When two people dance together, it’s a lot like the first night of sex between two lovers. It can be delightful and filled with laughter as two people explore the conversations tucked within each others bodies, or it can be like fitting a futon through a doorframe. The type of dance or even the skill and level of the dancers has very little to do with how a dance turns out. A good dance can become a living thing; an exchange of ideas in a tapestry of movement. Like a well crafted composition of instrumental music, it is a conversation without words.
A good connection comes from dancers being comfortable on the dance floor, both with themselves and each other. It’s okay to be nervous, so long as you remember to relax. A great way to have a Tango or Blues dancer fall in love with you, before the music starts, is to simply take a deep, solid, calming breath. It cleanses out all anxieties from your soul like shaking an Etch A Sketch, giving you a clean surface upon which to prepare your meal.
The ingredients to a dance need not outnumber the varieties of vegetables at a farmers market nor be more elaborate than a baklava from the finest pastry chef. Throwing in every dance move in one’s vocabulary without repetition is a good way to simply confuse a follow with no foundation on which to build a dance. Using the most insane twists and jumps may not be, and often isn’t, appropriate for many songs and casual social dancing.
There is never a wrong dance move, only moments where you laugh because some idea that trickled out from a stream in your mind, when pushed into your feet, may have somehow turned into one of those sticky spots on a bar floor. But never be afraid to experiment, because that same stream may come out as a geyser of awesomeness. In either case, you’ll both smile and laugh.
There is no precise formula for a good connection. Two dancers, loved by all, instructors at the top of their tiers and who have won countless competitions may not have a good connection at all, while two beginners may share a dance that feels as extraordinary as watching the Apollo moon landings. Connections can be shared between just two dancers, or an entire crowd moving to the rhythms at a rock concert. It comes from a base of willingness to accept other people; to attempt a conversation of music and be excited about whatever the results may be.
On the social dance floor, the dance will end. It’s important to realize that even in the close throws of a near embrace dance such as Tango, the conversation only lasts as long as the dance. Those who don’t participate in social dances, tend to not understand this. Jealously sets in, as they quickly snatch their partners away and dance, almost angrily, to avenge the connection their lover shared with another.
Connection rarely follows people off the dance floor and translates into real life. Often the dance ends, dancers say “Thank you” and life continues. Occasionally, dances can encourage acquaintanceship, friendships or even relationships, but those goals are never primary motivations for those who simply love to dance.
Good connections are fleeting moments of social intercourse that melds music and movement in a tapestry of emotions. They can allow dancers to create living shared art in the form of rhythm and meter. They can be found on a social dance floor, or in a seedy, dimly lit bar where musicians pour out their hearts; playing on a stage barely larger than a table top. They can made with all levels of dancers. Most importantly, a good connection can be made with any form of dance, and matters less about the dance and more about the heart and the ability of people to be kids; to allow themselves to be silly and laugh at themselves.