Okay, so bear with me here. Believe it or not, I’m kind of a terrible dancer sometimes. Downright awful. When I first started to lindy hop, Bradley and Andrea can tell you I always missed my swingouts down to a science. I counted out loud, and my dancing looked like painfully hard work. So, yes, for those of you who feel discouraged about your own dancing, I feel you.
However, do you know that sucking at dancing can actually help you improve? Yeah, man. It can, it can. So, how does the suckage become glorious dancing?
1. It forces you to learn your fundamentals.
There’s nothing like a harsh comment to help you perfect your basics. Make sure you know your musicology and your pulsing matches the rhythms to different tempos of music. The best part? You don’t even need a partner for this one, folks. Just play some swing dance music on your iPod, plug in your headphones and find the tempo. Pulse, skat, whatever you need to do to find the beat. If you’re feeling brave, why not improv some moves?
2. It will motivate you to practice.
Yeah…it sucks to suck, so why not use it as a positive motivator for practice? The more you social dance and attend lessons, the less you will suck. Guaranteed. The good leads and follows will teach you tips along the way, while you might be able to teach newbies some of your learned moves as well. Practice doesn’t make perfect though, only perfect practice. Execute things to the best of your ability, and you’ll be fine.
3. Don’t be afraid of criticism.
This one’s a tough one for me. I hate being told I suck, especially as a stuck-up beginner. I wanted to be the best and quickly at that. However, it took longer for me to master complex moves or different styles than I would have liked. Several of my teachers had great criticism for me in class. The only way I improved and continued to change my style was to watch, repeat and take in all the criticism I could. If you dance with certain regulars a ton, be sure to ask them for tips or suggestions. Also, take every comment with a grain of salt. There’s a difference between someone saying, “You suck as a person” and “Your technique could improve a bit if you did x, y and z.”
Most of all, dear readers, don’t forget why you started dancing in the first place. I hope it was for fun. I hope you started dancing not to impress others, but as a favor to yourself. As a joy.
❤ & Lindy,