B is for Balance
I used to think that when I wobbled taking an unsure step or leaned a bit too hard on my partner while we danced across the floor, that I had lost my balance and that was a bad thing. Then I learned that partner dancing, like life, really can’t be accomplished in perfect balance and that the only bad thing about wobbles or leans was that I hadn’t learned how to control gravity yet!
Since dancing is just a controlled fall and getting really good at it means learning to control one’s intended motion as it opposes gravity so that the outcome looks fluid, in sync with one’s partner and the music, and…balanced…then losing your balance isn’t really a bad thing at all….it is a requirement! And the perception of balance is simply an illusion! If dance partners were in total balance with each other there would be no dance– only statuesque stillness with beauty perhaps, but no musicality, movement or emotion.
But wait, isn’t that just like life? Life’s balance isn’t really standing with both feet planted firmly on the ground, going nowhere and doing nothing. It is finding harmony and equilibrium between all the things we want and need to do. Balance is finding a way to do what we want/need to do while making it look calm and easy.
Calm and easy…flying apparently effortlessly across the floor with a dance partner. Two bodies moving separately yet as one with each other and the music, looking calm and controlled, yet completely off balance and in a continuous love/hate battle with gravity.
And to all my partners who have had hold up more than their fair share of our partnership in order to support me when I wobbled or leaned too hard, please forgive me…I was just learning how to lose my balance.
Today’s Dance: Bolero
A slow-tempo Latin dance done to “bolero” music. There are both Spanish and Cuban forms of the music. The Spanish being ¾ or waltz timing dating from the late 1700’s, the Cuban being the 4/4 timing version dating from about 1930 that is commonly danced today. Bolero is danced competitively as one of the American Rhythm dances. It is an unusual Latin dances in that it requires both the typical Cuban motion but also incorporates rise and fall as found in waltz (homage to it’s Spanish cousin, perhaps?) and contra body movement. Note that the famous “Ravel’s Bolero” is of the Spanish genre, in ¾ timing, and thus sadly, one can not dance a modern bolero to Bolero!