Mojo starting to return – the dance floor ain’t nothing without ya girl
Thanks everyone for your comments on my previous post, the dancing mojo is slowly starting to return although I still don’t have my lindy hop mojo back.
I think I needed a confidence boost more than anything and, bizarrely, I found it in a hip hop drop-in dance class. I have no idea who Usher or Gucci Mane are but an hour spent with them solo dancing, in a dance studio, in front of mirrors, following complex choreography, where I was at least 10 years older than everyone else and twice the size of the most of the women (i.e. about as far out of my comfort zone as it possible to get) reminded me of just how enjoyable dance can be.
Lindy Hoppers and Balboa teachers are passionate about what they do, the teachers really want you to get it ‘right’ and the correct/preferred technique is explained in minute detail and mistakes are corrected*. All well and good but sometimes, for me at least, it sucks all the joy out of dancing. I end up focusing on everything that is wrong with my dancing and cease to enjoy actually dancing.
Contrast this with my hip hop class. Certain technique points were briefly explained but then it was really just a case of repetition, teacher demo, more repetition, teacher demo and then a bit more repetition. Each time we repeated a sequence I saw a little bit more and understood the choreography a little better and noticed the subtlety of movements that I had missed before. Hardly anything was said during the class and I completely lost myself focusing on the movement. If a dancer needed help the teacher came over and did a demo in slow motion with them until they picked it up but almost nothing was said it was a really interesting learning experience for me.
Towards the end of the class, when everyone had the basics of the choreography and had just about go the timing, the teacher made a point of singling us out during the chorus, pointing at the spotlights in the room and then pointing at us and non-verbally indicating to us to give it our all:
“Cause the spolight ain’t nothin without ya girl
And the dance floor ain’t nothing without ya girl
You a show stopper ohhhhhh
Let’s get it poppin”
It was a special class and I felt incredibly inspired and privileged to be learning from a teacher who could make me feel 100%, make me dance with spirit and appreciate the effort I was making without criticism – even when a quick glance in the mirror revealed just how far away I was from what I was supposed to be doing!
* I know I am not alone in having had some very bad Lindy Hop learning experiences. Some people might be motivated by being told they will never get something, that they are useless, that all the women in the class need to lose weight because we sound like elephants, or being singled out because you are doing it wrong but I am not one of them. I’ve also had some amazing Lindy Hop teachers who have a very special place in my heart because of the support they have given me and their belief that I would get ‘it’ eventually.