One thing that’s great about blues dancing, or any kind of dancing, is seeing your own progress. Often it’s hard to see. After all, you’re with yourself all the time. So most of the time, gradual improvement escapes your attention. But if you put in the effort, you will get better and better at dancing, and sometimes people will go out of their way to point out your improvement to you. 🙂
One of the best ways to learn is, of course, to take lessons with an instructor. For me, this has meant going to the clinics offered at the Blues Union. A clinic is different from the “normal” format in that instead of an advanced group lesson followed by a beginner crash course, instructors are available for an hour and a half for individual instruction. Once you find an available instructor, you dance with them, and they start to show you ways in which you could improve your dancing.
This could be anything from improving your frame to teaching you some flashy new moves. Additionally, if you have something specific you want to learn, you can let the instructor know, and they’ll teach you what you wanna know! And a clinic is only $5. 🙂 Actually…there’s one tomorrow night; the last one of the year!
I’ve actually been doing kind’ve an informal series style of lessons with the amazing Jan Marie. Each time there’s a clinic, I make sure I dance with her during the instructional period, and she’s able to see how I’m doing with what she’s previously taught me, and build on that. It’s really cool in that I don’t have to acquaint a new instructor with my dance level each time I attend a clinic.
One of the most rewarding experiences I had in this regard actually happened just last week. After the instructional period, there was of course the normal free dance. I danced with Jan Marie at one point, not as instructor to student so much as just two people dancing. I was able to really implement a lot of the things she taught me, and I could tell that it made dancing with me that much more fun for her. It was such a cool feeling! It was one of those rare times when I could actually see and sense my own improvement. I loved it, and can’t wait to learn more.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, feel free to post a comment! I’d love to hear what you have to say!