If you identify as an advanced dancer, remember that with great power comes great responsibility.
(Yes, that’s incredibly corny. No, I don’t regret it.)
When you become an advanced dancer, the superpower you gain is your awesome dance skills. You can use those skills to further your own pleasure and gain by holding them back from the newer dancers below you. Or, you can give those skills freely to the new dancers waiting to be inspired.
“Waiting” to be inspired
I say waiting to be inspired for a very specific reason: most newer dancers aren’t actually “inspired” by the dance in a deep and meaningful way.
They may love it on first sight the same way you like a person you are attracted to. But, just like you don’t know that person, they don’t know the dance yet.
You may want a one-night stand based on those first impressions, but you probably don’t want to marry them. You don’t know yet if you want to put in the work to have a relationship. You don’t know if there’s enough to get in return until that attractive person shows you their personality.
Yes, it can be hard to imagine. And yes, there are a few new dancers who ‘get the bug’ and dive deep right away. But, most new dancers need time and inspiration to really fall in love.
It took me a year of slow conversion from Salsa before I caught the ‘Zouk bug’ properly. It was a combination of community, opportunity, and self-confidence that got me to that point. I was waiting to be inspired.
The people who have put in the work to become great dancers are the people in the best position to inspire others. Their superpower is the ability to make people fall in love with the dance.
It’s the reason that international artists can inspire so many. They’ve put in the work that lets us see the best of the dance. We are attracted to their dancing, which is the first step. But, international artists who refuse to engage with the community can also act as a cooling agent.
Artists can make someone at their first congress feel amazing, or feel horrible. If the artist has a disengaged pity dance, their partner may not feel the desire to continue learning the dance. If the artist gives their all, their partner may find a renewed appreciation and desire for more.
Advanced dancers do the same thing, but on a more local level. They’re generally more accessible than the international travelling pros. They’re a fixture in their scene, which puts them in a position to immediately influence their local community.
Based on how those people behave towards their community, people either find themselves inspired or turned off. An advanced dancer who loathes beginners will find their community lacks driven newcomers striving for mastery. But, an advanced dancer who gives of themselves freely will often find many newcomers who are working to be better. They inspire a growth mindset in their newcomers.
There are examples of this in our own community. One driven early-intermediate dancer can pinpoint the exact moment she decided to really give Zouk her all. It simply took one motivational sentence and dance from a local teacher.
Passion for community, or dance?
Many hardcore dancers feel passionate about the dance style. So, many times they forget that newcomers often don’t know enough about the dance to be passionate about it.
First, newcomers become passionate about the community, energy, music, and vibe. Often, the dance is the conduit towards accessing those other perks. They may like the dance, but they simply don’t know enough about it to be in love.
If you have crappy music, snobby dancers, and an exclusive energy, most of those dancers will not invest in learning more. After all, what does that community have to give them?
Advanced dancers, remember that how you make beginners feel will determine how they feel about the dance. It’s you who will show them the possibilities they have to grow. It’s you who will tell them if investing is worth it.
So please, use your superpower for good. Don’t only use it to get great dances with other accomplished people; share it with those who need you to be inspired.
A few years from now, you’ll reap the benefits when those newcomers turn into your fellow advanced dancers.