I'd like to talk briefly about my dance partner in San Francisco, Aisha Gorson.
A second-generation dancer, she has extensive knowledge in Brazilian Samba, Salsa, African, Afro-Haitian, Hip-Hop, Flamenco, and Belly Dance. She currently teaches children dance back home in the Bay Area.
Looking back at the four years I spent rehearsing and performing with her, I was too caught up in other BS to truly appreciate her talent and level-headedness. After leaving San Francisco and being able to look at things from a better perspective, I realized she regularly put up with a lot of my bullshit when she didn't really have to.
About a year or two ago, I emailed her with the following message:
[I] Just wanted to let you know that while I've been teaching up here [in Portland], I've shown the clip of us dancing at The Beat (2009) to show how fluid and subtle a follower's arms and posture can really be. That clip has become a really good teaching tool for me.
I never got a response.
I saw her in San Francisco this past February; it was the first time I'd seen her since I moved to Portland. We hugged hello and danced a song. I then brought up the email I sent her, and she said she never got it. I reiterated what I told her in the email, then added that I never should have let other people change my general disposition.
In the end, I'm glad she never saw the email, because I felt better telling her face-to-face. As she always does, she responded with the grace that only she can display, and let me know that it was water under the bridge.
See you next February, Aisha!
A few years ago, I was having coffee with my friend Whitney. We started talking about different leads and follows, and how easy (or not-so-easy) it was to lead/follow certain people. The subject then turned to a mutual acquaintance, Dick [Dick's and Whitney's names changed to preserve anonymity]. I can't recall her exact words, but Whitney said something like this:
Rob... you are freakishly easy to follow. With Dick, his lead is more, "You have no choice but to go this way;" I'm forced to turn in the direction he wants me to. But with you, it's more, "I'd like you to go this way." It's like, "Oh... it's really clear that you want me to go in this direction." That's the difference between you two... the last time I danced with you, you had me start walking around and I suddenly realized, "Oh, $***... I'm doing Tornillo."
Whitney- if by chance you're reading this- thank you so much for those kind words.
My friend, India, explaining why she likes talking with me: "… You're pretty mellow, and you're a good listener."
Ever gotten home from a night at the clubs and your ears wouldn't stop ringing? Definitely check out this article on noise levels and hearing loss: http://bit.ly/dBFacts
Photos courtesy of http://www.dangerousdecibels.org
The concepts highlighted in this article apply to more than just sport. Overthink things when dancing with your partner, and you end up outthinking yourself. Excerpts are below, with the link to the entire article at the bottom.
"'The way [Duncan] plays is so methodical, but at the same time he doesn't overthink the game,' [Blake] Griffin said after the game. 'That's something I want to get to.'
This was a very nuanced parallel Griffin constructed to describe what Duncan does on the court. We usually regard "method" as something that results from a great deal of thought, but here's Griffin drawing a distinction: For all of Duncan's technique, he rarely trips himself up with complexities. He rarely pauses, hedges or becomes paralyzed by choices.
Duncan has distilled the game down to its essentials..."
"...Unthinking is the ability to apply years of learning at the crucial moment by removing your thinking self from the equation.
Malcolm Gladwell addressed this notion in his book, Blink. Practice, experience -- what athletes commonly call 'reps' -- help develop strong instincts. Duncan has them, as does Federer, Djokovic and most other top-flight talents. Gladwell wrote that the best way to achieve maximum results is to deploy those instincts decisively, without deliberation or rifling through too much information at the moment of reckoning. The expertise acquired over years and years will act as a guide..."
The Unthinking Brilliance of Tim Duncan
The philosophy behind good social dancing, leading, following, and topics that discuss more than just Salsa Cubana.