Dance is about movement. For modern jive like any partner dance, that movement is of individuals in a partnership, and hopefully a great connection with our partner. But even outside the movement of the dancers, the experience of dance isn’t static. The dance experience changes every time we dance and that makes it more exciting and challenging.
It’s one of the things that keeps our dance enjoyment alive and progressing.
Every time we dance we have a different experience even with the same music track. Even dancing with the same person who does the same moves, you’re likely to have a different experience of emotions, moves and enjoyment.
Music – different genres, tempos and versions of the same song. All will impact how you dance and how to react to your partner.
Venue – the atmosphere of a venue makes a difference. If you’re self-conscious and the lighting is darker you might feel more free to express yourself more. If it’s a tea dance, you might feel less tired in the afternoon and have more energy compared with dancing late at night.
Dance partner – how you enjoy dancing with someone impacts how you dance. Over time this can change as well. If you get to know someone you may feel more comfortable dancing closer, or improve the connection and be able to react to each other better.
Teachers – dancers move around venues all the time, and with that learn from teachers with different styles. Or they begin to learn other dance genres. All of these lessons then change a dancer, so bringing a change to each dance compared to before.
Time off – I’ve found time can really make things change, especially if you have a good amount of time away from dance. Sometimes you come back with fresh ideas and feelings about dance. It gives others a chance to change their dance and bring that to the new partnership.
Life experiences – sometimes you can have personal changes and find that impacts your dance. I’ve mostly experienced positive change, for example, since having had my son and returned to dance, I care a lot less what others think of my dancing and what I look like. I feel like I let go of being perfect and let myself go a bit more than I used to. I’ve several people I dance with who before I didn’t really enjoy dancing with, but now I have some great dances with them – because I’m more willing to go with the way they lead rather than overthinking what I’m doing too much.
I have also found that the person I mostly liked dancing with before, really doesn’t give me that dance hit anymore since they got married. Whether that’s them holding back, or me, I don’t know, but life experiences can impact both dance partners.
Mood – Good day or bad, your mood can impact your dance. We’ve all felt like a night dancing just hasn’t clicked. That’s often down to our outlook of the night and how we’ve gone about having dances.
Fitness – as health and fitness changes, it will impact our dancing. Whether it’s personal confidence, or physical ability, even a slight twinge or feeling can change a dance.
Suggestions to improve a dance experience
If you’re not enjoying a dance with a certain partner, then there’s a lot you can do to make it change before you have to refuse a dance request from them.
• Don’t like the music, try focussing on something else – the beat or phrasing, or just shutting off the music and challenging yourself to just dance with the movement and lead of the partner
• Change outlook – pretend you’re enjoying it, smile and think about the next dance, focus on the way you’re dancing rather than on the other person, and you might have a different feel of dance
• Change over roles – learn to dance as the opposite role to what you normally dance. There’s new challenges, and you might change your perspective or feelings about dancing with people
• Choose to dance with them on different tracks or at different venues. There are some people I’d not choose to dance with to slow tracks, but I love dancing faster tracks with them.
With dance being fluid and all about movement, I like that you have different dances with the same person. It keeps things alive, keeps us being challenged, and keeps us on our toes awaiting the next surprise.
Do you feel the same? What do you enjoy about the differences in dance?