Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bring on the Newbies!!!

Newbies absolutely rule! They're so impressionable, so fresh and new to the dance. It's like a whole new chance to mold a terrific dancer! I went to BU this evening to help teach a class of mostly freshmen how to Lindy Hop...well, at least start teaching them. It takes a while to really feel comfortable dancing Lindy. And it's fun to have them ask questions, try out new ideas, and awkwardly start the process of moving in rhythm, to the beat, and to the music.

At the same time, it's a big responsibility to teach newbies the dance. I'm shaping their eventual bad habits just through the words I use to explain something. I say "eventual bad habits" because I'm convinced there's no perfect way to teach someone to dance and have them understand everything exactly the way you meant it. That's the interesting thing about dancing, and about teaching dancing...it's all hear-say. It's an "I tell you something, I demonstrate, now you try" sort of thing. It's a trial and error, experimental, make mistakes and learn from them sort of thing. There's no perfect way to teach that. But having a bunch of new, dance-naive faces looking at you, hanging on your every word and trying to carry out your instructions to the best of their ability...there's just nothing like it. It's humbling, it's inspiring, it's a feeling of power and enhanced ability, it's a feeling of fear that they won't understand, it's awesome and troublesome and fun and agonizing. But most of all...it's a continuation of the swing scene. And that, my friends, is why newbies absolutely rule. They are the future of the dance. We are merely the history, the present, the constant. We are the already converted, the foundation. The newbies will carry on the traditions and stories and ideas of the dance into the future. They will shape the evolution of the swing movement. They are more important than, I think, most dancers give them credit for.

So, fellow dancers...be nice to your newbies. Welcome them, dance with them, try not to intimidate (hard, I know, they're like that when they start...). But most of all, respect them as an integral and important part of the scene. Happy are those dancers who know that the dance they love will continue into the future generations of our population.

Viva the Lindy Hop, and bring on the newbies!

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