I find that there’s something about solo dancing which is so much more intimidating than partner dancing. You would think it is the other way around – with partner dancing, there’s a witness to all my screw-ups. Someone else is dependent on the hope that I know what I’m doing – and then there’s that weird crossroad of being together yet also individual, all at the same time.
On the other hand, solo movement is wholly dependent on my own wants, needs, and skills. I can practice as much as I want, whenever and wherever I want. It’s just me and the music, and I get to be myself, without ever screwing another person up. Yet, if I screw up, I only have myself to blame – and that’s where it gets scary.
Partner dancing is great because we can blame our partner (or our connection, or the moment, etc.) on miscommunication. It could be that our partner doesn’t have the skill, or the song said do something else, or that we just missed a moment together – but don’t worry, because there are a hundred other moments we’ll get which are more important.
Over the last year or so, I have developed a yearning to be better at solo movement, and I’ve taken a few steps. I learned the Big Apple and the Tranky Doo, and I even taught a class on the latter, forcing me to break down some movements. I’ve also started solo dancing when the urge strikes, whether there’s music playing or not. However, what I haven’t done is spent time with a mirror or video camera to break down and hone certain movements. Mostly, I just hope that it all comes together without any practice – and that is, of course, absurd.
As I move to California (I’ll be there soon!), I have had to come to terms with the fact that there will not be a lot of dancing for me to do. I’m moving to a rural area, and while I’m sure I’ll get out sometimes, I’m also sure it won’t be as much as I would like. As such, I have to find a way to create dancing in my life, so I don’t go crazy. The answer? Solo dancing: no partner required.
And here’s the best part: I wholly believe that a good foundation in solo movement will make all of my dancing better. I will have better rhythm and balance; I will be better at solo creativity while maintaining a partnership. I will be more musical, and I will have better lines, and everything about dance will be generally more awesome. It’s the perfect solution, right?
Wrong. There’s this thing called motivation, which tends to get lost on me after about three weeks of working towards general awesomeness. So here’s the second part of my solution: accountability. That’s where the internet comes in!
Every week, I will be videoing myself dancing. I will then post that video on Youtube. I will then take a couple days, go back to that video, and critique myself. I’m going to try not to take myself too seriously – goof off, have fun, and generally work on this thing that I love to do. If anyone has any suggestions – things to do, or critiques about movement, etc. – please share. I love help.
The good news? The first video is already here! Courtesy of Andy & Nina’s choreography at Lindy Fest.
Of course, I will also keep up with my (semi)regular scheduled posts, so keep an eye out. Also, as a heads up, the next video might have to wait two weeks, as I finish moving (and finding a place to live) next week.