Dance Character

I always remember my mother using the expression, “what a character.” If she met someone with a real wild personality or maybe a flamboyant individual, that expression would come out of her mouth. So, I immediately took that to mean, being a character wasn’t such a good thing.

Today, as I think about it, I can see how you could derive the negative as opposed to the positive of “character,” but either way, a character can get our attention! For example, I have a backyard next to lots of trees in a small, park-like area. In those trees live many squirrels. Generally, they don’t bother me and I don’t bother them. I have a yard filled with hundreds of plants and occasionally, a squirrel might eat one or part of a plant; not really a big thing. However, I have a balcony that is too high to put real plants on, as you could not get to it, to water it. So, one day, I got a ladder and put artificial plants on it, thinking that gives the balcony color and keeps the theme consistent with plants. Now get this, here comes a squirrel that really likes the artificial plants and picks on them and eats them all the time! Normally, most squirrels like real plants, but not this one. He is what we would call a “character.” He definitely stands out from the rest and truthfully, is making a mess of my balcony. So much for my idea, who knew I’d find a squirrel that likes to eat artificial plants?

On the flip side, and being positive, having “dance character” can put you over the top. “If you’ve got it, bring it,” because we want to see it in a big way! In other words, here is where character can truly be appreciated. We want to see dancers with infinite finesse, style beyond compare and pizzazz like there’s no tomorrow. You must “own” it out there. Be like the squirrel, no other squirrel does what he does. Stand out from the crowd like he does. Be terrific every time you take a step. Leap to success with every dance move. Don’t be afraid to show us who you truly are!

If you’re going to be a professional dancer in ballroom and dance sport, you probably have a whole team of people working with you in various ways. Think of it like a chain link that not only supports you but also gives you strength. The more links the better. The stronger you become, the more you build character and confidence.

Don’t be afraid to take chances, experiment with dance steps and routines in a new way, communicate with your partner, making sure you’re on the same page, seek help when you need it and be bold enough to go where no one else has gone before you! That’s “dance character,” believe me, you want this, it’s a good thing!

Thought Of The Week:

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself – George Bernard Shaw

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Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website