Off Time Yank & Crank

Posted on August 26th, 2018, in DanceChatter, Newsletters, Other Dance Events, Writings

The other night David and I were at our local honky-tonk, doing some floor shuffling to our favorite local country band. There was a couple there  – only dancing with each other – and throwing all these fancy dips, tricks, lifts, drops onto the floor. They would get the occasional smattering of applause from the bar patrons which only served to encourage them. 

While I am always a big advocate of dancing for purely social fun, and while I enjoy seeing people of all ages, levels and abilities get out there, dance and have a good time regardless of their skill level, this couple was the exception. 

It was obvious they wanted to call attention to themselves and show off – and hey, if you’ve got dance chops, why not strut your stuff? Nothing wrong with that. My issues were the following: 

  1. Some moves – tricks, lifts, drops – are not suitable for the social dance floor, especially a SMALL dance floor with other patrons on the floor at the same time. 
  2. If you want to call attention to yourself and show off then you’d better know your stuff, you’d better know what you’re doing. This couple was dancing off time. Often. A LOT. Most of the time, in fact. All the fancy tricks in the world can’t make up for dancing off time, the dancer’s cardinal sin. If you are accomplished enough to do fancy tricks then you should already know about timing and dancing to the music – not dancing in spite of the music. 
  3. For goodness sake, SMILE once in a while – at least pretend you are enjoying what you are doing. It made me think of those stories you read of Victorian England when newly married wives, preparing to give up their virtue to their husband, were instructed to, “close your eyes and think of England.” That was their duty; don’t enjoy it, just endure it. This couple didn’t close their eyes and I don’t know what they were thinking but they sure weren’t enjoying dancing with each other; their faces were a blank mask of indifference. There was not a smile to be seen. This is not an issue if you are just out there doing your own thing, but remember, these two people were deliberately calling attention to themselves on the dance floor. Did they want people to see what a good time they weren’t having? I don’t get it. 
  4. Her Poor Shoulder! Sigh. The ignorance of youth. That a young woman would think it acceptable to let a partner yank and crank her around like that, putting incredible amount of stress and strain on the shoulder unit. I just don’t know what to say about that. Who’s really at fault?  The leader for not bothering to learn how to lead correctly so he doesn’t tweak his partner’s shoulder? Or the follower who doesn’t know enough to a) not put up with it at all, b) protect her own shoulder, or c) compensate for such a rough lead. Either way, if she keeps this up, that poor girl’s shoulder will be feeling the pain a few years down the road, and the guy will have moved on, yanking and cranking on someone else’s arm. 

I know I sound like a dance snob. And, perhaps as a teacher I am guilty of that. But I’ve seen brand new, beginning level social dancers who get out there and perhaps dance awkwardly, dance off time, dance with boo-boo’s and bobbles but still dance with huge enjoyment. Those people are a pleasure to watch. I’d rather watch them any day than those blank faced yank and crank dancers.  

What’s the moral of the story? I don’t know – A little knowledge is a dangerous thing? Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time? Every picture tells a story? Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk? Never start a land war in Asia? Take your pick. 

OK, I am officially stepping of the soapbox now, LOL.