Following the Dream

30 Jan

Hey folks, you may have noticed that the content on the site is becoming less frequent that before (was it ever truly “frequent”?). I just want to keep you up to date as to why.

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I moved to Barcelona to do my Master’s degree in Nutrition and Metabolism. That goal was competed last summer and now I’m moving on the next stage of my plan.

I’m currently setting myself up as an online nutritional consultant based out of Barcelona, basically pursuing my passion of helping people live healthier lives. There’s quite a bit of work ahead of me with website design and content writing for my new site but I’m very, very excited about it.

On top of that I’m also writing articles for Latin Dance Community which I find very rewarding too. All of this means that I may not be dedicating as much time to the Dancing Irishman blog for a while. I’m still here, just focusing on other projects at the moment.

Anyway, I hope you’ll still be looking forward to reading my stuff when I finally get back to it in the future (it could be next month for all I know).

Keep Dancing folks.

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Forget about New Year’s Resolutions (and actually achieve something)

30 Dec

It’s that time of year again. You’ve probably spent the last few days eating your own bodyweight in (less than totally healthy) food and sitting on your backside watching traditional Christmas movies (which if you’re Irish, means Indiana Jones… for some unknown reason).

You’re also probably reflecting on the past year, what you’ve achieved and what you haven’t and more importantly what you want to do for the coming year… that is, your New Year’s Resolutions. (NYR)

I’m hear to tell you stop that train of thought right now because it’s not doing you any favors.

Why you fail
If you’re anything like the vast majority of people, you’ve failed miserably at your NYRs within the first few weeks of the year (for many it’s the first few days or even hours). To be honest it never struck be as being sensible to begin some major life changes on a day you are likely to be seriously hung-over from the night before…. not many people are likely to want to go for a 5 mile jog and make themselves a nice healthy salad on a day when they’re really only physically capable of lying on the couch wrapped in a blanket and eating leftover pizza (I know you know what I’m talking about 😉 ).

Be it eating healthy, exercising more, learning a new language, mastering a new skill (dance anyone?) people decide to take on huge challenges and then give up at the first sign of difficulty. Inevitably, this year’s failed resolution will become the resolution for next year instead… and so continues the vicious cycle.

nyr

Don’t let some random date dictate when you make changes in your life. If you want something, go for it and stick with it.

3 Huge Mistakes
Most people who fail at making new changes in their lives do so because they’re making 3 very common mistakes.

  • They aren’t specific with their goals
  • They don’t plan on how to achieve their goals
  • They attempt too much too soon and get demotivated when they fail

Be specific
If you want to learn to dance, what do you want to learn? Salsa, Bachata, Swing, Tango? There’s a lot of styles out there so you better look into it and ask around. If you want to eat healthy, what exactly do you mean by that? I’m a nutritionist and the term “healthy” is very subjective depending on who you speak to or what you read. You need to educate yourself to make informed decisions.

Plan
Once you know what you want, how are you going to achieve it? If it’s dancing, where are you going to take classes or go to socials. If it’s learning a new skill, what learning materials will you use. If it’s exercising more: when, where and what? If you fail to plan you plan to fail.

Slow and Steady
You want to get a beach body by summer so do you decide to immediately go from doing no exercise at all to lifting weights 7 days a week? Hell no, that’s a quick way to burnout and failure. Equally, do you decide to do two hours of language exchanges every day to learn French? It’s just not realistic. Fair enough, it might work for some people but not for the majority. If you want to develop new better habits, you’ve got to make them easy to stick to at first otherwise you’ll get fed up pretty damn quick.

Make it a long term change
When people decide on their NYRs they generally do something to try and improve their lives; to be healthier and happier. These aren’t things that you should undertake lightly… your health and happiness are the most important things you will ever have.

So, instead make these changes something that you’re going to work on gradually and CONSISTENTLY… for the rest of your life.

Don’t decide to go on a drastic diet and start binge exercising just so you can fit into a dress for a wedding in April, only give up entirely once the wedding is over. Instead decide to start making some lifestyle changes that will allow you live a healthier life, with a body you can be proud of for the rest of your years.

