It’s the best part of partner dancing, that makes all other dances pale in comparison. It’s a one-of-a-kind connection you can’t hope to attain with anyone else. It’s what we dance for, and makes dancing so highly addictive. It’s those indescribably good dances that lift the dance experience to another level, make us go, “Wow” and stay with us as unforgettable experiences.
Is dance connection any one or all of those things? I don’t know anymore.
Dancers: What do you mean when you talk about “dance connection”? Can you please describe, in your own words, how you experience it, and what you think it is?
Do you believe that connections between two dancers exist that are profoundly “special” and can’t be replicated?
I discussed this with a fellow dancer on my way to Rose City Blues and back, and concluded, both before and after, that I don’t believe that dance connections like the kind I have described above exist for me.
Don’t get me wrong — I have had my share of mindblowingly good dances and leads I will always enjoy dancing with, but I cannot honestly say I have ever reached that unique connection that people dance for.
I used to believe in that connection. I used to believe I understood what it was and had experienced it, back when I first started out dancing.
Now, I think I was just naive and inexperienced. When I was new (and this applies to all my dance styles), I was a terrible dancer, but there were always one or two leads who were so good at leading that I could follow them without even knowing what I was doing and have a marvelous time, and dances I felt were special. I believed I had a dance connection with these leads. In hindsight, these connections were almost always one-sided. My lead was not having the same brilliant time I was having. Sometimes, we would both come out of a dance saying, “That was awesome,” but I don’t think they were “special” awesome, for both people, though it may have felt that way for one side.
I’ve been on both sides — where I have a dance that I felt was insanely awesome and my dance partner probably didn’t (based on them rejecting me for a later dance), and where I have thought the dance was okay while my partner wanted to keep me for multiple dances.
During my RCB chat, my friend told me that one-sided dance connections could exist and still count as dance connections, but in my mind, a dance connection should be mutual for it to be real. If one partner is having an amazing time and the other partner isn’t, is there really a dance connection there?
I’ve had friends tell me of dances where they didn’t even speak the same language and could only communicate through the dance, and that it was all they needed, because the connection was so intense. I’ve had a friend who danced with the same partner for an hour straight because the connection was that good.
If one partner is having an amazing time and the other partner isn’t, is there really a dance connection there?
At the same time, I’ve heard from someone who had the best connection with a lead right off the bat, but the lead went and took lessons from an instructor with a very specific style. The next time they danced, they couldn’t dance together anymore because the connection was just completely gone. His dancing had changed too much, and their styles were no longer compatible.
As I improve my dance technique and expand my dance vocabulary, I find I have more and more truly (and mutually) awesome dances with many, many leads, to the point where people who I used to believe I had special connections with just feel like another nice-to-awesome dance.
In my experience, the concept of connection seems to have shifted to the technique I am best able to connect to, more than to some profound deeper level, involving emotion and whatnot. Of course, how comfortable I am with my partner also comes into play, as I am more likely to let loose and dance like me with a partner I dance with regularly and who I am not intimidated by. (On a side-note, how much do physical and sexual attraction play into your concept of being connected to your partner?)
This is not a “boo-hoo” post about not being able to connect with anyone, but rather, an “I want to understand” post to give me better perspective on elusive “dance connection.” I used to go out dancing hoping for just one or two of those special connections to make my dance night a truly amazing one, but now I am so spoiled with so many awesome dances every dance night, that I can’t tell anymore what makes a dance special, and if such special connections do exist.
It seems to me that the more advanced and experienced you are, the more you can adapt to different leads and follows, and the more you can connect with everyone. And if connection is something that can change and grow, and is something we can work to improve, then is there still a “higher” connection that exists that doesn’t depend on ability at all?
I don’t know, but I will never stop working to get better and better, so that I can connect with more and more people and share more and more mutually magical dances! 🙂