I wanna get better!

I hear people say this regularly: “I want to take my dancing to the next level”. I hear it from some people on a weekly basis. Then I see no change in their dancing. Is it because there is no will? Is it because they just enjoying making it seem like they will change? Is it because they like the attention of someone telling them they can do it? All these are definite possibilities and likely not the whole story.

The will to be better has to be present. Saying you are going to do something and not doing it is not going to get you to the end point you keep mentioning. If you have the will though, you can find a way. Sometimes you just need to be pointed in the right direction. I remember being at a cross roads about a decade back (yes, I am aging myself here). I had the option to stay in the city I was living or move on to a different city. A bigger city with shinier dancers and opportunities than I could currently see. There was a lot of soul searching that was done to figure out what I needed and what I wanted, I had the opportunity within my own community – if I sought it. I would have to help myself though. No one in the business was going to do it for me or try to prevent the door from hitting me on the way out.

Though dance is a world of beauty, there are a lot of ugly people in it when you dig deep. It can be cut throat. It can be two faced and just plain mean. At this cross roads, I had to take off my blinders and see that there ware a lot of people that were happy to misdirect me with a sprinkling of a few that actually wanted me to succeed. I had to pay close attention to my interactions with the good and the bad to really discern with whom I could align myself.

Once I aligned myself with those who would do me good rather than harm, my dancing changed. I could not only see my shortcomings more clearly as I had people around me who were truthful about where I was at in my dancing and where I could go. I could also see those around me who were monsters and suddenly I didn’t care if they saw me make errors in my dancing. I didn’t care if they watched me during the learning process. Their opinion no longer mattered to me and I had this sense of freedom that I had never had in my life.

So how does this relate to advising how to take your self to the next level? I suggest you do a bit of research before you invest with anyone. Watch the teachers in your community. Pay attention to how they dance, their technique, their freedom, their energy level. Take a look at their flock as well. Everyone ends up with a brand stamped on their dancers whether they realize it or not. The brand can be that they all only know the same 10 moves. It can be that they are very grounded. It can be that they are flashy with no substance. It can be that they progress slowly, but have amazing results at the end of their journey.

I also suggest to take from teachers who are hungry for students. They are going to give you their best as they are trying to build their flock. Those who are established and haven’t much extra time in their schedule, are not likely to be able to give you the attention you need simply because of a lack of time to accommodate you. Those ones are teachers that I treat myself to when they get an opening, but I want a hungry teacher for my regular training who is as invested in me as I am in them.

Once you have yourself aligned with the right people, that is where the journey begins. It will take hard work. You will not be able to just study with them once per month and expect quick changes. You will have to put in the time when they are not in your presence. This time will involve putting into regular practice what you learned. It will take self-analysis to watch to see that you are incorporating the information correctly. It will take breaking apart what you already know and inserting the information you learned into it. Progress takes discipline to train your body into new things. It will happen. You have to believe and have patience with yourself.

One thought on “I wanna get better!

  1. I totally agree with your comments, even though my dancing has always been from a social perspective, which presently tango focused. Soooo many times I get the comment you allude to from people who waste a huge amount of time and money looking for the something that that will take their dancing to ” the next level” . Some magic bullet .. They take a full load of classes from every one of the “travelling circus” of “fantastic” 2 day tango teachers from Argentina. Results ? Zero evidence a week later. Reminds me of an online muscle building program response…….dear joe, have taken course, please send muscles……..They would never consider spending time with a local teacher, but throw away lots of money on people, who for the most part, couldn’t teach a dog to walk. Problem seems universal.

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