Do you want to improve your social dancing*? Do you want to feel a closer connection to yourself and your own movement? Do you want to practice leading and following both? Hint: answering ‘yes’ to these questions will make you a better dancer, or at least give you an opportunity to practice your dancing in a different way.
“What makes up a Dancing 4 Connection event?” you may ask and that is a very good question! Keep reading to find out 🙂
Consent: Connection, real connection, can only happen if people are interacting with consent. Consent and dance etiquette are rarely discussed, especially in social dancing, although there are a lot of things people just “know” or pick up through trial and error. Social dancing, like any other close physical activity, can have an open, healthy culture or a toxic, predatory culture, but open healthy cultures don’t happen by accident – they are cultivated and cared for by everyone involved.
Bachata, salsa, and merengue: These three social dances are usually referred to as ‘Latin’ dances, although they are influenced by music and movement from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Columbia, Jamaica, and the rest of North and South America (and around the world). The lead and follow roles in these dances, at least in the US, can be closely associated with gender (i.e. men/masc leads, women/femme follows). I find that assigning gender to a particular set of movements limits our own thinking about how we can dance, and who we can dance with.
BOO to that!!!
When I teach any of these dances, my expectation is that everyone will at least try both leading and following a few times. This also helps reduce the number of people standing around waiting for someone to ask them to dance, which is incredibly frustrating when you just want to move! Now everyone knows at least enough to lead and follow a simple set of steps.
If you haven’t seen bachata before, here are some great examples (some social, some performance). I’ve included a number of videos of gender-neutral or same sex dancers (because we don’t see them often):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cehkSxOLNA (the bachata video that started it all!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7oby6UhFHs&list=PL621UDVPowqhb8DdLRn7M5-V3J-8VV3SQ (social bachata playlist)
Queer Afro Latin Dance Festival IG: https://www.instagram.com/queer_afro_latin_dance_fest/
Queer Dance Club (a Russian community): https://www.youtube.com/user/queertangovideo
Queer Latin Dance LA: https://www.facebook.com/QueerLatinDancingLosAngeles/
Blues and Fusion: Combining elements of tango, swing, movement improv, and the groovy pulse of a wide range of musical flavors, come learn how to connect and communicate with a dance partner on an entirely different level. To see a sample, check out this gorgeous demo from the Seattle Fusion Festival a few years back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcHzVmMLBEk.
There is a great library of movement and different styles of blues at http://www.bluesmoves.com, and an overview of the dance itself at http://www.rdublues.com/what-is-blues-dance/ and here: https://bluesdancenewyork.com/what-is-blues/.