Good Enough?

#61
Thanks to TC for reminding me ...
<grin>
But do take a look at that first post. It’s funny, but in essence nothing has changed and I could have written it yesterday.
"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"?
The other “aaahh” feeling is unconscious flow, the pleasure of moving gracefully to music with other people. Although both feelings can be thought of as the product of hard work and practice, only in the second type has all the work been incorporated into muscle memory so that the effort is in the past and the present consists of comfortable, natural-feeling movement. But this feeling depends on factors in addition to the one that can be worked on (the skill). The other factors include the music, the other people in the room, and my mood. So I don’t think it has come more often as my skill level has increased, but often enough that I almost always catch it at some point during an evening of dancing.
In my experience, the more I progress, the harder it is to achieve with other people.
The answer to the last two questions seems to be “not yet.” DH and I have accepted the roller-coaster nature of our progress. We acknowledge we could get more out of our lessons if we practiced more, but we prefer to use our dancing time for actually dancing. To the extent we practice, it’s out on the social floor, rather than targeted practice at home or in a studio. This means our progress is slow, but we don’t have any particular goals … we just hope for general improvement.
I think that's a matter of perception. Fast is slow to some. Slow is fast to others. I'm not in much of a hurry myself. You are improving. I think that is enough.
I mentioned in one of the posts that we wanted to start taking private lessons again. We were considering two teachers, one for ballroom and one for WCS. One of the reasons it took so long to set up the lessons was that we couldn’t decide how to fit two teachers at two locations at different times into our schedule. But we finally just went ahead and set a time with one, and when we showed up for our first lesson, the other teacher was there in the same studio! So now we coordinate lesson times so we have to make only one trip. (And we found out there are several other students who take lessons from both teachers … their teaching styles are similar so people who like one will probably like the other as well.)
:rocker:
I also mentioned starting and stopping belly dancing in a couple of previous posts. When my schedule changed a while ago, I started again, but again I found it was feeling like something I “should” be doing rather than something I really wanted to do, so I dropped it again. Maybe someday I’ll try yet again … I’d really like to develop that kind of body control, but for now I’d rather put my efforts into other things.
Whew! No need to push ballroom even further down the list. :razz:
Another theme that has come up over the years is the search for a ballroom “home”. When we left our first studio, we started going to group lessons and socials in a large gym. It worked for a while, but didn’t really meet our needs. So we tried a commercial studio. It also had its plusses and minuses.
If you're referring to the place I'm thinking of, haven't you gone only twice? :razz:
Lately we’ve been going to another community venue, smaller than the first, in a nicer room. In addition to the pre-social drop-in group lessons, they offer an introductory series on International dances. So far we like it … we’ll see how it goes in a few months.

It seems to be only ballroom where we have trouble finding a comfortable fit. We’ve been going to the same places for WCS, folk dance, and Hungarian dance for years, and we have no thoughts of trying anything different for those styles. I’m not sure why ballroom should be more of a challenge …
I think it goes back to that whole thing of there tending to be a separation of the fun/social from the serious/study in ballroom.
So there we have my thoughts on another year of dancing. TC, is this what you were looking for?
Of course! It is a tome worthy of your past posts! ;)

As much as your last post might seem to mirror your first, I still think there's been some significant change. You're back on track with ballroom private lessons again. (hurrah!) From our e-mails, you've been improving quite a bit since we last danced. We'll have to meet up again soon. Or whenever you can fit me into your busy schedule. If ballroom is still a fourth priority... :razz:
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#62
"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"?
Yes, but in this case I think it's not a bad thing.
In my experience, the more I progress, the harder it is to achieve with other people.
hmmm ... now that I think about it, it happens less frequently in ballroom and more frequently in the other styles ....;)

Whew! No need to push ballroom even further down the list. :razz:
At least we're not planning to try Argentine Tango very soon ....

If you're referring to the place I'm thinking of, haven't you gone only twice? :razz:
I think we may have gone again when you weren't there ... I admit we may not have given it a fighting chance, but when the subject came up on a Saturday night the prospect wasn't enough to draw us away from home. It's more a feeling than a rational decision ....

