May I have this dance?

My recent brazilian dance classes led me to participate in a dance party about a week ago. I arrived home near midnight and with thoughts abuzzing, I seized the moment as best I could. I’ve finally come back to these thoughts, with an attempt to tidy up and publish this post…….I’ll do my best to articulate what I’m trying to say……..

With all technological advances available to us to communicate and collaborate in ways we never thought possible, I believe there is still a necessary form of social engagement, that is dancing. There’s no denying it. No matter how distant we become from each other, dancing is a social activity that will always remain relevant to maintaining face-to-face, human interaction.

 

Let’s think about this.

 

Dancing is a social skill which forms a large part of our confidence in social situations (in my opinion). Think about times you’ve been to weddings, parties and been out on a Saturday night. Those who are comfortable on the dance floor are also socially confident people. I’ve always wanted to formally learn how to dance, and no matter how confident I may have appeared in the past, busting some dance moves of my own, there’s been a burning desire to learn real dance steps. It is this missing part of social self confidence that has impacted how I’ve interacted with others in these situations. It’s almost felt like a kind of inadequacy.

There are reasons why dancing strikes fear into a lot of people (my partner, for one example). One reason is the level of exposure. Dancing reveals part of a person; some vulnerabilities. Dancing breaks down barriers, both physical and emotional, and makes way for a connection with another. Once there’s acceptance between dance partners, of skill level and/or confidence in learning ‘on the fly’, the dance partners feel free to move with the music, to let the body lead and guide on the dance floor. The connection which forms from acceptance on one another, allows each person to feel comfortable and confident to move and/or allow the other to teach or lead.

To be accepted by another to dance is an allowance to move the way the music takes you, to not think so much.

For me, what I’ve learnt in my dance lessons is I tend to think too much, lead the male partner (taking control of the situation without knowing it), the consequence being I do not allow myself to listen to the music enough, too concerned about looking (or not looking) ridiculous to a dancing partner and to others.

For a man though, it’s even more difficult to not only know the steps, but also have the ability to lead a woman around a dance floor. This is very challenging indeed. I’d even go as far as saying it would take just as much courage to ask a woman to dance (and do so well) than to ask her out on a date. Why? Dancing is socially exposing.

Four weeks ago, my partner and I thought we’d try learning something new together – brazilian rock ‘n’ roll. Neither of us have had formal dance lessons before. The lessons had taught us a lot about letting go, paying attention to only the music, accepting other dance partners and just be…..just move. The impacts the dance lessons have made on our self-confidence has been nothing short of remarkable, more so for my partner. I, myself, like a man who can lead a woman around a dance floor, whether she knows the steps or not.

This thinking about dancing had me thinking about one’s development of a personal learning network and services in libraries (and other related services in organisations).

What kind of acceptance, connection or interaction is still required to form relationships as part of a personal learning network? Which part of an information service that is face-to-face, human interaction that is still necessary to meet the needs of a patron or client?

In any case, if we think about basic or traditional social engagement, don’t these still apply today? Have we taken advantage of technology too far and are we too removed from each other?

 

There is no doubt in my mind though, dancing is a form (and remains to be) of social engagement.

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