The Merits of Jamming

I’d been suffering from dance burn-out.  I had over-extended myself, so I had to leave my church’s large Christmas pageant.  The repetitive, but understandable motions of the girls’ routine was sucking out my energy.  The weekly studio socials were becoming less fun.  And last Wednesday during my private lesson, I almost cried, but Tommy wasn’t tougher on me than he usually was.

I’m happy to say that’s in the past now.  This whole process of learning how to dance definitely has its high points and low points.  During the latter, I want to avoid dancing so I can just crumble.  The occasional crumble isn’t bad, but it doesn’t really help me feel better.  That’s where jamming comes in.

I can’t play an instrument to save my life, so I use this term to apply to “freer” forms of dance.  A catchy beat is on, and a person moves with it.  That’s precisely what I did this Thursday.  I didn’t go to the social at the studio like I normally do because I wanted a break.  Instead, I went to a dance party hosted by the Hispanic Student Association (HSO).  Four hours of Latin music mixed with some pop sounded like a refreshing change for me—and it was.

For the record, I’d been to this event before.  It occurs once per semester.  Last semester’s didn’t have a large turnout, but this one was much better.  It took place outside, so it was cold.  However, that didn’t dampen the energy of the people there.  In fact, the weather gave them extra motivation to keep dancing so they could stay warm.  This was a place where I felt more free.  Here, I didn’t have to worry about my frame.  No one cared about my technique.  I never looked down at my feet to check their placement.  There was no ballet straightness, no carriage.  Best of all, the partner dances I did take part in (e.g. bachata, and cumbia) were completely relaxed.  And, no dance teachers meant virtually no pressure.  When I didn’t have a partner, I found a group of people and let loose.  I didn’t know what I was doing most of the time, but no one cared.  They whooped and cheered all the same.  Pretty soon, I got caught up in the energy and danced the night away.

Going through a burn-out phase didn’t mean I had to stop dancing.  I just had to change what I was doing.  I got the same sense of enjoyment and fellowship that the studio gave me.  I got to meet new people and happily dance with those I already knew.  What wasn’t to love?  I’ll certainly keep this lesson in mind if I begin to burn-out again because I’ve learned those no shame in having a good jam.


P.S.: This doesn’t mean I’m quitting ballroom.  I’ve come too far to do that.  In fact, Tommy has confirmed my test date for this Wednesday.  By my next post, I’ll be a Bronze III dancer.  Hopefully, I’ll be learning Tango Argentino and Viennese Waltz in very near future. 

The floor is yours now.

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