Monthly Archives: October 2010

Performance and Competition

I’ve been thinking about dancing, and trying to define certain things like why I like to dance, who I like to dance with and why, and why I love competing as much as I do. I was re-reading some of Jerry’s old posts and one really stood out to me. He wrote about Creativity & Competitions a while back and I just wanted to throw in my two cents to the epic lindy loggers blog-o-sphere.

In trying to figure out what I like best when I watch contests, I always see two different kinds of competitors:

1) There’s the competitors who don’t pull out any tricks and just dance for the moment and have a blast doing it. These dancers make you want to run up there and dance with them to join in the fun.

2) Then there’s the competitors that are over prepared. These dancers always look like they are thinking about the next move, or trick, or gimmick they are going to do. Personally, when I see this I fear for their lives. They are so focused, it’s terrifying.

These aren’t really precise categories, but more like two sides of a continuum and both sides have their benefits and deficits. I love watching spontaneous awesomeness erupt, it’s really incredible, nothing else like it. However performance and showmanship is also important in dancing and in competitions (see this for further discussion on why tricks are an important part of contests and performances). But when you combine both, that’s when the magic happens.

Obviously there’s no step by step procedure you can go through for this to happen. Some days the spirit takes you and other days you’re just too worried if people can tell that you haven’t shaved in a week. The one thing that you can do consistently to get the most out of every competition, not necessarily win, is enjoy every moment like it’s your last time dancing on this earth. This is why I compete, because I enjoy each fleeting moment knowing that there will never be another one like it.

Next time you are in a competition, remember it’s your time to dance and you should enjoy ever second. If you don’t enjoy dancing, why do you do it?

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Why I Compete

Competitions Photo

I love competing. A lot. Clearly that is why I do it so often. I do make jokes that I need the money, which I do, but that’s just the cherry on top. I’m still satiated even if I don’t make it to the finals.

Those who know me in person know I can be very shy. I’m actually terrible at communicating face to face, especially when I meet someone new. And I mean to use terrible with the full force the word wields. Dancing is a way for me to communicate that, oddly, I’m much more confident and comfortable with.

Competing or performing is a lot more powerful to me because it’s like communicating with everyone in the room at once. Public speaking vs. a private conversation with your friend. Dancing has given me the ability to communicate like I’ve had never before. Lindy Hop is my babel fish to the world ever since I found it.

Come cheer me on at Boogie By The Bay this weekend in San Francisco! More of my thoughts on competitions next week…

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Compliments

Compliments are very important. However they are not appreciated enough more often than not. When someone compliments you on your outfit, what do you usually say? “Oh, this old thing? I just found it at the bottom of the closet and threw it on.”

How do you think that makes the person giving you the compliment feel? They went out of their way to tell you something they noticed about you, putting their opinion out on a limb for you and you just shoot it down and devalue it instantly?

It has always been hard for me to take compliments but every time I receive one is a time to practice and get better at it. Next time someone compliments you, honestly compliments you, try and say thank you. Make it sincere. Practice absorbing the compliment because it was meant for you then take all the goodness that you feel from the compliment and redirect it back through your thank you.

A compliment is supposed to make you feel good, do not dismiss it. When you do, you are also dismissing the person who gave you the complement and their opinion. Not only does the compliment get lost, but it’s also a pretty rude thing to do to someone who just wanted to make you feel good because they care about you.

Thank you for reading. 🙂

Also I will be in San Francisco next weekend for Boogie by the Bay. Please come out and ask me to dance!

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