The way we shape our opinions and also the way we make many decisions relies on a system of values that lets us place it in categories we call “right” and “wrong”.
Be that in politics, inter-personal relationships or in dance.
That’s right, and that’s wrong!
I don’t know how others feel about that, but I always get an uncomfortable feeling in my gut when I hear these evaluations. It almost always feels like I need to pick a side. It feels like one component is missing. And that’s something I or we took as an impulse to ask ourselves this question years ago:
WHY DO WE DANCE and TEACH IN THIS EXACT WAY?
This question also made us question our decisions not only in dance but also in life, as well as how this affects our image towards the rest of the world. This article should end up being a kind of checklist that could help each and every one of you to question their decisions and to make them in a more satisfying and gratifiying way.
The decision FOR…
In our “dancing career” we’ve faced many different opinions on teaching and dancing, but we’ve also met many “opponents” of things.
These “opponents” had one thing in common: They were against a thing, an opinion, a technique or even against a certain person.
For many years I didn’t know why I tended to avoid these people or had a hard time accepting things from them. Now however, I can say that for me and for us, any decision FOR something feels so much better, more fulfilling and has a far more positive effect on our surroundings than being against something.
The FOR makes you think about why you want something, do something or share something. It makes you form your own opinion and find your own individual FOR. If you want to pass it on, it’s exactly those arguments PRO, that will motivate other people.
In unserer „Tanzkarriere“ sind wir vielen Lehrmeinungen und Tanzmeinungen begegnet. Jedoch auch vielen „Gegnern“ von etwas.
Diese „Gegner“ hatten ein gemeinsames Charakteristika: Sie waren gegen eine Sache, eine Meinung, eine Technik oder sogar gegen einen Menschen.
Viele Jahre war mir nicht bewusst, warum ich diese Menschen stets mied oder mir schlicht und ergreifend schwer tat, etwas von ihnen anzunehmen. Heute jedoch kann ich sagen, dass für mich und uns eine Entscheidung FÜR etwas sich wesentlich besser, erfüllender und vor allem auf die Umgebung positiver anfühlt und auswirkt, als gegen etwas zu sein.
Das FÜR bringt dich dazu, zu überlegen, warum du etwas willst, tust und weitergibst. Es bringt dich dazu, deine eigene Meinung zu bilden und dein individuelles FÜR zu finden. Wenn du es weitergeben möchtest, dann sind es genau die Gründe und Argumente eines FÜR, die Menschen positiv anspornen.
For any AGAINST you can also find a FOR, that can make much more of a difference.
CHECKLIST 1: Question all the decisions you made against something and find the PRO in them. Because those who say YES, automatically say NO to things related to it – however the YES offers more of a path towards further development.
Trust in people…
When do I enjoy learning from people?
Our decisions often depend on opinions, revelations and arguments from other people.
But who can or can’t I trust? How do I know whether or not I can trust this person’s opinions or insights?
We personally enjoyed learning from people we trust. But what does TRUST really mean? For us, we feel like we can trust someone when we feel like they’re not hiding anything from us. He or she is just the way they are, without wearing a mask, without pretending to be something else.
These are characteristics we would equate with “AUTHENTIC”. If someone dances authentically, by that we mean with his inner personality, with his experiences, with his FOR, then his opinion is also worth something.
As a second point we also think about whether this person complies with my human principals. Does he live with values that I myself would like to live with in this world? When these points make sense and I feel his insights comply with my PRO, then it’s a lot easier and more fulfilling to fit his opinions into my big picture and to work with them until proven wrong.
Not everything or everybody can be proven. In some things you just need to trust others. And that’s exactly where I see the big chance. Let us give our trust to people who are authentic, honest, transparent and stand FOR something.
I think that goes for every teacher (also dance teachers) as well as people in other fields, such as politics, economics, science etc.
CHECKLIST 2: Are my opinions based on insights I made myself? Or was I lucky enough to learn from people who comply with my human principals?
Especially in dance it’s really important to try things for yourself and test their effects.
