General Dance Discussion > Why does partner dancing make me happy sometimes and then sad other times?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by SalsaDancer, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Moss

    Moss New Member

    Good Vibrations (where have I heard that?) Ah The Beach Boy's. Just like the song - your dance class should have good vibrations; and I truly believe other students can help you learn and learn from you. We all get frustrated on occasions, that's part of learning; and we all make mistakes - even the dance instructors from time to time.
    chomsky likes this.
  2. SwayWithMe

    SwayWithMe Well-Known Member

    I agree with the idea that the brain is busy in the background, but where do these timeframes come from?
    chomsky likes this.
  3. BD4L

    BD4L Member

    That sounds a bit long, but maybe it has to do with how much you practice. What I've heard from the Pros I work with (which seems to be pretty accurate in my experience) is it takes 3 months of concerted practice to make a new skill/adjustment in technique a habit (muscle memory). I've also been told never to work on technique the final 3 weeks before a competition where you want the technique present because it won't help at all. The dancing you do 3 weeks before is the dancing you'll do at the event so spend your time working on performance and styling decisions because they're easier to change. As for learning new routines, its definitely a personal thing. A new routine feels natural to me after about 2 hours of practice (I can do the routine without thinking of what comes next more than occasional cues I've given myself), at about 6 weeks of practice the routine is so ingrained in my movement that when a change is made it takes longer to unlearn the old version than to learn the new version, but I will admit I have a knack for choreography (I can remember and re-dance any routine I've don't since I was 12 years old with 10-15 minutes of practice, the problem is with old routines I fall into old habits and that can be very bad).
    chomsky likes this.
  4. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Think I projected my own experiences onto others. Of course I used to practiced every day, but that did not accelerate the process. Very often I forgot those unmastered difficult combinations after some weeks again and than after one year they suddenly appeared well-engeneered in my vocabulary. Maybe you should change "how much you practice.." into "how much you´ve practiced before." I for one started dancing late in my life and so really a lot of new synapses had to sprout each time.
    chomsky likes this.
  5. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    hmmm...ANATOMY/PHYSIOLOGY ALERT !! the cerebellum is a part of your brain that is IN PART responsible for your ability to perform any task in three dimensional space including but not unique to ...dancing
  6. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    ... only want to add that we also call it reptile brain: it´s responsible for eternally repeating routines and sequences, but not for new challenges at all, for changing situations and improvisation. But once you have brought your cerebellum into line, your cortex got enough memory for superior work. I know whereof I speak: My left knee was opened three times (cruciate ligament plasty, cell transplantation against arthrosis, meniscus refix). Finally a lot of nerves must have been severed. A lot of reflexes did not work any more. Can you imagine how much brain capacity and working memory conscious walking actually does absorb? A lot of these reflexes lie in your spinal marrow, but they work comparable to those in the cerebellum.
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  7. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    I agree... the time it takes to remember/perform a complete routine is related to your prior experience and practice.

    I know some solo dancers who can learn very complex routines in hours, and perform with their own style touches and flavor the same day.

    They have tremendous depth in their dancing, with years of experience.

    For us non-pros, it can be a few days or a year, depending on our background, experience, practice habits and our own ability to learn (which gets stronger if we work at it.)

    Your own expectations also play into it. If you're around others who pick up quickly, you establish that as normal and you work to do the same. If someone tells you it takes 8-12 months, that will be what happens if it's the norm with your peers.

    The pros can do it in hours/days, the rest of us can be 10 or 100 times longer, depending on where we are in the dance journey.
    chomsky likes this.
  8. BD4L

    BD4L Member

    It's amazing how similar the dancing experience can be from person to person, and yet how vastly different it can be as well.
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  9. BD4L

    BD4L Member

    The age you started dancing probably has something to do with it to. If you start dancing when you're younger (like I was fortunate enough to) it's probably easier to establish the pathways for you to learn routines easier later in life.
    chomsky likes this.
  10. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    no doubt I wish id started younger:(
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    The more you do anything, the more "stored procedures" you have. So, when part of a dance routine requires a move you can do in your sleep, you end up spending your time on the things you DON'T already know.

    The books "Habit.." and "Guitar Zero," and probably the broader neuroscience field speak of "chunking." So, a line dancer, as an example, probably has a "vine to the right" "chunk," or stored procedure, in their brain that can easily be called upon. If you DON'T know how to do a "vine to the right," you'll be concentrating on how to make that happen.

    So, the more stored procedures or chunks you have, the easier it is to learn something that has that as part of the overall whole.

    I'm guessing that teasing out all the steps/parts of a new routine would make it really hard to come up with a "one size fits all" estimate of "how long does it take to learn..."

    I liked the comment about having to unlearn something. Frankly, though, I need a certain level of that sort of challenge in SOME of my dancing (but by no means ALL. "You certainly know a lot of variations." Is that a GOOD thing, I sometimes wonder after a partner dance.)

    Oh, and I am NOT unhappy that I didn't start earlier because I enjoy the challenge of learning.
    chomsky likes this.
  12. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    i don't know about anyone else, but i found the choice of word "glory" kind of interesting. makes it sound like a certain amount of success or recognition as a result is a requirement. and your response in this situation is IMO reflecting the same kind of expectation. i guess that the thought i'd suggest to consider that there's value in the journey even if you never reach your intended destination; can you find enjoyment in this endeavor even if you never get beyond a relatively low level of competence? for example, some people like to fish, and are completely content if they haven't caught anything at the end of the day. some people love golf even though they'll never break 100 (for NINE holes!)

    having said that, a beginner class where students are freely correcting/criticizing other students does not strike me as being an optimal situation. i know that in salsa, it's common for newcomers to rely on classes that are offered at a dance venue before the dance starts. it's my take that those kinds of lessons are of limited value in terms of improving one's actual dancing/partnering skills. but even if that's not what you're doing, i would still suggest trying to find another class/studio that doesn't have other students in the class freely criticizing your dancing; especially in a beginner class - they seldom know what they're talking about.

    good luck.
    chomsky likes this.
  13. Don Silver

    Don Silver Member

    It depends on your personality type. Some people have unrealistic expectations of how long it will take them to be "reasonable" (their own definition) at an activity, and some people enjoy the social or environmental aspects (being with others or maybe being outdoors on a lake) and the activity is secondary.

    Plenty of great dancers in one style won't take classes in some other styles, sometimes because they have tried a few times and find out it's not as easy as it looks, so they quit and stay with their strengths.

    Maybe the jazz dancer who won't take hip-hop, or the salsa dancer who won't take jazz. The start-up phase for a new activity/style can be highly humbling and some people are afraid to "look foolish" or be obviously incompetent short-term.

    Some who have achieved a certain level in one dance or activity find it hard to go back and be among the beginners in another activity, even if it's related.

    In my mind not pushing through the start-up phase (being short-term incompetent) is limiting, but I understand it and suspect it's fairly common.

    I always remember the quote (but not who said it) that basically says "To be great at something, you have to be willing to be bad at it during the learning process."
    chomsky likes this.
  14. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    Really nice feedback, I don't seem to get enough of it!

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