For many times in our dance journey we have the impression that we are not evolving or worse, that we are getting worse. The funny thing is that the sensation of stagnation is something to worry about, but when we feel that we are getting worse is a wonderful sign, as long as we know how to interpret it in a healthy way and have patience to reap its good fruits in a future that may be brief or that may not be so close.
Come with me and I’ll help you understand how you can stay calm during this uncomfortable phase of our evolution. If you like this content, be sure to share it with your friends so that more people can benefit from good dance practices.
HOW DO WE LEARN
Every coordinative activity is first of all a neuromuscular process. Our body is a large electrical network, as well as the electrical energy distribution system of your country. We have an electron distribution center, a strategic command location that identifies the locations that are in need of energy at that time and orders its dispatch, our brain is the one that does this function in our body. For the energy to leave the distribution center and reach your home is necessary a whole wiring that leaves the center and reaches your city and more specifically your home, the neurons are the components of this network of wires, our muscles are the cities and each muscle fiber is as if it were a house of this city.
Every time a new city needs light it is necessary to build a network of wires to it, in our body this network of wires is already built (we already have neurons connecting the brain to muscles), but this network may be inactive, need maintenance or require little energy. Imagine a city in the countryside with few appliances in the houses, the residents do not make extensive use of computers and the farming activity is not mechanized and uses rudimentary methods. These cities are the muscles that we use little, our sedentary life in the contemporary does not stimulate us, much less oblige us to use all our vast muscle structure with all its spectacular possibilities.
If the population of the small town started to buy and use more and more appliances, computerized its shopping centers and increased the night hours of operation of all its sectors, the city would need to prepare the power grid of this city so that it could meet the new energy demand of the population. When you learn new movements, or new movement techniques, you are telling your brain to activate and/or maintain the neuron network (myelinize them or stimulate the differentiation of some cells into neural tissue), so that the electrical impulses sent by the brain itself reach the muscle fiber faster and faster, ordering its contraction. In addition, the brain needs time to learn how to coordinate the correct sending of impulses at the right time to generate the result we are waiting for.
POTENTIAL OF EACH TECHNIQUE
Each technique (read: Forró Has Technique? Understand the term Many Times We Talk Without Knowing.) that we learn has a maximum performance potential, when we do not displace the second step in forró for example, we can not reap as many benefits as if we use this step in a conscious and strategic way (Read: Step 2 in forró! The step of agility and the most neglected.). In other words, the amount of possibilities and the efficiency achieved by leaving the second step in place is very limited in relation to the efficiency and range of possibilities achieved by using this feature well.
If you’ll allow me one more analogy, some techniques are like the foundation of a building that allows engineers to build a 5-story building, while other techniques are like a much more elaborate foundation that allows the construction of a 10-story building or more.
FEELING OF GETTING WORSE
We already understand that our brain needs time and practice to assimilate new movements or new ways of making a movement. Depending on the degree of complexity of the movement or the precision and refinement of the movement, this time will probably be greater. We have also understood that techniques have different potentials.
It is very common for us to learn techniques with low potential first because they are easier to assimilate and we often reach their full potential. When we reach the maximum potential of some technique, we experience a stagnation and then we are interested in learning techniques that will take us further.
When we develop or are oriented to perform new techniques, we naturally return to the first stages of this technique. Our body feels awkward every time we perform because we are not used to those new sensations, that is when we have the impression of getting worse. It is possible that our resourcefulness is really temporarily worse, because the maximum potential of a technique or set of techniques generates a resourcefulness when dancing, greater than the resourcefulness manifested by initial stages of learning techniques with greater potential.
It’s like we’re on the fifth floor of our first building and start working on the foundation of the second building. The smaller building is already completed, but the taller building is still in the early stages of construction. What we need now is patience and persistence because in a few days, weeks or months we will be experiencing an ascent to much higher levels than we have experienced before. Our new building is reaching higher and higher floors than the fifth floor.
This learning cycle is constant, so if we have the feeling of getting worse, we are expected to soon feel the pleasures of improvement. Naturally, the more advanced the dancers are, the longer each transition can take. So working patience and persistence is becoming more and more fundamental along the way. This is also why it is extremely harmful to learn to move your body without worrying about understanding in detail what you are doing.
There comes a time when the body cannot develop because the head cannot process everything that is happening during the dance. A couple’s dance also has strategy, logical reasoning and the ability to interpret signals and react to unexpected situations. The dancer who has only the trained body and not head cannot deal efficiently with what was not foreseen.
AND IF THE FEELING OF GETTING WORSE DOESN’T GO AWAY?
If the feeling of worsening does not pass you may have chosen to work on a new technique with the potential lower than your previous technique. This is very common in the case of people who seek to develop without guidance or in the case of misguided people.
Quality orientation makes a lot of difference in your evolution and in not wasting your time and effort. Training for training is not the solution, the volume of practice without quality and without consciousness can literally make us regress.
It is very common for students from a good school, in the desire to help a less advanced colleague to develop, to share something they have learned, at the wrong time for that person, who is not yet prepared to understand that. It is also common for them to share low-potential techniques. Lack of experience in knowing what the actual potential of the technique they are teaching is, may end up hindering a colleague’s development.
If the sensation does not pass, try to study from reliable sources and consult good professionals and/or good schools.
FEELINGS OF STAGNATION
This is a more worrying situation. When everything you do seems familiar and safe, especially when you are in a class to learn something, it is a sign that you are not really learning anything. Everything new generates an initial sensation of discomfort, of estrangement. The absence of this strangeness gives us the impression that we are already good and that we can quickly assimilate the news, when in fact there is a great possibility that you are not actually taking advantage of the evolution that that class could provide you.
The most uncomfortable sensation of stagnation is the one already foreseen in the topics above, when we reach the maximum potential of the set of techniques that we are using to dance. No matter how much we train, if we do not seek to improve the way we do each element, we will always be doomed to have only more of the same.
Another reason for stagnation has also been predicted, when body and consciousness are not in close proximity. For this we have two obvious situations, both very common. The first is when the body is ahead of the consciousness, it happens with practitioners without orientation who only go out to dance (it is clear that there is no problem in just going out to dance, we just cannot expect great and fast evolutions in the technical quality of your dance in this way). It also happens with school practitioners, who don’t pay attention to anything the teachers are talking about. They only observe the formats and movements presented and try to do so without using the tips and observations of the professionals.
The second situation is when the head is beyond the body. It happens a lot in schools that only teach the movements and do not offer an appropriate time of practice for the students. Or with students in schools who have a good supply of practice, who make an effort and are interested, but only in the time to explain the movements. There will be a great accumulation of information that they will not find in practice, neither its confirmation nor its consolidation.
The feeling of getting worse is not a big villain, it is just a natural part of the process of healthy learning. In order to be sure that these “worsening” are beneficial and that we don’t have a sense of stagnation, it is essential that we seek qualified guidance!
I hope you enjoyed the text! This theme was suggested by readers of the blog, and I am very grateful for the indication of this theme that has constant relevance in the journey of dancers. I ask you to help me share this article and I also ask you to send me more and more themes that you would like to read and study about.
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