I don’t believe in bad dancers anymore. I believe in bad dancing.
I hate it when anyone says “Person A is a bad dancer.” Or, “Wow, Person B is just has IT. You know?”
Maybe this bothers me because I glean implicitly that Person A is usually about me. Hearing that criticism is not just discouraging, it’s downright mean. Did I mention unhelpful? Person A needs reasons and nurturing and advice, people. Not just a Debbie Downer generic complaint. It tears you down something awful if you love dancing, but just can’t pick up on the moves that quickly.
I mean, yeah, I get it. Some people do pick up easily on dancing, but that does NOT mean that everyone else is inherently a “bad dancer.” In terms of educational psychology, this is an outmoded, outdated essentialist model of the learner. Let’s jump on the bandwagon of incrementalism, shall we? Anyone can get better, though some move faster than others, with enough practice and insight. You can do it, you can do it (at your own pace).
Stop believing in bad dancers. The more feedback I get about my dancing, the more I realize that I would rather stay in the “bad dancer” category IF that means I get to learn so much more about dancing. If, instead, it means that “bad dancers” dance less than the so-called “good dancers,” that term can kick the bucket. Now.
Maybe I am sensitive. Maybe I am overly cynical. But have you ever been encouraged when someone doesn’t criticize your moves, but you as a dancer? Your central dance identity? That’s different from someone telling you how to move.
This is the Dance More Manifesto: “I will dance until I can physically dance no longer, I will dance for more joy and more swing, but I will not stop dancing because of someone’s ‘high and mighty’ opinion of me as a dancer. I just want to dance more. I will dance because it makes me happy, and I will dance because I simply can.” They can’t take that away from you, no one can.
I love beginning dancers, because they aren’t afraid to TRY. When you’re new, every move is a variation, even the basic step. I love to watch how people approach their first passbys and swingouts…you can never get that time again. Plus, I believe beginners are some of the BEST improvisational dancers I know.
So keep dancing, even if some people think you’re dancing “badly.” Let them enjoy their “good” dancing alone then. We can dance badly together.
Swing on Lindyhoppers,