Some Thoughts on Dancing

If I’ve learned only one thing In the 10 months since I started dancing, it’s this: play to your strengths. I’ve learned the basic steps (and then some) for over a dozen different social dances, and each style has its own quirks that make it good or bad for a particular person. Dances like Rhumba and Bolero, for instance, don’t really fit me because they’re too slow for my taste; and while I enjoy the Latin dances like Salsa and Merengue, they require a persona that I really don’t have. I’ve been told (and I like to believe) that I’m a pretty good lead in all of these dances, but I’m well aware that these quirks would eventually act as a barrier against becoming a really talented lead in that particular dance.

This is why I always felt that Hustle was such a good fit for me. I never really found an aspect of the dance that caused any sort of hindrance to my progression. As a result, I’m a damn good Hustle lead considering how long I’ve been dancing. It doesn’t hurt that I love the music either. The only problem with the dance is that I feel like the potential moveset is limited, as even watching really good hustle dancers doesn’t show me more than a dozen possible moves I can still learn.

And then there’s Swing / Lindy Hop. East Coast Swing was the first dance I ever learned, and like Hustle I’m a more than decent lead at it. But also like Hustle, I’ve been starting to feel like I’m near the limit for moves to learn. Recently, I’ve started learning Lindy Hop because I wanted to be challenged and learn a new dance for Swing venues. However, both the structure of the dance and the attitudes of some of the dancers having me less than enthralled. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that they’re like a brick wall keeping me from really enjoying the dance for extended periods of time. I’m going to keep learning and dancing Lindy Hop, but the more I dance the more I feel like it isn’t really the dance for me.

Which brings me to West Coast Swing, the official dance of my home state (California). Whenever I watch dancers like the ones in the video above, I can’t help but be entranced. The music; the movements; everything about the dance appeals to me. So, much to the dismay (I’m sure) of some of my Lindy Hop friends, I think that West Coast Swing may be the dance for me. I know the basics already and will be trying to learn more before school starts up again.

When I originally conceived of this post, it was about narrowing my dance focus. And the more I watch these videos and practice the movements, the more I feel like West Coast Swing should be my dance area of concentration. I’m still gonna dance Swing/Lindy, Salsa, Cha Cha, Tango, and all the other dances I know, but this is the one I’m going but to majority of my effort towards.