and I have been learning to blues dance recently. It's a lot of fun -- an improvisational lead/follow form with an emphasis on weight-shift-by-weight-shift lead and follow, tremendous enabled and allowed creativity, and a really active NYC scene.
Which means, it's time for...
Ten Things I learned (to do and not to do) from learning to dance the blues [where something's in brackets, it's actually -about- the blues]:
- Don't do anything extra--unless you want to. [don't assume a basic step; in blues, every weight-shift is lead--anything the follow does on top of them is their choice, not assumed]
- Don't just wave your arms around. Whatever you do, throw your whole body into it. [lead/move from the core]
- Don't anticipate. What goes in motion stays in motion until stopped, and stays stopped until started again--unless it -chooses- otherwise [particularly the follow].
- You pick what you want to follow--but then, follow it. [for leaders, pick the line in the music you want to dance to, and if you don't like where it leads you, switch; for follows, you -can- choose to ignore the lead and do your own thing, but know you're doing it.]
- Every relationship is equal, even when it doesn't seem like it all the time. [The follow is an -equal- partner, and is just as responsible to add to and contribute to the dance. I dance -so- much better with a good, and equal partner]
- Every action can--and often, should--be met by an equal and nearly opposite reaction. [blues connection, in particular, involves the follow always matching a push by a push, a tug by a tug. And I think this is good style for a lot of dance, actually, as it means there's always something to lead; if I'm completely relaxed, that's not important, but if I'm moving/tensing my arm and my partner's still relaxed, I lead and nothing happens]
- You shouldn't just follow a script--you have to express yourself too, or it's not really a conversation.
- Pay attention to your space. How you position yourself matters--you want to vary it, but you also want to choose at any given point what you want, where you are.
- In fact, pay attention to what you do. Time, tension, and positioning are all things you choose--and they all matter. You want to be choosing them actively, not passively. Do what you want, when you want--not just "any time."
- But in the end, live in the moment, and let it flow; don't overthink things!
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