I was chatting with a kind and talented Lindy Hopper friend today after our usual Sunday dance, and he shared with me an interesting concept.
“You know how we often say that it’s wrong for people to be snobs?” he asked. “Well, I think the other side is that we have an obligation not to be intimidated.”
At first I was simply puzzled and a bit amused. An obligation not to be intimidated?
Then I remembered an online conversation with dance instructor / legend / Lindy-guru Paul Overton. When asked why he didn’t ask more beginners to dance, Paul noted that he once DID frequently ask beginners to dance, but quickly realized that too many of them were so freaked out by the prospect of dancing with him that the dances ended up being simply uncomfortable for everyone. So from that point on, he decided to graciously accept a dance with anyone who asked him, but never ask a newbie to dance out of the blue.
Indeed, it’s certainly understandable for relatively new dancers to be highly intimidated by more accomplished dancers.
But after a while, it seems reasonable for us average/mediocre dancers to remind ourselves that the “Rock stars” are to be enjoyed, not feared. Otherwise, we’re conveying a similar albeit more subtle sense of discomfort to many of those we dance with, which is certainly not desireable for either party.
So, in the end, I agree with my friend. In the interest of making Lindy Hop a comfortable pleasure for everyone, we DO have an obligation not to be intimidated. Though admittedly, that’s easier said than done 😉