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And I am feeling ‘on’…

April 12, 2008

My friend Adam, (who with his wife Camille run the excellent Lindy League of Western Mass) picked up on my saying that I felt ‘on’ all weekend in my Boston Tea Party post. He wanted to know what I thought that meant. I thought it’s a good concept to blog about – most Lindy hoppers seem more satisfied with their dancing when they are ‘on’.

For people who have been dancing awhile, it should not be a big mystery. Another friend, Chris, from Albany summarized it as “…having (a) good connection with your partner, dancing to the music, timing your moves in sync with the music and your partner..”. I think I can safely say that most people would more or less agree with him, although I can see that feeling ‘on, may mean slightly different things to different Lindy hoppers.

For me, it means feeling comfortable. You know how teachers say,  ‘dance with your entire body’? That’s what it means to me. I feel ‘on’ when my entire body moves as one to the music, and with my partner. It means listening to your partner, catching on to what they are trying to do and responding in time to it, especially if they hear something in the music and want to express it, and want me to go along with them. It means being comfortable enough that my mind and body can listen – really listen to each song, sense the rhythms and beats in it at an early point and be able to move to it (no matter what the tempo) appropriately. Catch the nuances in the song – catch what the ‘feeling’ in it is and then let my body move organically to them. Another thing I have noticed when I feel ‘on’ is – regardless of the tempo of the song, I seem to have so much time during the song that I can create my moves in advance and really fill out my movements to the music and . So I suppose at various levels it is indeed about being comfortable with your dancing. And being connected – with yourself, to the music, to your partner, to the floor in general.

At the end of the day, it is more personal than that. It is one of those things what you seek in a dance, and in an entire dance evening in general. 

What does being or feeling ‘on’ mean to you?

And how to become one of those people that are ‘on’ most of the time?

Just take more workshops and lessons? Do a lot of social dancing? Naturally, more ability and more experience on the floor gives one more confidence in our own dancing. Get more familiar with music? That allows us to ‘play more’ with the music Keep fit? That will physically allow us to be more adept at handling higher tempos, not to say we get tired later rather than sooner! I suppose a bit of all the above. But for me, it’s also being relaxed enough at the beginning of an evening to really soak the whole thing in!


May the ‘on’ be with you!


  1. April-Lyn permalink

    I definitely feel “on” more often the more I improve technically as a dancer. I agree that being relaxed is important, and I find that I’m also more likely to be “on” if I go into the dancing with no expectations. If I put pressure on myself to do well, or go into the dance/practice expecting something in particular from myself, the music, or my partners, then I can’t enjoy myself to the fullest, and my dancing suffers. I start second-guessing myself, become over-critical of my dancing, and generally make myself paranoid, which in turn makes me more prone to clumsy, awkward dancing.

    Also, if I’m not feeling well, haven’t eaten properly or slept properly, if I’m not properly hydrated or am otherwise cranky, then my dancing will be off. With the exception of Tea Party, where I ran on pure adrenaline and caffeine for a majority of the weekend, then suffered for it afterwards. I’m still not sure I’ve fully recovered… but it was definitely worth it! 😀

  2. soundslikedrew permalink

    Yes – feeling self conscious can definitely be a deterrent to having fun! And hah – Lindy hop can be quite the aerobic exercise so, yeah, one needs to be ‘fit’ to Lindy.

  3. I agree, this idea of “on”… it’s like all the different things have to come together. Physical, emotional, circumstantial… I don’t think it could really be manipulated. I don’t ever try to create that feeling. Doing that might actually make it less likely to happen. It’s like falling in love. Certain things just have to come together. Can’t force that.

  4. monica permalink

    Feeling ON for me, means – NO THOUGHTS what soever ..Actually lately I am feeling ON almost through out my days, with a bit of interruption in between. Actually, putting out in words – this ON state- is already diminishing the REAL BEING feeling.. but still we express it using hints and indicator words..Feeling ON is JUST BE THE MUSIC, or the SILENCE, or NATURE .. Feeling ON is WHEN I AM THE MUSIC IT SELF, WHEN I AM THE SILENCE ITSELF.. and its truly liberating.. there is a presence of NOTHINGness in this REAL FEELING ON in me.. No presence of EGO (big or small) .. PURE Feeling ON .. 🙂

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