Savvy Raj

Live Life Lovingly!


6 Comments

On Leadership

As a dance educator and trainer…while teaching and sharing social dancing skills one of the important learnings we work on is the understanding of the art of leading and following. Both very significant for any kind of partner dancing as much as in life itself. After all, life is a dance and dance imitates life!

In the first place, what does it take to be a leader? Many things but most importantly, a follower. So simply put, there must be a follower to be a leader. There can be no leader without a follower and there certainly would be no follower without a leader.

Dancing together is a lesson in leading and following in partnership!

In such a perspective both the leader and follower in the dance have a relevant role to play, that of completing the dance successfully and like so in life as well.

A dance can teach a lot about leadership and here are a few reflections on what it is to lead…

To lead is an opportunity to honour the trust of a follower.

To lead is to light the flame of inspiration to win the vote of trust of the followers.

To lead is to have a strength of purpose that inspires confidence.

To lead is to allow yourself to make decisions for others to evolve along.

To lead is to accept the responsibility of mistakes.

To lead is to maintain a decorum of standards unflinchingly.

To lead is to believe you can!

To lead is to be led by a greater purpose.

To lead is to value the laws of nature.

To lead is to value the need for self expression while respecting the need for structure.

To lead is to better the followers and not beat them down at every opportunity.

To lead is to be able to collaborate and learn just as much as to compete.

To lead is to denote respect and not expect overt attention.

To lead is to show the way for others to follow.

To lead to work tirelessly with a sense of inner commitment without hesitation without expectation.

To lead is to muster the resilience of the spirit.

To lead is to endow the spirit of courage in others.

To lead is take into account the potential of all possibilities.

Savvy

Do share your take on leadership. I would be keen to understand how you see it impacting your life and work.

The strength of support and flow of movements while dancing together is based on the connection established and that marks the quality of leadership in question.

Savvy

http://www.danceconcepts.in

#danceworkshops #dancing #danceeducation #dancelessons #lifelessons #learners #leadership #leadandfollow #danceconcepts

Advertisements


7 Comments

To dance is to…

To Dance is to live in the moment joyfully!

Happy New Year 2019 Keep Dancing

& Enjoy Living!!


4 Comments

Celebrate Life… Live than just exist.

This note above has a true story that happened with me…. I have published it in my earlier article called the Magic of Movements.
This is one of those moments when writing and sharing stories from our lives bring us a deep sense of connection… with our readers and ourselves in gratitude for the learnings. And there is that sense of magic through words.
This is an old story but to me, but sharing it evokes the same poignant feeling of fond memories of the people that are attached to it

Here is the story if you would like to read.

The Magic of Movements

‘Life is a dance’….A painting by Savvy Raj

As a Dance Educator and a Creative MovementTrainer using Ballroom and Latin dances to improve health and well-being through various Dance for Wellness programs, it has been an enriching experience watching the learners revel in the simple joys of movement.

I have witnessed complete shifts in self esteem, confidence and agility among learners of all ages.But to cite a very recent instance …there is a small group of senior learners at one of my workshops who are gradually changing their mental makeup to being extremely enthusiastic about life and learning to dance. I still remember that Sunday morning about four years ago when I was almost through with teaching a Waltz class and I saw this slender, elderly elegant woman walking in and standing quietly, keenly watching the students who were practicing their steps from the sidelines. She was waiting to speak to me ….In that first moment of contact instinctively I knew there was an instant connection.. I gave her a listening ear and noticed she spoke softly and clearly . She said she was heading a group of Senior citizens she would like me to come over and meet the group and also teach them to dance . Her request seemed just right up my alley as I had been intending to conduct some workshops for seniors myself but hadn’t had the opportunity yet . This seemed as if my intentions were slowly finding a way to fulfillment . We fixed up that I would come over and meet them the following Monday at the local church where they all meet up for their weekly meeting . This I came to know later,was the only activity they had together every week .

Soon enough in a week or so I got a call from the lady who initiated it all saying that they need some time for permissions to use the same space of the church for the dance lessons . And that was that … nothing happened . Meanwhile I continued with my Dance workshops , and facilitated training’s of corporate clients . I would remember that meeting once in a while but left it to time to decide the outcome of that meeting.

