Note the use of the word ‘Type’ as opposed to the ‘Style’ in the heading of this blog post? I am not talking about swing, or Latin or anything specific like waltz or salsa. I am talking about social dance, dancesport and exhibiting. These are the types or ‘Worlds’ of dance suggested by Richard Powers and Nick Enge in their book Wlatzing: a manual for dancing and living.*
In this post I am going to talk more about these three worlds and compare them in a manner that will help you understand them and navigate them to your greatest satisfaction.
So which one is best?
Well before I can answer that for you, let’s list the attributes of dance that are important to a dancer. Then each can be measured to work out which is best.
- The number and quality of people you impress: Do you want to make one person happy, a number of people happy or a number of fussy people happy?
- What’s your attitude like? Do you like to mix things up a lot, follow tight structure or do you like a chance to have a go at a bit of each?
- What motivates you? Having fun or winning?
- What kind of a challenge do you like? Following choreography perfectly or relying on your instincts and adapting?
- Audience size: How many people do you like watching you? Do you like everyone looking at you all the time or would you rather be notice by only a small number of people?
- The people you like dancing with: Do you like to dance with a lot of people?
These are the attributes that will be used find the best type of dancing. However, this poses another question: how do actually use these attributes to find the best? Do we allocate numbers to each attribute for each type and then average? Do we apply weights to each attribute based on how important we think it is?
I like radar plots. They are an excellent way to compare different options over a range of attributes. Take a look below for a radar plot showing each type of dance.
Take a look at the radar plot above and make sure that it makes sense to you. Once it does, I can then tell you which type of dance is best.
And the winner is…..
You have probably worked this out already. There is no best one. Just the one that is best for you. To find the best, draw a radar plot that represents what you’re interested in most. If it looks just like one of the ones above, then you have the one that is best for you.
However, if you’re like most people then you will likely find that you hover between them. How close you hover to each tells you how much time you should spend on each. I clearly like social dance, but I find that I need a bit of competition in there. Surprisingly, I actually don’t mind the odd bit of exhibiting either.
Notice how earlier I said to do a radar plot of what interests you? Sometime we are interested in something we do not like. This is because we want to improve aspects of ourselves. There might be a time when you think you need to improve your ability to follow structure – and your radar chart will change accordingly, and you might think about something closer to dancesport. We can always change from time to time and that’s fine.
*I have mentioned this book before. It is about much more than waltz. It’s about partner dance in general, and is of value to anyone who is involved in some form or partner dancing. One of the best parts of the book, I found, was the comparison of the three worlds of dance so that you can better understand which is best for you. While I liked the section, I didn’t think that the information was presented as well as it could have been. So this post is based on that part of the book, but expanded by me. It’s a good book and worth having - you can buy it here. If you buy via this like, then I would like to let you know that I will get a commission.