We’ve been reflecting on how versatile dance is – especially street dances like Swing and Hustle. What we are really impressed by is the variety of people and personalities that these dances fulfill. From creative types to engineers, from right-brainers to left-brainers, from the extremely competitive to the purely social personality, from Type As to Type Bs and everyone in between … as we teach and travel to dance, we continue to discover how learning to dance can bring satisfaction to nearly everyone.
Take these examples …
For the Expressionist – whether you are the leader or the follower, street dances like WCS and Hustle offer a lot of opportunity to express yourself. Leaders get to define the path of the dance while followers get to define much of its style. Together, you define the story arc of each dance. Dance is an opportunity to express your creativity through body movement and musicality.
For the Engineer – dance (in fact, any study of movement) is governed by the laws of physics. It’s about propulsion and momentum – about natural forces acting upon one another to create a desired effect. When learning a dance you can dedicate yourself to the study of technique and the analysis of the hand, foot, and body positions that seem to work best. If you want to get REALLY nerdy … music and dance can actually be reduced to combinations and placement of ones and zeros.
For the Musician – every dance begins with music – cultures develop sounds and rhythms that invite the body to react to them. Some of the best dancers have musical training, are musicians, or have natural musical abilities. They naturally hear the structure of a song and dancing becomes another means of musical appreciation … creating a dance with a structure that matches or enhances that of the song.
For the Mathematician – music and math are closely related. Rhythm can be expressed in fractions, keys can be expressed as numerical sets, frequency and interval can be expressed as relationships between ratios, fractions and decimals … the list goes on. So, not only can the mathematically minded often grasp the concepts of musicality quite quickly, they will also discover that dance steps can be grasped using numbers and counting.
For the Social Dancer – the vast majority of couple’s dancing in the world is danced socially – i.e. there are more social dances danced than there are competitive dances. It is possible to fully enjoy any couple’s dance – including Swing and Hustle dances – on a purely social basis. Dance is a wonderful way to meet new people, hear new or different varieties of music, get some exercise, and have fun.
For the Competitor – In street dances like WCS and Hustle, you can compete with as much or as little commitment of time and money that you wish. Jack & Jill competitions are “social” dance competitions, where choreography is not allowed and you dance with randomly chosen partners – you just get up and do your thing! Other competition categories include non-choreographed/choose your partner, and choreographed/choose your partner/choose the music. So how much effort you want to put into it, there is an opportunity for you!
You can probably think of more personality “types” to add to this list!
The best thing about all this is that these dances can satisfy almost any combination of partners! So whether you and your partner are polar opposites or two peas in a pod, you can BOTH find something fulfilling and challenging and fun about learning a new couple’s dance!
It is helpful to recognize whether the person you are dancing with is a similar “type” as you or different, and to make some adjustments if you recognize that you are different personalities having a three-minute dance conversation!