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You Have to Participate

... The only thing SSQQ cannot do for you is to get you to participate. That's up to you.

The first time you come to Practice Night, you don't know all that much about dancing, you don't know many of the people, the music may seem fast, and you might get intimidated at the sight of all the great dancers.

Like other hobbies- skiing, tennis, bridge, etc- dancing is not always fun right off the bat. Maybe that's why most of the people here at SSQQ turn out to be such nice people - those people with little patience or discipline give up quickly. The pluggers stay.

Depending on the difficulty of the dance, there is a definite startup time necessary for your rhythm and balance to develop. When you barely know what you are doing, the moves feel awkward. As you are stumbling around, naturally thoughts cross your mind that dancing may not be your calling. Don't give up. Success will come if you are willing to hang in there.

The truth is this stuff we teach is tricky and does take some time to learn. It might help if you learned that many of the best dancers we have ever trained considered themselves slow learners. 

Persistence seems to be more important in learning to dance than any particular "natural ability".

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No matter how good our classes are, practice is the real key to getting your dancing to feel right. The classes prepare you with the intellectual information necessary to give a try, but only by dancing repeatedly to the music can the moves sink out of your brain and into your muscle fiber (where they belong).

Practice is where you get the hang of it. Again, here is where SSQQ helps.

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First of all, try going to a club where you don't know a soul and see how much practice you get in. However here at SSQQ the veteran dancers know who the beginners are and are quite generous at giving help to newcomers.

Probably the memory of how hard it was when they started lingers still in the minds of the veterans. Seeing a beginner standing on the sidelines evokes the social worker in all of us. Also if you get stuck, you can always look around for one of our instructors for some help or perhaps a veteran dancer.

Second of all, even though the people on any given night may be strangers to you, remind yourself that they are here to dance just like you. There are very, very few people at this studio with an attitude problem, believe it, so if you have the guts to ask people to dance- be you boy or girl- you will soon find how easy-going this place is. Then the next time you show up, your strangers will seem more familiar.


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SSQQ is a do-it-yourself organization. People who contribute energy receive energy in kind.

This is a good time to remind students who have been taking classes for several months how important it is take the time to ask several newcomers to dance whenever you attend a Practice Night. Obviously one point of this writeup is to encourage beginners to stay for practice night, but hand in hand with this concept is to suggest a sense of "Community".

Just as people helped you get started, once you have cleared the initial Beginner-barrier it becomes your duty to turn around and ask new students to dance. This is especially helpful to the new people since obviously newcomers find it very difficult to find the nerve to ask people to dance.

In particular please remember to ask the men or women who are sitting down or standing in the shadows. Obviously nature has smiled on a few lucky souls and granted them the exalted status of lifetime social butterfly. Ask them to dance too, but make it your special effort to ask the shy ones to dance. Thank you!

By the way, this goes for you ladies too. Nothing is more tiresome than to hear women complain there aren't enough men to dance with. Try developing some new dance partners at Practice Night.

It takes longer for a man to get the hang of partner dancing due to the responsibility of leading. Men who are beginners don't always feel very comfortable asking women to dance with them for fear of looking bad. "Hey, lady, wanna dance and let me stumble all over the floor with you?" is of course a worst-nightmare scenario in the minds of the Beginner guys.

The more often the ladies ask beginning men to dance, the sooner these guys will get the hang of it. And they will be grateful you asked them. In a sense, it gives them permission to try. It means you "understand" their plight.

So at Practice Night, come on, girls, go for it !!  Ask some Beginner Men to dance. Tell them it's an SSQQ tradition for girls to ask Beginner Guys. Tell them its for their own good, then add their feet will receive an eternal curse if they turn you down. While they are wondering if the Voodoo Foot Curse is real or not, just grab their hand and drag them out there !

Then when these guys eventually become wonderful, they will remember you were one of the ladies who helped them get started and they will make effort to ask you to dance whenever they see you.

Everyone needs to contribute at Practice Night.

If our newcomers make an effort to join us at Practice Night and our veterans simultaneously make the effort to  welcome the beginners and encourage them to continue to participate, you will all be pleased with the results.

Periodically you should take a step back and look at the big picture. You will take pride as you notice the energy at every dance remains high. You can be pleased that you like so many others at SSQQ before you have contributed to create a modern-day version of the ancient waterhole !!

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