E2- Explore your Dance

E2- Explore your Dance

After being engaged you are ready to move on to the next step in the cycle: E#2- Explore.  This is truly the meat and potatoes of learning.  I learned to dance the same way most people learned math, by rote.  While I am thankful for everything, and I see the value in the hours spent practicing with one hand on a barre, it wasn’t very engaging (see previous thought) or fun- and it took me years to achieve mastery of the techniques.  Now there is better data on optimized learning, but then I did it because that was what you did if you wanted to be in Pilobolos one day.

The point of learning by exploration is that you will make more meaningful connections between previous experience and new ideas if you can come upon them yourself.  My Tango teacher would call this an ‘organic’ method (which I never appreciated at the time).  I find it easier to relate to this kind of knowledge thru a story so here’s my parable that has nothing to do with Tango.

*fade out, and back in with a soft lens*

I was building a roost for my hens.  By this point I had been gifted some power tools, but no one had ever shown me how to use them.  My first few attempts at chicken-centric building were fairly disastrous (one day I came home to find the flock on my roof) but I was going to try again.  As I was measuring and cutting, I noticed I had an odd end piece of wood left over.  I figured I shouldn’t waste it, and looking at my roost I saw it could almost fit diagonally between an upright and a lintel.   So I shaved off a corner and voila!  No one told me that bracing at 45 degree angles was a solid structural idea, but my roost survived the week and I started doing it on other projects.  Had I gotten that information as received knowledge the odds are that I would have forgotten.  Stumbling onto something on your own lasts a lifetime.

*the lens clears as you return to something dance related*

This is something that you can look for in a good lesson.  Often the “point” isn’t apparent at the beginning, just a warm-up dance or two that slowly morph into an unfamiliar movement.  But it is intriguing, and while novel the movement doesn’t feel bad.  You check yourself in the mirror and it even looks pretty cool as well.  Now that you’ve had a chance to explore there is greater meaning in your new-found skill, and the Explanation is something you almost ask for (instead of almost sleeping thru).