Monday, June 30, 2008

Lesson Update... It's all about Connection!

Hi all! I’m so sorry I haven’t had time to write. Seems I say that a lot lately…but I can’t seem to find the time as much anymore. As reported I’ve started my new job and things are going well. I’ve been able to continue my dancing and I’ve even attended quite a few of the group classes, which makes it so much easier to stay on target with my weight loss journey. I’ll get into group class details soon, but first I must tell you about lessons.

Lessons with RT have been good, we’ve been working on a lot of what he calls “Connection.” When I think of connection in dance I think of that really rare thing that happens with a dance partner when it seems like my lead and I are mentally in sink and it makes following effortless. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does it’s what dancing is all about! When RT talks connection, he means the more physical side of dancing, are we creating enough resistance and leverage so that it’s easier to lead or follow. Sometimes when he’s describing what needs to happen he talks about the kinetic and potential energy that’s created and how to use it. It seems that when my version of connection happens, RT’s type of connection is there too…he wants me to be able to find it consistently and not just on those rare occasions when I can let go and just dance.

The thing about learning connection is that it’s frustrating! There are moments when I think I’ll never get it, then I do, and I can’t figure out how… so we drill whatever step we’re trying to build connection in again. There are lots of times I feel like I’ll never get it, and even some times when I walk out asking myself why I ever started in the first place! It’s all a learning process, and I must evolve.

I do like learning connection though. It helps me be a better follow no matter who I dance with, if I’m creating the necessary resistance in my frame it makes following so much easier. Some instructors I’ve heard about will make sure that you look good on the dance floor with them. They’ll make sure you follow their lead no matter what, but the problem there is that when you go out socially or try to dance with someone else you feel like you can’t dance with anyone but your instructor!

My biggest issue with taking lessons with other instructors is that I don’t get as much out of them as I do with RT. If I’m taking a Salsa lesson for example, and I know I’m not doing something that RT and I have worked on, for example I feel the connection is off. I look for that instructor to call me on it. If they don’t, then I attempt to correct myself the best I can, and I might ask my instructor about it. I’ll point out that I’ve learned something like connection, or a particular styling that I’d like to work on, then that other instructor will make sure that I do it, but without telling them, they won’t say anything about it. I have to take control of my dance education to make sure I’m getting everything I can out of it.

So, developing connection is extremely important, for both leads and follows. If you’re taking lessons make sure you work on creating that tension or leverage, whatever your instructor might call it. It will make you a better dancer whether you are a competitor or social dancer.

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