Jean Croker Petke

Dance Instructions

Dance Instructions

I recently watched a dance instructor teaching a class of adult beginners. Here is what she said, among many other things:

  • Clarity of intention and clarity of direction: Before anyone even began to move, she explained, in careful, simple detail about knowing ahead of time how you intend to move.  She talked about getting one’s body in balanced position. Once that position is established it’s easy to move a leg or an arm without losing one’s balance. Once the intention is clear and one’s balanced position is correct, then the direction of movement also becomes clear. First things first: intention, then movement.


  • Check yourself before you wreck yourself: Continually remind yourself of your intention and check your position. This is the only way to avoid jerky movements, or leading with the wrong part of the body, or falling due to loss of balance. Setting one’s position is not a one time thing; it must be done over and over again — every time we prepare to dance.


  • If you’re dancing solo you’ve got options: Some in the class obviously came with a partner; many did not. The instructor began by teaching everyone as individual dancers. Later she began to differentiate between the “lead” dancers and the “partners.” With subtle movements of their hands and arms and bodies, the lead dancer directs his partner in how and when and where to move. While the partner knows the moves, the lead provides the guidance. The partner must be attentive and move accordingly. Watching a couple dance in tune and in sync with each other is truly a beautiful thing. However, the instructor never disparaged the single dancers. Not once did she suggest that the only real way to dance is with a partner. What she did say was “If you’re dancing solo, you’ve got options.” No need to be attuned to a partner; you determine your moves, within the conventions of this particular dance form. Sometimes we think we can’t dance without a partner. Not so!

As I watched and listened, her comments resonated with me, even though I wasn’t on the dance floor trying to learn a new dance. What she said applies to business, hobbies, families, careers, habits, lifestyles, creative endeavors. I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to apply her statutes to your own life — wherever you happen to be at this moment.

  • clarify your intention
  • clarify your direction
  • check yourself
  • if you’re dancing solo, you’ve got options


Remembering these four things will allow us to dance our life with purpose and gracefulness.

Until next Tuesday . . .



Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0
2 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *