So, are you watching this year’s World Series? Two teams – the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros – each of which was the clear leader in their league through the regular season, performing in the “Fall Classic” in ways that are literally unprecedented in the history of baseball. And not necessarily in a good way! In Sunday’s game, for example, two of the previously hottest pitchers in baseball completely fell apart and were chased from the game earlier than anyone had expected. Many – but notably not all – sluggers through the regular season have been shut down and batting averages have plummeted. With few exceptions, almost nobody has reliably had their “stuff.” And that’s what makes especially October baseball (in my highly opinionated opinion) an amazing game. (And yet, last night’s game six was entirely “normal” for two, top-performing teams.)
What is equally amazing is that two teams comprised of exactly the same players, managers, and bullpens (okay, so the starters are different) can play in totally different ways among a half-dozen games. How does this happen? The high stakes connected to each World Series game messes with a player’s head.
On the dance floor as well, when the stakes feel as if they’re high, otherwise great dancers sometimes lose their “stuff” too. Whether it’s a too-aggressive lead, a missed follow signal, or the dance equivalent of a passed ball or wild pitch – a pattern lead that the follower is simply unable to “catch” – bad moves happen to good dancers.
Like great ball players, great dancers simply pick up where they left off (with a quick apology if the bad move caused discomfort). My suggestion is to get back to foundation moves and patterns for a few counts-of-8 in the music, just to reorient and reconnect. Regain your focus. Ensure that your fundamentals are clean and precise, and that you’re on beat. Just like a pitching coach will come out to the mound to help a pitcher heading for trouble to calm down and remember to get back to what made them great in the first place, bring your favourite dance teacher to mind when you’re heading for trouble on the dance floor. What are the key lessons s/he has shared when it comes to basic, social-dance technique, connection, and form? How would s/he help restore confidence if they were there with you in the dance venue? After those few moments of mental clarity, get back into the game… err… dance, and close out the song in style.
As we did a couple of weeks ago, in class this week, I’ve selected a combination that would be relatively straight-forward to learn. For someone who has only been coming to the Foundation class so far, and thinking that they might be ready to add the Repertoire class to their Thursday evening, this could be the week to stay for the 8:00 lesson.
See you on the dance floor!