Hands up if you’ve ever been confused in a dance class?
You’re definitely not alone.
So when might confusion happen and how do you deal with it?
Confusion tends to happen when we have an idea about how something is, or how it will be, then we go to a class and we see it being presented in a different way to what we expected.
Our brain is looking for a match; something that fits in with our ideas, and when our ideas don’t match someone else’s, confusion can occur.
Confusion can also happen when we dance with a partner who may interpret the music very differently from us. What can happen in this case is that it throws us and we freeze, or feel tense and confused.
My advice for when you feel confused is to not look for uniformity. We are not meant to dance in perfect unison with our partners or in exact timing. The thing you have to remember about social dance is that we’re all different. Our minds are different, our bodies are different, and so are our personalities and preferences.
We can be ourselves in social dance, and therein lies the magic.
Dance the steps you want to dance and do your own thing; you can still be a responsive partner.
So for example, if I dance with my partner and s/he dances a different way to me, I can choose my response. I can either imitate my partner, do something that will contrast to what they are doing, or do nothing.
What I always do when I’m dancing is tell myself to stay relaxed and open. That means I don’t feel under pressure to do anything or to try and match him.
If you find yourself getting lost in confusion in your Swing Dance class, my suggestion is that when something presented to you and it’s completely in contrast to what you imagined it to be, try NOT to have a solution. You don’t need to be right, fix anything or analyse. Go with the flow.
In the social swing dance world, the song is played once and that’s it for the evening. Just go with it.