Thoughts on swing dancing and Lindy Hop, one word at a time…

Dance as a Language: Immersion

When I was at the Caveau de La Hauchette in Paris, the phrase “dance is a language” started to truly sink in. This is due to the fact that when attempting to communicate with in French with follows,  I could barely understand them. But on the social dance floor we could speak volumes to each other without uttering a single word.

1950's Caveau de La Hauchette

While I would like to explore that topic more in the future. What inspired me today to write was reading about for languages on average, how long it takes one to be become fluent. Out of the few sites I read most listed one year if you were fully immersed in the language, compared to anywhere from four to five years if you did not have full immersion.

I believe there is a strong correlation with dancing as well because the people who I see improve the most do so through apprenticeships, paying for many private lessons, or the generosity of time donated by dancers advanced enough to be ‘fluent’ in the respective dance.  In isolated scenes usually the best dancers are those who go out of town for workshops/exchanges.

Now I am not saying you should only dance with the best dancers and ignore newbies because they are ruining your ‘dance immersion’. But in situations where you don’t ask people to dance because they are ‘too good’ or if you are avoiding travel and such because you like the familiarity and safety of your own scene, push those boundaries and converse with those who have more experience or perhaps a different dialect of the language known as dance.

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