Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Addressing the 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

We all learn in different ways. Some of us are visual learner, some of us are auditory learners, some of learn by just doing...etc. Seems like common sense doesn't it?

Well when it comes to dancing, belive it or not but some of us find it extremely hard (if not impossible) to count steps while dancing. I know for a very long time that was the situation for me. I waited to see if anyone would discuss that issue but since I haven't seen anyone voice their opinion on the matter, I decided to step up to the plate and address the issue myself.

For people who were brought up in homes where their families played cultural music and were taught how to dance traditional forms of dance know exactly why this "count dancing" seems impossible.

Let me give you an example:
For Hispanic women this is a reoccurring issue. Latin dancing like salsa and meringue are not the kind of dances where Hispanic children count 1-2-3-4 to learn the dance technique of their parents. Latin families teach their dance to children by example and by physically encouraging to just dance. They encourage children at a very young age to listen and feel the music because the music will tell you how to move. Everything from the beat of the rhythm to lyrics of the song become embedded in the children. The movements become like second nature and no counting was ever necessary. This is the way many people were taught to dance, this is the way I was taught to dance.

Not to long ago I encountered a wonderful article on orientaldancer.net about a woman who took dance classes with the legendary Dina. The writer named Yonisha mentioned that Dina kept stating, "in between her explanations of the movements and kept repeating over and over to everybody NO COUNTING! LISTEN TO THE MUSIC, DANCE TO THE MUSIC, NO 1, 2, 3..." and then laughed out loud. She was trying to make everyone understand that the music needs to be felt."

I can't tell you how relieved I was to read those words!
You can find the full article here by the way Amazing weekend of bellydancing

I'm not a fan of counting and dancing as you probably figured out by know. I don't like it because it pulls my emotions from the song. It's distracting and I also feel like I'm doing some kind of math problem... Lol

So what is with the tendency to count anyway? I find that counting is most important when you dancing with a group. Seriously, I can't find a single reason why a soloist should ever count when dancing alone. Yuck, then you could notice that the dancer is concentrating and that is just plain tacky.

I know for some dancers it does feel like relearning something from Sesame Street all over. It's annoying but you have to learn to do it one way or another. Learn it and change it as I always say.

Todays blog was brought to you by the letter N for no and by the letter C for counting.