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Being a Captivating Dancer

I don’t aspire to be a world class dancer. I want to be a captivating dancer. Watching 15 years of various styles of dance has left me wondering why some dancers are simply captivating and others are great, but… not so interesting to watch or dance with. Here are a few insights thus far.

1. We are an art form: Yes, dancing is about fun and expression, but it is also an art. The whole package – the movement, the outfit, the shoes (if you’ve seen tango done in dance sneakers you know what I mean), the hair, the body’s physique, the lines and shapes we create in our movement, even our facial expressions and attitudes. I love how ballroom, classical and modern dancers have perfected this concept. It seems that embracing dance as an art form changes how we dance – even socially. Beautiful aesthetics are always captivating for me.

At the end of the day, looks matter (that’s why they tan in Ballroom before a comp!). People flood to the ballet to see a beautiful body, in a flattering costume, moving gracefully and artistically. I don’t believe size rules out anyone here; but know how to move YOUR body and how to flatter it and showcase it beautifully in both movement and dress. People wouldn’t have cared about Jewel McGowan’s switches if she had been wearing cargo pants.

2. We are a storyteller: Some of my best dances are with guys who are actors. They understand how to tell a great story in a dance… They get into character and take me with them. Sometimes my partner eyes me like I am a morsel of buttered steak that he’s about to devour – and the next song he looks cold and furious and won’t look at me.

For me, captivating dancers are emotionally connected. And when that happens, a fascinating story begins unfolding. Whether we intend to or not, we are telling a story when we dance. Make it a good one. Make yourself vulnerable and express the energy you feel with your partner. Make eye contact. I never understand why people don’t look at each other when they dance. For me, it creates the impression of dancing together but not actually being together – so they seem disconnected from each other and the moment being shared. I use eye contact like spice; a dash here and there for emphasis. Eye contact is styling – use it!

3. We are in a relationship: The moment you say, “sure!” when someone asks you to dance, you have officially entered into a temporary relationship. So act like it. You wouldn’t enter a relationship and just do whatever you want with zero regard for the other person. In a respected relationship, no one truly wants to inflict pain, danger or embarrassment – or leave their partner feeling ignored or used. If you wouldn’t do it in a 5 year relationship, don’t do it in a 5 minute dance. We all deserve that respect, right?

I get tremendous insight in how someone operates in a relationship by how they dance. I can tell whether someone is a good communicator and a good listener by how they dance. Good partners are very in tune with what their partner is doing and expressing. They work in collaboration with one another… they assume joint responsibility for the experience. They expect nothing, but give everything. They listen more than they talk.

When the chemistry is good, my goal is to captivate my partner. I want my partner to be fascinated by the experience we are having. Sometimes a dance is not “just a dance”. We do that by fully entering the relationship and letting ourselves connect with vulnerability, openness and respect for our partner. I don’t want to be a “pole dancer” who treats my lead like he is nothing more than a pole holding me up while I do whatever I want.

What captivates me most is when I see two dancers who are utterly captivating to one another. If they are telling a fantastic, dynamic story (or conversation) in addition to being fully lost in their relationship with one another, they have won my heart. For total perfection, make the entire experience an art form with attention to all the visual details.

THEN we have a experience that captivates me at my very soul – and inspires me to pursue that in my own dancing.

young beautiful dancer posing on a studio background

credit: istockphoto

What Broken Things Really Mean

Last Wednesday, I vacated the house while my house cleaning service was here. When I returned, I found them waiting for me outside. I knew immediately that something was wrong, but I welcomed them warmly as I approached.

They explained there had been an accident. A lava lamp that I had kept in the kitchen had broken. They insisted on replacing it or paying for it. Both of which I adamantly refused.

I loved that little red lava lamp; it was a quirky little addition to my decor and it created a fun ambiance in the rare moments I spent more than a few minutes in the kitchen. But I refused to have it replaced and I wouldn’t hear of them giving me a dime for it.

I’ve learned that when something breaks, it’s because it is no longer needed in your life. That energy is no longer supposed to be with you and the break is an invitation to let it go and get rid of it.

I don’t question the breaks in my life for this reason. If it breaks or gets ruined, I know it’s time to let it go. I never keep anything broken or damaged in my home (bad energy/Feng Shui). So I’m okay with things breaking. It’s simply a shift of energy – something I always welcome.

There is a difference between something “breaking” and needing some repair. If it is a repair, I do my best to get the item fixed as quickly as possible. If the repair isn’t fully restorative (or it just doesn’t feel good to me), then I know it is time to let the item go. Not all breaks are fatal. But it’s smart to know when they are.

Relationships, jobs, life situations are the same way… sometimes they “break”… beyond just needing that little bit of repair. Not all breaks are a heroic challenge to see if you can weather massive emotional storms or slay dragons playing manipulative mind games. Sometimes things simply break – and sometimes breaks are endings.

Maybe I outgrew that quirky little lava lamp. Just as I know I am outgrowing other things in my life. I take the lava lamp breaking as a good sign because I see other parts of my life “breaking” as well. If I can accept losing a beloved lava lamp, I’m pretty sure I can accept the “breaks” that are shifting me into new experiences, new friends, and new journeys. For that, every break is something I can be grateful for. 

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