There are great dancers, great social dancers, great social performers, great demo performers, great solo dancers, great teachers, great students, great showcase performers, great competitors, great choreographers, great social media content creators, great brand builders and people who are great at partying in the organized latin dance scene/circuit. All of which are separate individual journeys that require lots of hours of intentional learning, application, reflection and growth in order to truly understand each one of these skills.
For example, my favorite social dancer in the world in the world does not teach and understands the he does not have the patience or skill set to do so because he has focused all of his energy into learning social and applying what he has learned in social dance environments around the world for more than a decade. But has never set out to learn how to teach. I have also come across some of the best teachers in the world who are not good at performing or choreography at all. We have all experienced amazing performers who lack the ability to connect to music, themselves and a partner simultaneously in an improvisation social dance setting……..
I am not saying that anyone has to possess all of these skills in order to be a complete dancer. I’m not saying that anything is wrong with being one and not the other. I’m saying that as a scene we must start to asses the strengths and weaknesses of the dancers/artists that we hire in order to put them in position to execute at the highest level based on their strengths and the intention of the event if there is any (usually there isn’t). And stop forcing puzzle pieces that do not match based on branding alone. We cannot continue to keep throwing a bunch of headliners on a fliers with zero intentionality and hoping magic will happen. We cannot keep telling students that they will become better social dancers by joining performance teams as absolute beginners with zero fundamentals and creating choreography robots who do not truly understand the cultural art form that they aim to showcase onstage. The list does not stop there….
True growth in the scene begins with placing the “right asses in the right seats” as my old college business/marketing professors would say.
Hope that we read this post as organizers, dancers, artists and students and reflect on our intentional growth as a community. — thinking about tomorrow.