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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Life is a Tango

It is sometimes said :
"It takes two to tango", "Life is a tango" and "You have not lived life unless you've danced the tango" (to paraphrase).

The saying "It takes two to tango" captures the essence of what latin dancing should be in a social dance setting. It refers to that perfect balance between dancers where there is just that right amount of support from the man to allow his partner to lean in to his frame to execute her moves.
One cannot tango with oneself because of the need for mutual support from the partner in the dance.
If one picture is worth a thousand words, then how much is a video worth I wonder?
I think the best way to demonstrate this perfect balance in the absence of the words that fail me, is to look at the tango in motion.
Click on this  link  to a wonderful tango performed to "La Cumparsita", which shows the intricacy of the footwork and the man's hold, which allows his partner to make those delicate but fully controlled steps which are characteristic of the Argentine tango.

And have a look at this link to see a video of the milonga, which predates the Argentine tango. Milonga is even more amazing to my mind, in the perfection of balance required for the woman to maintain her stance. As you can see she appears to be leaning quite heavily on her partner, while still maintaining her own body weight.

I have tried dancing the Argentine tango but was never able to attain the competence to dance it socially and effortlessly. It's the one dance that I would love to master before I die.
So now I dance salsa which is a lot of fun and does not depend absolutely on perfect balance as does the tango.
There are different stages in the evolution from student to accomplished dancer.
If you are not Latino and born with the rhythm, dancing with your family at events from the time you were a baby, chances are you start the learning process in a school setting.
At the very beginning you struggle just to count the beats in the step. Then rats...they play the music and you have to count beats and step to the music at the same time...how do they expect you to do the two things at once?
And to add to your woes, if you're of the male persuasion you have to learn how to lead (what is that?) and think in advance of what move to do next to keep your partner from feeling bored, or worse yet, giving you that condescending look that says, "So , u'mmm you're on your second lesson, right?"
I am not a guy, but judging from the beads of sweat and pained, but thoughtful expressions I see on the dance floor, I would say that thinking 'what next' while remembering to keep your feet in time to the music is a difficult task for most, if not all beginners.

But fear not men, it's just a matter of time and practice, practice, practice, before you conquer the dance floor and have the ladies lining up to ask you to dance.
Here's how the process works as you persevere in your chosen art form.
In the beginning yes, it is challenging to multitask and coordinate limbs with counting beats and thinking of the next move all at the same time. But as you repeat the steps your neuroplastic brain kicks in to turn on the  autopilot and you'll find your feet begin to move of their own accord, allowing you to actually pay attention to the music.
I can't guarantee that this is how it happens to everyone, but my personal experience is that one day, something just clicks and you find yourself moving in time to the music without thinking of the mechanics of the steps and counting the beats in your head. This is the stage when your brain has learned the steps and your feet move to the rhythm by rote.
At that exquisite turning point my friend, you become a salsa dancer.
It's the moment when you respond to the sheer pleasure of the music and and it tells you what to do. It's as if guys, you don't really have to contemplate what next because your body is on autopilot and you channel the music in your moves.
Believe me, it really happens, so take heart.

Just one word of advice for dancing in social settings.
We dance salsa for many reasons- fun, self expression, unwinding, excitement, meeting new people, a little weight loss perhaps.
The dance is supposed to make you feel good. Then you can go back to your routine work, full of endorphins and ready to take on what your career throws at you.

Salsa dancing for a performance or competition is quite different than dancing for pleasure on the social scene, such as clubs or socials, parties and the like.
Salsa is not about command and control. It's about two people enjoying each other's energies and having fun with movement. When we are now learning it's necessary and important to do the "school moves" because it's a valuable teaching tool to help you execute the steps in time to the music. Also, when learning it does help both partners to know a pattern of steps that's predictable, for if we were not learning a move, we won't necessarily know how to put the steps together to make a pleasing choreographed movement.
However once you have reached that exquisite turning point when you move from learner to dancer, then dance to express the passion in the music.Having learned the school steps feel free to arrange them spontaneously in combinations that please you. And ladies, the best way to follow is to allow the guy to lead you without trying to guess which move he is trying to take you into.
Some guys stick to school steps and others dance spontaneously, so you have to let go of anticipating his moves and begin to just enjoy moving your body to the music and let him take control. I know that's hard, but you can't have two leaders in a dance as you will never move together.