I think it goes back to that whole thing of there tending to be a separation of the fun/social from the serious/study in ballroom.
Possibly. We're in serious pursuit of fun. Or it may be that the ballroom population is so much larger and it's harder for shy people like us to make connections.

As much as your last post might seem to mirror your first, I still think there's been some significant change. You're back on track with ballroom private lessons again. (hurrah!) From our e-mails, you've been improving quite a bit since we last danced. We'll have to meet up again soon. Or whenever you can fit me into your busy schedule. If ballroom is still a fourth priority... :razz:
I've been thinking about how to get an objective measure of our progress ... maybe video ... or you can tell me what you think the next time we dance together. Let's set a date. We'll even go to the place you're thinking of if you will be there ...
 
#63
hmmm ... now that I think about it, it happens less frequently in ballroom and more frequently in the other styles ....;)
Again, I think it comes down to that dichotomy.
At least we're not planning to try Argentine Tango very soon ....
Whew! :sigh of relief: ;)
Possibly. We're in serious pursuit of fun.
LOL! I know what you mean. :)
I've been thinking about how to get an objective measure of our progress ...
Competition! :razz:
maybe video ... or you can tell me what you think the next time we dance together. Let's set a date. We'll even go to the place you're thinking of if you will be there ...
I've been meaning to check out your new place. Maybe we could meet there. :)
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#64
DW and I met dancing. Good enough for us is when we can see ourselves on video and not wince. Of course, that might never happen. ;-) We know people whose dancing really hasn't changed in ten years, so we have a good idea of what constitutes good enough for them. We also know couples who compete who have given up on social dancing because they can't dance all out in a social setting. That's maybe too good, from our perspective.
 
#65
if you are passionate about your dancing you will never be good enough
as you will always see better dancers, whether on you tube or at a dance or wherever. you will always crave improvement, there is always something better to do, or a better way to do what you are currently dancing......
its a cosntant learning curve, just depends on where abouts you are on that curve. you will be looking up at other dancers on the curve wishing you could be as good as them, and feeling pretty low down, whilst there are others below you on the curve looking at you feeling the same. the aaaah feeling should come every time you dance though........ dancing is for fun and joy as well as working to improve!
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#66
dh and I began together with the goal of being socially proficient ...lolz six years later my goal is to be as good as I can be and his goal is to be socially proficient...not sure either one of us feels that we have met our goal...or ever will...but what it does for us in the interim, is that it gives us something to work on both separately and individually that combines our interests in music and physical exercise, as well as social interaction....some things require measurable objectives along the way...I think we both have those (dance open smooth at a comp without humiliating self, learn silver smooth tango steps so you can dance them with wife at a party)...but, as to knowing the true definition of the end game...I reckon we won't know until we are upon it
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#67
In response to TC:

About the reasons we're having difficulty finding a "home base" in ballroom ... I don't think it's the fun/social vs. serious/study aspect because we have limited contact with the serious/study ballroom participants. If any happen to be at the socials where we dance, they tend to keep to themselves. In WCS I've danced with many of the serious competitors who show up at the socials, but the ones who show up tend to be those who haven't broken out of the lower ranks and need the practice dancing with different people to be prepared for Jack and Jills. The good competitive leaders seem to make a point of dancing with as many partners as possible in the evening. I'm coming to the conclusion that ballroom just has a larger, more fluid population so it's harder for shy people to make connections.

Of course if you want to explore a real dichotomy between fun/social and serious/study, compare either ballroom or WCS to international folk dance! The requirements for "good enough" in folk dance are easier to meet by at least an order of magnitude. As long as you aren't interested in serious study of any particular culture, you can get by with just learning the steps/patterns. The average person can show up at a folk dance venue and be dancing in 15 minutes. It takes only a few weeks or months to learn enough to be a full participant (though quite a bit longer to be a good "leader"). Private lessons are unheard of. You get to dance with other people, but there's no complex lead-follow, no CBM/CBMP, no straining, no ...whatever. My current definition of a good folk dance is one that looks good when done by a drunken peasant (who has been doing the dance since childhood). The movements are mostly natural and don't require extensive training to learn. You don't have to worry about asking/attracting a partner. Folk dancing is just plain fun ... way more fun (for me)!

