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The Passionata Blog

February 20th, 2012

A Passionata perspective of dance, Journey in tracking your development.

By Derek Vuong on 20/02/2112

Understanding Dance and yourself. Don't be discouraged

As the reader of this article, you may have your own unique and personal experiences of dancing. Some may be negative or positive depending on your personal choices and attitudes. Your experience may vary from seeing performers at a friend's wedding party, to being forced kicking and screaming by a friend onto the floor, or watching celebrity dancers on television enjoy the attention. In any of those ways, the act of dancing envokes the emotion for people who watch and appreciate the artform or personally perform the act of dancing for the benefit of others. Negative experiences of dancing may traumatise an individual and discourage a person for life attemtping to dance. This could be the form of being embarassed or the fear of what others may think. Positive experiences could be a love for someone you were entranced by whom is a dancer that compells the head over heels chase, or a natural love for dance that compells the person to keep pushing themselves to feel, improve and understand themselves to a higher spiritual level. A general rule of learning dance is to never be discouraged by challenge as it is put in front of you as a opportunity and tool of experiential refinement.

Dance, The path to a freedom of expression

Dancing is a purely natural action that develops from winning the battle against oppression. Animals are known to use dancing as a form of communication and courtship. Humans use dancing as a form of self expression and communication of ideas. In dance you can express varying emotions such as passion and love, anger and frustration, confidence and creativity. In it's fundamental form, dance is motion. So what does determines if a movement is or is not considered dancing? The key is Dancing matches and shows the internal music dialogue. Dancing and music go hand in hand as a expression of soul. When the body hears music it is compelled to move and dance naturally like a resonance through the whole body. When a body feels music it moves naturally to dancing and it comes out in the form of a spontaneous motion, the closer it can get to this natural motion, the closer the individual develops clarity in the mind to body connection of their higher self.

When we are born, we are kids that are full of energy, we know how to dance, jump and play. We are then conditioned to be contextually well behaved, sit down and stand up on command, do math with numbers and do gymnatstics with letters. We are taught with music in only the key of "C". That by the time we hear complex and beautiful music we not only do not know how to react to it we shun it from our lives. Only until we have really been conditioned to be bored, braindead and obedient. that they beleive that we are suitable for working like robots to serve the system. The only concession we get is friday off so we can have something mediorce and controlled to look forward to at the end of the week. Many people resort to drinking and sinful expression to alleviate the stress and forget. Always remember, We should aim to free to dance, sing and play when and where we choose to. With dance, nothing else has to matter and the dancer just has to live in the moment.

Get over your fear and worry and learn to push your comfort zones

One of the first steps of learning to dance is to not fear the feeling of fear at all. I remember when I first started dancing, the whole affair can be quite daunting, foreign and not knowing what you are doing can be quite discouraging to a new initiate. During the initial phases of dancing, I find that people are usually discouraged from the dancing as they belive it is something they could never do and that is not within them. I believe everyone can dance if they unlock their mindset from holding back and comparing themselves to others (however, I have come across some serious two left feet cases in my time, they are rare and I beleive there may be mental blocks must be taken care of first). By not fearing the fear and by feeling the fear of embrassment, If you do it anyway, there will be a reward. One assurance you can take is every result comes from continued practice. Eventually any big rock can always be smashed using a small hammer repetitively. If that small hammer breaks, It's time to get a new one and keep chipping away. Persistence pays off in any ability that could become a potential skill. Practice always inches you closer to perfection and the goal of perfection may change over the course of time. Any action continued over a course of time will gradually become more efficient and more refined and innate. Dancing is no exception to this rule, therefore it is good to think of dancing as an ability that gradually gets better the more practice you get. So the main aim of gaining any skill is expose yourself to opportunities to develop them and refine, refine, refine.

Become one with your environment and take like a baby duck to water

In order to fast track development, I personally used the practice of learning to enculturate. What this involves is to surround yourself in rich experiences related to the area you wish to develop your skills. If you want to become a type of person, you must surround yourself in that type of people who already have the skills you want and utilise the rub off effect. It is particularly important not to be a draining person on others especially those who support you. A group of people will usually share skills and attitudes freely if they are passionate and caring. Human social groups have their fair share of politics, shenanigans, pecking order and politically correct and acceptable behaviour. I believe it is good to gain skills in socialising effectively and gathering the tangible skills whilst avoiding unnecesary politics while retaining youe sovereignty, sanity and peace with the group. All this whilst being open minded to new oportunities that may arise from your new broadened perspective in a better position to see which pathways you can take. (If that sentence was too complex, read it again and be sure to make up your own mind and strategy). The main point is to be absorbed in environment and traverse it. By operating and working towards becomming more aware of yourself within that context, this is what will build up experience. The main point is to achieve your personal best. Sometimes you may look up to others for guidance or rivalry in competition, but at the end of the day your achievements are only to improve and refine you gradually to a better version of yourself. My personal experiences of enculturaltion involved actively listening to music, listening to people and general advice, and surrounding myself with passionate people whom I could talk intellectually about dance. Taking up a musical instrument also aids to  increase musicality. Taking responsibility to mentor other people helps in personal development too. It is possible to earn your stripes from dealing with a many people from all walks of life and gaining the negative and positive experiences in which will take you through to different insights.

