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Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

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Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  ashishsax on Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:31 pm



Seven Habits of Highly
Enjoyable Dancers

by Karin Norgard

What sets apart the average dancer from the enjoyable
dancer, the dancer you could dance with again and again without getting bored,
the kind that leaves you thinking about the dance for days? Here are my top
seven, the intangible qualities that distinguish the person who is a dancer in
every sense of the word. Though many of these qualities overlap, and it is often
difficult to separate one from the other, these qualities are the keys to a
deeply satisfying social dance experience.


Connection. Partner dancing of any kind is a conversation.
A conversation requires the input and teamwork of two people. You can't have a
conversation if only one person speaks while the other listens. Instead, a
conversation requires a constant give and take, call and response. Connection
means a responsiveness to the other person, creating a dance that compliments
the two of you. It also means forming a connection with the other person, being
open to their interpretation of the music, their style of movement, their
personality on the dance floor. This acceptance and trust is required of all
dancers, from beginners to professionals. It is the glue that holds the dance
together.


Lead & Follow. Leading and following are each unique
skill sets that require much knowledge and practice. Leading well requires
attention to the technical details of the dance, including the precise placement
of the body and its parts, correct timing of the leads, and a constant
creativity to connect the movements together to create a cohesive dance.
Following, on the other hand, requires a deep responsiveness, an acceptance of
the lead, technical precision in the angles of the turns and spins, and a unique
interpretation and styling within the moves that are led. When the leader and
the follower are committed to their roles in the partnership, there is an
electric energy that flows between them. But this can't happen without the basic
framework of the dance: the basic structure of the steps and the music as well
as the techniques required of both leader and
follower.


Body Movement. No two bodies move the same. The body
movement of each person - from the ankles and feet to the knees and hips to the
ribcage and shoulders - are like the uniqueness of a fingerprint. Blindfold an
experienced social dancer and have them dance with five different people that he
or she has danced with on a regular basis, and he or she will be able to
identify each one immediately based on their body movement. Though technique can
teach a dancer to move their body smoothly, they will still develop their own
unique style of movement based on their level and type of training, previous
movement experience, personality, and tastes. Though an experienced dancer may
change his or her body movement to a certain extent based on their mood and the
feel of the music, he or she still maintains a unique style of body movement
that may be remembered by their partner long after the dance is over.

Musicality. If partner dancing is a conversation, then the
song that is playing is the topic of the conversation. The music provides the
tempo, sets the mood, and inspires the moves, the syncopations, and the styling.
It allows two people to come together and explore its elements together, each
sharing their own bodily interpretation of the music. As with body movement,
each person has a unique interpretation of the song that can't be replicated,
not by another person nor by the same person with the same song at a later time.
Each dance is (or should be) a spontaneous creation in response to the richness
and complexity of the music. This comes not just from knowledge of the music,
but from a deep love for the music that comes from constant listening, adoring,
exploring, and meditating.


Building. You wouldn't reveal intimate details of your life
to a person at the very beginning of a conversation, and the best dancers don't
do so at the beginning of a song. Music also follows this principle; songs don't
begin with the most exciting parts at the beginning and then slow down at the
end. Music builds. It starts out with a few verses and the first chorus and
introduces itself, little by little, hinting at what is to come. In many salsa
songs, for example, this developing and building happens until a minute and a
half to two minutes into the song, when the music explodes and all that was
hinted at lets loose and reveals itself. This is where the musicians break free
and improvise, and the music starts kicking. These principles that apply to
conversation and music also apply to dancing. The enjoyable leaders don't pull
out a bunch of fancy moves as soon as they start dancing, trying to impress
their partner with the number of moves they know and how fast they can spin
their partner. Instead, they get to know their partner and the music, and build
in intensity as the connection and the music build.

Expression. Every choice we make in life influences as well
as expresses who we are. Dancing is no different. The way we dance - from our
body movement to our musicality to our connection with others - expresses our
personality and our values. In turn, our movement and musical choices also
influence us and become part of who we are. It is this merging of body and mind,
dance and identity, that makes dance so exciting and satisfying. The creativity
and self-expression that allows us to know ourselves as well as others is a
unique aspect of any spontaneous creative or physical endeavor. Dancers who are
trying to impress an audience or who are too self-conscious of their appearance
fail to connect with their partner in a cooperative act of expression. Instead,
it is the honest dancers that are a joy to their partners and their
audience.


