Good Enough?

#81
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."

.
This is actually an excellent list, imo. I wish it were integrated into the teaching of all beginner groups.
 

tancos

Active Member
#82
I've been lurking on DF for some time but this is my first post. I come entirely from the folk dance world where we do not have any sort of ratings system (bronze, silver, comps, etc).

That said, I consider myself good enough at a specific dance if I can do the dance with someone I have never danced it with before, who does not necessarily speak my language (leads should be physical, not verbal), and we both enjoyed enough to do it again sometime.
 
#83
I've been lurking on DF for some time but this is my first post. I come entirely from the folk dance world where we do not have any sort of ratings system (bronze, silver, comps, etc).
Glad to have you here. Welcome!
That said, I consider myself good enough at a specific dance if I can do the dance with someone I have never danced it with before, who does not necessarily speak my language (leads should be physical, not verbal), and we both enjoyed enough to do it again sometime.
I think that's a great goal; IMO, a lot of good social dancing is about learning to communicate in less than ideal situations. :)
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#86
When I started this thread back in 2006, I was exploring the question of what it takes to be a “good enough” dancer to consistently enjoy dancing socially.

I’ve been returning to the thread at least annually since then, continuing to explore my attitude towards dancing and learning to dance. It’s become kind of a blog of my progress. So here’s the 2011 version … with only subtle differences from recent years … and with a few things I’ve learned from other DF participants (who have my profound gratitude) expressed in my own words.

Learning to dance has become a journey, not a destination. I hope to continue learning for a long time to come because I will never be as good as I would like to be, but I’m “good enough” to enjoy dancing at whatever level I’m operating on at the moment. I’m very aware of certain specific things I would like to improve, but I’m comfortable with the thought that improvement comes with time and effort.

One of my teachers has an analogy … your knowledge / ability / skill is like the area inside a circle, and everything you don’t yet know is outside the circle. You can’t see everything that’s outside; you can see only a short distance beyond the circumference of the circle. When you learn more, the radius and area of the circle increase, but the bit you can see outside seems to increase even faster. Every time you learn more, you become aware of more things you haven’t yet learned. And the circle can NEVER grow big enough to cover everything there is to know. The more you know, the more you learn how much you don’t know.

I’m also still resigned to the knowledge that I don’t apply as much effort as I could, even though I would certainly improve faster if I were to focus more on results. But for my purposes, there’s no need to rush the process … if I don’t grasp a concept immediately, I’ll get it later.

It helps that both of the teachers DH and I work with are more interested in teaching principles of movement, with patterns used as an expression of principle rather than as ends in themselves. We can feel the difference when we conquer some nuance of technique, and improvements tend to stick with us longer than if we were trying to learn the “pattern of the week.”

Our schedule has morphed again. It became too difficult to coordinate private lessons with both teachers so we now have a standing lesson with the ballroom teacher and a random schedule with the WCS teacher. Our Hungarian class moved to Tuesday night. We dropped our folk dance class, mainly because the class size was shrinking (which us caused some guilt about leaving a sinking ship, but we weighed the decision carefully). The International ballroom class moved to Thursday night, which conflicts with our WCS class, so we don’t have a regular class for either folk dance or ballroom at the moment. There are more folk dance parties than there used to be, so we’re still getting a fair amount of practice. We go to ballroom pre-social group classes, but we’re keeping an eye out for a regular class to start in the New Year. We’ve discussed some options, but DH is strongly opposed to any ballroom class that is oriented towards competition, so that limits our opportunities.

On another note … after many years here, I’ve become aware of the way that people take up dancing, become obsessed with it for a while, and then let it drop. The same thing happens on DF … people use the forums an outlet for a while (sometimes for a few thousand posts) only to disappear when they move on to something else. But there are those who have been dancing / posting for years … people for whom dancing is a core part of their life, not just a temporary amusement … people who regularly contribute interesting / enlightening / amusing thoughts to the forums. I really appreciate interacting with the “regulars” in both dancing and on DF.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#89
both of the teachers DH and I work with are more interested in teaching principles of movement, with patterns used as an expression of principle rather than as ends in themselves.
You are very fortunate to have these teachers!

there are those who have been dancing / posting for years … people for whom dancing is a core part of their life, not just a temporary amusement
Guilty.



Glad to have you around.
 
#90
I always enjoy reading your posts- your thoughts are wellwritten and expressive, grounded in reality and figuring out the balance of all of life's demands.

You might want to try the Friday night ballroom classes (both international latin and standard) at the same studio where your WCS instructor holds the "Second Sunday" dances. I don't think anyone in the classes is competing now, although some have in the distant past and some claim that competition may be in the distant future :D. I think you'd see a number of familiar faces (I'll bet at least 4) from your WCS and ballroom homes, and fit right in with the friendly dancers and level of dance as well. The instructor has a quirky sense of humor, and we always have a good time.
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#91
I always enjoy reading your posts- your thoughts are wellwritten and expressive, grounded in reality and figuring out the balance of all of life's demands.

You might want to try the Friday night ballroom classes (both international latin and standard) at the same studio where your WCS instructor holds the "Second Sunday" dances. I don't think anyone in the classes is competing now, although some have in the distant past and some claim that competition may be in the distant future :D. I think you'd see a number of familiar faces (I'll bet at least 4) from your WCS and ballroom homes, and fit right in with the friendly dancers and level of dance as well. The instructor has a quirky sense of humor, and we always have a good time.
Thanks for the suggestion. This evening I asked our ballroom teacher about whether he thought we would fit in. He said we would find the class challenging but we should be able to handle it with some effort. He said to be sure to note what was being worked on so he can help us over the humps.

