Sunday, 15 March 2015

I used to hoop, but now I hop.

For a while, drawing and making comics was this thing I did on my spare time, for my own entertainment. But last year it gradually became the main activity. And as I started putting more and more expectations and worries on it, I felt the need to find a new hobby to take the space where comics used to be.

I felt a huge need to get immersed in an activity that is different from what I do everyday, and that I'm motivated to learn but don't feel pressured to be good at it. It also has to be something that I'm not sharing with that many people. I must do it just for myself. 
That's why last summer I started hula hooping. 

(If Robyn hula hoops then it must be cool)
There's a huge hooping community on the internet, full of people posting tutorials that look either super impressive or super ridiculous. And I like activities that mix both things.

But now my new house is not as spacious and I stopped my hula hobby (at least until I'm brave enough to go practise in a public garden) and I'm getting super invested on my lindy hop classes.

I've been taking them since December. When you enter, you have to sign up either as leader or a follower. Leaders are usually men, and women are usually followers. The trouble is that there's a waiting list for followers. Whereas leaders are always welcomed, so I signed up as one.

Although I did some dancing before, I only took up partner dances very briefly, and rarely as a leader. And it's super fun! And interesting. Right now I see the whole thing as a problem of communication that we are constantly trying to solve. Like a moving puzzle. There are a few steps that we learn and can use to make a choreography out of it, but the interesting part is learning how to convey those movements to the other person. How to make her jump, or slide or stop without telling her out loud that she has to jump, slide or stop.
How to move my body in a way that the follower understands what's going on and where to go?


You can guess that most of the dance is controlled by the leader. And it's cool to have that power. But with great power comes great responsibility, and if the couple is out of tune, or trips and falls, or makes some mistake, it's probably the leader's fault.
Leaders make most of the mistakes.
I'm pressing on that because, the funny thing I've noticed, is that guys are usually the worst at taking criticism on their dancing.

I know I'm generalizing, and there are some super nice and humble leaders that I've danced with. But really, from my experience so far, having danced with both men and women in a number of occasions from classes to parties both here and back when I was in Vilnius, I can tell you that it's very common that whenever I tell men they are doing something wrong they get defensive about it, or at least feel the need to thoroughly explain why they did that mistake and how that happened because of something that was out of their control.

Whereas girls are always saying they are sorry, even when the mistake wasn't theirs!

I think that says a lot about our society and stuff, and I'll leave that for to you to think about. Meanwhile, I'm deepening my gender research and going out with my dancing shoes, because tonight's a swing night!

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