A personal blog aimed at contributing, and paying homage, to the most sensual, beautiful dance of Brazil.
Teacher demos can be great for inspiration and enjoyable to watch. They, however, should not be taken as the model for social dancing.
First of all, teachers think of demos as promotion, so they are going to prioritize looking good and impressing the people watching. This kind of dancing where you pull out all the stops can be enjoyable social dancing, but so can relaxed and easygoing dancing with a lot of hugging. The first kind is more risky in the sense that it’s more likely to result in an unpleasant dance.
Second, teachers typically have a huge vocabulary of patterns they can execute well, built up over years of intensive dancing, and movement and partner communication skills to match. Trying to add as much dynamics, variety and impressive moves to dancing without that experience will probably not add up to enjoyable dances. It’s no use trying to run before you can walk – dancing within your current abilities is much more likely to lead to good dances.
Third, in demos both partners usually have similar level. In social dancing, it’s common that one partner is more skilled than the other, and must adjust to their partner’s level.
Fourth, in demos the teachers usually have the whole floor to themselves. Dancing on the crowded party floor is different.
Fifth, teachers in dancing partnerships know each others’ style and repertoire very well, having spent many, many hours training together.
I love watching teacher demos. But for social dancing, it’s even better to watch the dancers who are widely praised for giving great experiences to partners of all levels, teachers included, and see what they do on the social dance floor.
Author of this article: Jukka Välimaa