The post below was submitted by Edwin Banks. He is a dance instructor and LDC reader from Charlotte, North Carolina. We periodically feature reader submitted content because we like to hear your thoughts and opinions beyond the comments section. If you’d like to know more about Edwin you can view his biographical info at the end of his post.
After dancing for few years, there is nothing that excites me more than to see the smile, smirk and simper on a lady’s face before and after a dance. That beam of delight triggers my sense of accomplishment, after she’s done a cross-body-lead with a double or triple spins — when she turns and it’s almost like she’s like an angel, just arriving to earth with that look of gaining consciousness. Or, that five hours worked-out hair, drenched, her eyes being focused on an imaginary point. She extends her hand to repossess the elegance of a guy’s quest for romance, and soon she’s back in his arms again.
For me, it doesn’t matter if she’s a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. What matters for me is enjoying the moment – making someone happy after a dance. However, what happens on and off the dance floor has the potential to impact a person’s romantic relationship/s forever. Many things happen on and off the dance floor.
This morning I read an article about strong and soft leads. It was interesting, because I have heard about that over and over on the dance floor. My take, for a guy, is the woman determines the space and strength of your lead. In my opinion, never should a guy be forceful with a lady dancer at the start; that is risky. Feel the hand of that lady while dancing; she will communicate if she wants a strong or soft lead. The truth is both guys and gals can’t help themselves sometimes, especially when one or both think they are enjoying the dance. Another fact is some folks are just more comfortable with applying more pressure than others, meaning that’s just natural for them to have strong leads. Have you ever heard about a heavy foot on a gas pedal when driving? Some people can’t help themselves. Knowing this helps make you a skillful dancer.
Apart from the argument of strong and soft leads, many other things happen on the dance floor. I have often hear about ladies complaining of being injured on the dance floor. This is different from the usual cuts and bruises that are the results of a heel or being stepped-on. Sometimes, it’s how a guy turns a lady, and other times it’s how a lady turns herself. Sometimes, both gals and guys try to do a trick that the other doesn’t know, or doesn’t know what to expect next; hence the damage is caused. Other times, one gets excited and turns or twists in an unintended position, the result is inevitable.
Nevertheless, I have heard stories upon stories about guys being disrespectful, ladies having indecent attitudes, or a person walking off the dance floor because there wasn’t any connection. It’s not uncommon to see ladies fighting over a guy on the dance floor, or guys being controlling of their partners, fiancées or wives. These are just the realities of what happens on the dance floor. Another issue is first timers attending an event and leaving because all the one-time-beginner dancers no longer want to dance with “beginners”. While I do agree with the fact that dancing with advanced dancers help you grow and develop skills, I usually frown on people who I once saw starting to learn how to dance , but now somewhat advanced, refusing to dance with a neophyte like “me”. Such stories on the dance floor are nothing short of infinite.
One intriguing characteristic of social dancing is the constant changing of partners. This phenomenon has both its advantages and disadvantages. Although I’m a fan of changing partners after every song or every other song because I love to dance, I’ve noticed something in particular as it relates to a romantic relationships. The logic of the following scenario makes sense. The DJ plays the music. She chooses to dance with me, or I choose to dance with her. We may connect and do several dances, or may not connect. Either in the middle or at the end of the dance, we split and go our ways to find another dancer that we would like to dance or connect with. That is not a bad thing! Why stay if we don’t connect with each other. After all, we want to enjoy the moment (dance) and be happy. Yes, happiness is always above any dance! And most often, if we don’t connect, we avoid dancing with each other, sometimes for months. I remembered when I first started dancing Salsa and Bachata; I was turned down by the first three ladies I asked to dance after staying in the corner for three weeks without uttering a word. Ha. We move on to the next because we didn’t connect, we didn’t agree, or we weren’t on the same levels. The music is over, so next.
Moving on is a great thing when considering a website like MoveOn.Gov, but the constant changing and switching partners has the potential to affect our relationships, especially romantic relationships. Moving on is often seen as a sign of beginning anew, leaving pain and hurt, and looking forward to the unknown. It is a sense of relief, happiness, and anticipation. We all move to the next person, expecting to find what’s missing in the previous person, or what lack of happiness we are in search for. The constant changing and switching of partners for whatever reason affect the brain.
While I’m not a psychologist, brain surgeon (Neurosurgeon), or a brain specialist (Neurologist), I have taken enough philosophical courses over the years to understand a little bit about how the brain works. One simple fact that I have learned, is that the brain patterns itself according to the behavior of a person. This is why we often hear that anything done consistently over a period of time becomes a behavior, sometimes estimated at 14-21 days. So neurologically speaking, imagine our brains adapting and patterning itself after our consistent changing and switching of partners on the dance floor for a significant amount of time. There is a higher risk of us not staying longer with anyone romantically. At this point I must admit that this is not true in every case or for everyone. Some people have stronger resistance than others. My goal here is to simply point out the potential and make people aware of this. Not categorically speaking, we develop the behavior to move on to the next romantically, if there is no initial connection, if things don’t work out, or if we are not on the same level! The music is over – NEXT! We no longer are willing to put in the time to work it out romantically. There are no grounds to stay in a bad relationship. This article is creating an awareness to keep trying, even if it doesn’t work the first, second or third time.
Dancing creates a beautiful soul, but also has the potential to negatively change a person forever, romantically, as far as patience is concerned. Recent research, done by the Statistic Brain Research Institute, reveals that it takes a person 8.25 seconds to focus (attention span) on anything. While this is true socially and nationally, dancing will also call into question how well we are able to work things out with our partners, fiancées and wives. How strong we can become to resist the urge to immediately quit when things don’t go our way. How humble we can be to grow together, even if our partners are not on our level romantically, spiritually, or academically. The choice is yours!!