worst perpetrator of all things beginner!) As you build knowledge, body control, and awareness – we get to dig deeper into what it truly means to dance with a partner.
The good news is, if you can hack it, the payoff is amazing! I recently taught some of my students advanced connection on the cross body lead (yes, that step you got bored with in beginner class but I said you needed to be able to do in your sleep) and they were amazed! I can’t describe the difference in writing because you probably wouldn’t believe me until you felt it for yourself. Let me try by saying: it’s like box wine versus a fine Cabernet. Sure, we’re happy to be drinking wine, but once we have that Cab…we don’t ever go back to the box!
But because dance is muscle memory, sometimes it feels like you’ve spilled that fine Cabernet all over you and made a big ole mess. Old habits sneak back in, especially when the song is fast, and next thing you know you’re focusing so hard on trying to get your weight over the correct part of your foot you can’t even remember the steps to a basic. (Don’t laugh, and don’t judge, it happens to Everyone!) Relax! Sometimes to clean things up, you have to start by making a bigger mess. Enjoy the mess.
See you on the hardwood:)