Tips, quotes and etiquette
Social dancing is one of the best ways to improve your dancing, so do heaps and you will get better!
If you can’t do a simple move well, you will never do a complicated move well!
The basics are everything when you don’t have them, and nothing when you do have them: make them nothing!
Sound basics enable true partnering, authentic lead and follow, interpretation and improvisation, which in turn takes your dance satisfaction and enjoyment towards the highest level. No moves alone will ever give you or the person you dance with that moment to moment feeling of creating organically on the go!
Teaching while the teachers are teaching is not the go, chances are you and/or the person you are trying to help will miss something important, and you are likely to disturb others around you- it’s disrespectful and frowned upon during class- please don’t do it!
Leaders, please be clear with your lead, but not too too strong. Followers are self- propelling beings, guide them rather than roughly relocate them!
Followers try and provide opposite and equal pressure to the leaders- this will set you up for clear and responsive lead/ follow reaction.
Use a toe- ball- heel action in your stepping- this is what people mean by walking through the floor! In West Coast when travelling forwards you can choose between heel-toe and toe-heel.
Keep an open mind on how Modern Jive & West Coast Swing can be danced. Footwork is not fixed and the styles are ever-evolving- this is one of their greatest strengths- please don’t stifle their growth by creating false absolutes!
Modern Jive dancing hasn’t used signals for many years, it looks much better without, it’s more organic and much more satisfying, and if you lead well you don’t need them!
Try to dance with heaps of different people, you will develop authentic lead and follow much more quickly!
To improve, pick one aspect of someone’s dancing that you admire and focus on trying to emulate that. Practice at home, even if by yourself!
Deliberate focussed step-wise practice progresses your dancing and in turn increases what you and your partner’s satisfaction levels.
Keep trying to improve but never at the expense of fun! Happy dancing.
“Dance isn’t a form it’s a way of life.” ~anonymous
“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.” source unknown
“Behind each victory is a long train of suffering!” ~anonymous
“I don’t have an attitude, I’m just REALLY good!” ~Dance Caravan
“The people who do not dance are the dead.” ~Jerry Rose of Dance Caravan
“It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer.” source unknown
“Dancers aren’t made of their technique, but their passion.” source unknown
“Your love for yourself is only shown when you are dancing freely.” source unknown
“Dancers are instruments, like a piano the choreographer plays.” ~George Balanchine
‘The teacher doesn’t teach, not really. The teacher offers stimulation and ways in which the person can educate himself or herself. At best the teacher wakes up that person and makes a person hungry’ -source unknown
‘When in doubt……dance!’ annonymous
“A child sings before it speaks, dances almost before it walks. Music is in our hearts from the beginning.” ~Pamela Brown
“I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words.” ~Ruth St. Denis
“There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good”. ~Edwin Denby
“Dancing is like dreaming with your feet!” ~Constanze
“The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie”. ~Agnes de Mille
“There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them”. ~Vicki Baum
“Dance till the stars come down from the rafters Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop”.~W.H. Auden
“I don’t want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance”. ~George Balanchine
“Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order”. ~Samuel Beckett
“Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health – it rusts your spirit and your hips”. ~Adabella Radici
“Dancing is the poetry of the foot”. ~John Dryden
“Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery”. ~Martha Graham
“The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word”. ~Mata Hari
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music’. ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
“Do not know what the spirit of a philosopher could more wish to be than a good dancer. For the dance is his ideal”. Friedrich Nietzsche
“Socrates learned to dance when he was seventy because he felt that an essential part of himself had been neglected”. ~Source Unknown
“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain”. Unknown
Any problem in the world can be solved by dancing.” – james brown
“Every day I count wasted in which there has been no dancing.” -nietzsche
We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance! ~Japanese Proverb.
Just do it- you will never look back!
Try your utmost to say yes if asked for a dance, it’s only a dance after all, and it can take a lot of courage to ask.
If you have to decline an offer of a dance please do it with courtesy and respect and provide a valid reason. Try your best to get back to that person later.
Followers, today, it’s quite natural and acceptable, and even encouraged, for you to ask the guys for a dance! You are at least partially responsible for how many dances you get! Leaders, please go out of your way to uphold the tradition of asking ladies for a dance.
While dancing is a close contact sport, please respect your partner’s personal space, which will vary from person to person (that’s why it’s called personal space!!). Just to the person with the wider personal space!
As in any arena of life communicate what you do and don’t like, respectfully and courteously, you may be surprised how well this is received!
Please don’t hesitate to let teachers know if someone is making you feel uncomfortable, particularly if you have communicated that fact to the person without a positive outcome.
Leaders, please escort the lady on and off the floor and thank her for the dance!
Be mindful of others when entering and exiting the floor.
Lead moves that are at the level of your partner’s ability.
Leaders, if you lead a move and the lady doesn’t go where you want, its highly likely you didn’t lead it well enough, please give her the benefit of the doubt, and please do not stop and explain what she should have done! Instead work on how you can lead it better so it is clear what you were trying to communicate. If you can’t lead it with our explanation don’t lead it at all.
Play it safe and do not provide feedback to anyone unless you the initiate the request. People get quite upset with unsolicited teaching by students.