I had a dance class today. Up until this point, my dance classes have involved my instructor teaching me the steps and rhythms of various ballroom dances, along with west coast swing and hustle. I've enjoyed it, but I've felt a bit stuck. I hate memorizing patterns that other people have come up with.
Today, I took a new direction. I feel like I learn best trying things out myself first, figuring out as much as I can on my own, and then getting just enough instruction to lift me over the obstacles that I get stuck against.
So I asked my teacher to let me try something. I wanted her to just let me improvise, leading her, and to not criticize anything I was doing, or try to correct me, and that I wasn't going to do any particular style of dance, but just improvise freely.
At first it was very awkward. I didn't really know what to do. She suggested doing a Salsa step, and we did that for a bit, but I didn't want to fall into a predefined pattern, so I reverted to trying to make-up footwork on my own. Many things I tried didn't work out, but she persevered and didn't criticize me or tell me what to do, and she was supportive, playing along with the things I tried.
By mid lesson, I was feeling quite a bit more comfortable, and doing something, moving around the floor, and loosely incorporating little bits of stuff I had learned before, but not obeying any of the footwork. By the end, I was much less inhibited, and it was fun.
She did give me some suggestions during it, based on things I was trying to do, or things that I accidently almost did, and she showed me how make them work. I felt like these instructions were good. I feel like they'll be even better as I learn more on my own, and run up against problems that she can answer "in context".
Anyway, I'm very excited.