Teach others and you will learn more

 We retain about 80% of what we teach, therefore a ideal way to fast track you development is to become a teacher. This may not be for everyone, as I have found over the years that it takes a particular type of sharing person and  heart to become a teacher for others. A great teacher must be willing to share even skills that will help their student develop and surpass the teacher's own abilities, But a great teacher will also teach the great attitude to their students which allows the student to own their own knowledge and go out into the world as a positive force not requiring to be better than everyone else by stepping on toes metaphorically. I have observed many people get caught up in egotism, school name prestige, where the students end up cocky and giving their teachers a bad name. By disrespecting others, you essentially disrespect yourself and the same teachers whom you claim to respect.
A true teacher does not consciously go out and about tearing people down or being only nice to their students. A teacher can usually see things a student cannot from their experience at times. At a point in the middle of development, I find a category of students believe they can out manuveur their teachers and know just enough to still be ignorant of how little they know. This makes a bad student and should be avoided when possible. Therefore, one must keep humble and a open mind, and most importantly always remember what it was like to start from scratch as a beginner and never judge or discourage anyone else from achieving their potential.

Here is a tip, Learn the language of the discipline. Discipline does not mean control, it just merely means to comprehend the subject you are engaged in. Every talent/skill has a language associated with it. Once a person reaches a certain level of basic development, they only way to develop further is to learn the language which allows higher complex development in the art. Whether it be technical speak, personal insights, philosophy or observation and analysis and synthesis of ideas. Learning the rules, play by the rules, then learn to bend and break the rules and come to a balanced middle ground you can accept is the ultimate midterm goal. All of this involves practice. Most importantly, there is a need to love what you do even if times may be hard or harsh to do so. There were times I personally felt discouraged by particular experiences and people, but at times I needed to change my attitude and perspective and instead used those exact same experiences as self empowerment.

Every individual's experience will be different and suit their chosen engagement. You will learn when and where you may to keep an open or closed mind. It is very important for people to exercise discernement and choose which experiences to attract and whom to associate with. By taking this responsibility for your engagement allows you to take time away anytime you need to and decide to come back to it when you need to with very little transitional emotion.

Learn the Rules, Play, Bend and sometimes Break

I have developed a few ground rules for myself over the years to improve myself in dance:
- Enjoy the dance and music, things may be crazy at times and when the marginal benefit outweights the benefit, re-evaluate my enegagement. Never feel obligated to do what was asked of you without higher consent.
- Find your passion, value your energy. It is ok to love, laugh and dance.
- You don't have to be nice to everyone or even be friends with everyone. Pleasing the wrong people is a waste of valuable life force. Discerning who is deserving of energy requires sound judgement. Sound judgement requires self knowing. Keep a open mind to people and give them mutual respect or disrespect, see whom they really are before you decide to subscribe. You may choose your enegagment and have the right to draw the line with particular people. Every interaction should be a one on one.
- Be free to express your true voice and proud to express your own unique opinion, no matter what it is. If it offends, maybe it was to help others awaken. Do not allow you mood to be dictated by the negative, chances are the negative have unresolved baggage they will need to come to terms with at their own pace of their own journey.
- Treat the world like yourself and therefore do not disrespect it as it would be a direct attack on yourself.
- These rules are not written in concrete and you may use, change or refine them to suit your own life and lifestyle.

There is no fast track and the fast track is the slow track is the slow track, this means the fastest and best way at getting to a point is one of stability, as the shortcuts may stray you down a garden path. Even if this is the case, the garden path will eventually leads back to the same point your attitude takes you. But this does not mean there is one correct way of doing things. If you are smart enough or lucky enough to find it, there are shortcuts in understanding that can speed up evolution of a skill.

Be a unique and never afraid to be an individual functioning in a collective

As with a painting is an artform that takes years of mastery to produce a great result, so does dancing. Be a unique expression, we were all born different, not to learn how to be the same, but more to help each other bring out each other person's best. Sometimes, you may feel like subscribing to groupthink, It may even help you develop youself. But essentially you will come to the point you would rather surround yourself in people who accept you for whom you are. When you dance, do not be afraid to express a bad movement as it could be refined to be a great one over repetition and correcting. Learning some principles can help you develop faster and avoid pitfalls. You creativity and cognition will aid. Learn, listen and innovate. By develping your own style you purely own it and work on your craft rather than rely on someone else to provide you with artistic vision for your lack in creativity and direction.

In conclusion, You will find when you have decided to invest in a skill for yourself. You will gain the ability and increase your potential to help numerous others in future from a point of experience. Love, Light and Peace to you all.

Happy Travels!

Derek Vuong, Passionata Dance

Contact Details: Carmen - 0405 336 307    Derek - 0412 550 855
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