Now here is what distinguishes the accomplished dancer:
Everyone is going to make mistakes in a social setting where you dance with several different partners throughout the event.
But it is how you come back from the mistake right into the rhythm in a smooth movement, that demonstrates how proficient you are. It's not about who is right and who did not follow. Remember this is supposed to be fun!
Men, it is very challenging that you have to know how to lead, as well as think in advance of your next move.
However women also face a different kind of challenge in that every time she changes partners she has to accommodate to the guy's rhythm. Different people have different rhythms while dancing in perfect time to the music. Some have slower, longer motions, others shorter arm reach, some do a lot of waist movement, others don't. Some are a bit more staccato, others more fluid, some sharp, some sensual. And all this is done in time to the same music.
I found that I have to adjust my own natural rhythm, in order to follow some partners. Sometimes you simply have to walk through the steps with the timing , in order to balance your partner's rhythm.

So as men and women, leaders and followers in the dance, we both face a different challenge in a social setting where we continuously change partners. The key to looking accomplished is to cut your
partner some slack. If she moves out of reach or does not go where you intended her to, then it is not ok (unless you are a tutor), to say "No, no, that's not it".
Your proficiency and knowledge becomes apparent when you modify your intended move in a fluid movement.
For example, she did not grab your hand this time around, then catch her on the next step.
Or she took the wrong hand, so allow her to spin and then find the correct hand.
And when the mistakes happen, well that's when you make use of your shine steps. Move apart, show off a bit, then come together again as a couple.

That people, is my two cents on latin dancing for social events!
Here's a nice little salsa video to inspire you. It's unrehearsed and spontaneous and a great example of the accommodation I speak about. Enjoy!:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amO1sDZlrkI

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fighting cancer with food?

Yesterday in my blog "The cook, the artist- how to love with food", I mentioned the growing awareness of certain foods which contain phytonutrients which are known to reduce cancers.
I said then that there is only anecdotal evidence about the cancer-fighting properties of these foods.

However since then I came across this video presentation at http://www.ted.com/talks/william_li.html  where Dr William Li, the head of the Angiogenesis Foundation, reveals his research into this topic. Consider it another piece of research into possible supplementary and non-medical treatment for cancer.
It's a 20 minute video.Dr Li talks about their research into angiogenesis which is the process by which cancerous tumors are fed by blood vessels, causing cancers to metastasize.
He refers to results of their treatment of animals with anti-angiogenesis drugs developed by his Foundation, which were found to reduce certain cancers by cutting off the blood supply to the cancerous cells.

He also postulates that the reason why anti-cancer drugs may not be completely working to kill cancerous cells, is that the treatment often comes too late into the game, when the growth is too advanced.
He asks "How can we prevent the tumors from growing in the first place?"
The answer says Dr Li might lie in eating certain foods which have been found to prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Here is the link to the slide which lists those foods that have been found to be anti-angiogenic.

He refers to a Harvard study which followed 79,000 men over 20 years. It was found that men who consumed 2-3 servings of cooked tomatoes a week, experienced up to a 50% reduction in the risk of developing prostate cancer.
While end stage cancer is difficult and expensive to treat Dr Li says, we can all benefit from a diet based on local , sustainable and anti-angiogenic crops.

For me, this is another piece of information to add to my quest into the causes and prevention of cancer.
It's worthwhile to check out the video and see for yourself.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The cook, the artist -How to love with food

When you look back over your life you realise there were times when your attitude towards a certain person or event or task, or some other thing, changed. It's not always possible to identify the moment of change. For me though, I can recall the exact event which caused my attitude towards cooking to change and evolve over time.
Some years back (actually just after the turn of this century), I saw the movie "Tortilla Soup" with Hector Elizondo and Elizabeth Pena. Thank goodness for wikipedia because now I can put this link here for you to read all about it if you haven't seen it .
And click  here for a short trailer which shows some of the delectable images which changed my attitude towards cooking.

I do not remember  too much of the storyline, but over the years there was one image that stayed with me. When I saw those opening close- ups of Martin Naranjo preparing a meal in a well appointed Mexican kitchen, I was mesmerized. The images made you open your eyes and salivate over something that you couldn't even smell.The colours of those vegetables, the homey sounds of the spoons and knives in action, the steam emanating from the pots, and the sheer efficiency with which the chef moved from one area of the prep table to the stove and back, gave me an instant paradigm shift.

