Of course, you can get some great dances with the stronger dancers in the room. Some dancers will seek you out regularly, knowing you're one of the stronger partners. There are many advantages and it beats having potential partners run for the hills when they see you're in their zip code.
However, some people lose the joy in dancing over time, because they are always looking for increased complexity, and that levels off as you mature. The landscape changes as your dancing becomes stronger. Like an addict searching for a new high, we often seek out partners and who dance "more" and the air becomes thinner as you advance.
Some more experienced dancers sit out half the night, talking with friends and socializing because they aren't excited about dancing with less mature partners. That's fine, as the clubs are a social scene, but it is hard to talk over the music at most clubs. (Many do it anyway.) Sometimes they only find a few people they actually want to dance with, even if the room is nearly full of other people dancing.
It doesn't have to be that way.
More complexity doesn't equal "better dancing", and in the social scene, it's often inappropriate with the music playing at the moment. After a lead spins his partner 6 times, spinning her 12 or 24 times isn't two to four times more fun for the follow. It actually gets boring at some point, and a world-class follow once told me she thinks, "OK... I can spin as much as you want, so how about we dance?"
When you hang out with world-class musicians, dancers or athletes, you find they often approach things differently. While they constantly push to develop extreme technical abilities, they also find a joy in performing "simple" skills, but doing them exceptionally well.
They refocus on refining the details, and they never stop improving their foundational movements. The best also learn how to enjoy practicing itself, looking for incremental gains and new challenges to keep them fresh.
Experienced artists know that what you leave out is often as important as what you leave in the art. Contrast creates emotion, and the wider the range, the better.
Once dancers have a wide range of complex dance skills, the best are content and confident enough to save them for the right moments. Most also make a more in-depth study of the music and refine their listening skills, knowing you can't dance to music you're not hearing. Cross-training other dances is also popular among more seasoned dancers. This provides a fresh perspective, new challenges and venues for growth.
Almost everybody can improve their connections with their partners and the music, but that only happens if your focus is there. (That can also happen as a near beginner, but most newer dancers are focused on the movements.) With maturity you find yourself refining little things others may not directly notice, along with enjoying the journey itself.
Sometimes it's as simple as smiling more, paying more attention to your partner's moods and reactions, and finding graceful ways to cover for your less experienced partners (AKA "making your partner look better"). For some it's expanding their dance horizon by adding another dance style, or taking classes from different instructors. You have to find your own path to fun and it's an individual journey.
Don't expect it to always be "more fun" unless you find it yourself. Many people improve to the above average point, then lose interest and go off to take up another activity, even when there is lots of room to grow.
As you improve, the number of partners who share your complexity skills goes down, but the fun and growth don't have to be reduced.
Let me know what you're doing to keep the joy in your dancing.
Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."Suggested Videos:
- Charles Schultz (Peanuts)
Music4Dancers: Free YouTube Musicality Series
This site and the Music4Dancers video series are supported by your donations. No other ads!
All contributions appreciated!
Connect with me:
Facebook.com/UnlikelySalsero ("Like" the page)
Follow me on Twitter (@UnlikelySalsero)
Originally published in Jan 2010. I've tweaked a few things before the republish.