Sharing The Joy Of Dancing

THE EVOLUTION OF A BALLROOM DANCER


Ballroom dancing is just like any other sport. You learn how it works mechanically, and then thru practice, it develops into smooth and natural movements. The unique part of this sport is that you have two heads and four legs. This changes the very fundamental way that you move. Men and women learn partnership dancing very differently. In general, men learn from the "floor up" (mechanically). Ladies on the other hand, learn from the "music down" (by feeling).

Somewhere back in time, it was decided that the man would lead and the lady would follow. I like to think of it as the man leads and the lady participates in the lead (enhances it). Unfortunately, the lady can only dance as well as the man leads.

This is a difficult task for the lady. She has to "feel" what to do when her partner is a good leader, then she has to change her mental process and try to "guess" what to do (or even lead) if the man has a non-existent lead. The lady does this to survive.

Men have a lot on their plate too. They have to initiate movement, dance their other half, plan ahead, maintain the character of the dance, find a path on the floor, listen to the music, etc. Each of these evolves and becomes part of his dancing over time.

Men in particular, seem to think that once they are exposed to a dance pattern they should be able to do it immediately. If they would look back when they learned how to dribble a basketball, they would realize that they knew immediately how to do it intellectually, but couldn't do it very well physically. However, they would practice relentlessly until they could develop a pretty good feeling of being able to dribble. Then they would continue to work on dribbling as long as they played basketball. Once you can dribble without too much thinking about it, you add: looking for open players, taking a shot, running plays, etc. Ballroom dancing is learned in the same manner. It evolves, like any other sport.

Women have different problems. Most of the time women come from a background of free style dancing, ballet, jazz, tap, etc. (solo types of sports). Women usually have the coordination and fluidity of movement, but they get into trouble in their thinking. Women are used to knowing what they are going to do next. In partnership dancing, the lady has to completely change how she thinks. She is responding to a lead not determining on her own what she is going to do. This is a huge change in her mental process. The lady must change from "knowing" what to do, to "feeling" what to do. It is very sad to know that most women have never ever felt a good lead.

You can't just flip a switch and you become a ballroom dancer. Ballroom dancers evolve over time. If you ask world class dancers: Are you good dancers? I'm sure the answer would be: "We're working on it". The more you know about ballroom dancing, the more you realize there is more to know. The unknown doesn't get smaller; it keeps getting bigger the more you know.

Let ballroom dancing evolve at it's own pace. You will pick up something's faster than others (just like in life). Do the best that you can and let stick what sticks. The next time it will be easier and easier. Enjoy the learning process because there is no end. Remember:"There is no wrong in ballroom dancing as long as you are having fun and no one gets hurt". The more your dancing evolves the more enjoyable it becomes.