This was not the way I reluctantly dragged myself around my kitchen, wishing that I could just eat out instead.
This was an artist in motion, his palette the colours of eggplant and avocados, bell peppers and cilantro, pumpkin flowers and tomatoes, corn and cheese.

After that I began to see my fresh ingredients in a whole new light. When the veil of jadedness is pierced, you finally begin to see the artistry of making food. Cooking does not have to be a chore. It is a channel for expressing your desire to create something that is unique to you. And cooking for people you care about, and feeling the appreciation for your endeavours, gives us another way to define ourselves. We can add 'cook' to our portfolio of roles.

Even more, I enjoy cooking with a partner who savours the experience as much as I do. What a whole new level on which to connect!...But that's another conversation...

When you see food as art that you can create, that is when you cook with love. It's been said, when some people cook you can feel the love that goes into it. Why does it taste different when your grandmother makes it special for you (assuming your grandmother cooks, of course!) ?
I have a theory on that based on my own experience. When I used to cook because I had to, because it was another chore, I would rush through the process, coarsely chopping the seasonings and other ingredients. Stuff it in the pot and be done with it was really the approach. Now I find myself savouring the colours and aromas from my raw ingredients ( none are raw meat...see below). I appreciate the goodness of my fresh materials and carefully grind and chop and blend. I think that feeling we put into it is the love we feel in the food.

It's unfortunate that some of us only see the drudgery of the kitchen. And drudgery it certainly is at times.
It is unfortunate when we cook only out of necessity, to save money. Or when we don't cook, to save time.

I never actually follow recipes (something to do with a hearty dislike for regimentation).
No, what I like is the excitement of creating something new out of "found" ingredients. (That's the stuff you find in and around your kitchen). And there's so much stuff to be found in the farmers' markets, the little ethnic groceries, and for the strong of heart, Chinatown. That's one of the things to love about Toronto. Such a vast landscape of ingredients waiting to be experimented on. Pity that much stuff comes with foreign language labels with no indication of whether it's fruit, dried animal or vegetable. Or if you're supposed to cook or eat it raw.
Nonetheless, I have found that the proprietors of the small establishments (when not overwhelmed with customers), are quite willing to translate or explain what you do with some of the quaint items on their shelves.
However not being a consumer of creatures that walk, run, or fly, I restrict myself to those that swim in seas,  rivers and other water courses.

Since moving to Toronto I've been so inspired by both wholesome and hearty foods, as well as exotic fare from the east that I now store spices, herbs and seasonings like star anise, pumpkin seed oil, coriander, galangal, cardomum, fenugreek, and many others.

Admittedly cooking is not entirely haphazard in method. You can throw ingredients together to see what emerges, but not all ingredients are made for each other.
It is good to look at the methods of various styles of cooking, just so as not to waste ingredients that don't sit well on the palate in certain combinations.

The cooking shows on tv and the posts on Youtube are an excellent starting point for getting an idea of methods and for picking up tips to save time and improve flavor among other things. If you want to cook beyond wholesome and hearty, then my friend, you may want to consider chef school.

For most of my life I cooked only for taste and enjoyment.
However I only recently became exposed to the specific health benefits of certain vegetables and spices.
While I have found no scientific surveys of the curative properties of certain foods, there is much anecdotal reference to the relation between these foods and the reduction of cancerous tumours and heart disease etc.

Please note that I am no expert, nor even educated in the relationship between food groups and disease.  The views that follow are my personal beliefs.

 My personal view is that because certain foods have been linked to, or 'studies show that' foods like garlic, broccoli, shitake mushrooms, flax seed, tumeric etc are known to reduce tumors, I would rather structure my diet to include these foods. In other words I no longer cook only for flavour, but incorporate the 'wonder foods' in those flavours.

As I say, it's my personal choice. But before I had started researching the healing properties of foods (beyond vitamins and minerals etc), I never knew about the recently identified phytonutrients in those foods that are linked to reducing specific diseases.

It is best to do your own research, speak to your nutritionist , doctor, wholistic practitioner etc, to make up your own mind.

