On and off days

From a dance forum discussion:

I’m more talking about the mental state you need to be in to dance well. Everyone has “on” days where they dance smoothly, and “off” days when things just aren’t clicking. I’m seeking to maximize “on” days and minimize “off” days.

Take a deep breath as you embrace your partner. Stop thinking. Stop trying to dance well for your ego. Just be present in the moment. Let your dance come from within, inspired by the music.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say dancing well is just as much mental as it is physical, if not more so.

Thinking about the dance, the steps, isn’t going to get you anywhere. The physical is only a result of what we feel in the music because our body wants to move. You don’t need to think in order to walk across the room. You walk. Be aware of your inner state which has nothing to do with thoughts and emotions. Be the dance.

Right! And that act of forgetting everything else, letting yourself be in the moment, is easier some days and more difficult on others. So what’s the difference between the two? Maybe some people have superhuman zen powers and can slip into the tango trance at will, every time, perfectly, but I think most are inconsistent. Being aware of the reasons you’re dancing the way you are can lead to more consistently good dancing.

At least you are aware that you are in the moment and sometimes not. That’s a start. Your dance flows when you are present, so choose presence when you dance. Breathe consciously.

If your reason to dance is to be a better dancer for others to see, that’s about satisfying the ego. It’s only temporary and is never truly satisfied. Try being satisfied with every dance, no matter how it was for you or your partner. Accept the moment as it is. Resist judging it. You will find more joy within and your dance will express that joy outwardly.

2 Responses to “On and off days”

  1. R. Bononno Says:

    Nice post. The idea of presence (over ego) is so important and worth remembering. It’s also nice when (if) technique has become so internalized that you don’t have to think about it.

  2. Carol Conway Says:

    Relax, feel the embrace, listen to the music.

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