Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Frustration and Focus

Lately I have been a little unhappy with my dancing. It is rooted in a few things:
  •  A normal learning cycle -- learning comes with plateaus. They are valuable, because the plateau allows incorporation of previous. Although it may not feel like you are improving, you are actually moving from conscious to unconscious competence. Being in the plateau is always painful, though ... And the incorporation that happens often (for me) feels like regression, because you are slightly knocked out of comfortable old habits. I have been gradually improving my posture, for instance ... but my back actually complains more, since previously unused muscles are being asked to work.
  • Knowing too much -- 'best dancing' is a moving target. As I improve my knowledge of technique, the music, my ability to connect with a follow, I am rewarded with ever more intricate details. Pursuing these more intricate targets requires much harder work for a finer-grained reward. Not only do I have to dance well, but I want my own style. I may be able to lead a step clearly, but is my balance absolutely perfect through every piece of it?
  • Lack of time/dedication to practice -- Life is ever changing, of course, and I no longer have as many hours to spend at Milongas and Practicas. Without the near daily dancing I once did, I no longer have sufficient incidental practice time. I am also not making dedicated practice time or space. As a result, I am not improving as quickly as before. Lack of progress, and the knowledge that I lack enough dedication to practice, both frustrate me.
This unhappiness leads me to focus more (too much, probably) on my own dancing while leading. This is a dangerous thing to do, as putting too much focus on myself limits my ability to connect, and at an extreme, would make my follows feel like they were dancing by themselves.

I don't think things have gotten quite that bad, luckily.