Last night, I had a coaching lesson with someone I’ve worked with many times in the past. We decided to work on Hustle and West Coast Swing because we had some new steps and they have been kind of hit or miss. This guy is an expert in those dances so it seemed like a good idea.
Ended up getting a little more than I expected. He went into some background on Hustle to explain why he dances it a certain way and some things he tries to do. So the focus shifted more to making the steps look more “hustle like” even if that wasn’t exactly what was in the syllabus.
It got me to thinking a bit – or maybe a lot. I learn patterns in each of the dances because it allows muscle memory to take over and when you are at a Showcase or another event, it gives you one less thing to think about. And I think it works for most dances but there are downsides. You can get so wrapped up in the pattern that you try to stick to it even when dancing into a crowd. (Maybe that opening quote kind of works better than I thought)
I mean if you always do step “b” after step “a” but step “b” requires a certain amount of space or moves down a certain line, then you can easily be at an event and find that you don’t have the space or someone is blocking your line. Doggedly sticking to the plan means you end up doing some weird version of step “b” which can then throw everything else off.
But then I think dances like Hustle and West Coast Swing (and Argentine Tango and probably Salsa if I did that one) are ones where it might be better to just freestyle. Maybe not completely since if you are being judged against a certain level, then certain steps must be done. Or it is that some dances like these allow you to do more personal styling and some extra flourishes that might not be possible in a Waltz.
Anyway, I came away thinking that for dances like the Hustle or the West Coast Swing, advancing through the levels is less important. Those are the dances to just go out and dance. Not sure exactly what that looks like but it is kind of my new goal for those dances. And probably the Argentine Tango as well. I just don’t think they are in the same bucket as the other dances I do.
So it was an interesting lesson.