So here’s one of the ways you can make people want to dance with you: Work on your solo dancing.
This has been mentioned a time or two before in this blog, and lots of the comments agree. Solo dancing is excellent in so many ways, and if you’re having a crisis about your personal magnetism in the dance scene, there are some very specific ways it can help.
One is that it just makes you a better dancer. You learn better control of your ownself, and that’s crucially important. When things go wrong in a dance we so often blame our partners: “He was yanking on my arm.” “She was too heavy.” If people seem to be avoiding you on the dance floor, it could very well be that you’re irritating to dance with. Sorry, and I only say this to you because I love you, but the problem may be you. Maybe you are a bit hard to move, or maybe you are too rough. If you learn to move yourself properly, then at least you can eliminate this one very practical reason why your dance card might not be as full as we’d like.
Solo dancing also gives you confidence. When you’ve done a lot of solo dancing, especially in front of a mirror, or recorded yourself on video, then you can at least feel good about how you look when you’re dancing. If you have no idea how you look, it’s easy to make yourself think people don’t want to dance with you because you look goofy. Practice your solo stuff and you’ll know that at least that isn’t the reason.
But it isn’t just the practice of solo dancing that I’m talking about. I mean that you should actually take your solo dancing out to the floor. I know this is more customary in some scenes than in others, but personal opinion? I think every healthy swing dancing community should be embracing solo jazz on the social floor.
For one thing, if there’s a lack of appropriate partners to dance with, then what are you going to do, just sit around and feel sorry for yourself? You could do that at home and save six bucks. When a song comes on that you love, if there’s no one around to dance with, there’s no reason at all you shouldn’t be able to enjoy yourself. You paid good money to go out and have a good time. So have one!
Besides, doing some solo Charleston off in the corner makes you look like one of the cool kids. You don’t even have to be very good at it. People will give you credit for being out there. You’re demonstrating to the world that you don’t give a crap, and that’s extremely attractive to folks.
It also proves that you’re not just there to pick up chicks (or guys), you’re actually there to dance and have fun. That can really go a long way toward eliminating any creepiness factor that might be lurking, because honestly? People are paranoid sometimes.
Busting out your solo stuff also shows folks a little something about how you dance. Now they have more information about you than just your physical beauty or lack thereof, and your taste in clothing. They have a chance to notice your dancing, and it’s a way of sort of advertising yourself to people who might not have noticed you before.
The funny thing is that nine times out of ten, if you start dancing solo when an awesome song comes on, you won’t be dancing solo very long. Someone is gonna come over and start solo dancing with you. Before you know it, you’ll be in a little Charleston jam. Not always, but pretty often. It’s like they all wanted to solo, but weren’t brave enough until you stepped up and started it. So they’ll be grateful, and again, they’ll start to think of you as one of the cool kids.
Solo dancing is one of my favorite ways, but not the only way, to get to the top of the swing dancing food chain. Tomorrow I’ll talk about another idea.