On Multiple Connections

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In November 2014 I posted this collaboration with a photographer around the word connection. Below are a few thoughts from that post.

Connection: A correspondence between two partially ordered sets
Connection: Causal or logical relation or sequence
Connection: A relation of personal intimacy
Connection: A means of communication or transportation
Connection: synonyms including coherence, continuity, link, affinity, association, kinship, liaison, linkage, relation, relationship, union

This past April I wrote a ballroom post about Lead and Follow. Since that post, I continued thinking about the role of connection in ballroom – especially in a social ballroom dance setting. After all, our instructor preaches it! The Lead and Follow post included the following paragraph:

Lead and Follow requires a connection between the partners because that connection is the communication line transmitting signals through a strong frame. With the goal of moving together as one, signals travel through any of the following (or combination of): whole body, core, shoulders, hips, back, elbows, arms, hands, legs, and feet, plus extensions and compressions.

In ballroom there are other connections beyond the physical connection between the dancers:

  • the physical connection between two dancers
  • the connection between dancers and the craft
  • the connection between the dancers and the music
  • the mental connection that some partners have with each other
  • the connections between friends
  • the connection between instructor and students
  • the connection between the feet and the floor – and I imagine a few more.

The music is part of the setting. The music can be traditional ballroom, contemporary, and from a variety of genre. In general, I see three key factors from the music affecting ballroom dance: timing, tempo, and rhythm.

Timing: Whereas waltz music is in 3-4 time (3 beats per measure), the other ballroom dance are in 4-4 time (4 beats per measure.

Tempo: How fast/slow is the music? For instance, Rumba and Bolero music are similar, but Bolero is slower. Viennese Waltz is faster than Ballroom Waltz. Three-count Hustle music is slower than Four-count Hustle. East Coast Swing is faster than West Coast Swing, but not as fast as Lindy.

Rhythm: The background rhythms supporting the music provide the musicality and the feel for the dance. Whereas a friend would say one can dance Tango to Foxtrot music (and vise versa), I say that would be a mismatch between the music and the dance because the background rhythms supporting the music are vastly different – therefore not even close.

Regardless of the place, the music sets a tone – a mood for the dancers to explore. Therefore, different dances provide different moods: Cha cha is playful and sharp. Foxtrot is smooth and classy. Waltz is grace and elegance. Rumba is rhythmic and sultry. Bolero is fluid and romantic. Salsa is lively and party-time. Quickstep is exuberant and glamorous. East Coast Swing is fun and energetic, but West Coast Swing is bluesy and slinky. Tango is strong and edgy, but Argentine Tango is personal and intricate.

Different songs provide different moods. For instance, the elegance of waltz serves to transport the mind to a beautiful place. The beauty of the dance fits with the beauty the music provides. Music comes from many sources – including popular songs. However, not all danceable waltzes set the same mood. Yes, I’m picky on that count – for instance, many country waltzes are for a bar or a barn – not a ballroom.

So to put the two thoughts together. Two dancers with a strong physical connection in their frame and contact points in the presence of the right music, the dance can be special. The dance can be a moment that one may never forget. At the end, the dancers may look into each other’s eyes with special admiration and gratitude for the moment. Now that’s what connection can do in a social ballroom setting.

“Laughter, song, and dance create emotional and spiritual connection; they remind us of the one thing that truly matters when we are searching for comfort, celebration, inspiration, or healing: We are not alone.” (Brené Brown, author)

Below are two scenes from popular movies that you may have seen … and these scenes are about important aspects of connection – well, at least to me. Enjoy, and thanks for reading. Does this make any sense?

47 thoughts on “On Multiple Connections

  1. Though the original Japanese version of “Shall We Dance” is my fave, how can you diss Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere?
    As for “Scent of a Woman” – I am still waiting for my Al Pacino to teach me… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful post on the great art form of dance! I learned a lot and I especially liked the paragraph starting “Regardless of the place, the music sets a tone . . . “

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim,
      Thanks. When it comes to music, I’m on the picky side of the spectrum as I place importance on both the rhythms and sound of the music. While country waltzes provide the rhythm, many aren’t close to setting the tone. Tango is another one that increases my angst.


  3. Frank,

    I had read and enjoyed this one very much. I especially dig the idea of different songs providing different thoughts. Hence, the connection becomes a matter of locale, without ever leaving the ballroom. Very cool . . . very cool indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love finding connections between things (as you may have noticed). 🙂 It makes perfect sense that the physical connection between dancers would be as you described it. I imagine there would also be an intense connection between dance performers of all types, for example a ballet pas de deux.
    Do you remember that show, Connections, with James Burke? My husband and I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merril,
      I remember James Burke’s Connections. Loved how he used the word to show the sequence of events of discovery linked tar for waterproofing ships to computer chips (or something like that). Cheers to your love for connections!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Neat post, Frank! It sound like the connection is a feeling, Frank. Whether with a partner, the music, the floor etc, the connection is human electricity.
    The 2 clips are wonderful, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fabulous movies, Frank, and I like the reminder of the importance of leading and following–connection–in music and dance. I think somehow if we wanted to make the effort we could use this as emphasis to validate the strengthening of human connection across all platforms. I think more than ever I want to remember that we are all connected, despite divisions, real and manufactured. Very nice thoughts tonight. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love those two films Frank!
    I feel we have lost something in our society because people no longer dance the old fashioned way. As you say dance is all about connections and we no longer practice connections with others on the dance floor.
    I, of course, enjoyed this post Frank 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Colline,
      Knowing your love for ballroom, I knew you would appreciate and understand the post. I agree with you about practicing connections. In the social ballroom scene, I see people concentrating on steps, but not much connection. If they only knew! … but they think they know!


  8. Loved this, Frank; I agree totally with your thoughts. I especially enjoyed this paragraph:
    “So to put the two thoughts together. Two dancers with a strong physical connection in their frame and contact points in the presence of the right music, the dance can be special. The dance can be a moment that one may never forget. At the end, the dancers may look into each other’s eyes with special admiration and gratitude for the moment. Now that’s what connection can do in a social ballroom setting.”
    This is one of the reasons we continue to dance. It is extremely pleasing to have this connection with my partner, Keith. During, in particular, the Foxtrot, Keith allows me to have the lead in the Reverse Wave (man and woman reverse roles). This was so hard for Keith to relinquish control/lead at first. However, now, after some years of practice, he enjoys this reversal of roles, and often, in social dance will choose this figure (a little too often)! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn,
      Because you are a dancer, you understand the depth of my theme. One of the best parts of this post is that many of my non-dancing readers understood that connection was deeper than they imagined! Your example with Keith is perfect, so thanks for sharing! You may also enjoy the Lead & Follow post (linked in this one) … or one of the short stories.


  9. Pingback: On a Yearly Transition – A Frank Angle

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