Here's an insightful article from our new Guest Blogger and professional West Coast Swing instructor, Maria Blackwell.
I can’t tell you how many times I am told or asked if the reason a person is not getting asked to dance more often is because of their age / wrinkles / old=too slow / old=not flexible enough / old=not fast enough, blah, blah, blah. The answer may not be simple. But I CAN tell you that it’s not about being older.
If you want to dance and no one is asking you then you are making it all about them. And the harsh truth is, it’s not their problem. It’s you that has the problem. If you want to dance and it seems like all the youngsters are dancing with each other, and never asking you … it’s not unnatural or about being discourteous. Of course, the kids want to dance and hang out with their friends. Wouldn’t you if you were them? Let’s be logical here. You aren’t on the radar not because you are older. It may seem that way because as you watch, you can see that those youngsters are not as skilled as you are, yet they are dancing and it is you who is sitting there just watching.
If you want to dance, you have to get over your misgivings about your age (age reasons) and ask them to dance. In all the years I’ve been dancing I can count on one hand the times that a person turned me down when I asked for a dance, even if the person was younger, and it wasn’t because of MY age (they had to go to restroom, promised a dance to another, needed a drink/rest).
If you think you aren’t dancing enough and it isn’t what you want, then you need to get over it and go ask someone to dance. It’s not about what’s right or who’s right. It’s about the fact that you aren’t dancing when you want to be dancing. Waiting on someone else to fix it, or even to notice, is just plain illogical.
There IS a possibility because of age-related physical problems that you can only do a few dances or need to go home earlier. Don’t waste the little time you have worrying about why no one is asking you to dance. GO DANCE.
And if you feel you aren’t quick enough or something like that … there’s a huge possibility that dance lessons could fix that. Nine times out of ten, I have found that response time is affected by the type of connection one uses in the partnership. Think about it. You can probably still run, skip, walk fast, hop, twist and a myriad of other movements. You may not be able to keep it up for 20 minutes any more, but you could probably hold your own for 3 minutes and then take a rest before doing another 3 minutes, and so forth. So, it’s probably not about the fact that you aren’t quick enough. It’s probably a dance skill(s) that needs more training so that you can respond better.
So go ahead. Treat yourself. I walk in, tell myself this is the ultimate candy store and I want that one, and that one, and that one. Then I go ask them all to dance. Do this often and before you know it, you are on their radar.
Maria Blackwell has been dancing from a very early age. Influenced by her mother (Linda Brown, a ballroom dance teacher), she learned at a professional level all nuances of technique and styling of many dances. Later, she added line dance instruction and choreography to her repertoire. Many have enjoyed her ability to create for them their very own "special occasion dance exhibition" as well. Her arena grew to include swing, and a passion for all things west coast swing was discovered. Known in St. Louis as "THE" Basics Instructor, she is touted as having the utmost patience for being able to diagnose basic technique issues and for making dance elements digestible at all levels. Maria developed her own methodology which has produced winners in the competitive arena in a very short period of time. Her students win many local and out of town competitive divisions and are considered as advanced dancers even as they begin their journey as novice competitors. On the social floor, her reputation is further enhanced by commonly heard compliments that her students have "the best feeling" one has ever felt. Visit her website Dance Thing STL.com.