My friend Stu Sweetow, videographer extraordinaire, sent me the picture at the right with the excellent phrase, “Real men take dance lessons, because you can’t learn connection on youtube!” This inspired me to once again take up my blog, which my many fans have no doubt noticed I have let slip for several months due to more pressing matters in my life.
The blog-worthy question is, of course, what is connection and why can’t you learn it on youtube and maybe also, if not connection, what can you learn on youtube?
Connection in partner dance is the skill of leading and following. It is how the leader communicates to the follower what to do, without telling her in advance what the step will be. It is how two people can move around the floor as if they are one without choreographing and practicing a routine ahead of time.
Connection is a right brain skill and you have to feel it to know what it is and if you are doing it right. That’s why you can’t learn it on youtube. Different dances have different kinds of connection, but the basic principles are the same. Once you have learned how to connect to a partner in one kind of dance, it’s a lot easier to learn how to do it in another.
What part of dance don’t you understand?
So is there anything you can learn on video? Yes there is! Once you’ve learned how to dance (connection) you can pick up new steps on youtube if you’re a visual learner and you work at it. But if all you know are the steps, not the connection, you’ll be hard to dance with and dancing won’t be much fun for you or your partner. You know something’s missing but you don’t know what it is.
Connection Vs. Steps
So here’s my advice if you are the kind of learner who has the discipline and learns well from videos. Take private lessons FIRST. Learn what your strengths and weaknesses are and learn connection. Then find cool steps on video that you like and practice them. If you fall in love with a step and somehow it isn’t working, take a private lesson and ask a teacher what you’re doing wrong. There’s probably something tricky about the lead in that particular move. Have fun!
By LaurieAnn Lepoff
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