Each week, Hugo Miguez and Stacy Kay post Tuesday Tips, advice from the pros to the larger Westie community about everything from dance etiquette to great ways to learn in workshops. We at Wandering Westie are looking to expand upon these with stories from our own Westies each week – proof of these tips in action!
This week, we welcome new Wandering Westie writer Pk Kiely and her wisdom on the attitudes we bring to social dance. Her information will be up on the site soon.
What brings us to social dancing? The draw is real. After a basic lesson, we begin dancing on the social floor, usually immediately.
Each dancer responds to the magnetic magic of West Coast with a myriad of energies that express that dancer’s unique imprint. We come to the social floor with belief systems, capacities, various skill levels, brain patterns, emotional states, mindsets, preferences, learning styles, the day’s effects and so much more.
As this week’s tip suggests, generally people dance socially with a different mindset than they bring to a lesson or other learning environment. Dancers go to lessons with the intent to focus on learning and practicing. And we come to social dance for as many different reasons as there are dancers.
The general etiquette is that while it is usually well-intentioned, teaching is not part of the social dance experience. Social dancing is, well -social – a chance to connect to yourself, the music, your partner, the group energy on the floor, the whole experience – to enjoy yourself and the shared experience of the dance.
It is possible to be contributory and supportive without teaching. When a beginner expresses concerns, I respond with general encouragement from my own learning experience. If the person asks a specific question that I can answer, I respond briefly, and then suggest asking a teacher. IN A LESSON. Or OFF THE DANCE FLOOR. Teachers want to enjoy social dancing, too!
Given that, social dancing can be a great forum for learning. Many choose to focus on developing their own skills during social dancing. If we are open to it, we learn by doing, and our bodies learn experientially.
Our technical skills can improve while we enjoy all the social floor has to offer. And if we are engaged in the experience of dancing with our partners, we naturally develop one of the most significant and often elusive of partner dance skills – Connection.