Don’t suddenly decide to give up all alcohol for the next 6 months if all you want to do is reduce your consumption to be healthier (Bear in mind that I don’t drink alcohol at all but also did my masters thesis on the health benefits of wine so I have conflicting opinions on the subject). If giving up booze entirely makes you unhappy or isolates you from your social groups then you’re very likely to give up on it entirely and just continue drinking as much as ever.

What I’m saying is that life changes don’t need to be ridiculously drastic nor should they make you miserable. The more drastic they are and the more miserable the make you the more likely you are to just give up and go back to the way you were before. Consistency is key in life, be it diet, nutrition, dance or whatever. To make something work you need to stick with it (assuming you really want it to work).

And this brings us back to New Year’s Resolutions. These important life changes or goals you have shouldn’t be dependent on a specific time or day of the year. The benefits of change are reaped over time, not instantly so it doesn’t matter if you decide to make a change the day before new years or a month later or in the middle of September. What matters is that you stick to your guns and make the change a consistent part of your life. As Aristotle famously said “We are what we repeatedly do” (not what we do for the first 2 or 3 weeks after New Years).

I haven’t made a New Year’s Resolution in a long time and I’m very happy with the results. Try to forget about them this year and instead make a long term effort to be consistent and really achieve the things you want in life.

Happy New Year, folks.

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STOP Dancing with your Girlfriend (and why!)

25 Nov

Your girlfriend is the reason your salsa is so mediocre!

There… I’ve said it. Let the hate mail roll on in.

Or, be reasonable and hear me out. I’ll explain exactly why your significant other is hampering your salsa evolution and what you can do about it without having to break up and go through that whole “uncomfortable” period of trying to avoid the dance socials they regularly attend (you all know what I’m talking about).

First things first, let me appease the ladies and say that I could just as easily have titled this article “Stop Dancing with your Boyfriend/Spouse/Life-Partner” or some other gender neutral BS. I didn’t because my regular readers are well aware that I like a nice controversial title every now and then. It should suffice to say that I’m talking about all significant others or regular dance partners in this article.

Now that I’ve alienated half my readers, let’s move on.

Reasons we get into salsa
A pretty major reason people get into salsa is to meet someone of the opposite sex which I highlighted in this very scientifically referenced chart some time ago. It is by no means the main reason but it certainly plays a role in peoples decisions to start dancing. What often happens when someone joins the world of dance (be it Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, Break or whatever) is that they might meet and start dating a fellow dancer. Another similar occurence might be that the non-dancing partner in a relationship might be encouraged to get into dancing and take a shine to it (as has been known to happen).

Either way, the end result is that beginning couples in the dance community often end up dancing together frequently (if not exclusively… although this is much rarer). I say beginning couples because this isn’t common in more experienced dancers who are generally more confident, whereas beginning dancers are often shy and naturally feel more secure dancing with someone they know and trust.

Getting all Lovey Dovey with your partner is great and all but a little bit of distance could do great things for your dancing!

Getting all Lovey Dovey with your partner is great and all but a little bit of distance could do great things for your dancing!

Too much coddling
Let me make something clear: dancing with your significant other is wonderful. You share a trust and connection that you share with no one else on the dance floor (hopefully) and that will show in your dance. However, if you dance exclusively or mostly with your partner you will not be able to benefit from that essential phase in becoming a good dancer, that is, dancing with different people.

I’ll speak from my perspective as a man and a lead as that’s what I know best (not that I know anything about being a woman… but… let’s just leave it). Anyway, when I first started dancing salsa in Japan, I did so with my girlfriend at the time. I was particularly shy about dancing and worried about making mistakes so I probably danced 90% of dances with my then girlfriend. I actually remember going to my first social in a big city and danced all but one song (or should I say the final 60 seconds of one song) with a random woman at the club. It took me that long to work up the courage.

