rm_mtnravyn 60M
501 posts
12/2/2005 4:47 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm


I will be gone for two weeks on another of my “learning” adventures. This time in Death Valley for shared intimacy with friends and also periods of solitude to integrate and reflect. When I look at my learning process I remember things from when I was learning to dance. I have been dancing a lot lately and the intimacy, touch, and connection is an important component of my life. So here is how it works for me.

Here perhaps is a more useful way to approach the pleasant discipline we call "learning." In this case as it applies to dance. Instead of picturing the classes you take as a linear sequence - say, progressing through four levels of Swing - imagine yourself in an evolutionary process called the learning cycle, four distinct stages through which all human beings progress whenever they learn anything new.

First is Unconscious Incompetence. In this stage you have little experience or skill, just a desire to learn something which has attracted your attention . In fact, you will likely be quite bad, but because you don't know how truly bad you are, you probably won’t feel bad, and your self-will not be significantly impacted. Yet.

True impact on the self-esteem (and the false confidence that coexists with the bliss of ignorance) often occurs in the second stage of learning - Conscious Incompetence. As your awareness evolves into this stage, you begin to realize how little you know. Perhaps it is the struggle you and your partners run into doing anything smoothly. You may even convince yourself that practically everyone at every dance or class is so talented that you'd never think of even dancing with them. You may well flee the dance early, and even avoid such terrifying places of public exhibition for weeks.

However, Conscious Incompetence is a vital step in the learning cycle. For if your self-inflated sense of self-loathing can find an equilibrium, you have the chance for some valuable self-assessment -- you can begin to determine your strengths and weaknesses, and from this sense of where you really are you can begin to focus on strategies for improvement. Some valuable learning can occur here.

As your skills get better and your body works with your mind to integrate new steps and moves into your dancing, you evolve into stage three -- Conscious Competence. This is an enjoyable and exciting experience for most people, because they are seeing themselves as good dancers, and they recognize how much they have learned. The feedback they receive about their dancing, now that they've reached a certain competence, begins the healing of the impacts from the previous stage

Nevertheless, dancers in the Conscious Competence stage may spend much of each dance thinking about what move to execute next, and how to balance the effort required to choreograph the next eight bars with the excitement of connecting with their partner. Brains occasionally go on overload, and feet still get trampled, but in general Conscious Competence is an enjoyable stage. Most people spend considerably more time here than in the first two stages. It is also a plateau where many dancers choose to remain.

True mastery isn't attained until the fourth stage of learning - Unconscious Competence. This is the place where there is little or no difference between what the body has practiced to perfection and the mind has learned. You no longer think about your frame, or what move comes next. In fact, you don't think much (about the moves, at least). Instead, you're free to enjoy the moment and genuinely connect with your partner. Those who manage to reach this level of mastery are sought after, and spend much time on the dance floor. This is partially due to their skill and partially to the pleasure and delight they evidence in their dancing. In connecting, this pleasure and delight can encompass their partner as well.

The trick is in the getting there. Anyone who manages to be open to the learning opportunities, take classes, dance often is pretty much guaranteed to reach stage three -- Conscious Competence. After an extended period of commitment to learning, you'll find yourself dancing comfortably with most partners and having a good time.

To achieve mastery, however, you may well have to abandon the linear approach -- give up the convenient notion that simply by progressing through some prescribed sequence of learning experiences you'll end up a great dancer. When we think linearly, we tend to think in terms of quantity instead of quality, or we make alienating comparisons: “I want to learn more slick moves”; “I'll only dance with partners at my level”; “she's better than I am (or I'm better than him)”. The trap is that you risk becoming a dance snob, a stylized technician with the moves of Fred or Ginger, but the heart and soul of Schwarzenegger's Terminator.

When you dance with someone who has achieved mastery, you know it within a few seconds. These partners allow you to look and feel grand, not better than you are, but as good as you can be. You connect. You'll dance with them again and again. Such mastery is an art form. It is a gift they give to each of their partners. You can choose mastery, just as you can choose to stay at stage three. Both options are valid. But often mastery involves a paradigm shift of intention.

Part of the prescription is to start seeing experience not as a step in a finite sequence but as a timeless opportunity for learning. So what if you've taken waltz classes four times, or intermediate foxtrot three times? Go back and take them again. And again and again. Plunge back into intermediate foxtrot, or single time swing, or try role reversal. What you learn will not be linear part of your curriculum, but as you share with less experienced dancers a new confidence and grace, as you forget about your own footwork and simply enjoy moving with your partner to a new level of competence, your own dancing will transport you to a place of uncommon joy, and you will learn far more than you ever learned the first time through. About dancing, and about yourself.

That's the real magic of any learning, and dancing.

gentelmanjim53 63M

12/3/2005 8:25 pm

This is written by a man of years who has done he experience and the labor to know the neauances of the subject. Ths is also written by a teacher, one who knows how to write a cirriculem and has the expertise to present that information in a coherant and understandable manner. Correct me if I am wrong sir.

rm_goddess1946 106F
13518 posts
12/6/2005 9:24 am

ahhhhhhhhhhhh ...the dance

And your game of "Nude Blindwoman Tease" was without
question the hands down winner {=} thank you for that..........

Just a little food for thought.............
If you really want to be happy, nobody can stop you...

Lonelywoman56 60F

12/12/2005 5:47 pm

I love you........RUN...... Chill out, I'm kidding.
I liked your ? is that an analogy? Whatever it was officialy.... Thank you for writing it, I enjoyed reading it. Good luck in you adventures.

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