The other night, I found myself doing what I usually do when I am dancing with someone who doesn’t have a sense for the timing of the music or the basic step.  I try to stay on time with the music and then follow along with the leader as best I can, trying to keep time with the music and stay on the basic step.

The other night I had a new thought about this.  I was going to follow the leader even when he was stepping in the opposite directions as the step I know and was not on time with the music.

Now, I am doing my BEST to avoid judgmental language here and there is a lot of judgment going on.  There is a lot of right and wrong happening here.

“I learned this dance and it goes like this and the timing is like this and…”

There is a LOT of that structure in partner dancing and for GOOD reason!  How would we be able to dance such fast tempos with such complicated patterns if we did not have some kind of a road map of how to navigate that with a complete stranger?  It would be like showing up in China and trying to speak Italian really fast to someone who’s never heard the Italian language before.  All kinds of frustrations and miscommunications could happen.

So I get it, I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND why there is such a thing as dance class and refinement and mastery…

I also totally understand a new way of following now.

It is not: “I am right, you are wrong, let’s get you right now.”

It is not: “I am so annoyed, why can’t this person just pick a timing and STICK with it.”

It is not: “I know more than you do, here, let me help you.”

It IS: “How can I follow this person with whatever they are doing?”

It IS: closing my eyes and feeling into my body to see how connected I am.

It IS: being in relationship with myself and someone else and the music on the dance floor and there is no TELLING what the outcome will be.

It is Peace.  It is centeredness.  It is fun.  It is constant connection with self and others.

It is the mystery.

It is, it just is.

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  1. mauicasinera

    BRAVA! what a great metaphor! two things come to mind: 1. for three to five measly minutes can’t I just put aside my expectations of how things are supposed to be and just be with what IS? 2. I want to be the kind of person (like I believe YOU, mi amiga, already ARE) that people feel better in her presence and leave our encounter feeling uplifted, both of us fully connected to our best selves. This is not really happening when I’m in that place of wanting to fix someone and not accepting the moment.
    mucho amor y aloha pa’ti!

    • Sarah Haykel

      Yes, Maui Casinera, I feel so much energy in the first point here. There is some need here that is so important! I am wondering what that is.

      I also feel WARM in my heart reading the second thing that comes to mind. I feel warm in my heart hearing your feedback of the kind of person you believe I am and I also feel warm in my heart for your intention of wanting to “be the kind of person that people feel better in her presence and leave our encounter feeling uplifted, both of us fully connected to our best selves.”

      Ahhh, I feel a breath of fresh air, I feel golden warmth and light in my chest, I feel expansive, like free to be who I am, we are. It feels GREAT!

      I also hear the energy again up underneath the noticing of “when I’m in that place of wanting to fix someone and not accepting the moment.”

      There is SO MUCH GOODNESS HERE Amiga! I welcome you and it and thank you for posting here : )

      I love you SO MUCH.


  2. ikigaidance

    Bravo! Great post. This is why I enjoy so many dances with all sorts of people. It really isn’t always about the steps and patterns. Yesterday night I danced with an Argentine tango dancer, G, and she said that she was a bit tired from dancing salsa. That when she does Argentine tango she doesn’t feel the same way. So I did something different and we just played around with the music. G did more tango like moves, me more afro-cuban moves and we responded to each other. I checked in with her during the song and G said that she wanted me to continue as she wanted to experience how a salsa song can be interpreted. In Argentine tango a lot of attention is paid to musicality and interpreting the music, so this was a great way for both of us to enjoy the dance. And it was a great dance!

    • Sarah Haykel

      Awesome, thanks for posting! I am finding in myself that I want to fill up EVERY minute of the song with movement and styling and some times it is just about stopping, pausing, breathing, feeling it. So much more can happen when there is SPACE for it : ) Thank you for bringing this forward in me tonight ( I just got home for dancing myself : ) )



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