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Dancers Learn From Other Dancers - 060124

Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes. ~ Oscar Wilde

We started talking about this the other week in class.

by Seth Tepfer (Seth is a dancer and caller of Contra dances from Atlanta)

This is my opinion. Other callers or dancers may have other opinions on this matter.

New dancers learn to dance from other dancers. They do NOT learn from the new dancers session. They don't learn from the caller. They don't learn from the Newbie Nanny. They don't learn from the walk thru. They learn from other dancers.

This is not to say that all those other things don't help or have their place. They do. They are important.

However, a new dancer learns how to move, how to behave, how to listen (or not), what the etiquette and culture and expectations are, how to twirl or not twirl, how to swing, how to smile and how to flirt from all the other dancers.

All of us, as a community, are teaching the new dancers how our community likes to dance. It's, as Bruce Tarnopolski likes to say, the 'body of work' that makes the difference in the long run. New dancers learn from all of the community as a body. When they see dancer after dancer doing a certain thing, then they realize that is the way it is done in this dance.

The only way inexperienced dancers will become the dancers you want them to be (hmmm - loaded phrase there) is by US dancing with them. Of course, there is no 'us' and 'them'. Once they walk in the door, they ARE us.

Seth Tepfer: Director of Administrative Computing & Innovative Technology Oxford College of Emory University - 770-784-8487 - labst@emory.edu

Published by Andrew Weitzen 1/24/2006

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