Leadership Lessons from Dance – Connections

Recently, I was discussing the concept of connection with a fellow partnered dancer and we came to the conclusion that there are multiple levels of connection occurring during a dance. We agreed upon 3:

1. The physical connection between you and your partner. The consistent touch and use of leverage and compression to communicate with one another where to go or what you are doing.

2. The connection between yourself and the music. Often referred to as musicality or moving to the music’s rhythm or beat. These can be manifested in the pauses, changes of levels or speed of dancing, or movement to different instruments in the song.

3. The connection between both lead and follow and their connection to the music. We talked about this as the magic that happens when a dance partner hears what you hear in the music, dances to the same parts of the song, flows with you and improvises based on a partners movement. This ultimate connection is often referenced as a “good dance” when you are both taken on a journey where skill and techniques meets creativity and becomes an art-form.

As I often do, I thought about how this concept of connection translates to life in general and relationships outside of dance partnerships.

  1. The physical connection in dance is comparable to any relationship or partnership outside of dance. It is the push and pull or give and take of working with another person. It is compromise, listening, seeking to be heard, and being impacted by another person. It is depending on someone and being depended upon. It is someone leaving an imprint on your life and your actions impacted another person. It is having a direct connection between you and another person. 
  2. It is often said that you have to know and love yourself before you can do so for others (SQUIRREL – This reminds me of the airplane staff speech about putting your oxygen mask on first before assisting those around you). This is similar to the 2nd connection mentioned above between self and music. This is a personal connection to something outside of self that can only be interpreted and understood by the individual. It could be spirituality, religion, science, or believing in some greater power outside of self (i.e. karma).
  3. The culmination of the first two connections is a powerful relationship/partnership. It is love – Love for self, love for another, and love for life. It is when you can grow as an individual and grow together simultaneously. When the support and encouragement of a partner helps you to invest and believe in yourself even more. Then in return two strong entities unite for a common purpose and achieve a common goal.

Connections are important in any partnership and are more nuanced than you might originally think. The dots are out there, hopefully we can connect the dots for ourselves and others… and have good dances along the way.



If you liked this blog post please comment and visit others in the series: Leadership Lessons from Dance

*Featured Image is Dr. Sobers at a Crop Over Festival in my country Barbados, West Indies. The photo was used to advertise the Lifted event in 2017.

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