Lately my thinking about dance has been shaped by two main things. The first is ILHC, which is fast approaching, and which I’ve been looking forward to for two years (I missed last year). The second is Rosh Hashanah, which is also coming up, but which I didn’t really even know about until recently.
I’ll start with the second one first, because it’s so new to me. Since Samantha and I are engaged (whoo!), and she is Jewish, I agreed to take conversion classes. The ultimate goal isn’t necessarily to fully convert, but at least to become involved enough that we can have equal influence and responsibilities when we eventually raise Jewish children. A full conversion is certainly a possibility, but the main thing is that Samantha and I are a team. Understandably, she doesn’t want the entire burden to fall on her as the only Jewish adult in the household. So we started meeting with a rabbi at a local reform synagogue, and he gave us a bit of a rundown on the high holy days, which will be here shortly. From my understanding of what he said, the main focus of Rosh Hashanah (the way this synagogue does it) is on making sure that you are actually living a life, rather than just drudging along. He said that it’s a time to take stock of how you’ve lived this past year and how you want to do better in the coming year. I’m certainly not a Jewish theologian, or any other kind of theologian for that matter, so if you want to know more about Rosh Hashanah, I suggest you look it up.
Like I do with most things, I almost immediately started to think of it in terms of dancing. Especially with ILHC coming up, it’s got me thinking about my goals as a dancer. I’ve given the matter some thought in the four-and-a-half-ish years I’ve been dancing, but it’s on my mind a lot right now. The more I think about my desires, which are numerous and varied, the more I find that they can be condensed pretty neatly into just three main goals:
- I want more-advanced dancers to be excited to teach me.
- I want less-advanced dancers to be excited to learn from me.
- I want everybody to be excited to dance with me.
And that’s about it. I have other goals, of course. I want to win lindy hop and be crowned its king. I want to win the lottery or rob a bank (or both) and go to every lindy event on the planet. I want to crush the event hotel, see its non-dance guests driven before me, and to hear the lamentation of its night crew. But ultimately, at the end of the day, those three things are really the most important to me.
Also, the more I dance, think about dance, and talk to other dancers…about dance, the more I realize how much comes down to goals. I’ve seen people progress, sometimes very quickly, to a certain point and then stop, because their initial goals have been met and they haven’t set new ones. I’ve seen practice partners or teammates butt heads because they have different goals. The more I think about goals, the more I notice that most people seem like they’ve never really given it thought. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about that moment where they realize how much time and money they’ve spent on dance stuff versus the things they could have been spending that time and money on. A lot of them talk about it with regret. I know it’s a complicated issue, but I can’t help but feel that at least some of them would have done things differently if they’d sat down once in a while and thought about what they wanted out of dance and what it might cost to get it. I know that part of my mission as a blogger is not to preach, but if lindy hop is a big part of your life and you haven’t given any thought to what your goals are, you might want to start thinking about it now.
Do you have any goals of your own that you’d like to share? Or advice on the pursuit of some of mine? Or goals that you wish people had, but don’t seem to? Let me know in the comments section.
PS, thank you Jerry Almonte for linking my blog on Facebook earlier this month. The day you did that I got more views than all the previous days combined.