So the plan is we will show up this Friday ... I hope you will be there so we will finally meet you!
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#93
You are very fortunate to have these teachers!
I've been thinking about how to respond to this. Yes, DH and I are fortunate to have found teachers who meet our needs. But I think it's strongly related to the fact that we live in a great area for dancing. Our teachers did not appear out of a vacuum ... both are local and developed within a community of people with a similar philosophy. Of course there are other teachers out there who teach only patterns in their group classes (I know bacause I've been to some of those classes) but the two we've chosen are not the only ones who teach technique well ... they're just the two who we click with best within a reasonable driving distance.

So we're fortunate that we live in this area ... and we're fortunate that we agree on what makes a good teacher FOR US.
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#95
It will be much easier to introduce ourselves in a small group, instead of the crowded and busy 2nd Sunday scene! Barring the unexpected, we'll be there on Friday night :)
Thanks. I'm a little nervous about the class, given what our teacher said about the level of the students and the material covered (he seemed pretty familiar with everything). He also said the class should be friendly despite our lack of experience. I'm really hoping it will work for us.
 
#96
Thanks. I'm a little nervous about the class, given what our teacher said about the level of the students and the material covered (he seemed pretty familiar with everything). He also said the class should be friendly despite our lack of experience. I'm really hoping it will work for us.

I think you'll be well within range of the abilities of any of the students in this class... everyone has his/her strengths and weaknesses. If it is a bit of a stretch for you, it will still be within reach.
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#97
Here's the update. (Has it really been a week? Where does the time go?)

JustAnotherDancer, it was great putting a name to a familiar face. I've noticed and admired your dancing before, and I've enjoyed dancing with your DH in the past.

I've also noticed your son in the past, but just in passing ... "oh, he's here tonight; he's amazingly good at quietly amusing himself" ... He's never done anything to make me look around and ask myself who his parents are, so I never made the connection. (This could also be cluelessness on my part ... I tend to be the last one to notice relationships ... I have to be told ...)

The Standard class went very well for us (yay!). But it wasn't a true test ... the figures taught were almost the exact ones, in almost the exact order, we've been working on in our private lessons for weeks. It was more of a challenge for DH because he got confused ... I didn't even notice there was a difference until he pointed it out. (I hope that's because I was following what was led rather than because I'm clueless ...)

We'll be back ... just not tonight. This weekend is an annual event devoted to folk dance ... a party tonight, a business meeting tomorrow morning, classes in the afternoon, and a party including some live music in the evening. I get to see people who don't come to the monthly parties so it takes priority over the ballroom class. We should be back on the 20th.
 
#98
Darn, I was hoping for more interesting conversation last night!

We'll take compliments when we can get them, even if they are undeserved... someone thoroughly cussed out my husband during a waltz at the Sunday night dance :doh: even though I immediately apologized to that couple for the near-collision. My husband didn't even hear the exchange (I think he was focusing on traffic manuevers, errr, floorcraft... I need to remind him to plan to make his movement t-i-n-y and "social" in that environment, but he has a really hard time dropping what he knows in Standard! especially since this is the same studio where he can normally dance "big".).

Yep, our kid is a good guy, wellconditioned for good manners. And happy to hang out in the break room near the food- part of the reward for self-entertainment!

Have a great weekend of folk dancing... see you next week.
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
#99
Darn, I was hoping for more interesting conversation last night!

We'll take compliments when we can get them, even if they are undeserved... someone thoroughly cussed out my husband during a waltz at the Sunday night dance :doh: even though I immediately apologized to that couple for the near-collision. My husband didn't even hear the exchange (I think he was focusing on traffic manuevers, errr, floorcraft... I need to remind him to plan to make his movement t-i-n-y and "social" in that environment, but he has a really hard time dropping what he knows in Standard! especially since this is the same studio where he can normally dance "big".).

Yep, our kid is a good guy, wellconditioned for good manners. And happy to hang out in the break room near the food- part of the reward for self-entertainment!

Have a great weekend of folk dancing... see you next week.
We didn't make it ... I came home from work on Friday to find DH snuggled up in front of the TV in his robe and covered in cats. He wasn't feeling well, and refused to consider dancing, particularly a Silver class in Quickstep (we've had very little exposure).

Next Friday is opening night for our ballet season, and the following week we will be with my family for our annual Tahoe weekend, so we won't be there for a while. :sad:

But we WILL be back ...
 

Zhena

Well-Known Member
Next Friday is opening night for our ballet season, and the following week we will be with my family for our annual Tahoe weekend, so we won't be there for a while. :sad:

But we WILL be back ...
We're back from Tahoe ...

Next weekend we have Folk Dance on Saturday (2/11) and WCS on Sunday (2/12), so Friday is out per DH's rule.

The following weekend we have ballet on both Friday (2/17) and Saturday (2/18 ) ... we had to switch our tickets from the next Friday because of a WCS weekend on the Fun Train to Reno! ... dancing to live music while on a train through the mountains! ... two nights in Reno! ... dancing on the train on the return trip! Exhaustion ...

So March 2 sounds like the next opportunity, but I've been considering meeting dgarstang (new DF member) and TC for an easier ballroom class at another studio (because the Saturday party at that studio that weekend is same-sex, which I don't think would work for our purposes. Or maybe we could go to Cheryl Burke on Saturday, but Gorme has that covered ... or try Cubberly on Saturday, which might work better for dgarstang if he comes with us rather than going alone ...)

More ballet, more Folk Dance the next weekend ...

Bottom line, the next available Friday for the Standard class is probably March 16.

But we WILL be back!
 

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