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The Three A's + 1

by Bill & Martha Buck

Oftentimes, we ponder why one couple is seemingly more successful than another couple, even though they appear to be about equal in their natural dancing ability. Invariably we come back to the "Three A's + 1" philosophy that we use in our classes.

Acceptance: Dancers must accept their partners and themselves for their success or lack of success at any given time. In a dancing couple, oftentimes, one partner is stronger than the other, i.e., "catches on faster." Both partners need to accept this fact and use it to their advantage rather than disadvantage. We have seen many couples succeed in round dancing simply because the weaker dancers allowed their partners to help them with, for example, timing. We also must accept other dancers on the floor and realize that we all do not learn at the same rate. We must accept the fact that we are receiving group instruction, and the instructor may not always move at the rate we would like. He/She may move faster or slower than we would like, but most instructors try to move at a pace that is comfortable for the majority.

Attitude is by far the most important ingredient toward dancing well, or toward accomplishing anything else. If you think you can't do it . . . you probably can't. If you think you can . . . your chances are pretty good that you can. But if you are positive that you can . . . chances are extremely good that you will. Have a good attitude toward your partner, other dancers, and the dance program. Come to your lesson, the workshop, or the dance, with a positive attitude and a smile on your face. Try it . . . good things will happen. Have you ever tried to walk mad with a smile on your face? You can't do it . . . your body takes its cues from your head . . . so SMILE.

Ability to dance or to do anything in this world is varied. Some of our most devoted dancers tell us they had never danced until starting Round Dance lessons. They doubted their ability to dance. Having danced six or seven years now, they realize they had the ability all along -- they just had to learn how to use it. We see other couples dancing a routine and we feel envious of their ability. Don't. Realize that good dancing takes practice and dedication, and appreciate the time and effort that couple has put forth to learn that routine.

We originally started with just "three A's." Recently we added the +1.

Appreciation: Oftentimes, we get in such a hurry to learn more and more routines and to obtain a certain "level" in our dancing. We liken this to a couple getting to a vacation destination. They were in such a hurry to reach their appointed destination that they failed to appreciate the beautiful scenery along the way. The destination is important, but be sure to appreciate and enjoy the pleasure along the way. Appreciate your partner. He/She may be the best partner you'll ever have. Avoid developing a competitive attitude toward your partner or other round dancers.

Round Dancing is a wonderful activity that brings us all great pleasure. Let's all practice the "Three A's + 1" with ourselves, our partner, and our instructor (or students) each time we attend a class, dance, or festival. It really works. Have you HUGGED A ROUND DANCER TODAY?


From RAL Journal, 1997; reprinted DRDC Newsletter, January 2012.




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If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.



If you are not a member of DRDC, do consider joining. The group sponsors quarterly weekends with great dancing and teaching, and the newsletter is one of the most informative available.

Past DRDC Educational Articles by
Jim & Barbara German, ca. 2000-2001
Chris & Terri Cantrell, 2001-2005
Harold & Meredith Sears, 2005-present

Some articles and dance helps by
Sandi & Dan Finch
Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid (see Notebook)



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