Hi. This is an old blog. My name is Stefani, and I’m a researcher in organisational behaviour at Harvard. While I worked on this blog, I was doing a PhD at the University of Oxford in the study of religion. I completed that in 2020.
The last post I put up was several years ago, now (I’m writing this in 2021)… but having finished my PhD, I’m thinking, maybe I’ll get back to it. I still agree with most of what’s on this blog. But I have a lot more to say 🙂
Occasionally throughout my 20s I wrote a blog about dance because I felt like a more nuanced discussion about the techniques and culture of partner dances was needed in the world.
I wrote this blog because I have always been obsessed with dance. I started dancing in 1990 and in the 23 years between then and 2013, solo dancing (ballet, jazz, etc etc) was central to my life. I loved it deeply and thought nothing in the world could be better than it.
That is, until a friend dragged me to a salsa social. Then, I was hooked. Absolutely, painfully, devotedly hooked.
I wasn’t content to just do salsa. I had to do all of the dances I could. I had to dance every night. I literally made sure that I had a different social to go to every evening – every evening. I once danced 271 days in a row and the 272nd I had to take off because it was Thanksgiving and there were no socials.
It was really hard for me to try to adjust to following. I honestly – I just didn’t get it. I had been listening only to myself while dancing my entire life. I really, desperately wanted a road map to the art of following.
Yes, I’d say, I get that that’s the move. But how do I follow it?
There is a universe of difference between a move and a follow.
I’d go to lessons and teachers would teach leaders a move, and then they would say, “and the follower will just know what to do!”
No, they won’t.
The thing about leading and following is that they are the arts of communicating with your body. You listen, you hear, you interpret. You can say so much with your body. But it’s not about knowing a move (though that does help).
Following is about knowing how to hold your body and your mind so that you can hear what the other person is trying to tell you.
While I was starting out on this dance journey I longed fora. resource like this blog, but it just didn’t exist. So, here, after spending years studying the art of listening with my body, I started documenting the pieces I was putting together.
That’s what’s in this blog… and what I may be putting more of in this blog. Of course – as my friends so often hear me say – I am merely a student of the art. I’m not just saying this. I have no pretensions about my abilities. There is so much left for me to learn. What I do have is a deep, abiding love for learning.
And I am so happy to share in it with you 🙂