True Improvement

In a recent and enlightening (as always) chat with Daniel Young, we realized something about true improvement.

Everyone has these waves where sometimes we feel amazing about our dancing and every night we go out we have an awesome time. But is this when we are truely getting better as dancers?

I know when I am working on something in my Lindy Hop I think about it every single dance I have. Right now one of the things I’m focusing on is keeping the pulse throughout my dancing, so every time I dance, this is all I think about. It sucks. It feels like I am not dancing. But this is the only time I feel that I improve in my dancing.

The most difficult part of this for me is keeping up with it until it is in my muscle memory and I don’t have to think about it. Then that’s when I can have my next wave of feeling awesome in my dancing. The problem is being honest with myself and focusing on that one thing I’m working on as much as I can. It is easy to forget about it and fall back into not caring and just dancing and having fun.

Having fun is important, but you have to be honest with yourself about what you want from the dance. If all you want is to have fun, that’s so awesome! Focus on that! If your goal is to make yourself the best dancer you can be, than keep your focus on that and you’ll be fulfilled beyond anything else you have ever done.

We have the most fun dancing is when we improve our abilities the least.

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6 thoughts on “True Improvement

  1. Missy says:

    Since I haven’t been dancing that long (only a year), I’m always working on something new. Something I personally do to help keep a balance of fun when I’m working on making new stuff muscle memory is give myself a few dances a night where I don’t think and just have fun. I normally do this with leads I know well enough to really let loose and have fun with. During those few dances during the night, I let myself play as I will and not worry about whether I’m correctly doing the thing I’m working on. It helps keep me sane during those ‘must improve x aspect of my dancing’ nights.

    Try it sometime. Next time you go out and you’re working on something, scatter three or four dances or so throughout the night with leads you just love dancing with (or have the most fun dancing with) and let yourself play. After each of those dances, go right back to the improvement thought process. Hope this helps make nights like that go better!

  2. […] at The Rantings of a Lindy Hopper, Alice wrote in a post labeled True Improvement about the importance of (what I inferred as) deliberate practice or practice which is dedicated […]

    • Alice Pye says:

      Thanks Andrew! Awesome, awesome post. I love when people take my ideas and create their own ideas from them! Seriously, biggest complement you can give me! Thanks so much!

  3. […] I had some more thoughts to add to True Improvement post. […]

  4. I hate this idea some people have that caring about improving your dancing means you’ve forgotten how to have fun.

    Personally, I want to improve so that I can have MORE fun: so that I can be more in tune with the music and more able to express myself.

    Great post.

    • Alice Pye says:

      Agreed! I think it just depends in how you define fun. I think you can’t really have fun without fulfillment.
      For some people, the fulfillment comes just from meeting people and socializing. Lindy hop satiated this need very well, and if that’s your final goal then that’s awesome. That is an integral part of the swing dance scene that helps beginners grow because it shows them how to have fun!
      However for me, as I think for you as well, the fulfillment comes from improving yourself as a dancer. When I am progressing in my dancing is when I feel the most fulfilled and I have the most fun.

      Essentially it’s like drugs, you get a little better and you’re like “Yeah, that feels AWESOME!” So you want more, and it’s more expensive, and you have to work harder to achieve the same high…

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