This post isn't about brushing up on your technique, which you can hardly do in a few hours, but instead to help you to make the most of the evening and make sure that you've got partners queuing up to dance with you!
Hitting the social dance floor sets the adrenaline rushing round your body, with fear and excitement in equal measure. But when dancing, it is very important to stay relaxed. Take a deep breathe, and make a conscious effort to calm yourself. Slow down and take your time, you'll be pleased with the results. If you're a lead, keep things simple and controlled until you're in the zone. In this way you can harness the adrenaline and hit levels you didn't think you had.
The single most important thing in this situation, is to have fun with your partner - that's why you're there. Make eye contact, smile, joke and above all else - don't take things too seriously. It's a social event and you're there to have fun, dance should be enjoyable. If you're a lead, do things your partner doesn't expect. If you're a follow, engage with your partner and be cheeky!
Perhaps obvious, but it's amazing how many dancers get lost in the moment and almost forget the music is there. Listen to the music, if it chills out - chill out your dancing. Emphasise your body movements when the music has emphasis. Play the role - if it's an upbeat party track, keep your dancing upbeat and fun. If it's a dark, moody track - then assume the character of someone dark and moody. Haha, but you can let the mask slip now and again for a cheeky grin.
I had a real eye opening moment a few years ago. I wasn't feeling on top form or that up for it. Being a teacher, there tends to be a fair amount of pressure on me in these situations - with people checking out your dancing and assessing your worth as a dancer. So I'm not ashamed to admit I was pretty blooming nervous.
Conscious that I didn't want to mess up, I went into the event with the mind-set of keep calm and keep the moves simple. This freed me up to listen to the music, so that I managed to hit everything I wanted to and by the end of the night I felt like I could do no wrong. After the event I tried to assess why I'd managed to have one of my best nights ever, when I didn't even feel like going.
And ultimately, it came down to the three things I mentioned above. Now in any social dance situation, I run through this checklist to prepare myself. I now feel confident to walk into any social dance situation, knowing that I'm armed and ready.
What does your mental prep look like? Otherwise, see you on the dance floor!
Nearly a decade ago, I resolved to run a salsa night the way I thought it should be run and the idea for StreetSalsa was born. The rest as they say is history..
I've made some of the best friends you could wish for through dancing, and want to share what a life-changing experience dance can be.
Nice post, Jake. And although I've never really been the concious of it, I think these are the things that have made the best dances for me! The best dances are always the unexpexted ones. I start relaxed, keeping it simple, and while listening to the music there's usually something that grabs me, and then it's like a switch of creativity has been flicked. I wish I could bottle that feeling!
As for the mental prep, a few good tunes in the background whilst getting ready always gets me in the mood!
As for being playful... Well, I find it difficult to turn that off, even in the worst dances!
Nice post! Totally agree! See you on the dancefloor! Xx