Social dancing and competitive dancing are not different.
(Oh, duh, I know they are, but the point of today's post is how they are the same.)
Sometimes, I field comments from strictly social dancers about how competitive dancers only know how to dance choreography, then the competitive dancers complain about how social dancers don't have any technique.
Both of these are true, sometimes.
It seems like the ones complaining are often the problem, so... Yeah...
Social and competitive dancing are both under the umbrella of "ballroom dancing". Both require a general knowledge of rhythms and patterns to coordinate with particular kinds of music.
Competitive dancing is based on social dancing, showing a more theatrical, obvious version of the characteristics of each dance. Competitive dancing often (never always) uses choreography (a predetermined routine) to showcase the dance.
Social dancing is a spontaneous mix of steps and "moves" that change with each song, partner, and dance.
Both require technique.
BOTH REQUIRE TECHNIQUE.
Competitive dancers should be concerned with technique. Having the best technique on the floor often is the difference between 1st and 2nd place.
Social dancers need to be concerned with technique, so they can communicate with their partners properly.
- posture- erect posture (head held high, neck long, tummy pulled in) sends a clear signal of body weight to your partner; bad posture makes it difficult for your partner to "find" you, or sense your weight
- rhythm/timing- moving your weight from foot to foot (with confidence) gives the message to your partner when and where to move
- footwork- believe it or not, doing this correctly projects a notion to your partner of what you are doing or are about to do
- frame- tone throughout your frame is the telephone line to your partner; if it's too loose, they don't hear you; if it's too tight, they want to hang up
If you are a social dancer and you wonder why "no one can follow that step" or "everyone is stepping on me", you should spend some time learning how to dance yourself before you start complaining about others. Leading is not pushing, following is not hanging.
Competitive dancers, you're not off the hook.
As concerned as you are with technique and your routine and perfection:
- chill out- social dancing is social. Relax just a little (your elbows may drop an inch), breathe, smile, and say hi to your partner.
- stop thinking- ... about yourself, about your "moves", about howwhatwhywhenhuh?; start feeling, tune in to your partner
- engage- don't assume; each step is something new; a lead might not finish a pattern like your usual partner does; a follow might not know the ending you've lead a million times; enjoy the dance you are doing with the partner you are dancing with at that moment
Competitive dancers, dancing is fun. It can even be relaxing. Stop performing and be merry.