Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Learning to Dance, Part 5: Anticipation


Lincoln University dance recital, April 2010. Jefferson City, Missouri.



When it comes to ketchup and romantic trysts, anticipation is a good thing. It's not so good in the context of dance.

When I "anticipate" in dance, it means that I take a dance step that I think will correspond to what my dance lead will do in the next moment.

Anticipation is a well-meaning attempt of a new dancer to:
  1. Avoid making a mistake; and
  2. Paradoxically, follow well. 


Notwithstanding the good intentions, anticipation is a bad habit. Anticipation is an attempt to control the unknown. It's about living in the future and not in the moment. It's about making assumptions about your partner, which may not be true. It's about trying to get into the head of another person and, in the process, losing touch with one's own thoughts and feelings, the flow of the music, and the physicality that's happening in the now.

When I refrain from anticipation, I sharpen my dance skills because I am forced to pay closer attention to signals from my partner. Because I let go of my illusion of control, I am freer to get inside the music and to feel the physical interplay between me, my partner, and the music. I accept that I will make mistakes.



Related posts: 

Learning to Dance, Part 1: Solving for X
Learning to Dance, Part 2: The Tao of Following
Learning to Dance, Part 3: The Pause
Learning to Dance, Part 4: Signals


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