9.15 On Getting A Swelled Head

As soon you have progressed beyond the stage of outright beginner, people are constantly telling you how good you are. Mostly, this is just meaningless. Out of tact, politeness or whatever people will very rarely tell you that your dancing totally sucks even when it does. Your friends will flatter you to make you feel good. Your instructors will say "that's good" to encourage you and build your confidence. People who know nothing about dancing will gush about how well you dance. Nobody will say "I'd be really embarrassed if I danced like you" or "that's really mediocre dancing". Further, even if people wanted to let us know exactly how well or badly we were dancing, they wouldn't have the vocabulary. Mostly, all they can say are things like "that's not bad".

By George Callas, Phoenix, AZ (Reprint from _Jitterbug_; Vol. 4, Issue 2, April 1995)

THE TOP TEN SIGNS YOU DIDN'T DO AS WELL AS YOU THOUGHT IN THE LAST JACK AND JILL

10. The shoe lady discontinues the style of shoe you dance in.

9. The person who promised to compete with you is standing on a nearby freeway playing chicken with the semi's.

8. The very worst dancer in the world says you were the only contestant on the beat.

7. The maintenance crew has to repair the floor where you danced.

6. Your partner's spouse gives you a hug and kisses you on both cheeks.

5. Forty minutes have passed and your partner still hasn't come out of the bathroom.

4. You wonder if the noise coming from the judges' area is snoring.

3. After you dance, people point and laugh at whoever is standing behind you; BUT, when you turn around, there's no one there.

2. You would have preferred dancing to "Baby Work Out" and then learned that you did.

And the number one reason:

1. Pieces of your partner's dress are still in your hand.

There is more than one "right" way to dance, but *"There are very very very few dancers that have a "style." Most dancers have several learned techniques. Some dancers that do have a style include Frankie Manning and Mario Robau. 99.9 percent of all other dancers only have good and bad techniques. (Another sad aspect of reality is that ANYthing done by a top competitor becomes, ipso facto, "correct" style. There were several examples of this at one U.S. Open -- routines that were very well done for what they were, but which were apparently choreographed with little or no attention to swing styling. But if you're a top competitor already you can get away with that, and win with it, because no one dares say you nay.) When you do something that you think is cool, but someone else says that it is not, do not use the excuse, "it's just my style," because it is probably is just bad technique. Knowing that you can improve and can accept criticism is the first and best step towards becoming a better dancer and developing sound technique."


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