My name is John White, and since 2007, I’ve been a dancer. When I told my sister I was learning to dance, she thought I was joking. “That was the most un-John thing I’d ever heard,” she later told me. “I was waiting for the punch-line.” At the time, even I thought it was uncharacteristic, mentioning dance classes in a list of scary things I was trying in the new year. At age 34, I had decided to start studying something that Americans either pursue as children or never learn at all.
For a major portion of my life, learning was a solo process. I used books, brute force, and ego as my tools to bludgeon my tasks into submission (and sometimes, to spectacularly flame out). Dancing was something daunting, a skill that I had no natural affinity for, no background in, and no mentors to guide me. Though I looked, there were no instructional books written about the type of dance I was studying, Lindy Hop. Dance is movement, rhythmic movement, the rhythms of music (though sometimes that music can’t be heard by anyone but the dancer). Even if there were a book on Lindy Hop, it would probably be close to useless for the beginner who had no grounding in any kind of technique.
It’s been a journey, both in learning to dance, and in my gradual examination of my learning process. Recently, as I’ve had to examine the lessons I’ve learned (and am still learning!), it occurred to me that I should write it all down. I know that I’ve been strongly influenced in my thinking about dance and maybe I can influence others, even if it’s inspiring them to opposition.
At any rate, welcome to my brain.