Anyway, when we broke up, I naturally started dancing with many more different women (keep inappropriate comments to yourselves please). And in very little time I experienced a huge improvement in my salsa ability. So sudden was the change that after a 10 day “salsa vacation” around the Philippines and Hong Kong, in which I went social dancing virtually every night, my friends back in Japan told me it was like dancing with a completely different person.

Variety is the spice of life
People are different. We have different body shapes and sizes, different limb-length proportions, we move at different speeds, we have joints that move differently. On top of that, everyone learns dance in a slightly different way and has their own style. It’s actually rather beautiful because it means no two people will ever dance the same way.

What it also means is that even if you have mastered a certain move with one person (your significant other or a regular dance partner) it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll immediately be able to pull it off with someone else.

I regular extoll the benefits of practicing regularly with someone you feel comfortable with as it helps you to lock combinations and moves into your mental and muscle memory. However, you’ll have locked it into memory using only one partner who has a fixed body shape and dance style. It may not work for others. When I practice a move with my dance partner and then feel comfortable enough to try it on the dance floor I often find that there is a steep learning curve involved in adjusting it to other follows. I regularly mess it up at the beginning even though I might nail it every time with my partner. This is why dancing with others is ESSENTIAL.

Cut the cord
If you want to improve your dancing so you can dance well with everyone… well… you have to dance with everyone. Only then will you learn how to adapt your own style and combinations to other people. You’ll learn to dance with other body types and might find certain moves are better suited to taller partners or partners with shorter arms or more flexible dancers… that’s the amazing thing about dance, the sheer variety of different dancers out there.

I’m not telling you to stop dancing with your significant other or your regular dance partner when you go social dancing… that would be ridiculous. What I’m saying is that you need to venture out there and dance with other people. In dance classes, partners are rotated for a reason, so you can experience dancing with someone else. (Side note: I’ve actually been to classes where one couple stood off to the side of the main group so they didn’t have to switch partners… maybe they were both shy but I honestly thought it was riduculous).

Anyway, if you really want to improve your dance level it’s time to give your significant other a break and start dancing with other people. You’ll get better and I’m sure that your partner will appreciate it.

Keep Dancing Folks.

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What Makes a Great Dance Congress?: Dublin Fever Fest 2015

13 Oct

I danced so hard I caught a cold!

That’s exactly what happened to me a couple of weekends ago when I attended the 2nd Dublin Fever Fest, Ireland’s most recent Latin-dance congress and a show of how popular salsa and a whole spectrum of other dances have become in the Emerald Isle over the past few years.

How do you catch a cold from dancing? Well if you have to ask you’ve clearly never danced hard enough before 😛 . Continued heavy exercise can weaken your immune system and I’ve run myself down in the past after suddenly thinking it would be a good idea to go dancing every night for a week straight (I’m usually a 2 or 3 nights a week kind-of-guy). Fever Fest, however, was my first time catching a cold after only a weekend of dancing… well done Fever Fest.

Despite, running myself into the ground and catching a cold (which I still have by the way “sniff sniff”), I really had a blast at Dublin Fever Fest and I think it’s worth pointing out why; what made it special and maybe what could make it even better.

Size Matters!
Let’s be honest… it does! In the case of salsa congresses, they can be small local congresses with just one class at a time or they can be huge international congresses with thousands of attendees and multiple classes running simultaneously. They all have their own Pros and Cons.

Fever Fest is on the smaller side with about XXXX attendees in total and two classes at any one time. I have to admit that I really enjoy this type of “cozy” congress. By the end of the first day of workshops you get to dance and chat with a good portion of the attendees and knowing more people makes for much more enjoyable nights of social dancing.

One of the great advantages of smaller congresses is getting to know and dance with so many people in such a short time.

One of the great advantages of smaller congresses is getting to know and dance with so many people in such a short time.

Great International Teachers
Most people who go t congresses go for one of two reasons; to dance their asses off or to learn new skills from teachers they wouldn’t normally get the chance to learn from.

