If you’re like me, you love seeing those tangible indications that your dancing is noticeably better then it was before. This concept of ‘levelling up’ your dance skills is satisfying, shows how far you’ve come, and gives you something to brag about. But what criteria might we use to separate the different ‘levels’ of dancer?
What makes you a dancer?
- What you do: You enjoy music and moving to it. That’s it. Don’t listen to those nay-sayers that tell you need to take lessons to be a ‘real’ dancer. Of course, you may want to refine your abilities if you want others to dance anywhere near you…
- How it shows in your dancing: It might be messy on the outside, but you don’t care, because it just feels good to move and groove to what you hear. You leave silly things like ‘structure’ and ‘cohesion’ to the pros on Dancing With the Stars.
What makes you a DECENT dancer?
- What you do: You’ve decided to take some group lessons from an expert. Maybe you practice sometimes, or social dance once and a while, but it’s all pretty relaxed and just for fun. You know you’d like to get better, but so far it’s not as important as other life priorities.
- How it shows in your dancing: You know the basics, enough so that people watching can actually tell what dance you’re doing. You can connect with your partner and more or less push each other across the floor. You’re still a novice in the eyes of the wider dance community, but at least you score some points for trying.
What makes you a GOOD dancer?
- What you do: You’ve recognized that you have a long way to go to really stand out, and now you want it bad enough to start pulling for it. You’ve moved from group classes increasingly into private lessons, and pay much more attention to those boring technical tips then you did in previous levels. If you go out social dancing, you are now considered a ‘regular’. You may also have started to dabble in the competitive scene.
- How it shows in your dancing: You’ve started to catch the eye of other dancers. Your movements feel a lot more fluid and controlled, balance is no longer a problem, and maintaining connection is second-nature. You probably started to play with arm styling and other embellishments. It’s increasingly fun to dance with you, and you start to receive smiles and compliments from your partners.
What makes you a GREAT dancer?
- What you do: You might not be the best, but you’re good and you know it. How many steps you know is now less important then how you dance them. You are likely deep in the competitive circuit by now – not because you can’t be a better dancer without it, but simply because it’s the only place you can dance full-out anymore. You are king or queen of the social dance floor, but might find yourself looking around for partners talented enough to challenge you.
- How it shows in your dancing: You are what lower level dancers look at when they say to themselves ‘I want to move like that.’ Guiding/responding to different combinations is so easy now that you start to improvise some movements – like you used to, only now you know how much you can get away with. You never lack for dance partners at a social, but are happiest when dancing with your competitive partner, because they can connect with you on a whole new level.
On every level, there are many who decided they are satisfied where they are. If you decide to move past that, remember not to look down on them. Each level requires sacrificing time and money to move forward – the only difference between you and them is that for you, it’s worth it.