While giving some dance instruction and watching some of our students learn new Bolero steps in a dance class, I started paying close attention as to why one step was just not flowing as I wanted. I saw that many ladies were a little ahead of the guys and were stepping before the guys were.
Was she anticipating??
Was she not following??
Was he late??
Was he out of rhythm??
Was she too fast??
Was he not leading???
Whether it is a she or a he, it does not matter. There is a role: a leader and a follower, and we want to help create leaders and followers that can be that also out of a dance class with partners they have never met. But should we always be in one role??? When we teach we always say, that some times the leader becomes a follower and needs to see what the follower proposes, on purpose or by accident, and create something with that. So in that case followers also become leaders and vice versa.
Yet knowing all that, and showing all the tools to lead and follow this step, did not answer my question:
Why is this step not flowing?? Why it does not look they way I think it should look?? And I’m sure it did not feel the way I think it should feel.
Bolero is a close, passionate dance, where very good balance and leading and following skills play a big role. To learn the steps is not hard, or so it seems, but to make it look like your flying takes time and work to master. We need to always keep the motion going to keep the floating feeling, like you are not touching the ground until the songs ends. This is true for many dances but you can specially feel that in Bolero, as it is so close and slow.
So what was missing?? and then I started thinking, maybe we are scared of the unknown. Leaders want to know patterns so they know what to do next. Followers want to know the steps, so they can prepare for what is coming. Sometimes we rather know something, that guess about something. We really don’t worry as much whether something is good or bad when we know. We worry more when we don’t know. When we know something bad is going to happen or has already happened, we may be sad for a bit. But after some time, most people try to make the best of the situation, by changing their behaviors and attitudes. It’s tough, however, to come to terms with circumstances whose terms we don’t yet know. But if we are certain about everything, some may feel more secure, but eventually a lot of us will become bored, uninterested, with no illusion, or passion.
Think of a dancer that performs the same steps over and over in the same order. It can be the best leader of the world, you will eventually get bored, of dancing or watching. Think of a follower that does the same shines all the time, those shines, stop shinning after a while!! So maybe that fear of the unknown is what made this follower step too soon, not allowing the leader to create something different… and fly.
In dance as in life, we need certainty to feel secure, confident, to apply what we know, what we have learned, but we also need a “certain” amount of uncertainty, to have interest in what we do, to feel passion about something or someone, to be inspired, to be intrigued or to feel life has something new to offer.
So where is the balance??
I think like in life, we need to find it by ourselves, because it will be different for everyone. Some people want more security in life and every penny they earn goes into a savings account. Some people want more risk and they invest in Stock. These applies to every part of life and so to dancing. There is not right or wrong. But if you keep a dance too “secure”, you will never fly!! You will get stuck doing the same things and sometimes dancing with the same partners. Again, nothing wrong with that. You decide how high you want to fly. I suggest, you step away from your comfort zone, and try new things aside from what you learned in a dance class. For leaders, try and experiment, something different in every dance, even if it is just the order of a combination, or the speed in which you perform it, to tune up your piloting skills, and don’t get annoyed if your partner does not follow you. Use that chance to see what else you can do to get her to follow you. For followers,stay on the tip of your toes, waiting to see what will come, even if your partner is not doing what you want. You could be surprised at what can happen.
Mix some uncertainty in your dance and…
Get ready to fly!!!