The line-up at Fever Fest was a great mix of mostly European teachers who, again due to the smaller size of the event, came together as a mini-family of “dance parents” who happily mingled during the event with their “dance kids”, the attendees.

While I usually don’t condone favoritism I have to mention one of the instructors in particular. The world famous Marco Ferigno, dance partner to the equally famous Karol Florez, gave a Master-class in Mambo Shines and it was simply… masterful. On top of being a simple astounding dancer, he also happened to be a very friendly, approachable and down-to-earth teacher. I was exhausted after an hour and a half of his rapid fire choreography, but happily so.

A great collection of talented and friendly teachers that really mixed with the festival goers.

A great collection of talented and friendly teachers and performers that really mixed with the festival goers.

A Class Act
While the actual teachers at a congress are vitally important, the type of classes they teach are just as important. Everyone is used to doing the good old staples like “LA Partnerwork” or “Ladies Styling” and these were duly represented at Fever Fest. However, they were supplemented with novel classes such as Boogaloo and Reggaeton. This is the kind of refreshing variety that makes a congress worth attending; classes that take us out of our comfort-zone and expose us to new styles and techniques that broaden our horizons as dancers.

It’s full of Dancing Irish People
While I may have the internet rights to call myself “The Dancing Irishman”, the dance-floor of Fever Fest was full of many more Dancing Irish People just as worthy of the title. Fair enough, the dance community in Ireland has a huge expat component but I really think that if you want to party with the Irish, there’s no better place to do it than on home-turf.

Great social dancing is a must at any congress and Fever Fest didn't disappoint.

Great social dancing is a must at any congress and Fever Fest didn’t disappoint.

Show me something new
Last but by no means least, I need to mention the performances at Fever Fest. For most people, the most important parts of a congress are the classes and the social dancing and while I feel mostly the same myself, I was definitely impressed with what I saw. To begin with the first performance of the weekend involved four stunningly beautiful women shaking their ample booties in what could only be described as some form of urban/latin/funk… that got me hooked. On top of that there was the usual mix of excellent performances by both professionals and student groups that one would expect at a congress but one in particular stood out. An original choreography by the MC of Fever Fest, Azael Salazar and Nadezda Antipenko simply blew me away. The contemporary piece that Azael described as being about the desire to be with someone you can’t be with literally left me with my jaw hanging. By far the highlight of all that was on show. One final good point about all the performances is that they didn’t outstay their welcome every night. They kept them short and sweet and they didn’t reduce the actual social dance time too much at all.

Quite possibly one of the best contemporary dance performances that I've ever seen.

Quite possibly one of the best contemporary dance performances that I’ve ever seen.

I’ll be back
All in all, Fever Fest impressed me, especially as a congress that is still in its infancy. Even though I don’t live in Ireland any more I can see myself making the trip to this great event on a yearly basis.

Great classes, great performances and a great dancing… what more could you ask for?

Keep dancing folks!

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S#!t Salseros Do

23 Sep

Salsa will change your life!

I think it’s fair enough to say that anyone who starts dancing salsa (or any social dance for that matter) sees some fairly noticeable changes in their life after a short amount of.

We change, we become different from the “muggles” (a term used to refer to people without magic powers in the Harry Potter series) (NOTE: I’ve never read the books but someone told me the term in reference to non-dancers and I liked it). So yeah, once we’re accepted into the Secret Society of Salsa (S.S.S.) we become different from the muggles… those without magical powers of salsa.

Here’s a little list of some of those things that we often do now as salseros, which we never did before.

  • When stepping onto a relatively large floor, like in a restaurant, bar or even someone’s home, twisting the ball of your foot from side to side on the surface to gauge the friction and therefore dance potential.
  • Subtly nodding to yourself and giving a look of appreciation when the above floor meets your standards.
  • Your adrenaline rises and your heartbeat accelerates when you hear a salsa song played in a completely non-salsa setting.
  • The above reaction is intensified when you’re together with another salsero and give each other that look of knowing something that no one else there knows.
  • You dress better and suddenly become far more adventurous with your wardrobe. This could be the skin-tight sparklies common in performances, a revealing little dress with some added flare for the ladies or for the men… you know what I’m gonna say… waistcoats 😉

    Yup, that's a salsa dancer right there!

