Six years ago I uploaded a video to YouTube where I shared a concept I dubbed the "Connection Trifecta" through my understanding of kizomba and urban kiz as a partner dance. On a simple level, there are three entities someone in the lead role, the follow role, and the music. So the Connection Trifecta was awareness between the self, your partner, and the music. The main idea behind the video was if you could practice each area of awareness separately and then be really be present on the social dance floor, you could reach “connection heaven” on the dance floor.
During my early days of teaching, I noticed a struggle with the students I taught and also with myself to be able to balance the awareness across all three connection areas of awareness. If I put too much attention on the music, my awareness would fall elsewhere. I believe through intentional practice we can expand our awareness on the social dance floor.
Another lens I found out about over the years is the difference between people who are left-brain dominant versus right-brain dominant. The left brain controls our more logical, analytical, and rational thoughts; our right brain controls our more creative, artistic, and emotional thoughts. With this notion in mind, it dawned on me to cross-reference the 3 areas of awareness in the Connection Trifecta across both brain hemispheres. Below, I will share some questions to hopefully point you in the direction of a more wholesome, full-brained connection awareness in your dancing.
I'm also officially creating the wonky word of ambi-cerebral-dexterity, not be confused with ambi-pedi-dexterity. 🤓
Left Brain - Body Awareness
- How is your physical body moving through space?
- Where is your center of gravity, axis, and balance?
Right Brain - Self Awareness
- What is your mental and emotional state as you move through space?
- What energy are you wanting to bring into the dance at this moment or in general?
- What energies are you needing, wanting, desiring, craving, and/or open to exploring?
Left Brain - Partner Awareness
- What are the physical and visual cues and intentions needed to communicate and understand your partner?
Right Brain - Empathy
- What are you noticing about the potential mental and emotional state of your partner?
- What energies do they seem to be open or receptive to?
Left Brain - Musical Structure
- What is the genre, artist, language, tempo, of the song?
- What sections of the song you can recognize?
- What musical elements can you recognize and what are their individual patterns?
Right Brain - Musical Interpretation
- If there are lyrics, do you understand the language?
- If yes, what is the story behind the song from the artist?
- What is your interpretation of the lyrics/story?
- What feelings does the song inspire inside of you?
These questions aren’t exhaustive at all, which questions stood out to you and which ones would you add? What previous dance experiences popped up for you when reflect using this lens?
Over the years of increasing my awareness across both hemispheres, I feel at this point it is just me and my expression. We don't have to have this polarity or dichotomy of how things are "supposed to be". I can be logically creative and emotional. I can so be creatively analytical. Everyone is on their own dance journey and is searching for their own dance fulfillment. I hope these ideas and questions help you along your way.