Thursday, February 13, 2014

Introducing: A Ballroom Dance Blog for Leads

Hello, I'm Wylin Tjoelker, and I would like to welcome you to my new blog:  Dance Club Review.

I begin this blog with the object of sharing my thoughts about social dance with fellow leads.  I also hope to elicit enlightening comments from other leads, as well as from follows.  I look forward to the valuable knowledge that we will all gain from the comments left by fellow dancers.

I can't help but recognize that dance can be much more than just a fun social activity; in fact, I believe it has real potential for doing many other forms of good in people's lives.  Through this blog I hope to progressively explore that vision.

I greatly enjoy many types of social dance from Scottish Country dancing (18th century contra dancing) all the way to Blues dancing.  The dances that I pursue most at present are West Coast Swing, Night Club Two Step, East Coast Swing/Lindy Hop and Blues.  I also basically dance Tango, Cha Cha, Waltz, Foxtrot and Country Two Step.  My next pursuits will be Salsa, Rumba and Argentine Tango.  I also want to learn Polka and I have an intense desire to become more proficient in Waltz.

I do not write this blog as any type of expert, but rather as a merely a dance enthusiast.  The fact is, I have only been dancing intensively for about a year and half.  I actually find this to be a help in writing about dance because I still think very much like a new lead and am thus personally aware of the kinds of questions new leads have, and the challenges they face.

I approach dance from the perspective of a middle aged married man and father of two sons and two daughters.  We have a daughter age 10, a son age 16, another son age 24 and a daughter age 25.  We homeschool these kids.  I find that when you have a wife and kids, (especially daughters), and you spend a lot of time with them, you come to care about other people more, and you learn to understand the different perspectives from which they come, and the different needs that they have.  This has has also helped me recognize the value and potential of social dance and of the ways in which it most needs effective support.

Of the many reasons I am writing this blog, one of the foremost is that I feel there is a serious lack of information available on the subject normally referred to as "Dance Etiquette"  At best, one is provided with a few helpful rules but the deeper spirit behind the rules is not really explained.  That vision is not effectively cast.  New leads are thus largely left in a fog of mystery about how to interact with follows, with the result being that they fail to reach the great potential as dancers that would be theirs, if only they knew the deeper realities of what follows actually need from them.

The most effective way to promote greatness in an individual dancer, or in a dance establishment, is to genuinely and enthusiastically celebrate what is already being done right.  So, another purpose of this blog will be to provide reviews of local dance clubs - hence the title: "Dance Club Review."  My first such review is now posted above, and, to be honest, my positive experience at that particular dance club: (Suburban Swing), is largely responsible for finally inspiring me to start sharing my thoughts about dance.

Other persons have also provided inspiration and have helped to shape the vision.  I have learned a great deal from every dance teacher whom it has been my privilege to be instructed by.  I have also learned some valuable insights from fellow leads.  Most of what I have learned, however, has been gained by dancing and talking with follows, hundreds of them, from brand new follows to very advanced and talented ones.  I can honestly say that I have learned something valuable from every one of them, and I still do, almost every day.  They have helped me more than they will ever know and I want to pass on their insights to my fellow leads.

So, to accomplish that, I endeavor to observe intently, research thoroughly, practice intensively, network extensively, listen attentively, think deeply, envision expansively, celebrate enthusiastically, and write sincerely, - to the heart.

Wylin Tjoelker      Dance Club Review

P.S.  If you have some helpful advice that you would really like to give to leads, now is a great opportunity to share that.  Just say hello by clicking on the "no comments" link directly below and bless us with your wisdom.

All the best to you, fellow dance enthusiasts.

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No doubt there is something important that I failed to mention in this article, and I greatly appreciate any comment you would like to share that will benefit our dance community, so by all means bless us with your insights by commenting below :)