    Yup, that’s a salsa dancer right there!

  • Doing some serious shoulder and hip movement when you’re dancing to “normal” music. Even listening to music at the bus stop is enough to make you bust a little move if you think you can get away with it
  • Drinking much less alcohol. Gotta maintain some level of balance!
  • Packing for weekend salsa congress becomes a serious logistical dilemma when trying to pack enough clothes for 3 nights of social and two days of workshops into a little carryon bag.
  • Having a weeks worth of laundry to do after said weekend becomes totally normal.
  • Sweating profusely becomes second nature!

    The damn song didn't even last 4 minutes and look at me.

    The damn song didn’t even last 4 minutes and look at me.

  • For the ladies, trying to find make-up that will survive all the sweating so you don’t end up looking like the girl from “The Ring” by the end of the night.

    Make-up smudging half way through a kizomba night

    Make-up smudging half way through a kizomba night

  • For the guys, bringing a few extra t-shirts when going out is a fact of life.
  • Listening and tapping your foot along to normal music and trying to figure out if you could dance to it.
  • Close physical contact with complete strangers is no longer a problem for you.
  • Reacting to breaks in music in public with a subtle body movement followed by looks of concern from the people around you.
  • Feeling slightly awkward at other social functions where no one is dancing.
  • When trying on new shoes the first thing you do is a spin test to see if you could dance in them.
  • Dance classes/nights out/congress’ etc become monthly fixed expenses, just as important as rent and electricity.
  • Personal hygiene becomes even more of a priority.
  • Planning a vacation now involves the essential step of looking up possible latin clubs at your destination.
  • You become incredibly critical of “salsa dancing” you see in popular movies or on TV… “I could do better than that”!
  • You always have chewing gum.
  • Your social circle explodes and Facebook friend requests blow up after a congress.
  • You constantly say that you’re going to learn Spanish so you can understand the lyrics of your favorite songs… but it never quite happens.
  • Standing in front of a full-length mirror is a perfect opportunity for some shines or body isolations.
  • You feel like a living legend if any of your “muggle” friends ever see you dancing with another salsero.
  • You ask complete strangers to dance and accept dances from complete strangers… I’m pretty sure no one did that before starting salsa.
  • Hearing a particular song brings back really powerful memories of that amazing dance you had with that cute girl/guy a while back… ufff!
  • Ladies, some of you have probably decided you didn’t need to buy groceries for a week just so you could get that new pair of dance shoes that caught your eye (to be honest, this one probably isn’t that different from the muggles). diamond
  • Men, you have become unfazed by ridiculing comments made by your non-dancing, male friends and family.
  • You pass other salseros, who you don’t know but have seen out dancing, on the street and you give each other “the nod” and subtle smile of salsa acknowledgement! You both walk away feeling special.
  • Random body rolls 😀

The list could go on.

So, what do you think? Do you recognize any of these new habits in yourself since joining the world of salsa?

Or what have I left out? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.

Keep dancing folks.

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The Secret Step Between Dance Class and the Dance Floor!

27 Aug

Phase 1: Collect Underpants
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit

It’s that simple, right? You know where to start and you know where you want to end up! So getting from Phase 1 to Phase 3 should be a walk in the park…

…not without Phase 2, buddy.

You need to know “HOW”!
If you’re like me (and I’m not so odd that there’s no one out there that can relate) then the following scenario will be very familiar:

You go to dance class, excited and filled with the desire to learn

You learn the new pattern/technique and have it nailed by the end of class… Yippee!

You go out on the weekend dying to bust out your new move

You step out on the dance floor and suddenly your mind goes blank

How did it even start? Did I really go to that class? Are those my feet?

And yet another sweet move is thrown into the ever expanding “Could have been great” junk-pile in the dark recesses of your mind, never to be used again.

