Mistakes in Ballroom and Latin Dancing
MISTAKES IN BALLROOM AND LATIN DANCING
Often times we consider ourselves to be doing poorly or to be bad dancers if we make mistakes. Whether it is in our choreographed dances or just socially, we all make them. Rather than seeing these mistakes as a sign of you being bad, see them as an opportunity. Here are some reasons why mistakes are opportunities to get better:
1. Mistakes teach you how to keep moving
There are going to be times when you miss a step, forget a move, or lose your timing. The important thing is that you learn how to keep going. In a choreographed dance, if you are able to keep moving, people will most likely not even see the mess up. If you are social dancing, there are always moments when you or your partner miss a signal or give the signal in a way that was not read easily. If you just keep moving, the dance is still successful, as it is not about never making a mistake, it is about the ability to keep going and continue the dance.
2. Mistakes teach you how to have a poker face
When we make mistakes in a dance, we are inclined to apologize with our mouths or with our faces. Most of the time, especially in a choreographed dance, the mistake will not be noticeable to anyone but you and your partner. Even if they may have seen a slip up, they may assume it wasn’t even a mistake if you look confident in what you are doing. At the same time, they might not have noticed a mess up at all, but because you apologized or made a weird face, they assume you MUST have messed up! We don’t want that! Look confident no matter what and act like everything, even the mess ups, have a purpose, and no one will ever know. Socially, it is ok to apologize out of courtesy if the move was executed poorly, but no need do it constantly. Just keep going, look confident, and try to enjoy the dance.
3. Mistakes teach you how to do it better next time
Sometimes, especially as follows, we dance without thinking about the move we are being lead into. And sometimes, guys, you lead a move that girls follow pretty easily without you having to put much effort into it. It is great to dance without thinking; however, it’s a good thing to be aware of the moves you are leading and following. Mistakes are the best way to become aware. Say a guy leads a girl through a dance move and she doesn’t follow it well. Maybe you can work on being more clear with your lead, or learning how to lead stronger or softer depending on how the girl follows. Say a girl is following a guy’s lead, but did not follow this particular move and you don’t know what he was initiating. This may be a great opportunity to learn said move and to find out what the signal is so that you will follow it better the next time you are lead into it.
4. Mistakes teach you that you are always needing to improve
We can start to feel confident in our dance moves and, therefore, stop working to improve. We can just dance as if there are no improvements to make, and become complacent. When we make mistakes, it reminds us that there are always things to work on and it keeps us on our toes so that we don’t lose the need to get better. Professional dancers know that training is for life and there are always improvements to make. Whether for a choreographed dance, social dancing, or professional dancing, always remember that there are things to improve on. Don’t take what you know for granted.
5. Mistakes teach you to practice!
When we mess up, it reminds us that we need to practice in order to do better. Practice makes perfect, right?! And if we want to come into the dance studio and impress our instructor, practicing will do that. We can see improvements when you practice. And it makes a world of difference!
So for those of you that are hard on yourself when you make mistakes, see it as an opportunity to improve instead. Mistakes will be made. Whether it is on the dance floor, or in our choreographed dances, we are not going to be perfect. So rather than beating yourself up, learn how to deal with those mistakes so that you can look and feel professional and experienced. Remember, it is not lack of mistakes, but how you recover from the mistakes that are made that make you impressive and a strong performer, dancer, and partner.
– Article by Bella Ballroom Dance Studio Instructor, Tayler