Enjoyment. There are many qualities that come together to
create the enjoyable dancer, but the ultimate requirement is the enjoyment of
the dance, the in-the-moment quality that makes time stand still and fly by all
at the same time. The ultimate purpose of pursuing the study of social dance -
from the techniques of leading and following to the understanding of the music
to the practice of moves and combinations and syncopations - is the maximum
enjoyment of dancing for its own sake. This only happens when the dancer looks
beneath the outward "cool" factor of salsa or tango and instead pursues the
deeper aspects of connection, physicality, musicality and expression. That
dancer is not motivated by fame or attention or bragging rights but by a deeper
attraction to molding a unique creation with another person that can never be
repeated. This one-of-a-kind unique experience is the joy of the truly enjoyable
dancer.


This article is from
the April issue of
Joy in Motion
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Re: Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  AnandMajumdar on Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:36 pm

excellent ashish, excellent

thank you.. the credit for the success of this forum is only to ppl like you

your brother
anand
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AnandMajumdar
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Re: Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  HANA (Bhawana Ahuja) on Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:13 am

What an article!
It is among the fine articles I have read so far.
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HANA (Bhawana Ahuja)
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Re: Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  Kingshuk on Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:55 am

Hey Ashish, excellent ! ... Goes to show that there is soul in your salsa...a little more study always helps and this insight will help people understand the finer points and execute the combinations better. Hope to see more such stuff from you bro Smile
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Re: Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  Joy in Motion on Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:52 am

I am very excited to see that a couple of my articles have made it all the way from Anchorage, Alaska in the United States to a salsa forum in India! I have been browsing your forum and, while I do not live in India, I hope you don't mind my participation from time to time. It's always great to "meet" new people who share the same passion for dance. Good to read comments from all of you, and great job on the forum! Wink
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Re: Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  AnandMajumdar on Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:01 pm

dear sir/madam,

your presence is very very appreciated Very Happy ..welcome.. pls do enrich our forum with your valuable content.. i read your article and was very impressed myself ..

me or any of the mods are always willing to help for any query

would you like a section for youself and your thoughts so u can categorize it and moderate it like you please..?

anand
friendly admin
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Re: Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  ashishsax on Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:11 pm

dear Joy In Motion,

I suppose you are Karin..(kindly correct me if i'm wrong)
its such a pleasure to see you here.. Very Happy i am a huge fan of your articles
and a frequent visitor to your site..
i'm very much excited to see you here bounce
do keep posting!!!
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Re: Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  Guest on Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:49 am

really good article! i do have one thing to say regarding point 5, about the music gradually building up and then cutting loose deep into the song... i love it when that happens (altho i can't say that my dancing is good enuf to shift into that zen mode along with the music) but i also have listened to quite a few songs i like that begin with a bang but gradually taper out to a more or less regular rhythm. in fact, i have played around with some of these kind of tracks by cutting a portion from the beginning and adding them at the end to extend the 'good' parts. i mean all of us must have come across tracks which sound brilliant when they start but which we feel like restarting once its played for a cpl of mins or so... any pointers on how a good dancer should interpret these kind of tracks? then, of course, there are tracks which start with a bang and show no signs of running out of ammunition, exploding every now and again during its entire length (immigrant song by led zeppelin is a great example, altho its not salsa... salsa tracks like cachondea and arinanara also are of this type, imo)

Guest
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Re: Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  Joy in Motion on Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:01 am

Thank you all for the warm responses. I apologize for the delay in responding, but I have been out of town and just recently returned. But I'm glad to be back...

Yes, ashishsax, this is Karin. I use Joy in Motion for my website and all of my usernames, but you can call me either/or. I am glad to hear that you enjoy my articles. I welcome your feedback anytime. I don't have a place to post comments on my site as of yet, so I definitely enjoy hearing from readers and exchanging ideas on connection, musicality, flow, etc.

Anand, thank you for the kind welcome. My own section? Wow... That would be great if you think your members would be interested. I think you have a great setup, and I very much enjoy the forum as is. But there are definitely specific concepts that I like to explore and discuss, so I would enjoy that very much. Just let me know. Thanks!
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Re: Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  AnandMajumdar on Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:23 pm

we would be honored ma'am!

your personal space is ready on the home page and you are moderator for it too.. in addition you would now be able to see the moderators lounge at the bottom of the page.. welcome to the family ma'am:)

anand


Last edited by AnandMajumdar on Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AnandMajumdar
Founder - QuickstepSALSA Forum
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Re: Seven Habits of Highly Enjoyable Dancers

Post  AnandMajumdar on Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:27 pm

dear admin / moderators,

pls move all of Joy in Motions posts to her section and then let her categorize it the way she wants to.. thanks

anand
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AnandMajumdar
Founder - QuickstepSALSA Forum
Founder - QuickstepSALSA Forum

Male
Number of posts : 551
Location : Mumbai, India
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50 / 10050 / 100

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