For me, the main goal with any dance technique in Social Dance is to make the dance more pleasant, harmonious and fulfilling.
Of course first of all you need to master the technique to make a valid decision about its effects.
It’s very subjective, what’s “good” for oneself and what isn’t. But mainly it depends on what I want to achieve (with that dance).
CHECKLIST 3: Have I tried the techniques I diagnosed as WRONG, myself, did I practise them and then only judge?
If not, it’s probably better to put more energy into techniques that hold more promise for my (dance) life and not to judge the ones I haven’t researched fully yet. 😉
Everything new happens outside our comfort zone. If I want to make a change, that means recognising my boundaries and facing them.
If I want to integrate something NEW into my learning, my life and my relationship, I won’t have much choice, other than moving my boundaries and slowly integrating the NEW into my comfort zone.
The decision FOR usually has the consequence – at least in our experience – of “having to” move your comfort zone. A fight our a decision “against” something, usually has the consequence of being able to stay inside your comfort zone.
Of course it’s easier to move these boundaries together with other people. Especially if this other person has already researched this “foreign territory”. Maybe that’s also the “concept for success” in a functional (dance) relationship, where partners help each other overcome those boundaries. 😉
At least I’m convinced that’s what a student-teacher relationship should be like. 🙂
CHECKLIST 4: Where are my boundaries? Am I ready to move them yet? Do I make my decisions and my willingness to learn within my boundaries or am I willing to trust and move my boundaries, or trust a person to help me do so.
Be TRANSPARENT …
CHECKLIST 5: Am I ready to show my “TRUE” face to the world, my friends and my family?
Because in the end I’ll learn most when I really want to (instead of have to) and don’t hide my weaknesses from myself and others. When I stop finding excuses why i can’t do it yet…
Am I honest to myself and to others? Do I stand for my decisions and can I defend them POSITIVELY in front of others? Do I have reasons FOR my decision?
Then stick to the proverb:
„A real master has failed more often than a beginner ever tried.”
In that sense “failing” isn’t something you need to hide. It’s something that will push you on, and will make you decide PRO a new and different path.
Clarity comes from doing. And doing comes with “trial and error”.
Without trial there’s no error, one often says. Check out the proverb above. 😉
No Trial & Error – no Master.
When is RIGHT and WRONG even appropriate?
This is a bonus point that should give this article more clarity.
On the one hand there’s “natural laws” and on the other there’s personal preferences.
In many discussions on dance styles, looks, questions of authenticity and many other topics that people differ on, people often don’t consider these two sides of the story.
There are things like biomechanics, fundamental dance technique and skills, that you can’t (or only with a lot of scientific effort) deny. Just like gravity. Or the action-reaction principle.
To question these principals or fight them would mean a lot of energy and effort. The effort usually isn’t really worth it, because the basis of it (that of course should be tried and tested first), is a result of long years of experience. Instead maybe one should embrace it as a first step. These basics still give us a strong and stable foundation on which we can build our “dance house”. If, after this step you still find this “base” is worth developing, you’ve probably got so much knowledge that it would be worth the effort. 😉
All other topics in dance belong in the category of personal, aesthetik, artistic, cultural, physical or social preferences.
These should be accepted, registered and evaluated by everybody for themselves with an open mind, and everybody should decide whether or not they comply. For they are “only” preferences. Not unbreakable laws.
They should not recieve the same importance as the principles.
If a teacher mixes these two points up, you need to be careful. If people always kept these two different points in mind, then many hot and emotional discussions in the world of dance would lose their fire. One could debate in a more objective way and concentrate on the positive and constructive.
That would be nice…
In our lessons we try to avoid the words “right” or “wrong” as far as possible, because their not really very helpful, right? 😉
We would hope for our whole dance community to ask themselves these questions i put in the checklist more often. Everybody should find their own answers. Not just someone else’s answers. That way we can also make better and more clever decisions.
Ideally pro something. 😉
I’d love to hear your insights on this topic. How do you see that?
What inspires you to make decisions?
In this sense I wish you all more FORs… 😉
Lots of love,
Dance & Make A Difference