Transforming Our World Through The Arts

While practicing my salsa moves just moments ago a common ongoing debate crossed my mind. New/beginner dancers often feel very frustrated with advanced dancers who won’t dance with them! As a result, advanced dancers often come across as snobbish and narcissistic. However, I have also heard the other side of the coin from more advanced dancers who say they just want the challenge from other advanced dancers. And, to be fair, I’m sure it’s a much more enjoyable experience to dance with someone at the same ‘level’.

Here is my opinion. If you don’t already know, I liken dance to relationships, because relationships really are a dance of their own. In any relationship, as in any dance, it’s beneficial and normal to have an imbalance. Both partners have strengths that the other doesn’t. That’s how we learn and grow from each other. In the case of an advanced dancer dancing with a beginner, obviously the beginner is learning style, technique, skill etc., but the advanced dancer can also learn how to lead better and how to connect better, along with patience and tolerance!! And even though the beginner dancer is a ‘beginner’, they may have some style and technique of their own to share (if they’re dancing from their soul!)

I myself have danced with many, many talented dancers and had a fabulous time, thanks to their tolerance, open minds and open hearts. And I have also danced with others who, talented or not, were completely intolerant and I assure you the experience was not as enjoyable!

So, the bottom line in my opinion is that it’s beneficial to dance with people of different levels (higher or lower) as long as you make it RELAXED AND FUN, and both parties learn and grow from the experience. Tolerance, people. Tolerance. (Isn’t it a virtue of some kind???!!!)


Comments on: "To Dance or Not To Dance…" (1)

  1. Oh Michele, I had this discussion with so many fellow Salsa dancers. Here is my 2 cents on the subject.
    Sharpening leading/following skills to adapt to the dancer with less experience by leading/following them through some turn patterns other than basic; helping beginners to learn new figures/steps.
    Their following/leading skills are somewhat deteriorating, leaders become “rough” or loosing their precision/followers back-lead all the time; their “sharpness” is lost when dancing with dancers of their own level or higher.

    This is where I totally agree with you that it is beneficial to dance with everybody : novices, masters and dancers of any other level in between.

    Precise leading or following, musical, on time, mindful of their partner level. The beginners are able to execute moves/figures without thinking.
    Falling into a trap of not developing any proper following/leading skills as beginners heavily rely on their more skilled partners to over-compensate for their own lack of skill; developing “bad” habits technically; not able to dance with the dancers of other levels (intermediate, beginner-intermediate, etc.)

    Social dancing is not enough. A proper training is a MUST for anyone wanting to take their dancing to another level. Dancing is a skill, and like any other skill it requires a willingness to learn, patience and practice. Toronto has so many different school and each school has something beneficial to offer. Approach someone who inspires you on the dance floor and ask them for their recommendation for classes.

    I am all for tolerance and understanding from the both sides!

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