It’s Officially Summertime
which means I went to Dance Camp last week. For several years, I have bracketed the summer season with a Dance Camp at the beginning of July (Beantown) and another Dance Camp at the end of August (Swing Out New Hampshire). Hoo-wee! I call this fun. Joy, actually.
But It’s Also Hard Work
It’s not easy! We take dance classes all day. And social dance (almost) all night. This is highly aerobic Swing Dance, known as Lindy Hop. So the joy and the hard work kinda go hand-in-hand. Does this sound familiar?
The Look of Joy on My Face
in this candid photo (by Morgan Petroski Photography) matches my partner’s. I don’t honestly remember what was going on. Maybe we were delighted to nail a difficult move on the dance floor, after doing the hard work in class.
Dancing With a Partner is Like
presenting to an audience. I often talk about connecting to your listeners; meeting them where they are first, before taking them where you want them to go. Imagine yourself on the dance floor. If you and your partner don’t get in synch as (or even before) you start moving, someone’s going to end up unhappy.
Dance teachers use the word connection continuously in class; it’s the foundation for looking good and moving in synch. Without a solid connection, you never look right together.
is the key to communication, whether spoken or danced. The professionals at these Dance Camps teach all around the world, yet the names of the steps are always the same. What’s constant between you and your audience? And how are you reinforcing it? Are you taking advantage of shared words, approaches and world views?
Yes, Practice Makes a Difference
Sorry to break it to those presenters who like to “wing it” and tell me that practicing makes them sound boring, but here’s the thing: practice may not make perfect, but it absolutely makes a positive difference.
Do I remember the new dance combinations I learned at Camp? No, not one specific sequence sticks in my head. But my dancing was light as air by the end of the week.
When you spend time focusing on and practicing an activity, muscle memory kicks in and your comfort level goes up. Way up. That’s what you are looking for when you present: the ease of feeling at home in your body and with your material. That’s when you knock it out of the park.
Dance on, my friends.