A couple of weeks ago in preparation for having a baby (ie never leaving the house again) I set up a 7 night social dancing challenge with the LJ salsa tribe. I have promised to share my thoughts on the experience so here it is!
- 7 different salsa clubs
- 7 nights in a row
- Dance with everyone
In a stage in the latin dance industry where so much focus is on dancing on a stage, I found this a majorly rejuvenating experience, to see so many people, out every night of the week, at all the fantastic events we are so lucky to have in Sydney. This was such a great experience for so many reasons:
Overcoming a fear I had since i was a beginner of dancing with one particular person – DONE! –
Dancing largely with people I didn’t know – This is such a powerful reminder of what social dancing can be! We are so used to going to the same places and dancing with everyone there we know that these experiences are becoming less frequent!
The variety of everything out there – another symptom of going to the same places all the time is that the variety of styles and music gets narrower. The nights at BAR100 and Argyle and Cuban Place and Jam Gallery are so different, dancing to live music is so different to DJs, dancing with foreign dancers, cuban dancers, on1,on2 non dancers and latinos is so different, dancing in tiny spaces and crappy floors is so different…and all this provided the social dancing variety, challenges and excitement I have missed!
There was another insightful experience where i ran into a guy I knew who was sitting away from the dancefloor and as we chatted I said, ‘how come you’re not dancing?’ he replied with ‘oh there’s no dancers here’…I looked over and the dancefloor was full.
What he really meant was probably that they were not the people he was looking for, people he knew, dancing in the same way he is used to etc. This probably made him uncomfortable and so he didn’t dance even though he came out to a salsa night. This disturbed me. We call ourselves salsa dancers, a word which implies something universally, which transcends so many things and here was this guy putting limitations on it by judging them to not be ‘dancers’ in the way he defined it, the irony of which of course is that everyone danced, while he sat.
So it got me wondering…
Do you dance with different people, strangers?
Can you dance with anyone regardless of style and make it a fun experience for your partner?
Can you enjoy yourself to different music? Different DJ’s? Different live bands?
What would you do if you went to a non english speaking country and walked into a salsa club?
Are you still having ‘experiences’? The kinds of experiences you won’t have performing, human experiences, music experiences, personal experiences, connections, stories to tell, things to think about the next day?
In the last few weeks, I have heard of others who I came across on the trail taking on the 7 night challenge for themselves – FANTASTIC AND MORE OF IT I SAY! Discover music you like, not what they tell you is good, discover dancing you enjoy, not what your instructor tells you is better, discover places and make experiences, not just the places your friends go to!
Trends come and go. Dancing with another human for a couple of minutes will be timeless.