Now this doesn't mean DH and I would even consider dropping our other dance interests and go back to strictly folk dancing. We still enjoy challenging ourselves and trying to take our dancing to the next level. But we had to sigh after our private lessons last week. In ballroom our teacher introduced some new concepts in waltz, and opened up a whole new world of struggle. In WCS we worked on the concepts introduced at the previous group class, getting into further levels of detail. Oy ... so much to learn to make even the smallest improvement. And it seems the more we learn, the smaller improvement we get for the same level of effort!

And that leads to the next question ... how do we measure improvement ... since we're spending a LOT of money on private lessons that in theory are teaching us something. I know competition is one way, and a lot of people seem to enjoy it. But, frankly, competition interests me only for the social aspect ... sharing an activity with friends (or people I hope will become friends). There is no way I would ever consider entering a competition where we didn't know someone ... preferably a lot of people. Many threads on DF deal with the challenges of learning anything from judges' scores, and the necessity of taking them in context. So in order for competition to help measure our improvement we would have to do a reasonable number of them against a reasonably stable population of others at our level. Sounds like a lot of trouble and expense to me. We're too lazy even to arrange to video ourselves on a regular basis and competitions would require even more effort.

We might do more WCS competitions if they happen at events we're attending anyway. We could probably be talked into another ballroom competition with a group of friends, depending on the circumstances. But competition for competition's sake? Not so much.

And finally ... checking out our new place ... we'd love to see you there. We'll probably go only for the International class (quickstep) and then leave before the general pre-social class this Sunday because it conflicts with the monthly WCS party. And we're off the weekend of the 25th for a WCS event. But other than that, we expect to be there most Sundays in the near future. Let me know when you plan to come!
 

nucat78

Active Member
#68
Excellent posts, Z. You are not alone. DP and I have been struggling somewhat with the social / fun versus technically (more) proficient dichotomy too. That's not to say that working at becoming better technically is NOT fun, but there is a different mindset - "Hey, we actually did a decent slip pivot!" versus "Do it again. Extend that leg! Watch your frame! Etc!"

I think part of our struggle comes from having started out at a studio with an emphasis on newbies and social dancing, which we have pretty much left behind for a studio with an emphasis on technique with several accomplished competitors. Couple that with our inability to even schedule a private lesson lately and we're in a bit of a fog.
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#69
Excellent posts, Z. You are not alone. DP and I have been struggling somewhat with the social / fun versus technically (more) proficient dichotomy too. That's not to say that working at becoming better technically is NOT fun, but there is a different mindset - "Hey, we actually did a decent slip pivot!" versus "Do it again. Extend that leg! Watch your frame! Etc!"

I think part of our struggle comes from having started out at a studio with an emphasis on newbies and social dancing, which we have pretty much left behind for a studio with an emphasis on technique with several accomplished competitors. Couple that with our inability to even schedule a private lesson lately and we're in a bit of a fog.
It helps sometimes to remind ourselves we're in it to enjoy ourselves ... we expect our efforts to result in a better quality of "enjoyment" ... to the extent that is not true, we don't want to invest the effort. Of course, sometimes we have to take it on trust that the effort will pay off eventually...
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#70
You are not alone.
Oh ... and thanks for this ...

One of the reasons I continue to post these meanderings is because I think other people may face the same questions. A lot of DF posts are thought-provoking and lead me to think about my approach to dance in different ways, and I am grateful for that.
 
