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Margaret Lewis Israeli Partner Dancing Israeli Partner Dancing demonstration of Weitzen Partnership Dance System

What would happen if you put on eight partner dances in a row that your partner has not seen or heard before and did them without giving her any instruction and without anyone else in the room for her to follow?

How about trying that with someone who has only been dancing a month.

In Margaret's case she is having so much fun, she can hardly keep from hopping up and down.

Margaret is a novice dancer, not only new to Israeli Dancing, but new to all kinds of dancing. She has been dancing for about a month. I met Margaret at my ballroom dance studio, and she has been coming to my Swing classes too, so she has gotten more instruction than your average 1-month old novice.

Still, Margaret is a novice. She is not able to keep time with the music yet. She does not know basic patterns, such as grapevine, step-together-step and yemenite. She has seen them, but she cannot do them instinctively. One thing working to her advantage is she does not have bad habits. In particular, she pays attention only to her partner. She does not push or pull, but rather responds to signals and moves right away, without resisting.

The important point here is that even though Margaret is a novice, from the first day she was able to stay and enjoy herself the entire evening and do all the advanced circle and partner dances. I wish I had a video of that first day.

Most novices are overloaded and stressed out after an hour. Even advanced dancers get tired doing dances they do not know. Yet Margaret has fun the entire time, first to arrive and last to leave. This is the way dancing should be, that even novices can dance all the dances and enjoy themselves.

How does Margaret do it? She can do all the dances because she is learning how to follow rather than learning choreography. Instead of every dance being an exercise in rote memorization, every dance is an opportunity for her to improve her following skills.

Equally important, we do not try to help Margaret to dance. We do not talk to her while she is dancing, push or pull on her, correct her, put pressure on her or otherwise distract her. We allow her to do things in her own way on her own time.

Following are videos of Margaret doing several advanced Israeli partner dances without instruction. I am not applying any force to her and there is no pushing or pulling. She takes every step and makes all the turns on her own by responding to signals. If Margaret does not go where she is supposed to, I do not try to help her or make her go.

What you are seeing is the first time she has heard the music or seen these dances.

Sure, we make many, many mistakes, but remember, Margaret is a novice dancer. Think how impressive that is. She has only been dancing one month and together we are able to muddle our way through just about any partner dance and have a good time, without any instruction and without any pushing and pulling.

  1. Masa Bein Kochavim with Magaret and Andrew - We did this dance the week before the rest. We only go through the dance one time so every step is new. Even though her footwork is not correct, she is in the right place at the right time, and we are able to dance together fine and have fun.

  2. Tango Achshav with Magaret and Andrew - In closed position, when I pivot to turn the other way, I am not muscling her around. I am applying no force. By keeping herself in the frame of my right arm, she knows where to move and moves herself.

  3. Erev Nigunim with Magaret and Andrew - She is confused with the changes in orientation, and I get a little lost. Still, Margaret manages to keep up and we are dancing without any wrestling.

  4. Marina with Margaret and Andrew - Not an easy dance, but she understands the rules for positioning and does well in putting herself in the right place.

  5. Maamim Baahava with Magaret and Andrew - Similarly confusing to Erev Nigunim on the long traveling part. She understands the directional signals and does real well on changing sides and finishing up the second half.

  6. Ani Eshtagea with Magaret and Andrew : 23 mb - Incredible demonstration for someone only dancing one month doing this fast dance without any instruction.

  7. Eizo Shemesh Mevorechet with Magaret and Andrew - You cannot teach someone to dance in one month, but you can teach someone to follow. Margaret uses the simple principles she learned to do one advanced dance after another, without any worry or anxiety. She could hardly be having any more fun. By the way, I am doing parts of this wrong. At the end of part two, the guy goes inside, and the lady goes outside. I think there is something else wrong at the beginning of part two, but I am not sure what the right steps are. If you know, write to me.

  8. Shimri Li Al Hamagina with Magaret and Andrew - Ho hum, Margaret does another advanced dance without instruction. At times it looks like I am whipping her arms around. That is an illusion. I am only moving my own hands and arms. I am only lightly touching her hands, not holding on. Margaret is moving her own hands and arms to keep the connection, oh yeah, and her feet as well.

  9. Gan Eden with Magaret and Andrew - This is the only dance she had already seen. She did this one once the week before.

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