Do you remember playing video games? In a video game you have to conquer challenges on the course to move up a level. Didn’t it feel great when you finally beat the course and moved up?
It’s like that with dancing, there are different levels. The obvious is in line dancing you have beginner, intermediate, and advanced line dances. Beginner dances are short (32 counts or less) and generally have simple turns in one direction. For example you face the front wall for part of the dance and then you turn left for the rest of the dance and then you start again. As dances become more advanced they get longer, have more turns, and have tags and restarts. As you continue to dance, your ability to keep up with these challenges improves.
There are other milestones to celebrate growth as a dancer. The first one for me was when I learned most of the regular dances we dance at Round Up. It took me about a year to do this. It wasn’t easy. I practiced a lot on my own and with a friend and I learned to read the dance step sheets. If you think it’s hard trying to figure out how to move your body in class with an instructor telling you what to do, try making sense of an intermediate line dance on your own. (There is also YouTube to help.) At first it’s hard figuring out which way to turn and where you need to end up. It’s like trying to find a new place using Mapquest directions. Just like everything else, with practice it becomes easier.
But there were other little victories along the way:
- Not getting distracted by other dancers, particularly people dancing near me who didn’t know the dance.
- Not getting distracted by crazy night club lights flashing in my eyes.
- Receiving compliments about my progress, especially from the more experienced dancers I admired.
- Growing tired of easy dances. (I have a friend who calls this graduating.)
- Liking the easy dances again because I learned the value of taking small steps and could shift my weight better.
Another cool thing is realizing someone is following you. In the real world stalking is frowned upon. But in dancing it is the ultimate compliment, because out of a giant group of dancers, you sparkled and someone thinks or knows they can rely on you to help them enjoy this dance. Ultimately that is why we’re all out in the dance floor. It’s fun, it makes us happy!
After a year of dancing, I asked someone I admired who had been dancing for six years when you stop feeling like a beginner and she said you never do because there are always new things to learn. So I’m not quite sure yet how many levels there are and what other challenges there are to conquer but I think that is part of the allure.
You can view step sheets at iLinedance.com.
You can view dance videos at iLinedance YouTube Channel.
What are some of your milestones?