Adventures in Metalearning

How might learning one thing prepare you for entirely another?



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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