This is probably my most common face on the dance-floor!

This is probably my most common face on the dance-floor!

Stupid Brain
Truth be told, we can’t blame all of our “salsa” forgetfulness on our brains or on the dance class itself. It’s become my catchphrase at this point and it still holds true “You learn the moves in class but you learn to dance on the dance-floor”.

There is however an often forgotten or ignored step in between that most people should really consider incorporating into their salsa development…

Practice at Home!
I know from my own experience that I simply cannot remember a new move or technique after a single dance class. I just can’t. I need to practice that move until it becomes automatic, until muscle memory takes over and I no longer need to rely on my “stupid brain” to “think” about what I need to do next.

There is only one way to save a movement to muscle memory and that, my dancing friends, is repetition. The amount of repetition probably varies from person to person but I’d wager that very few individuals can memorize a move from the limited amount of times you repeat it in a dance class. To those of you who can, congratulations… I hate you!

So what’s to be done? It’s rather simple really: Find yourself a partner willing to join you and practice at home.

Home Sweet Home
There are a few advantages to practicing at home that you will not find anywhere else:

  • Home is comfortable and safe and no one else can see you making mistakes
  • You can practice at your own pace, not having to worry about keeping up with other people in a class
  • You can focus on the parts of a move that you find particularly tricky
  • You can dance like an absolute imbecile and no-one will ever know
  • You can review videos you’ve taken from class to help you work on your technique
  • You can play music you like at a pace your comfortable with (building from slower to faster)
  • You can eat a burger or a pizza or an ice-cream sundae while practicing (as long as you share with your partner)
  • You can wear whatever you want (or don’t want). Superman pijamas… Hell Yeah (once again, as long as your partner is cool with it)
If this makes you feel comfortable while dancing... go with it. I have a pair myself!

If this makes you feel comfortable while dancing… go with it. I have a pair myself!

The Importance of Comfort
I regularly talk about how important it is to get out of your comfort zone in order to improve (at anything). I firmly believe it to be true but I also know that to be able to get out of our comfort zone, it has to exist in the first place. What I mean is that we should practice a move until it becomes comfortable to us. Until it becomes incorporated into our muscle memory. The best way to do that is to practice in a controlled, comfortable safe, environment with someone we trust (your dance partner needs to be a friend or at least someone you feel comfortable with).

Once you’ve nailed a move through repetition with one partner, once you’re comfortable, then it’s time to take it onto the dance-floor and step out of that comfort zone and practice it “in the wild”.

That middle step, that “Phase 2” of practicing yourself and committing a movement to muscle memory is what will help take full advantage of what you learn in class and transfer it to the dance-floor.

Keep dancing folks!

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Beautiful Gorgeous Feminine Vortex

28 Jul

We’re going to talk about the evolution of the female dancer!

As titles go, it might seem like I’m really grabbing at straws with “Beautiful Gorgeous Feminine Vortex” but there’s a great back story to it and some interesting insight into the stages that make up the development of the most amazing social dancers you will ever have the pleasure of sharing a dance-floor with.

In the beginning, there was woman
So I’m sitting in a cafe in Barcelona with my buddy Tyler who I haven’t seen in almost 3 years, since my days back in Cali, Colombia. Tyler and I share a ridiculous amount in common. We both have backgrounds in martial arts which had led us to live in Asia for a time (Tyler in China and me in Japan), we both had decided that there was more to life than slaving away at a job we hated so we decided to travel instead and we both ended up in Cali, to do the same 2 things; learn Spanish and, more importantly, dance!

So, it was great to catch up with him after such a long time and hear the stories of his adventures over the past few years. After catching up, the conversation naturally turned to women (as has been known to happen when men are speaking with each other 😉 ). Tyler is what I would call a very spiritually evolved individual and he suddenly started talking about 3 different types of women he had met in his life, each one an evolution from the previous with the final, most evolved, most balanced form described by him as this “beautiful gorgeous feminine vortex“! I have no idea how he came up with the term. More than likely he just pulled it out of his a$$ right there and then… but it stuck with me.

