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Dance Practice DOs & DONTs


Dance Practice DOs & DONTs

The Loud Hailers
If only he stopped continuing the QuickStep with his wife and enquired after Pele's welfare after hearing her yelping in pain and staggering to a chair. If only his wife could have been a more active dancer & properly indicated to him way beforehand that their Back Lock Quickstep would be heading straight into the path of a stationery person. If only they could have danced into open spaces instead of dancing headlong into a crowded corner off the main floor for nobody else was dancing on the main dance floor while waiting for a change in music CD.

When Pele stormed off in anger to her seat to simmer in pain, this man chased all the way across the whole dance floor and demanded in a loud booming voice why she pulled such a "sour face". He continued imperiously that since others there can practice other dances not following the current music being played, so could he. Worse yet, he claimed that since Robin & Pele were better dancers and higher lever than him, Robin & Pele should be the ones giving way to him & his partner despite being unable to see them charging down.

Lastly, he demanded in his thundering voice that his apology be accepted! Multiple times dancers got hurt in dance practice sessions but was definitely the first time Pele felt extremely angry and you readers can imagine why. If only Pele did not loose her cool and for the first time since dancing in that dance practice venue for close to 3 years, yelled at the offender.

Never before had Pele gone berserk and screamed her voice hoarse for she always tried to be the first to apologise whenever bumped into others and always gritted her teeth and smilingly accept other's sincere apologies when stepped upon. If only that guy had gentlemanly kept apologising directly to Pele instead of loudly trying to make Robin see his own lop-sided opinions. So what went wrong in this incident?

The Face Savers
At a different dance practice venue, we danced towards a corner, passed by a social level dancing couple and did a Throw Away Over Sway in an open empty space. At the critical moment of Pele's head extension, Robin suddenly had to put out his left hand to stop that social dance guy whom we just danced passed from literally "butting" Pele's head off her neck. Imagine Robin & Pele's shock and indignation when he whipped around and instead of apologising, accused Robin of "always pushing him".

If only Robin had not subsequently tried to explain to social dancers like him that he was at fault for that made him angrier in "loosing face" for having bad floor craft. He stomped off cursing loudly and angrily in multiple flowery languages to everyone present that he "had been pushed" by us. If only his lady partner had proper look out and indicated to him early of potential fatal dance steps being executed.

If only he was taught how to dance back steps properly. If only he learnt not to charge his way around with heavy footwork. If only he was patient and understanding to his lady partner's feelings & indications.

If only he could stop blaming his lady partner or hitting her for not dancing to his satisfaction. Often times, it was the guy's wrong body movements that caused the lady to dance incorrectly. His lady partner did apologise at the next dance practice session and according to others, that guy had pulled the same stunts on other competitors before and it was his lady partner who went round apologising.

Thanks to his outburst, Robin & Pele danced very well to obtain their second champions title in 2003 in a very gratifying Pre-Amateur Modern competition, in an extremely tight & confined dance floor 2 weeks later. So what went wrong in this incident?

The Money Solvers
Not too long ago, this incident was witnessed: A young up and coming modern competitor couple (Pre-Amateur level) repeatedly knocked twice heavily into the back of a senior lady competitor (Senior level) and both competitor couples ended up quarrelling on the dance floor. If only the young chap stopped repeating the same variation once he felt the undesirable encounter. If only the young lady indicated early to her partner of the pending crash.

If only the senior couple can hold their anger in check. If only the young couple practice their Quickstep variations without blocking other dancers trying to dance with the current Waltz music. Upon confronted, if only the young guy did not sarcastically offered money in compensation for the injury as unknown to him, the senior lady is very wealthy and all she wanted was a dancer's consideration and a simple but courteous apology.

The Solid Oaks
At one of Singapore's biggest dance practice venue 3 to 4 years back, Robin & Pele were Pepper Potting Quickstep across the short side when Pele's elbow knocked a very short guy social dancer's head. Naturally that guy was very angry, marched up to Robin and told him off. Robin's first reaction was to apologise even though he had no idea what happened.

Pele was glad she was not scolded but if only she could have stopped the dance with Robin immediately & quickly apologised to that guy. If only Robin & Pele had not stopped dancing for 3 years and have just started to pick up the pieces. If only Robin & Pele had improved their knowledge and understanding of modern dances and floor crafts better.

If only that guy moved out of the dance floor or to any of the corners when not dancing instead of loitering & having a conversation with his partner in front of the stage while music was played. So what went wrong in this incident?

The Young Upstarts
At the same location but on a different occasion, a senior ex-competitor lady of Pre-Amateur & Grand Senior Modern levels (received multiple final placings) was mowed down with a loud thud by a pair of young energetic Novice/Pre-Amateur Modern couple (a few final placings) dancing the Quickstep. Without even stopping for breath, the senior lady's partner yelled, screamed & hollered at the younger couple in a non-stop verbal tirade.

If only the younger guy had proper lookout and prevent an impending dangerous encounter. If only the young guy learnt some evasive floor craft techniques. If only the young guy's lady partner fore warned him.

If only the young couple kept apologising despite being yelled at continuously by the offended. If only they had approached the senior lady and offered their apologies repeatedly. If only they had not tried to reason that the senior couple should not have stood there waiting to start their QuickStep when the music was in full swing.

If only the young couple understood the seriousness of a fall that might kill a senior over 60 years of age. If only the young couple danced into open spaces instead of into that particular corner just because they were taught that way. So what went wrong with this incident?

The Self Righteous
In one of Robin & Pele's earliest hostile encounters with ungracious dancers probably a decade ago, we were frozen in place when a senior social couple danced against the flow of dance and repeatedly knocked into us. As the senior guy refused to stop his Tango Fall Away Slip Pivot even though he was not dancing anti-clockwise direction, his lady partner being of skinnier frame, took the elbow knocks badly.

Her immediate reaction upon stopping was to scream & yell at Robin & Pele for "knocking into them purposely". If only Robin & Pele did not try very hard to explain to social dancers like them that we did stop immediately even though we had the right of way. If only Robin & Pele had accorded the senior couple with some elderly respect and apologised even though entirely not in the wrong.

2 years later, that senior couple eventually learnt to dance down the line of dance, understood how to dance in big open spaces, how to share the dance floor and dance in harmony with others. Best of all, they voluntarily came up to Robin & Pele to say hello, shake hands and have never stopped saying Hi eversince. 4 years later the same senior couple asked for their first dance competition action photos be captured by Robin & Pele! Of course, their wish was granted!

This article was published on Saturday 31 January, 2004.
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