Archive for December, 2008

I don’t want to dance

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Ah! And this is the reality of why you are not dancing!

It’s not that you don’t have coordination. It’s not that you have no rhythm. (though, there may be challenges in those areas.) It comes down to: fear.

You feel like you have no coordination, therefore, you are afraid of the frustration of trying to move in new coordinated ways.

You feel like you have no rhythm, therefore, you are afraid of not being able to keep up with a partner.

You feel like you can’t dance, therefore, you don’t want anyone to see that you can’t dance.

You make a choice. You have some fears based loosely on some reality of your capabilities. The fear is strong, but your capabilities are unknown, even to you. I sense that it all boils down to this: you don’t want others to see you as you stumble through learning to dance.

Am I right?

Honestly, do you really feel like you have no rhythm and cannot develop rhythm? Or are you afraid others will see you trying to develop rhythm? Do you really have no coordination? Are you really unable to dance? Or are you afraid others will see you as you develop coordination to dance?

I don’t know what you are thinking. I don’t know what your answers are to these questions. And no one else does. So you can be honest with your self, this once. ;-) Are you afraid to dance?

I hope your answer is “yes”. Because I strongly believe that you can develop all the skills and talents necessary to dance. I strongly believe that the only thing that is holding you back is fear.

For you to overcome this fear will bring great rewards. One reward will be: you will learn how to dance. But a much greater reward will be: you will learn how to overcome your own personal fears. How much you will benefit from this triumph.

If you decide you want to overcome this fear, you will succeed! It is your nature to be successful. You have been given all you need to overcome all your personal struggles. You may not become Lindy Hop champion of the world, but you can become Lindy Hop champion of your mind!

I challenge you to make this step… to overcome this fear. I’ll help you. Go to my website to get my email or telephone. Contact me. I’ll help you get started.

A Computer Scientist Dances

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

He chose computer engineering as his major. He likes computers. He enjoys working with computers. This is a logical choice. There’s money to be made working with computers.

After a couple of fun years in computer engineering (well, not all fun, there was that electronics course of doom), he met she. He and she became us and us wanted to do something fun. The she part of us spotted a swing dance flier. The he part of us thought that was a good idea. So us began swing dancing.

Mean while, he graduated from computer engineering. He decided that electronics stuff was too much! So he left the electronics behind and went into computer science for graduate school. Grad school was even more fun. Us continued to dance.

But then one day… us became he and she again. She went home. He stayed at school. Us was no more. He was lonely. “Ah ha!” he proclaimed. “There are lots of women at the dances. I will go dancing more!” And so he went dancing every chance he got. About 3-4 nights a week.

Dancing was fun. Dance provided many nice opportunities to make friends. He managed to still find time for computer science grad school.

He took all the dance classes he could from Solely Swing (the student run swing dance club of Virginia Tech). He attended all the meetings. He began traveling to other towns for fun dances.

Soon, the instructors of Solely Swing asked him if he would like to teach dance. He said, “Yes!” and became a dance instructor. In the mean time, he received his masters of computer science and began working on his PhD.

He began performing with Solely Swing. He helped organize dances, workshops, and hire bands. He was now part of a team of enthusiastic dancers and friends. How much fulfillment he received from these experiences!

Some time went on. He made friends, he learned to dance, he taught dancing, and he managed to continue in grad school.

The day came when he received his PhD, and he took the title of Dr.. He did not wish to remain with computers anymore. He had a much more rewarding and fulfilling life in dancing. He turned away from computers and towards dancing.

He became… Dr. Swing.

Dancing for Life!

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

“Would you like to dance?”

“Yes!”

I offer my hand to my dance partner of the next 3 minutes. She rests her hand in mine and the connection is made. For the next 3 minutes I am not alone. I am connected… connected more than a touch. We’ve started a conversation of our bodies. The first words of my body spoke just as the words of my mouth: I extend my hand… would you like to dance. Her first response mirrored the words of her mouth: she placed her hand in mine… I accept! From this point on we won’t use words of the mouth.

“Let’s move out on the dance floor.” I say by gently moving towards the center of the floor, taking my hand with me. Her hand, resting in mine, follows, “I would like to” and her body follows her hand. We move together.

