Saturday, January 19, 2008

Guys: Sorry Only When It Hurts

Guys: Quit saying you’re sorry when you make a mistake! I used to do it all the time until Edie the Salsa Freak set me straight. She told me, in so many words, to “Shut up and dance,” although her delivery was much nicer. Something about a gray-haired guy acting like a scared little kid didn't do it for her.

As you dance with much better follows, there is a point where you realize that if they miss something, it’s probably because of your lead. In the beginning, it can be painfully obvious where the problem lies with these more advanced follows. You can even see the problem in the mirror some nights.

Watch the more mature leads, and you’ll see they make their share of mistakes and have plenty of moves which don’t work as they originally intended. They don’t say “sorry” or start crying; they find something to bring it back, even if it’s simply a grin and start over. Some of them even act like it’s their partners fault. (I don’t recommend that, but you see it happen all the time.) More mature leads dance with confidence and most follows find that attractive, assuming you don’t cross the line into arrogance.

Saying your "sorry" more than once or twice a dance makes your lead weaker. It’s especially bad if your follow didn’t notice, and now you’re pointing it out to them with a big, obvious sign. Instead of focusing on where you’re going, they start thinking about what you missed, not the place you want to go.

The point is to just be a guy and move on. Laugh about it if you can, grin and lead something simple until you are back on track. A cross body lead or a simple under-arm turn almost always works.

The exception to the rule: If you hurt or potentially hurt someone, sorry is appropriate. This applies to your partner or someone dancing next to you.

Other than that, just let your mistakes go, move on and find something to get back to dancing. Saying “sorry” is a losing strategy unless pain is involved. Otherwise, it makes you look weaker and less confident, and few ladies want to dance with weak leads.
Great works are performed not by speed or strength but perseverance.
-Samuel Johnson

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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero