>He called all of the first ladies over and told them the figure for the >first eight bars of the dance. Then he called all of the second ladies over >and told them the figure for the second 8 bars. First men got the >instructions for the next eight bars, and second men got the instructions >for the last eight bars. > >So, each person in the set knew just one figure of the dance. It was an >interesting exercise in both giving cues and picking up cues from other >dancers.
This and similar exercises appearing in this thread describe techniques
that demonstrate the power and effectiveness of non-verbal communication.
However, something that has been knawing at the edge of my consciousness
tells me that while these are interesting (and usually fun) demonstrations,
they don't actually enhance our non-verbal skills in real dancing
situations. All of these techniques involve handicapping the set so as to
deprive some people of information they would normally have. So, if I
wanted to have some fun with the class, I would use one of these
techniques, but I would not confuse that with providing the dancers with a
I prefer to develop behaviors that apply in real situations. For example,
suppose I am going to dance rights and lefts. First I pull my body into a
posture that indicates to anyone watching that I am about to begin dancing.
I look directly into my partner's eyes with the expectation that she will
do the same. The "expectation" might be accompanied by a small inclination
of the head that could be interpreted as "are you with me?" or "shall we
dance?". Even before I begin to raise my right hand I will rotate my body
slightly to the left, presenting my right side to my partner. The raising
of my right arm as I step is the final invitation. It can be quite a thrill
to find your partner doing the same things in sync with you of his/her own
accord rather than in response to you.
Some dancers do these things automatically, either because they get the
idea right away or because the saw how effective they were when somebody
else did them. Some need to be shown in detail how to make that kind of
Ah! I just read Malcolm Brown's contribution on this topic and I very much
agree with his points about the non-verbal language and that it needs to be
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