Here are a couple books which I use that are a good starting point for bringing flavour and health benefits together:

Cooking with Foods That Fight Cancer  The Doctors Book of Food Remedies: The Newest Discoveries in the Power of Food to Treat and Prevent Health Problems-From Aging and Diabetes to Ulcers

And this is a link to a wonderful book by Carol Rajah with seafood recipes from places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, India and Pakistan etc.to name a few.
Seafood Sensation: More Than 150 of the Best Asian Seafood Recipes

Granted the stresses of daily living do not always conduce to spending time in the kitchen.
But when you do manage to find time to create, then cook with love, make art, and eat yourself to wellness.

Friday, May 7, 2010

An adventure into abductive reasoning?

When I was a lawyer in another country I had the experience of intuition clashing with analytics in a manner that is typical of many organisations.
I was called upon prepare some legal guidelines and procedures for 'dealing' with some supposedly illegal occupants. Diligent research (the kind you throw yourself into wholeheartedly and with much enjoyment when you're newly called to the Bar), revealed that the 'illegal' people were in fact quite legal and had certain rights which could not be contravened without due process. The Powers That Be had already drawn up a Proposal which included evictions of new illegals (as was within their right), and sought to  encourage the illegals to enter into instruments of tenure and pay premiums for those rights. Thing is, they were already legal and already had those rights. However by upgrading their rights it would be perfectly justifiable to ask for a premium in consideration.

We had these periodic meetings where representatives of all departments got together to give status reports of their accomplishments which formed part of the entire business objectives, of which my Unit was only a part. Every meeting was somehow documented into a matrix which would show updates on everyone’s tasks.
But I could not update on the original Proposal for my Unit because it was just not possible to proceed under the program as set out in that proposal. I realized that ‘It cannot be done that way’ just does not compute in the systemic world of institutional thinking. (When I think of that time, I keep getting these images of a “Lost in Space” type robot, waving his little arms about and exclaiming in robot monotones “This does not compute! This does not compute! )
They said “Update” and I said “Can’t be done. The assumptions are wrong”. And I just could not fit myself into the task matrix. In order to achieve the loftier goals of helping people, which was the real intention of the Powers That Be (apart from getting the odd political vote), what we needed was some new radical legislation.

Being exhorted to fit myself into the matrix was my first encounter with big institutions where rigid systems are developed to make things run smoothly. I’ve found that often the ‘System’ (whether it be software, platforms, or old fashioned charts on paper), often assume an inflated importance. Often people conceive of their jobs as learning and using the software or following the systems and lose sight of the real goals of the business or institution.
Don’t get me wrong, systems, procedures and guidelines are vital to the efficient running of a business. However when they become the only thing that is valued, then this is a sign of stagnation. It is not enough only to have people with certificates and experience in that kind of job. It’s also necessary to have people with experiences and ideas from other industries and walks of life. They are the ones with the potential to envision new ideas which the business has not seen before.
But coming back to me and the task matrix.
I was finally able to convince some People That Mattered that it wasn’t about filling in tasks in the matrix to show that you did do some work that week. In order to accomplish the objectives of helping people (and in the process get a few votes in) we needed to re-engineer the whole program and that required new legislation to enable certain things to be done. And I set about doing just that. Two versions of it actually, because of some changes in governments that occurred in that period.
To make a long story short eventually a new boss sailed in with a third change in government. And this boss was a thinker. He saw a future of what the world could be even when his contemporaries kept using words like ‘maintain the status quo’.
That boss was the Minister of Government who finally brought a third version of our Bill to Parliament and it became law. By this time I had official help from two colleagues and the professional legislative draftsmen to refine the Bill which was eventually read in Parliament.

Working within the confines of rules and structures can wear down even the most creative of people.  I think that is why many leave for environments that allow them the freedom to follow up on ‘crazy ideas’. When you think of it, every modern convenience including blackberries and computers started with somebody wondering, “What if?”  or “How about we try something that hasn’t been done before?”
Looking back at my role in making that law I realize that being the intuitive type of thinker that I am, I naturally resisted the attempts of the systems people to reduce an  evolving idea, into steps that would fit into a matrix. But eventually, learning to speak in the language of delivery and numbers is what got the support of the Powers That Be to break new ground and create a law which brought new rights for land security into existence. (Controversial as that may be).

