Swing Discussion Boards > Do you ever stop getting better?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by SwinginBoo, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    I was pondering whether or not you stop getting better. Over that past year I can see how much progress I have made. Even in the past 2 months I can see that I have gotten better.

    I have known people who have been dancing for a while and they never seem to improve. They are not bad dancers, sometimes they're quite good. They just never seem to have anything new in their repetiore.

    The question is, do you stop getting better once you reach a certain point. Is it a question of desire for the dance?

    Jenn, you pointed out that it can be like losing weight -- fast in the beginning, slower as you move on. When you stop losing weight you have to jump start your metabolism by eating less, or excercising more.

    So do you think that if you feel you've reached a dancing plateau that taking more classes, attending a workshop, or exploring a new dance will help get you out of the plateau?
     
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I feel that you have to do something different. Not necessarily more. For example, some of the biggest leaps I've experienced have been after taking a week's mental health break from dancing. When I come back, it's as if I have a new and totally different perspective. Not necessarily more, just different.

    What do others think?
     
  3. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    I've been doing the WCS for nearly 10 years now, and only until this past May, did it evolve into the "way I want to dance."

    I used to work so hard on patterns, and technicla stuff, but never really listened to the music and did what the music told me to do.

    Oh, I thought was doing doing all the right stuff. Then about March of this year, I took some "get down and get funky" WCS privates from a female Pro who knows how to get down and funky. My dance began to change.

    Then we went to a competition in May . . . and just like someone turned on a light switch . . . I felt the music and danced to the music. I now just "play" to the music. No solid patterns, no "have to do this" stuff.

    I honestly believe that I danced non-stop for 4 days . . .

    Essentially . . . what I did . . was go back to the basics! But in a different sort of way and different mindset!
     
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hey! In your post, you left out the part where I called you a stinker for not having to diet! :tongue: :lol: Just kidding.

    No, I don't think it's a question of desire. There are a few couples here who are amateur competitors. They've been dancing for years, and are super active on the local competition circuit. But everyone who knows them tells me that they've been competing at the same level of proficiency for years. They really have a love and desire for the dance. They just haven't figured out what to do differently.

    I think sometimes, what to do differently is counterintuitive. Like, when you're losing weight. Sometimes eating less is the way to do it. Often, though, eating more, not less, is the way to wake up your metabolism. But it takes asking some questions to find that out.

    Maybe dance really is like that too. You may have to do what Vince did -- go get help and find a way to approach things from a different perspective. What do you think?
     
  5. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    Sounds good Jenn. If I feel like I've stopped getting better I'll make you come up to CT to show me some new stuff. Sounds like you know a bit about everything. :wink:
     
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Alas. Jack of all trades. Master of none. That's how I sometimes feel. :cry:

    But I'm convinced that, in the long run, I'll be a better dancer for it. It's just a really LONG run. :lol:
     
  7. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    Of course you'll be a better dancer for it. It's getting better all the time...
     
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    *sniff* :cry: I hope you're right! :lol:

    Yup. It's a decision you have to make. Breadth versus depth. I've made mine. Now I just have to stay the course, and everything will come together when it's the right time. Did anyone mention the importance of faith in a good dance education? :D
     
  9. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Not to mention . . . the importance of education that helps you have faith that you can dance good!
     
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yup. Faith is the thing. And having a teacher/coach with vision helps.

    Has anybody else experienced a dance plateau? How did you get through it?
     
  11. suek

    suek New Member

    I don't know if you could call this a plateau:

    I can see improvement in classes (even if I still get frustrated--cried yesterday in a Chicago Steppin' workshop), but I feel like my progress is so much worse social dancing. I keep making the same mistakes; I keep hitting the same "I could improvise right here if I wasn't in terror and my mind hadn't gone completely blank of every jazz step I've ever learned" wall over and over.

    There has been some improvement on the social dance floor, yes; I'm just so frustrated by the big gap between my dancing in class and dancing socially.

    Anyone relate?
     
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yup, suek.

    I've had that experience too. I think that reflects how good you've gotten. If you're anything like me, a few months ago, you probably weren't even aware of those little improv opportunities. You just danced blithely through them. Now you know they're there. That's progress. The next step is being able to do something with them. Then you're going to break out and shine. It's a process, and, even if it doesn't feel like it, you're already in the process.


    Enjoy.

    Jenn
     
  13. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    Like Jenn said, if you're in the awareness stage you are right in the game. This stage is difficult because there aren't any steps or lessons to take, it's all trial and error. But there is nothing better than actually *Dancing* to the music. This will take time and the best part is, you have the opportunity to come up with some really great moves. :D
     
  14. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    It's hard to fix a problem that you are not aware of so you're on your way already! Although it's not as comfortable, you'll get there just relax, listen to the music, connect to your partner, and have fun. It sounds like you're thinking too much, that's all.
     
  15. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Here is the learning curve I have observed:

    1. Difficult to learn at first
    2. Speed of learning increases. For example, you have the basic steps down, and now you find it easy to learn new steps
    3. Speed of learning continues to be high for quite a while
    4. You start to reach a plateau and learning is slower
    5. More work is required to get to the next level
    6. A commitment is made to continue learning the details and often the student starts to seek coaching from national or world class dancers.
    7. Speed of learning starts to increase again
    8. Another plateau
    9. To get better now, it requires many ours of practice daily combines with coaching from a variety of top professionals.
    10. Now placing near top of the ladder at competitions.

    (I was sort of thinking of ballroom dancing when I wrote this but with a little modification, I think the same applies to swing.)
     
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes, DM. For me, that re-commitment phase is critical. I have lietrally been near to tears in a few of my lessons, when I realized the enormity of what I'm taking on. Plateau and intimidation all wrapped up in one. Then I had to go away, think about it, recommit, and figure out what I needed to do differently or do more of. I agree with you. I think it goes in cycles.
     
  17. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Breadth vs depth...Not getting better..I too have made the decision on breadth vs depth, for the next few months, anyway. I find that this helps deal with the plateaus of learning in dance as often I am stuck in one dance but the other dances are going better. Also, what I learn about the basics, such as a turn, lead/follow, or even musicality, in one dance, can often be used in another...
     

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