Adventures in Metalearning

How might learning one thing prepare you for entirely another?


August 2018

What partner dancing taught me about connection, movement and gender

This is the story of how I learnt to dance, how it broke me out of my English shell, and includes a list of learnable dance principles.

I hit a ‘peak dance’ experience at a Blues festival in Madrid 2013. We had danced ’til daylight. I couldn’t stop. The connection is like a drug. The authenticity of Blues music moves us deeply. When you hold someone in that sound, expressing that sound physically together, something striking happens: oxytocin abounds. Through the night you get close to and let go of so many. Your connection muscle strengthens.

The next day I felt changed, I felt something so specific yet I had no words for. That morning I typed in my diary:

The other dancers’ movement felt as distinct as the timbre of a beautiful musical instrument. And as our two kinaesthetic voices attuned, they became a new unique voice united in music. The Blues spoke through us, and we floated on it, in a lightness and intensity I don’t think I’d felt before. How I related to the other dancer transformed sometime during those four hours of dancing, as though I had let go of something. It didn’t matter how ‘good’ … Read more

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