Have you ever been presented with that statement and cringed like I have?
Perhaps it’s because I have a rebellious nature and don’t take too kindly to being micro-managed. My sister and I have become fond of saying we are ‘psychologically unemployable’ and when someone says ‘you have to,’ it reminds me of my days in corporate.
While I was still in my fairly early dancing years in Chicago, I was already what would be considered better than a lot of people because I was in one of two prominent groups and was working hard to improve as a dancer. In reality, I was about intermediate at best so take that into consideration for the remainder of our story. I was in Miami with some people doing a dancing gig and I was around some other Chicago people when I overheard a girl say that she hated the snooty attitude of the dancing snobs in the groups and that they HAD TO dance with others because it was only fair to newer dancers.
In accordance with my hot-headedness at the time, I lashed out and said:
“I don’t HAVE to do @#$#!”
I didn’t like being told I was obligated to do something and her, shall we say, ‘way’ of stating her case added fuel to the fire.
We ended up agreeing to disagree, but I remember being a bit salty at the whole conversation.
Even writing that, I look at how far I’ve grown as a dancer and an individual and seeing the error of my ways. I can’t disagree with my old self’s intolerance for being barked at, yet I’m wise enough now to read between the lines and hold more mindful discussions.
I have heard many sides to this topic and have people who rest securely on both sides of the fence. Some say that they’ve put their time in and now deserve to dance with whoever they choose.
This is true.
Other feel that they should give back to the community and inspire others to become valuable members of the dance community.
Where do I stand? I feel that I know enough and am secure in my own dancing that I can have fun dancing with anyone. When you get better at salsa dancing, you start to become able to hold yourself a certain way and become clear enough for almost everyone to be able to understand your lead. I should also point out that I am also very mindful not to lead ‘at my level,’ but at the level of my partner so that they can have fun.
So advanced dancers, remember that you once struggled and likely someone did you the honor of dancing with you as you were in your development phase. You don’t have to spend your whole night dancing with beginners, but be mindful that your way to contribute is by watering the seeds of dancing passion that have been planted. You never know when you’re going to inspire the next local star!
As a dance studio owner, I don’t go out as often as I once did as my days are spent dancing and teaching, but when I do, I make sure to have fun and honor all requests.
If you’re reading this and you see me, feel free to ask me, I’m friendly!
To your dancing…