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re: Are Competition & Social Dance the Only Choices?
Posted by KarenLile
8/25/1999  11:12:00 PM
I have been recently trying a new avenue, or let's say a strategy for getting my needs met as a dancer. I have decided to do several things at once:

1. I am taking a teacher training course with 16 other teacher's in training. It so happens that there are more women than men in the class. But we are all learning lead and follow, so it doesn't matter. This class is giving me experience in learning details about the steps and patterns, as well as talking to a group, selecting music, performing, calling out the count and the steps, etc. This is providing me challenge and interest. It also allows me to progress through all the different levels of the different dances from the leader perspective, which I haven't done before, and I test at the end of each segment, which gives me a sense of accomplishment. The test is predictable and there is no limit as to who can pass it. Anyone who knows all the steps, can perform them well, etc. can pass to the next level.

2. I am social dancing 1 to 2 nights a week, to keep a connection with a group of people and get some good aerobic exersize. This is also an opportunity for me to meet the other teacher's in training and for us to practice what we have been learning on the social dance floor.

3. I have set aside a room in my house where I can practice by myself and with various partners. I meet with another woman in the class who is a teacher in training to go over class material, choreograph routines from the material, discuss technique, etc. This is really rewarding because it she is as interested in the subject as I am.

4. Those of us who are in the teacher training program can take as many of the group classes as they want and weekend parties are free to us. So, I am taking technique classes, as well as dancing leader and follower parts in various classes that catch my interest.

5. I plan to find an ametuer partner to work with at my home studio. This will give me the benefits of working with someone close to my level and we can set some peformance goals. We will probably perform at the 1/2 times of the social dances, since this is an easy and accessible avenue.

6. I plan to select a pro partner to work on choreography for public performances. I will probably have to set up my own performance opportunities. Before when I was doing Pro/Am work with my former teacher, I did not have any other activities to balance my dancing life. And so when he closed his ballroom, it set me adrift for a while.

I now realise that I need many different opportunities to meet my needs. There probably isn't one teacher or partner or ballroom that can meet all my needs . By putting together a mix, it makes it easier for me to be satisfied.

I think that I will go to some competitions sometime in the future and watch how they are set up and operate. I would like to see if I can come up with a plan for a non-competition event that accomplishes the positive goals that the competition is currently achieving, without the competition element.

When those of you who are contributing to this discussion tell your stories about what you like and don't like about the scene out there, it helps me understand more.

Thank you for discussing these things.

Karen E. Lile

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