How can you tell the dancers from the non-dancers in UK early dance? This is a difficult question to answer. Politeness and authenticity demand a very particular approach to dancing, whatever period you are doing. They affect everything.
- How you should walk;
- How you should do the steps;
- How you should relate to your partner;
- How you should relate to the others in a group or country dance;
- How your movements should relate to whatever music is going on at the time.
Those who have had the misfortune to be trained in some modern dance form or other (ballet, ballroom & Latin, contemporary dance come immediately to mind) may mistakenly believe that what they see before them in a UK early dance workshop is bad dancing. This is completely wrong. What they fail to realise is the truly polite and authentic dancing that is being graciously proffered for their delectation. (NOTE: delectation has NOTHING to do with pleasure)
If you are being continually told off for dancing with too much energy, for trying to do the steps properly, for wanting to learn the dances quickly, for being eager to do more difficult steps and figures and for wanting to practice, you are obviously trying too hard. It is suspiciously likely that you are a ‘dancer’ of one of these abhorrent modern techniques. If you are, then you will never be polite and authentic and you can never reach the distinction of truly belonging within the UK early dance world.