#71
Zhena,

When I first saw this discussion called "Good Enough?", it caught my eye so I continued to follow the updates. I really enjoy your posts, and really get where
you are coming from. I am fairly certain, based on your descriptionsof where you dance, that we attended the same wcs dance last night (and may cross paths with you once in a blue moon at the ballroom event), although my DP/husband and I couldn't identify you. We did speculate ;) especially when we saw a couple who did more than WCS when the music allowed. We thought it might be out of line to approach strangers with the out-of-the-blue question, "Are you Zhena?". That wcs event is definitely one of the most friendly and lowkey venues in the area, overall a really nice group of people who mix quite a bit.
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#72
Zhena,

When I first saw this discussion called "Good Enough?", it caught my eye so I continued to follow the updates. I really enjoy your posts, and really get where
you are coming from. I am fairly certain, based on your descriptionsof where you dance, that we attended the same wcs dance last night (and may cross paths with you once in a blue moon at the ballroom event), although my DP/husband and I couldn't identify you. We did speculate ;) especially when we saw a couple who did more than WCS when the music allowed. We thought it might be out of line to approach strangers with the out-of-the-blue question, "Are you Zhena?". That wcs event is definitely one of the most friendly and lowkey venues in the area, overall a really nice group of people who mix quite a bit.
There was actually at least one other couple doing more than WCS ... I believe they compete in ballroom ... they're younger and the woman in particular has beautiful posture, and she catches the eye. About us ... DH is tall with a white beard and glasses ... kind of a giant teddy bear. He was wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt. I was wearing black pants and a teal and black top ... and, I hope, a smile ... I was having a wonderful time.

If you see us again, say hi. Or if you come to the next monthly dance let me know in advance what to look for and I'll say hi to you :D!
 
#73
Ok, if you wear the same clothes next time... Just kidding! (Pretty certain we saw you...glad we didn't approach the couple wearing lots of red, and red socks to match!).

My husband is quite tall, often wears bright Hawaiian shirts. Pretty sure he wore one of the more subtle ones last night, maybe black with red-splotchy flowers. And I am... quite short in comparison :)

Next time, in all seriousness, we'll look for you! We should be there.
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#74
I've come up with a definition of "good enough" for one limited application. I want to be feel confident that I'm good enough that I don't need the reminders of proper technique that are often repeated in my intermediate WCS class. I want to feel that the teacher is not talking to me when making comments like:

"followers, remember ... your body center should follow the path of your hand."

"... shoulders over hips, hips over feet."

"... move your body and let your feet follow."

"... settle on the anchor and wait for a the lead before stepping out."

"... meet and respond to the tone in the leader's arm."

"... make sure your weight is completely over your foot before turning."

"... keep your arms balanced when spinning."

"... etc."

Every time I hear something like that, I do a mental check. I consider that I'm making progress when I can honestly say that particular issue was not a problem on that particular move. I mentally kick myself when I have to admit that it IS a problem and I do my best to not repeat it on the next run-through.

I hope that a time will come when I'm "good enough" that I could reasonably skip the intermediate class and just take the advanced class. Right now, I'm just happy that the proportion of "not a problem" to "why is that not in muscle memory?" is slowly improving.
 
#75
In response to TC:

About the reasons we're having difficulty finding a "home base" in ballroom ... I don't think it's the fun/social vs. serious/study aspect because we have limited contact with the serious/study ballroom participants. If any happen to be at the socials where we dance, they tend to keep to themselves.
I think the thing is that in our area, the fun/social and serious/study only really intersect in the collegiate/am/am community. Outside that community, those who do both are so sparse as to discourage mingling (as I think you have observed).
And that leads to the next question ... how do we measure improvement ... since we're spending a LOT of money on private lessons that in theory are teaching us something. I know competition is one way, and a lot of people seem to enjoy it. But, frankly, competition interests me only for the social aspect ... sharing an activity with friends (or people I hope will become friends). There is no way I would ever consider entering a competition where we didn't know someone ... preferably a lot of people. Many threads on DF deal with the challenges of learning anything from judges' scores, and the necessity of taking them in context. So in order for competition to help measure our improvement we would have to do a reasonable number of them against a reasonably stable population of others at our level. Sounds like a lot of trouble and expense to me. We're too lazy even to arrange to video ourselves on a regular basis and competitions would require even more effort.
I recall at one point, waltzgirl was marking her progress by which leaders were asking her to dance at the socials.

