Changing Eye

I occasionally read a fashion blog where the author will talk about how certain cuts or styles appeal to her eye. She’s had times where the first season something is in she doesn’t really like it, but the next season round her eye will adjust to the look. I feel the same way sometimes when I watch dance videos.

I started dancing with salsa. It started my dance addiction and for a while I went out dancing as often as I could as well as to a weekly dance class. I would watch videos from the salsa/mambo congresses for far longer than I should have (procrastinating). I switched over to blues and stopped watching videos for a fairly long time. These days I have friends that post videos to facebook and sometimes I’ll give them a watch.  A few months ago I watched a salsa video. I was shocked. To my eye (which had been practicing the values of blues) these people looked jerky, moving hugely, and maybe a bit awkward. I was watching some top level people, but because I was applying the taste and values of a different dance, I couldn’t see the talent they truly had.

Recently I was reading a debate about how a style of dance is performed differently between the ballroom and swing communities. Included were videos of each. The word technique was thrown around a bit, each side claiming that they were the ones to have it*. Watching the videos I prefered the performances done by the swing community. However, I can understand how the values of the ballroom community can lead to the dance they are doing and the ways they are doing it. I feel that techniques, plural for a reason, reflect values in these instances.

*Here we have another case of a person taking a side and deciding they have all the correct and so the other side must be wrong. I hate this attitude.


Edit: I found this old ParrotCat post which states much more elegantly than I can process the difference in values by different styles.


1 Comment

Filed under community, learning, performance, socialization

One response to “Changing Eye

  1. I have recently experienced the flip side of having different values in different dances.

    I have returned to the place where I learned to dance and danced Salsa. I felt, for lack of better words, rusty. I had to count in my head a lot and I know that I missed some things and I occasionally just planted myself on a foot and waited for my leader to come back and pick me up.


    Yet skilled leaders clearly were enjoying dancing with me. People from the sidelines approached me and told me how beautiful my dancing was. I was baffled. I realized that included in the fact that there are different values put forward by different dances, there are also times when the same idea belongs to different levels.

    Salsa values the ability to spin and turn; spotting is often taught in the first lesson, and beginners regularly do three traveling turns in a row. Blues usually doesn’t work on turn techniques until much later. In blues it is pretty common that a follow is instructed to match some parts of the lead but that they can use their own discretion and freedom for things like body shaping (ie: hip movments) from very early on. In salsa beginning follows are told to style in response to a very specific situation (shines) and it is a high level skill to do much more with your body beyond kicks on the “slow”. I was basically camouflaging my skill level by doing things that they expected from someone much better than me.

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