Sharing The Joy Of Dancing



WHAT IS THE LURE OF BALLROOM DANCING?


All of us have seen Ballroom Dancers in ball gowns and tuxedos effortlessly flowing around the dance floor and Latin and Rhythm dancers performing with power and precision. The seamless movement of these dancers and the powerful music associated with the movement of these dances are awe inspiring. Most of us can envision ourselves as being one of these dancers. As awe inspiring as it is to watch these dancers, actually performing these dances are beyond what you can imagine.

Whether you are a competitive dancer or a social dancer, it makes no difference. It's not about the look, it's about the feel. Each different dance (Waltz, Bolero, Tango, Swing, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, etc., etc.) creates a different feeling. Waltz has a swooping up and down feeling, Bolero has a slow rotating powerful connected feeling, Tango has a sharp, powerful staccato movement and Swing has a playful turning, rotating movement, etc., etc. Each dance has its own distinctive characteristics.

The goal is to take two people, put them together in a partnership and perform the specific dance associated with the music that is playing. Each dance has its own unique style of music. The partnership coordinates the movements of the two dancers to the music. Ballroom Dancing is a physical experience, not a mental exercise. At the higher levels of Ballroom Dancing it is all about the union of two partners experiencing the physical pleasure of a "Singularity" moving around the floor with power, grace, and music. A Singularity is a two-headed four-legged entity. The object is to combine the partnership in such a way that the two dancers evolve into a single entity, the Singularity.

Physicality is feeling physical touch and experiencing physical pleasure. Unfortunately, in today's society the word "pleasure" has mostly a sexual connotation. Actually physical pleasure is:" an awareness of a state of enjoyment on or in your body" (A good back scratch, the taste of really good food, a warm shower, a delicious drink, etc., etc.). In the case of Ballroom Dancing, physical pleasure is the movement of two people in a partnership (ultimately a Singularity).

The movement we are talking about is not about two people walking down the street holding hands. It is a coordinated action of Physicality, Strength, Balance, Counter-Balance and Power. Add to this Class, Elegance and Grace and you have something very special. Put this all together with Smooth, Flowing, Slow, Quick, Nimble and Powerful movements and you have a snap shot of Ballroom Dancing.

The Ballroom Dancer has to be Smart, Quick, Strong, Aware, Feeling, Coordinated and Fluid. In addition, they must be able to co-exist with a partner in very close quarters. This is why it is important that the partnership evolve into a Singularity. A Singularity results when two dancers evolve into a single four-legged entity. Complex Ballroom movements become pretty much routine when performed as a Singularity.

Now take all of the above and add MUSIC. The music is the catalyst for everything that is going on in Ballroom Dancing. The music is the conductor of the Singularity. The dancers interpret the music and translate it into the feeling, emotion and movement for a specific dance. It dictates the timing (Fast, Slow, Variable, etc.) and the character (Rise and Fall, Smooth movement, Staccato Power, Steady Power, Rotational Power, etc., etc.) of the specific dance. The Singularity's movement is its interpretation of the particular song. At the higher levels of Ballroom Dancing, the physical core of the Singularity has a single interpretation whereas the top line of the Singularity may have one or two interpretations. The music solidifies the single entity of the Singularity.

It is interesting to observe Ballroom Dancers reaction to different music. When the music is really good there is all of this energy and seemingly effortless movement but when the music is not so good, you can almost see confusion in the Singularity and a real concentrated effort to try to decipher and adapt to the music.

I think that a lot of the "LURE" of Ballroom Dancing is that it is such a beautiful and pure activity. I've heard it said many times that no matter your education, your occupation, your worth, your social status, etc., etc., "You really haven't achieved CLASS until you have become a Ballroom Dancer."