So how does this relate to dance?
As Tyler was describing these 3 different types to me, my brain immediately started making the connection with salsa and I realized he was also describing a very interesting way of looking at different types of dancers. I’m going to do my best in this article to try and convey this concept to you, not because I believe everything fits into a neat definition (that idea actually annoys me) but because we, as humans, do like to put things into groups because it makes understanding concepts easier (and because I need to write an article before the end of the month 😀 )

Type 1
Type 1 is the earliest, most basic form of the female dancer. She is content with just leaving the man lead and following along. She has no real interest in doing shines or anything with too much flair. She may be technically very, very good (or not) but her main goal is to get through the dance in the most uneventful way possible. She doesn’t particularly feel any need to contribute to the creativity of the dance and so all dances with her might appear to be very, very similar. More than anything else, this type is defined by both a lack of self confidence and a lack of emotion while dancing.

Type 2
Type 2 is an evolution from Type 1. The easiest way to conceptualize this dancer is to imagine a high powered female executive. She is brimming with confidence and drive to achieve her goals. She has worked hard to achieve the level of skill she has attained and she wants people to know how good she really is. So much so that she might actually come off as aggressive or bossy on the dance floor. She’s not happy with the idea of a man leading her entirely in the dance and will often break away herself to do the shines she wants to do, the way she wants to do them. She want’s to dominate in the dance, to prove that she can do everything, at the expense of her partner. Once again, her dances are probably technically wonderful but they can probably make her partner feel like he was just an afterthought, a tool necessary to actually achieve the dance, but not an integral part of it.

Type 3
This is the final evolution of the female dancer. She has been through the other stages and learned a great deal from them. She is confident and aware of what she is capable of (which is a great deal) but she has tempered that confidence with the ability to allow herself to happily be led on the dance floor. That said, she contributes to the creativity of the dance with her energy, her shines, her flair and the connection she creates with her partner. This is what sets her apart from the other two types; the connection that she allows herself to become part of. She isn’t concerned with how she looks or what else is going on around her, she is there, in the moment, totally present. The dance is neither about her nor her partner. The dance is what they both create, together, with the music, in a continuous game of give and take that is unique every time you dance with her. After a dance with this evolved, balanced dancer both people walk way feeling that they gained something from the dance, from the connection that was momentarily created. This is the Beautiful Gorgeous Feminine Vortex!

There is nothing quite like a dance with a Beautiful Gorgeous Feminine Vortex.

There is nothing quite like a dance with a Beautiful Gorgeous Feminine Vortex.

 

It’s that good
I once wrote an article called “The Cloudy Dancer” that spoke more of the technical side of dancing with a wonderful dancer like a Type 3. However, in this article I’m getting more into the “why” regarding other factors and not just the actual skill level. Let’s be honest, just because someone is a wonderful “technical” dancer doesn’t mean you are going to fully enjoy a dance with them on the level I’m talking about here . The connection that is created is essential to reach the highest levels of dance pleasure and enjoyment. That connection is what creates unforgettable dance experiences.

No rush
With all that said I bet there are a few people, just starting out in the world of dance, thinking that none of this applies to them. I would say, “think again”. While technical ability has its part to play in creating a great dance, connection is what makes dances memorable and you don’t need to be the greatest dancer in the world to establish that connection. That said, time, practice and experience will feed themselves into the evolution of every dancer provided they don’t get bogged down in one of the other stages, meaning everyone has that potential for incredible dances on a technical and connection-based level.

What about the guys?
What about ’em? … Just kidding 😉 . Leads too, go through an evolution in their dancing. My buddy, Tyler has also put them into 3 groups but that’s for another article entirely (if I get round to it). Suffice it to say that the ultimate dance can be had when both partners have evolved to stage 3, where both are willing to be part of something more than the sum of their parts. Where the connection is real and both partners contribute and no-one dominates.

Now that sounds like a great dance to me.

Keep dancing folks.

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Fiona Uyema

Japanese Cookbook Author

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