I don’t know whether I used abductive reasoning as it is defined (see my last post “Mystery…heuristic…algorithm!! ). There was a business goal to give certain people security and the proposed way of achieving that was just not possible. I wondered what could be done to resolve this problem and came up with a set of procedures which had to be embodied in a new law. It was quite an adventure.
I learned that it is not enough to have a vision of what could be.
To implement it you need to lay out a pragmatic system of rules and procedures for it work. And in order to accomplish that you need to be conversant in the language of the people who are going to work the vision into a heuristic and then hammer out the algorithm to make the results reliable.

Thanks for the design thinking lexicology Roger Martin!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gentlemen start your engines: Mystery...Heuristic...Algorithm!!!

It is said that innovation is about seeing the world not as it is, but as it could be.

Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, says in his new book
"The Design of Business"The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage, that as a concept, 'design thinking' has been evolving only over the past decade. This discipline "constantly seeks to strike a balance between reliability and validity, art and science, between intuition and analytics, and between exploration and exploitation". It is about applying the methods of the designer to the operation of business and the most crucial tool used is that of 'abductive' thinking.

Business practice however, has long operated on the basis of 'deductive' or 'inductive logic'.
You know, if A and B always produce C, then when you see C, you can deduce that A and B had been present in the making of C. Deductive reasoning moves from the general to the specific.

And inductive reasoning works from the specific to the general, but it does not always ensure the truth. Eg, If every time I drop a ball it bounces, and all balls are spherical objects , then I can infer by a process of inductive reasoning that all spherical objects bounce.
(If this is also deductive, somebody tell me please).

This analytical approach to business is what produces the facts and data which will be used to generate the same reliable results.When businesses find a method
(ie, a "heuristic") for doing things which will consistently produce the results they desire , they refine that method down to an "algorithm" (ie a set of documented procedures which, when strictly followed, will consistently produce the same result). ( "Heuristic" and "algorithm" are Roger Martin's lexicology).
An example would be the art of burger-making, refined to a process that McDonalds replicates in every restaurant.
And this way of doing business has consistently worked for most notable successful corporations.
That is, until it does not work any more.

It is inevitable that over time the values, tastes, needs and wants of people will change. The only constant of time is change. So while a business model and the algorithm that expresses it, will produce profitable returns in the foreseeable future, it will not work indefinitely. Businesses have looked to the results of the past in order to develop systems which will lead to predictable results in the future. And this approach works very well until customers start to behave differently as they become exposed to new knowledge and start making different choices.
There comes a point when the processes that you build are no longer valid or enough, for the times.
Roger Martin adverts to the necessity of feeding the “knowledge funnel” with new ideas to forestall the stagnation of business.
How he puts it is, we need to explore the next ‘wicked problem’, the next ‘mystery’ after having developed our star business idea through the funnel from mystery to heuristic to algorithm. This unfortunately is where most businesses become complacent and rest on their laurels. They cease to dream and wonder “what is the next great mystery?” Having worked through the knowledge funnel and honed the great idea down to an algorithm, the thinkers and designers should then be able to pass that algorithm on to those who can simply implement it (and who are less well paid). This releases the drivers, the dreamers and the innovators of the business to put their minds to ‘what next can we dream up”. Now they have the time to look at the trends that are developing in the world and observe how it’s influencing the desires of customers and people generally, who may become the next market for the next great product or service.
This idea of wondering what could be, rather than using past data to deduce or induce the next logical solution, is the form of reasoning that is termed ‘abductive logic’. Martin credits Charles Sanders Peirce, one of the early American philosophers, with using the term "abductive logic". This form of reasoning is not to declare a conclusion to be true or false, but to “posit what could possibly be true”. So abductive reasoning is concerned not so much with what conclusions the data point to, but questions what is missing, or what just does not seem right, in order to make new inferences about what could be. And these design thinkers intuitively ‘feel’ that this idea will work, but don’t have the data to support it. ( Obviously not, because the idea has not been proved yet. It will not be until some time in the future).
Design thinkers therefore seem to be the greatest nightmare of all those logical people in a business, who have worked very hard on designing the ‘systems’. Worst of all is the notion that an intuitive idea may fail as much as it may succeed.
So the two camps would seem to be unhappy enough together in the same room. But yet they need each other for the business to innovate, become efficient, and grow. Somebody has to imagine the future because it does not look like anything in the past. And the systems the analytical types have put in place are absolutely vital for the business to move from the heuristic to the algorithm stage which will streamline processes, add efficiencies and cut costs.
So how shall ‘the ‘twain meet’?
Why, by learning to speak the language of the other of course!
How difficult could it be for designers to learn to talk about GANT charts and schedules and risk avoidance?
And just how difficult is it for the analysts to talk about flaky things like intuition, and dreams, ideas, and (even more flaky) emotions?
(Well it’s very difficult I imagine since I can never even remember what a GANT is, and I’ve been hearing the word often enough. I have to google it again. Oh right...I spelled it wrong!).
Nonetheless, Roger Martin identifies an inherent weakness in the business models of the day. It just makes sense. All ideas become stale after a while and therefore we need to look into the future and imagine what could be.
At the risk of sounding flaky, in 1963 a great man said: “I have a dream…”.
And in 2009 another man took an oath of office.
But it does not take 46 years for businesses to move from the mystery (the dream) to the heuristic to the algorithm.
Does it?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Salsa in Toronto