A smooth stop of my body – transfered into my arm and then my hand and then her hand – tells her: this is the spot. A little more motion backwards tells her, “How about a spin to bring us around to face each other.” We face each other… for a moment time stands still. We exchange a look. I smile. She curls one side of her mouth, “I can tell you can dance. Let’s see what you’ve got!”

Every step we take is as if we are one body.

“Spin to your right here.”

“Okay, watch how I extend my leg and sweep around.”

“I like that, here goes my leg to mirror your sweep… do you hear that? The music is going to hit a break. Let’s jump and land knees bent and legs apart!”

“Got it! Now watch this… that sax solo screams for me to roll my body to the right.”

We feel connected. We feel the music. Nothing else matters. Nothing else exists. We are in the flow of this moment. A magical, beautiful flow of motion across the dance floor.

What was that!? Did I lead that? Did she back lead that?

We move to closed position. Our bodies are close… they are one. “Big step to your left and drag that right foot a long for a slick slide.”

“How much fun… here’s a foot flick to top it off….”

“I got it! I’ll mirror your foot flick.” How can I possibly mirror what she’s doing without a moments hesitation!?

Our faces beam the joy of this connection and flow. Our attention moves from the music to our connection to the expression of joy on our faces. She feels how I feel. I feel how she feels. We are intimately connected.

Whoa! I can’t believe we just did that. Where did that come from!?

Time has lost all meaning. The source of our motion is no longer a lead and a follow. We are one.

We say, “The end is coming. We feel a spin working into a slow body roll. Let’s lock at the end in an extended and open pose. … and … stop! … hold it hold it… good.”

The reality outside dance begins to return. Our mouths open to make some sounds, almost strange to our ears. “Thanks for the dance.”

“You, too.”

We turn our separate ways. Nothing happened.

I walk outside and sit for a while. That reality… was it real? That was amazing. There must be something more to this life. Is this some experience limited to dancing? Why hasn’t anyone told me about this? This is amazing. The blinds have been opened and I see a whole new world!

I have no coordination. Can I Swing Dance?

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Yes!

Coordination can be developed. And in fact, everyone has some coordination; everyone has some ability to do complex motions. Tying shoes, washing dishes, walking while putting on a hat, just about every motion you make is a coordinated effort of different parts or muscles in your body. What feels like uncoordinated is really just a combination of motions you haven’t yet learned.

You may be thinking: but it is difficult for me to learn, you don’t want me in your class. Yes, some things are challenging to learn. The process of learning can even be frustrating. The question is: are you motivated to learn to dance? If you want to learn to dance, you will be successful!

The secret to your success lies in your ability to allow your body to learn the motions at its own pace. Enjoy the current things you are able to do. Laugh at the funny things your body does when you try something new! I may be an expert dancer, but I still learn new dance moves, frequently. Not only that… you’d be amazed at how uncoordinated I look when I’m learning a new move. You’ll find me laughing in those same situations.

I have never had a student I cannot help learn to dance. I have had a few students whose body’s just seemed to not move in certain ways. With patience, private instruction, practice, and some fun exercises, the student and I have always been able to overcome the challenges of dancing!

You Can Dance!

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

No coordination?

Afraid to make a fool of yourself?

Don’t know where to start?

Don’t have a partner?

Too busy?

Is there anything else stopping you from dancing? I’m here to tell you: You Can Dance!

Dancing is the way we move our body when we feel good and want to celebrate. You see the football players in the in-zone do this all the time. I bet… you have done it, too. In a time when you were really happy, excited, or felt like celebrating, I bet you did a little dance. Sometimes that dance is as simple as throwing the arms high in the air and proclaiming “Yes!” (verbally or mentally). When you feel that energy inside… that excitement for living… you are feeling the inspiration to move your body to no purpose except to express your good feeling. That’s dancing!

What about those ballroom dancers and swing dancers and those people on “Dancing With The Stars”? Isn’t that really what dancing is? No. They are dancing, for sure. But the dance they do is a particular way of celebrating how they feel. You don’t have to learn that way of celebration. You can express your joy of living any way you want. And you may just decide you want to express it through ballroom dancing or swing dancing or contra dancing or salsa dancing or clogging or tap dancing or some other kind of dancing. My point here is that you are already dancing in your life.

You celebrate your life and express that celebration through movement. You are a dancer!