Life has a way of intervening – consequently I had to put this blog on hold for several months. I am back now with lots to share about my learning journey into dance, bodywork and connections. Over the next few weeks, in no particular order, I’ll be sharing my lessons learned, insights and a few tips and hints.
When I started ballroom dancing with my husband ten years ago, we were looking for new ways to have some fun together. We naively thought we could learn how to dance in a few lessons. Yes, we did learn some basic steps to fox trot, rumba and tango. And then we discovered that there are so many fun dances, that even to learn the basic steps would take lots of lessons – and we were hooked – at least I was.
Looking back, that first year was about learning steps and beginning the journey of partnering. I say beginning because I am still learning how to be a better partner (more on the partnering path in future blogs).
This partnering thing was particularly difficult for me as all of my previous dance experience – ballet, belly dancing, etc. — had been as a solo “performer”. What do you mean I have to wait for someone else to “lead” the step?
Intellectually I understood the concept of waiting for my partner to lead. However, getting my mind/body to wait was another story – especially since I tend to learn patterns of steps quite quickly. My natural tendencies were: 1) to anticipate the lead and move ahead on my own or 2) to back lead, meaning to “help” my partner complete the pattern of the step. Neither of these approaches is beneficial to your partner or to your dancing partnership. Your partner never gets to learn how how to best lead certain moves, whatever the dance, and you never learn how to appropriately feel and interpret the leads.
And, ladies, on a deeper level, we have to examine our own need to get it “right” so that the dancing looks good to others. So ask yourself, how is your desire to look good on the dance floor impacting your partnering? How is that need interfering with letting your partner learn to lead? How is that need interfering with your ability to follow?