Friday, June 27, 2008

Good or bad?

I was talking with a beginner follower last night and she mentioned that she can't tell yet who are the good dancers. That is an excellent point, because I distinctly remember the people who I thought they were good dancers when I started, and in some cases I am ashamed ...

The woman in question obviously had more common sense then I had, because she was aware of her inability to tell. So, if you are a beginner follower, how can you tell, and, does it matter?

I'll tackle the "Does it matter" question first. In my opinion, yes it does. Dancing with a leader who doesn't respect your axis, who will push/pull/shove instead of leading, who steps with absolutely no relation to the music (and sadly, there are many of them), not only will not help you get better, but it would likely make you a worst dancer. Also, most of these people are also dangerous (to dance with/around). Another beginner follower who I advised to accept dances only from select people she said "but, then I will sit most of the night". And you might, but your dance will be better for it. In addition, when you accept dances with these clowns, those are also the times when the better dancers can't ask you, since you are on the floor. Many advanced dancers will dance with beginners for various reasons, the most common being to better the community. But it's unlikely they will go out of their way to seek out the ones that are never available. Also, an advanced dancer will be more likely to ask a discerning beginner.

How do you tell who is good? Hmm. OK, look for the following :

a) Elegance of movement
b) Their movements are correlated to the feel of the music (not to mention the beat)
c) They pause, savor the moment
d) They look stable, balanced, always in control of their limbs

How do you tell who is bad? Well, in addition to not having any of the qualities above, they also :

a) execute a volcada/colgada/sacada every 500ms
b) look like they will be crashing into walls or the floor any second now
c) cause their followers have a panicked look on their face
d) look at their feet
e) bump into people every minute
f) anyone executing ANYTHING that has their follower with both feet in the air at the same time at a milonga (as opposed to a performance).

So what do you do when one of these clowns are asking for a dance? Just say "No, thank you". If they have any class at all, they will not ask you again. Sometimes it may take a few "No, thank you" to fend them off completely. Conversely, do not say "No, thank you" to people you may want to dance with at some point in the future.

Feel free to come to talk to me about this. Obviously all the statements above are my opinion only, others may disagree. So ...

g) anyone who disagrees with me

just kidding!