A few years passed and I was returning back after finishing a children’s workshop in Chennai when I received her call again . Her clear and determined voice was cheerful and hopeful . She said she had two things to say , the seniors have agreed to join in and the church had given them the space to go ahead with the classes . Fantastic …. I knew in my heart it was no coincidence that it happened at all . After all the connects that we established that day were just moving to affirming itself !Well I got Godspeed on my side this time around … things moved on smoothly and we were well into rolling out the first class of Swing Dancing and more .

When I had first met up with them, I remember them huddled in chairs, quite apprehensive and some of them unsure about their ability to learn dancing . But today they have a spring in their step , glint in their eyes and a smile on their lips as they Swing and Cha Cha to their hearts content . And guess what… they love to dance the Merengue and Bachata too and are waiting to learn some more.So happy to have had the opportunity to make a difference in their lives.

The first time I met them they were a group with lots of concerns. They heard me patiently and asked a lot of questions , ranging from whether they would be able to learn at all as most of them were well over sixties and seventies or so .They also mentioned that though they have danced earlier in their lives, they don’t remember much. Some said they know all there is to know, a few others brought out their health issues which were bothering them so much that they cant possibly exercise let alone dance, some questioned what is the point of learning to dance …

Well to be frank I had an interesting and enjoyable time clearing their doubts and addressing their concerns . I knew most of their concerns were common to most people at their age in India.I spoke to them addressing each of their concerns and finally mentioning instances of my own intention of wanting to work with a group of Seniors.

The initially reluctant let their defenses down and an interactive session followed, where I got some understanding of them and they of me . It was one of those fulfilling days a wonderful memory now which I hold close to my heart .Though at the end all they said was that they will get back to me in some time…. somehow as I drove back home that evening I knew in my heart we were all certainly going to meet again in time .

Today as I write this its been six months and more.Dancing together they say they have realized the values of the human connection and the strength of community . They mention to me how they eagerly wait for their dance workshops .They speak of how dance steps into their lives , in moments of loneliness and makes them positive and alive again. They know dancing now is so much more about valuing that equal partnership between the leader and the follower and that the bonds of the dance floor leaves lasting and empowering impressions in their hearts and lives .

This experience as well as many similar incidents has left me even more confident about my beliefs …C ultivate Patience. Dream selflessly. Positive things are waiting to unfold if only we continue to dream our unique dream and believe in it ! All you need is the strength of intention and the dreams realizes itself , just trust in the process! Do what you do with all your heart ! Like minded people will arrive somehow and help you actualize it !

In this endeavor I take this opportunity to express my deep sense of appreciation to some of my dear students who assisted me at the workshops who took time out to be with me at these sessions and I know they shared with me equally the joys of making a positive difference in people’s lives.

Savvy

www.danceconcepts.in


5 Comments

Be this alive!

A great piece of choreography and cinematography from the movie Shall we Dance.

Watch the sensous swivels and the tantalising twirls of tango and be mesmerized by the lead pair of Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez.

I love the line she says to him…

‘Be this alive!’…

Savvy

💙💖💙


6 Comments

You lead I follow : I lead you follow… Life is a dance!

Do you love to dance?

Do you enjoy leading a dance?

What makes a dance enjoyable?

Dance is a lot like life . Here I bring forth a few simple pointers on Partner Dancing.

pexels-photo-843256.jpeg

Important lessons in leadership are easily learned, on the dance floor…as you lead and as you follow.

They are very simple lessons and yet very powerful and contribute in making one a better dancer immediately. But more importantly it helps to know how to be a better leader in life too.

About two decades or more, Social dancing workshops and lessons in India were rarely common. We decided to do something about it and the Dance Concepts Latin &ballroom dance workshops began . We started with the basics :a Foxtrot , a Waltz , Jive , Rock n Roll and of course a Cha Cha Cha.

The idea was to teach as naturally and as simply as possible, so that the students made quick progress in learning the concepts of dancing rather than just a routine. Having had the privilege of sharing our social dancing skills with so many eager learners over the years we made a few observations … when the learners were learning the footwork side by side they would find it a breeze. But when we instructed them to join hands and dance together in an open hold some of them felt as if they were wrestling more than dancing with the lady pulling one way, while the man was pushing her another way Each had their ideas about how they should move and how it would look.

Social Dancing is a partnership, a partnership where there is a leader and a follower. Even if you don’t like to follow, to dance well together it is wise to respect the partnership rules. Learning to follow is a skill that one needs to develop and is not necessarily easy. It’s difficult as you have to do the same thing your partner is doing, except backward.

