Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Is dancing with poor dancers good manners or good practice?

I was back out again the other night and for the second time running, managed to dance to pretty much every song with the exception of about three. Now I wouldn’t flatter myself that I was the best dancer there by any means – in fact I was distinctly average but I think it might have partly been my decision to ask and dance with everyone –including a couple of beginners who had just tried their first class. Now I agree this is less pleasant for me and can be a bit of a challenge but I was trying to follow the advice of S – one of my school’s advanced leaders. He had danced with me the previous week and told me that I wasn’t feeling the energy from my partner when I danced. He said that I needed to ‘locate’ this energy and then channel it into my moves. So far so good, but then he said it was all too easy to do this with a good leader but that if I really wanted to improve I should try and locate this energy in all my leaders, even the bad ones (!)

So this is what I tried to do the other night but I must confess that sometimes it was very, very hard and quite often I felt like we were both just doing our own thing while holding hands. Unfortunately, being on the dance floor meant that it was too tempting to ‘fill in’ the moves or ‘help out’ when my leader started floundering (both for their sake and mine); and now I’m wondering if I might have actually hindered my learning by dancing this way? At the end of the night however, a couple of the beginners leaders came up to me and said how much they had enjoyed dancing with me and ‘thanked’ me for dancing with them, making me wonder how many other dances they had managed?

So how should you behave at a milonga? Should I put up with poor dancers in the hope that I will be learning something from them or should I start to be more stringent and go for quality rather than quantity? Isn’t that a bit harsh on the newbies? And after all everyone is a beginner at some stage aren’t they?


Drina x

PS: On a side note, you never know which beginner will become an excellent leader so surely my good manners now might bode me well for the future!

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