Why do Better West Coast Swing Dancers Dance More? I was exchanging emails with a swing friend and at the same time responding to one of the Swing discussion chat pages on facebook and the same topic came up in both “Better dancers don’t dance with us beginner dancers.” This is one of those age old arguments that gets stirred up with each batch of newer dancers.
Who is to blame?
If you are sitting out dance after dance the blame falls solely on your own shoulders. If you finish one dance and make it off the floor without asking someone else to dance perhaps you have the wrong expectations. Humans live their lives on a risk/reward system that works a lot like the songs I play when I DJ. No matter how good a song performed one time, it can’t replace the song that works for me every time. There are just a handful of tunes that I will play every time I see them on a list. Every dancer has 3-5 partners that they have shared enough dances with to not let them walk off the floor if they are in close enough proximity.
What to do
As a newer dancer (and I mean rank beginner wishing to be as good as the leaders with two left feet) I almost never left the floor. When I asked someone to dance I explained that I was a beginner and let them know that they could leave the dance floor half way through if I was being a burden. My focus was on developing my basics into second nature by dancing with dancers that were better than I was because they had so much to offer me.
At the time I had very little to offer those more advanced dancers or so I thought. It turns out that once I had my basics down cold I was able to add a value to my partners dancing that most of the leaders above my level (not counting the pros) could not…The added value was play time! Good solid basics have lots of room for playing with the music. Leaders and followers, it turns out, do not mind “dancing down” a level or two especially when it means they have the opportunity to embellish their dancing with a little play time.
The morals of this article are:
If you want to dance more, dance more
Your job is to value your dancing enough to want to dance up a level or two
Give your partner a good dance by knowing your basics
Try not to leave the floor without asking someone else to dance right away