The value of social dance will vary very little depending on the age of the listener. I can imagine that the children of today are much more likely to dance than the children of the early 2000s. That’s no mistake. It is more than just a matter of being able to dance. It means that we have the courage to face people and make them feel connected, which is a huge leap forward. We are seeing a great deal of progress in how we teach children about themselves and in social dance. Even as I’m standing here talking about the importance of social dance, I think about my younger nephew, who is just starting to dance.
You have a new book, “The Power of Dancing,” which addresses the topic of social dance. What was that process like working on that book?
I was thrilled by the strength and depth of the research. The more research we could put into the book, the better it was. The research we’ve done is just phenomenal. There’s a wealth of social dance research and anecdotes that could be added. We are planning to publish the book as a book in the book market very soon.
The “Power of Dancing” focuses on two different ways to teach, or at least, engage, in social dance. You teach social dance at an informal event as an individual. You talk to the audience or the room while walking down the street or in the park and encourage them to dance around you. A community dance organization also teaches social dance, usually as a group, through group dancing. The first way is a lot more formal, more traditional, and more traditional, I would say, than the second, because it’s more traditional.
The community dance group is more likely to involve you as a teacher and a leader. They typically want to focus on community issues of that community, such as health, education, and things of that nature. They want to be sure that the person who’s dancing with them does so with the encouragement of others in the community. When you’re teaching them and organizing a dance, you’re putting your feet on the ground. You’re giving the people in the room the feeling that you’re standing up for them and they are standing with you. In this way, community dances tend to be much better.
You write in the book about what you called “social dance clubs,” or gatherings of people with similar dance interests. Can you explain that?
We live in a culture where people know each other very well and have
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