Why Become A Better Dancer?


I met Katt at the Blue Diamond in Portland about two years ago. I had seen her dance a couple of times, I was impressed, I was intimidated, I was jealous even. She moved so well, so confidently, so... herself. I was very new to the blues scene and felt a bit awkward, a bit out of place, a bit out of my league. To my surprise Katt asked me to dance that evening. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was with her and it was like seeing something fantastical for the first time... like the Victoria Falls when I was 6. I was struck by her body's clarity, her commitment to gravity and momentum, her sexiness. I wanted to be able to be that way. I had no idea how to achieve it or what it really was, but my body, my nervous system, my muscles, my bones felt it, recognized it.

So she comes up to me this week at Tuesday Blues, we hadn't danced in a few months by this point. We begin to dance and within seconds I am transported into a different dimension where melody and rhythm are palpable, visible sensual things. She is completely new to me. That same clarity, that same confidence, but amplified... like seeing a 3D movie for the first time... it is breathlessly exciting, unbelievable, and disorienting. Time expands and I am able to feel our connection with deeper sensitivity, noticing the particular textures of each step and turn of the wrist and bow of the head. My mind is briefly transported to that first dance two years ago and a sweet feeling bursts somewhere inside, I smile.... 

"I am so much better now," I say to her as we walk off the floor. I know I am better because now I get to experience Katt more fully, because I am able to see her more clearly, because I can be more attentive, more confident, more patient, and more daring... So when I consider the reasons for getting better at dance and what that actually looks like, I consistently return to this insight which is always accompanied by that burst of sweetness somewhere inside... It is all about connection. It is about experiencing new levels and dimensions of connection with another person... my body, my nervous system evolving through my rhythmic relating to another body.

To experience someone familiar in a completely new way is the most profound reward of my dance journey.