Lady's Ballroom Dance Shoes Signature S1001My Sexy Shoes (Salsa Remix)Salsa aficionados are called 'Salseros'. There's just something about this social dance form that can become quite addictive.
I have not danced regularly for several years, with some half-hearted on and off attempts last year and a couple years before. But what is it about the memories of being at one with the rhythm which draws you back... I have salsa fever again!
I think music and dance are the quintessential drug of abandon. Latin music is mesmerizing and latin dance can be a channel for unleashing those passions which we keep under wraps. This is NOT ballroom dancing!
In the moments when you dance and feel the perfect balance with your partner, when you perfectly play off each other... those are the moments when everything else disappears and you and the rhythm are one. There are times when there is nothing but the music and your feet move of their own accord in this expressive art form.

I'm not sure that any salsero can quit completely. I had other priorities for a few years and salsa was pretty much at the bottom of the list. But now there is a compulsion to to succumb to it again.

There are several dances popular in the latin social circuit in Toronto. There's salsa, merengue, cha cha , bachata. I have recently been trying out the Sunday Socials at  Toronto Dance Salsa  at the Empress Walk and I find the standard of dancing there pretty good. The floor is spacious and excellent for spinning and the temperature is controlled. I also like the wall of mirrors which must come in very handy for learning the moves. I've had experience teaching salsa in the past and the benefit of mirrors is not to be underestimated. Seeing how you execute the moves can be very revealing...( a LOT unsaid!).
I also found the amateur competition hosted by Toronto Dance Salsa last Sunday at 6 Degrees to be quite entertaining. I would say the standard of amateur competition in TO to be pretty on the same level with that of Trinidad. ( I should know, having helped host some of the Trinidadian competitions with Walter Diaz who is now back in Peru)... (Maybe I am a little biased...)

The Saturday Socials hosted by Toronto Salsa Practice at the Trinity-St. Paul's church, at 427 Bloor Street West is also worth attending. Jim welcomes everyone and is a great guy. The floor is quite large and pretty good for dancing when you get the large room for the 3.30pm session. It's not airconditioned but you get used to it. Unfortunately sometimes you get the small rooms for the 5.30 session and that's not so good for keeping out of other people's way!. However last two Saturdays we got the large room, so here's to hoping it continues.

I have also been to the Sunday Socials at Go Dance Mambo located at Dovercourt House on Bloor West, but not for some time now. But the floor there is large and pretty good as well.

There are many other venues in TO which I have not had the opportunity to try yet.
But dancing in the Socials is a wonderful way to release some tension and loosen up while you prepare mentally for the work week ahead. In these places you meet new people and it matters not that you don't  have a partner. The guys generally ask everyone to dance and if they don't, the salsa etiquette encourages women to ask the men. They will not refuse you ladies, Just ask as graciously as you expect them to ask you. (And at least TRY not to refuse humble offers!)

And remember people...dancing is supposed to be fun and mistakes are always going to happen. Don't feel you must always correct your partner and make it obvious that she did not turn exactly how you wanted, or did not execute the school move correctly. It's not about being correct, but about how you harmonise with each other on the dance floor. The hallmark of a good latin dancer is not that you don't make any mistakes at all, but how stylishly you cover up your missteps. Put your heart into the music and your body will follow.
You are one hell of a passionate person!

 

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