Life Lessons from Dancing

February 2020 ยท 4 minute read

There’s a big gulf between knowing and doing.

I spent a lot of time thinking of how to think so that I could generate moves. That helped to a certain extent, but I just kept thinking fruitlessly instead of just going out there and making mistakes.

Mistakes are great improvisation opportunities - and they make it more fun to dance with beginners (as long as they follow the basics). You can always alter the tension in the embrace/grip, and this changes the character of the dance and makes new things possible.

It’s not good enough to be good. You need to be socially connected.

Going to a milonga, salsa party or any kind of partner dance social? The good dancers are usually too busy talking and dancing with other people for you to muscle into the situation in a smooth way.

Same with dating and (probably) making money too. Cold approach is not something you should use all the time, but an additional skill in your pocket that you pull out when the time is right (or if you have no other choice).

What do women want? Probably not what you think they want.

It’s easy to think that women want to see your fancy moves, your cars, your riches. No doubt this catches attention - but catching someone’s attention is just getting your foot in the door.

Many women also mistake attention for attraction, the classic example? Women who wear stockings in winter. Have they got our attention? Yes. Are we attracted? Maybe… but she’s obviously got issues. Similarly, if a leader looks great when dancing, but actually isn’t fun to dance with, or leads moves roughly for the follower, she won’t speak well of him afterwards.

Think of your fancy moves, clothing, watches, cars as the candy wrapper. In the end, the chocolate still needs to taste at least as good as the others, if not better.

What’s the chocolate in dance? It’s the feeling of understanding someone at a level where no words are needed. See Cory Henry and Yoran Vroom at 3:53. Telepathic understanding. Emotional sync.

Maybe that’s why women use so many words and emojis with each other, and obsess over how every part of their behaviour comes across. It’s all about establishing emotional harmony (this implies fitting in).

Appearance and reality, just like attention and attraction, are quite disconnected.

Germany is a strange country - a restaurant’s decor correlates directly with its food quality, whereas in Asia, you purposely go to shabby looking stalls by the side of the road to get great chicken rice that’s just as good as fancy restaurants.

For Germans, eating out is a social occasion, and the food is just one part of it. The atmosphere of course contributes to the occasion, and any restaurateur who neglects that is probably similarly sloppy in other aspects.

This is a classic correlation != causation example that only happened because of a particular mindset towards eating.

Apparently, I appear confident and know what I’m doing.

Or rather, women get insecure about their own abilities too and you have to constantly reassure them that yes, I did intend to lead that move.

I heard some women are like that with their looks.

Again, appearance and reality are two very different things. Sometimes they are connected. Beware this mental shortcut.

As you decide for a particular style, you will alienate people.

Dress normal and everybody will think nothing of you. Dress preppy and some people will think you’re posing. Dress goth and most people will think you’re “weird”. Dress outdoorsy and you won’t stand out to the preppy people.

Some girls dance lambada style. Trying to dance black or hiphop zouk with them won’t work.

Some people like dancing to the music, while others just want to explore motion and won’t get your contratempo movements. Or worse, assume that since you’re a beginner, you wanted to step on the beat but moved too late.

Just double down on your style and go deeper. What’s the alternative? being “normal”?

Following isn’t worse than leading.

In some areas of life, following gets a bad rep, but what’s the point of being a leader without a follower?

In dance, the leader decides on the motion, but the follower decides how the motion is executed - the character of the motion, actually fitting it to the beat. This is how her interpretation of the music can be expressed. And of course, her motion determines what other moves are physically possible afterwards.

Sometimes you meet women who declare they’re independent, they won’t follow a man, and they don’t need one. Then they complain why they can’t find a man. Isn’t that laughable?

(most of the time these women don’t declare their “independence”, but culture has programmed their subconscious to behave independently, so they are not aware of how they push away men who care for them)