Friday, January 15, 2010

The first point

I was working with some students after class yesterday (by the way, the class went wonderfully. One student said it changed the way that it made him think about dancing!) and I returned to a point that I remember so clearly and which has influenced the way I have taught leading and following for my entire career.

The scenario: he had some basic lindy instruction and she didn't. I asked them to dance and he tried to do the swingout, with her completely befuddled and wondering what she'd have to do the whole time.

I don't buy into the mishegos that every mistake made in dancing is the lead's fault. However, in the case that the lead isn't noticing how much his partner is struggling, this is certainly the case.

My response: F*** your training. If your partner isn't with you then you've got to find them first. Practically, it's better to just do steps in place than to do swingouts if your partner isn't ready.

Then I taught them how to make a swingout work. Of course, the first impulse was to find each other first and the second is to do something together.

Then I set them on the dance floor and as always I asked them to find some dancers they didn't know and ask them to dance too. I miss having students that need to be taught how to find dances. I think that homework is probably the most important assignment of a beginner's dancing life.


  1. "My response: F*** your training."



    P.S. The word is "meshugas" (craziness), rooted in the Hebrew "meshuga" (crazy).

  2. Hey Orin,

    I've seen it spelled a few different ways. Since the roots are in a language that uses a different alphabet, I guess it all works out.