Conflicting feelings.

I’m never going to be one to say that a person should wait to learn something, or that there is an entry bar, but…

Any namable dance, whether codified (like waltz) or not (like blues) has an idealized form. This would be made up of the dance’s basics (if those exist), the wider accepted vocabulary, the bodily aesthetics of the dancers, modes of connection, the common musicality approaches, and the music itself. It is the adherence to these ideals that make the dance sharable, spreadable and repeatable.

Learn the idealized form. You should build up defaults first and learn how to be creative within the defaults. There is a world of infinite creativity within those boundaries. It takes knowing the idealized form inside and out to really be able to branch out and appropriately change things to suit you. You should do that with intention and in a way that makes sense. If you begin with the idea that anything goes, you will develop habits that are inconsistent and sometimes plain out wrong. A basic theory of how people learn motor skills (Dreyfus and Dreyfus model) suggests that novices learn rules and apply them no matter what the context. Intermediate performers can apply the rules appropriately to the context. Advanced performers can find appropriate times to break or disregard the rules. Masters are no longer conscious of the rules, but their gut feelings serve appropriately a vast majority of the time.


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