Stages of learning to dance

To learn is to gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.

Learning is an iterative process, which includes getting to know new movement/step (theory), repeating it until it becomes natural (practice) and putting it in use together with other already known elements. Once you learn the fundamentals, the knowledge base may be growing very fast, just like a downhill riding snowball. But… we enter “I know everything” zone, as Dick Crum puts it.

Beginner dancer: knows nothing. Intermediate dancer: knows everything; too good to dance with beginners. Hotshot dancer: too good  to dance with anyone. Advanced dancer: dances everything. Especially with beginners.

Dick Crum

The problem is that what one thinks is that if one’s partner is not following/leading – they are not good enough for me. Which ends up as the person dances only with what one thinks as the best dancers (ones who can lead/follow one). It’s easier, but stops one from learning new things.

Learning means repeating things that is not working well in order to get better. It’s a bit painful and it’s definitely not easy to force yourself to do it, when it’s much easier to follow old figures and look all pretty. Isn’t it? But like the old saying says: “No pain – no gain”.

Not so long ago I realized that I was this kind of person, who dances only with ones I know are good and easy to dance with. But I’m trying to change a bit. Dancing with people I never danced before because I thought they are “beginners” surprised me a lot in a good way. They are willing to learn, improvize and have fun.