Dancing. A way to develop personally.

A big passion of mine started in 2017 when I learned few steps of bachata and salsa from a Swedish and Dutch friends correspondingly.

In the next year I decided to make it a hobby and joined a dance school.

A few personal thoughts on it now that I have almost a year into it.

Respect

I remember on a workshop about Semba this summer that the professor just simply said:

“Guys, a word. More then ever respect your partner. This is not just some showoff. So hands in the right places and enjoy the workshop”.

The point is not about the hands but the respect you must give to the person you are gonna dance with whenever you know her/him or not. That will give the proper conditions to focus on the dance.

Perspective

Dancing is often associated as a hobbie for girls. It is far away from that. As you learn more and more you realize that it can be a sport, an activity that creates good habits in your mind and finally a connection between two persons that are mechanically in sync while dancing.

Leadership

This can be divided in leading and getting lead. The leader, usually the men (no sexism intended) has to lead and pass the message properly while the partner has to understand the message that was sent and coordinate properly. As experience it might be interesting to try both sides to see how hard it can be from each perspective

As time progress you might see opportunities for both parts to lead / get lead which can make it a bit confusing initially.

Finally one situation I noticed was the struggle some partners had to give in to trust myself. The leading part takes time and effort to accomplish and you will fail many times.

Communication

Most of the time, if there is no coordination with the partner it is the men’s fault.

Communication is key in many fields in life that distinguishs a good from a bad job.

In here the scale is increased exponencially because there is no such thing as a “so-so” performance. There are ways to hide it so it isn’t so ugly but I find it no so trustworthy.

It is not hard when you get the hang of it however in similar moves there the signals can also be identical leading the partner to do the wrong course of moves.

When the communication is perfect you can see for yourself the connectivity that exists.

Small steps

Even if you are a short person you might have the tendency of doing a bit too much on the distance traveled between moves. As my teacher says:

it is ugly and just complicates your life.

Try short and concise steps and you will see a huge difference in time to learn.

Thinking present not future

A common mistake that I can relate is the rush on doing the next step without focusing on the one you are doing currently. That just increases the difficult on the leader. Making transitions between moves can be challenging and should be tried when the current move feels natural, in my opinion.

Ambition

With a routine you want to learn more and more in a faster pace or doing it perfectly. This desire of being better and get to learn faster comes with every hour you practice it. But that comes with a price.

The class moves by its worse learner.

And for some people it can be a serious issue. You can get frustrated or just quit because you are not improving for a long time. I found out that for me the way to resolve this issue was to try out classes with more experience and had extra workshops to keep me busy learning new moves.

Mitigating Frustration

What about when it is you not improving?
Myself, in salsa uff… where there are a lots of concepts involved such the count with small pauses, signaling, pushing away and back almost simultaneously.

Even though sometimes I finish the class feeling like an idiot I know that with practice I will manage it. Mindset is key in this cases.

Don’t be a robot

This is a common mistake on new learners. I have the tendency on focusing in my sequence of steps in order to look good without paying attention to other aspects.

You are not a robot just doing some computer instructions. You also have the opportunity to be creative and increase the connectivity with the one you are dancing with. It slowly changes.

Overcoming Fear

Just like me most of us don’t have the courage to add or change that small thing that we think it will makes us feel better. I remember not showing up on the first dance class because I thought it was not worth it but looking back? I was wrong big time.

Trying new adventures in order to increase your confort zone.

Never Giving UP.

Dance = Fun Moments, Exercise, Happiness and New Friends that are willing to help you learn.

If you are in Portugal and you have some curiosity about this, you can always find some schools or workshops to try. In case you are in the north of Portugal my school is everywhere looking for new people to join the club.

Paulo, Apprentice in the “Pé de Dança” dance school.

Software Programmer, Youth Facilitator, Idea Maker