The studio where you were most recently taking both ballroom and WCS lessons has a sort of ballroom team - that might be a good place for you to find the social aspect of competition.

You wouldn't necessarily have to do a lot of competitions. I'd say just one or two of the more contested (30-50 couples) events at a USA Dance or collegiate comp would provide enough feedback. They're pretty inexpensive too - about $50 flat fee (unlimited entries) for the two of you.

Or I could video you the next time I see you. ;)
Let me know when you plan to come!
Definitely! We're long overdue for a meet-up. :)
 
#76
In another thread ("Do Dance Instructors have to know Silver+") the point was made that there is no need for a social dancer to know the Silver syllabus, since there are very few people at social dances who know know the silver patterns. So, learning the bronze level might be "good enough" for a social dancer. Do you agree or disagree? I would like to know if there is a light at the end of the tunnel or if I will always be falling short of the target.
 
#77
In another thread ("Do Dance Instructors have to know Silver+") the point was made that there is no need for a social dancer to know the Silver syllabus, since there are very few people at social dances who know know the silver patterns. So, learning the bronze level might be "good enough" for a social dancer. Do you agree or disagree? I would like to know if there is a light at the end of the tunnel or if I will always be falling short of the target.
Kipling, good question. I don' t know the answer. I would like to know the answer(s) too. Maybe the answer is how well you know the bronze level, and how well you are able to dance those patterns with your dance partners.
 

bia

Well-Known Member
#78
In another thread ("Do Dance Instructors have to know Silver+") the point was made that there is no need for a social dancer to know the Silver syllabus, since there are very few people at social dances who know know the silver patterns. So, learning the bronze level might be "good enough" for a social dancer. Do you agree or disagree? I would like to know if there is a light at the end of the tunnel or if I will always be falling short of the target.
The definition of the target is highly personal, so you're really the only one who can say for yourself. For some dancers, "good enough" is knowing enough steps in enough dances that they don't get bored (how many that is is also personal, of course, but it doesn't have to be enormous), and having a comfortable enough lead (you're a lead, right?) that follows are happy to dance with them. They can then happily maintain that level for years and years of social dancing. If that's the type of thing you're thinking of as a target, sure, that should definitely be achievable.

On the other hand, there will of course always be more to learn, and the more you learn, the more you realize how much more there is. That fact is a very good thing for other people, who take satisfaction not from achieving a certain level but from the process of improvement. For these people, the tunnel is indefinitely long, but it's the only place they want to be, and the mile markers on the walls show them how far they've come.

I guess the problem would be if you don't enjoy the tunnel, but you set your light too far away (maybe because you're comparing yourself to a tunnel-lover?). So my advice would be to figure out if you're a tunnel person or a light person, and if you're a light person, pick a goal for yourself that doesn't require too long a tunnel. Once you get there, if you're happy there, just hang out. And if you decide you're up for another tunnel after a while, there will always be one there if you want it.
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#79
Need for silver depends on if you are dancing American or International Styles. When I was dancing American style, the Bronze syllabus included so many variations that silver was really unnecessary for social dancing. In international style, the bronze syllabus is rather limited. That being said, watching dancers on the floor at social dances, even for international, bronze is probably enough.
 

bia

Well-Known Member
#80
Need for silver depends on if you are dancing American or International Styles. When I was dancing American style, the Bronze syllabus included so many variations that silver was really unnecessary for social dancing. In international style, the bronze syllabus is rather limited. That being said, watching dancers on the floor at social dances, even for international, bronze is probably enough.
I think this is true, but I also think the number and level of steps is not really the issue. We follows say over and over again that we prefer basics danced comfortably to "advanced" steps danced messily. And then a relatively new lead asks again, so, how many steps do I need to learn? I say, learn new steps for yourself, if you will be bored otherwise, and work on your comfy lead for your partner. Only you know when you get bored, so only you can say when you know enough steps.
 

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