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Ballroom Dance

J M (Mike) Nelson
Phone: 612-810-0157

But, Can You Cook?

Food preparers can generally be divided into two categories, those who cook and those who follow recipes. The former often use recipes, but usually know where they can freely deviate, where they must follow precisely, when the recipe has a misprint, and how to use a recipe conceptually rather than literally. The latter know relatively little about cooking; they follow a recipe meticulously, and often wonder why the results are not as expected. They place too much trust in kitchen appliances, follow thermostat and clocks precisely, and seem even to ignore statements in recipes and appliance manuals recommending adjustments to compensate for normal tolerances in thermostats, cookware, and measuring devices.

Ballroom dance sometimes seems like too much recipe and too little cooking. If both partners do not know the "step/recipe," or do not recognize the leader's intent, they find themselves severely limited on the dance floor. Their greatest comfort is replicating "recipes," and they often confine themselves to a particular studio and its cohort. When they venture into the social dance world hoping their "recipe book" will suffice, they often find themselves frustrated and frustrating. Having never learned to "cook," they can neither lead, follow, nor recognize their deficiencies.

Dance instruction does little to alleviate this situation, for the typical lesson focuses on a series of "steps/recipes" that, for most, require a cohort to implement with comfort and confidence. In the social dance world, people in this category can dance for months with the perception that they are beginners. This might be good for business, but the student is not well-served. With the focus on "steps/recipes" rather than processes, procedures, concepts, and discovery, the student can remain at the elementary level for decades.

This does not speak well of the studio, the teacher, or the dance clubs that support them. Dance Home Page Dance Curriculum Dance Articles

Copyright (c) 2006, J. M. Nelson. All rights reserved. Reproduction of contents prohibited without prior permission from the author.