Just as important, you have to follow his lead even if it seems as if he’s going the wrong way. And thus if one learns to lead well, the partner may actually enjoy the feeling of being led than feeling yanked and shoved around.

Traditionally the man takes the lead on the dance floor. Yes, in ballroom dancing – even in these days -mostly the man leads. But roles can be and are reversed as well. After all it takes two to tango… if one leads the other follows.

Being a leader is more about sensitivity and definitely not about pushing your partner around, but to lead well, it is necessary to develop spatial awareness so you know exactly where your partner is at every moment, which foot their weight is balanced on without looking. You have to be aware of their pacing, and be mindful of the strengths, and weaknesses. And you have to take all that into consideration every time you move with a partner in your arms.

A good leader connects than controls.

Savvy

Sense what you are going to do before you do it. Just be aware of what your next step is going to be, and give your partner the signal at the right time so they can follow you gracefully. Like so in life: Having some foresight of what your life should become is like knowing what type of dance you want to do. But being a good leader requires more of you than that. It demands that you also have good ideas about the medium- and short-term tasks that are required to achieve that vision. And it means you have to communicate those ideas to your partners – those who are working closely with you to achieve your vision.

When dancing together it is very important to …

Signal your intentions with clarity. To lead well, and the way to avoid using force is to give strong, clear signals. The clearer your signals are, the easier it is to follow you. And the easier it is for your partner to follow you, the better you will look and feel together and the better they will like dancing with you.

In life: knowing what you want from your partners, colleagues etc is not enough. You have to let them know what you want them to do by communicating it to them with clarity. And most of all you have to develop the art of patience.

Lead to demonstrate your partner’s strengths.In dancing, the purpose of the leader is to lead – but the purpose of the dance itself is to enjoy the moment with your partner, each focusing on the bringing the best of each others strengths than the weaknesses…

Wise leaders hardly blame the follower when things go haphazard , which it might at times! After all exhilaration and excitement are a stones throw away from comfort zones that one might trespass at times , yet when ever the leader and the follower work in harmony … it is magnetic and mesmerizing indeed! It is then a dance beyond all expectations!

Savvy Raj

Member of International Dance Council

UNESCO

savy_email-signture31802694449.jpg


9 Comments

The Gift of Life

To dance is to acknowledge the living you at this moment
In every move, the heart and mind is looped in joyousness
In every flight is the beauty of lightness.

To dance is to realize

The sensation of living

And to energize the self

As well as the surroundings

With this gift of life!

Savvy


34 Comments

What’s your favourite style of dance, and why?

As a Ballroom & Latin dance educator, many students have asked me what my favourite dance style is…
It is said that each style is like a language. Personally, I also think of different dance styles as having a “mood” that goes with them. I guess it’s not surprising that I do like lots of “happy” or “joyous” styles of dance. But I really do like the variety of dances for the variety of moods and it’s amazing ability in bringing a sense of balance. If I was stuck to dancing in one style, I would probably get bored after a while (I know that sounds strange). But it’s one of the reasons I really like dancing a variety of dances.

The Tango (for its intensity and passion at play as much as its fancy footwork)

And dancing the Waltz (for the heady glide, the rise and fall and its romantic sway).

Love the Rumba for it certainly is the dance of love… the song Everyday I love you, immediately comes to mind. But this performance by Slavik and Karina is quite riveting.

Happen to like the Cha cha for its stylish moves as much as its teasing spirit …that kind of speaks, this is my move … now, what’s yours?

I love the Jive for its lively spirit. You can truly never be sad after a little Jive/ Swing and Rock and roll. What say? At least it has always been a happy dance for me.

Really fond of it as much as the Samba for its lively bounce, so full of joyfulness.

Then of course comes the Foxtrot that feels like a wonderful conversation a dialogue between the steps

I also like the Merengue with its simple marching steps and executing many inter-looping turns almost feeling like a pretzel.

And how can I leave the Bachata for its engaging sensuality as those dancing hips don’t lie, they say it all and much much more…

Dances are so many and styling makes it even more unique.

In fact, I enjoy all these dances and more for their unique expressions – just one style would get boring.

The trick is to flow with the music and your partner whatever the dance and partake in the pleasure of dancing together in the now.

To actually be able to enjoy dancing to the varied music styles that would be a real treat. All the more reasons to learn and train in more than just one dance style :))

Do share your thoughts on dance and if you love to dance, what your favourite style of dance is…

I would be glad to learn and read more.

Savvy