With social dancing like modern jive you’re there to enjoy the dance and maybe meet some new like minded friends. Plus hopefully experience a great connection and have a mind-blowing dance where you come off the dance floor feeling a bit wobbly like you do after a rollercoaster or fairground ride. Dance compliments aren’t expected. So when a compliment comes they can feel really special.
I’ve had some compliments from people who aren’t experienced dancers which are lovely to hear and give a bit of a confidence boost. You might think a compliment from a beginner isn’t as good as one from an advanced dancer, but if a beginner feels confident after a dance with you, and hasn’t felt overwhelmed, then I’d say you’ve achieved something good and should take that compliment as it’s meant.
I’ve also had a few from people I’ve had a lovely dance with and think of them as a really good dancer. Those people who’ve danced a lot, often across different genres. or teachers. These are the compliments I love to have because they’re the people who can give you tips on what’s working vs their dances with other people. We can always learn from compliments as well as dances that haven’t gone so well.
You know the saying ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have?’ Well, it’s the same in dancing. (Not clothes although I guess if they make you more comfortable and make you hold yourself better than why not). Even if you haven’t yet had compliments about your dancing, you can’t still learn from the compliments you’d like to have.
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What’s the best thing someone could say about your dancing? What dance compliment would make your day?
‘You’ve got great moves’
‘Love your style’
‘You lead (or follow) really well’
If you can understand that, you can focus any training or improvements in that area.
1, You want to be known for good solid, innovative moves?
- Mix up your dance classes and venues, go to workshops, learn from different teachers.
- Listen properly in lessons and learn to adapt them to work with different partners
- Practice the moves you’ve learnt to reinforce and remember them.
- Add in 1 new move to your repertoire each week to build them up.
- When at freestyles mix them up rather than repeating them in the same order
- Practice the moves at home to music to help improve learning to listen to music and fitting the best moves with certain types of music.
2, Want to improve your style when dancing?
- Try other dance genres to bring those moves and body movement to modern jive or your main style
- Listen to and practice to different music and see how you can move your body in different ways to it without it affecting your partner
- Learn to be confident at dancing alone when your partner lets go
- Watch other dancers you think are stylish and practise some of their movements – great arms, hands, footwork, head movements, the way they step or glide across the floor
- Take style workshops
3, You want to be known as a good lead or follow?
- Practise practise practise
- Dance with lots of different people.
- Find a teacher who knows about tension and compression, connection or puts strength on teaching lead and follow. That might be outside modern jive (I learnt my follow technique through a strict salsa teacher)
- Ask for feedback from the people you dance with on what works for them with other people and how they feel your lead or follow.
My own favourite compliments recently have been not at modern jive, but at west coast swing where I’m still really a beginner having only been back a few weeks after 6 years off. A couple of followers have said ‘you’ve obviously been doing it a while’, and ‘you look confident dancing’, and the best last week from the organiser saying ‘you’re a very stylish dancer’. For me, that’s the best compliment I could get. I’ve always been stronger on the technical aspect but the style side is where I always want to improve, and is something I always look at in others.
Now I should make more effort complimenting others, and getting over that British awkwardness doing it. And making it not sound patronising!
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever been given? What’s the compliment you would love to hear about your dancing?