pro J&J = space jump

Just watching some clips of Manu (one of my absolute favourite lindy hop leads – in that I want to be him) here and got to thinking: pro Jack and Jill comps (where you’re randomly matched with a partner and have to dance to music you don’t choose) are just like theatre sports. Well, when Manu and Sylvia do it, anyway…
This is how I feel about Jack and Jill comps – they’re like a fun party game. This is one of the reasons I don’t get nervous with J&J comps (or other dance performances, really): it’s a game. Even if it’s just you performing, it’s still a game, because the audience has a role to play as well – they have to be The Audience. I wonder how much of this approach to performance and competition is a result of my research and developing ideas about the roles of performers and audiences in swing – and how both are ‘performances’?
I have moments of nerves – literally moments – but I don’t get nervous about performances or comps. Same as I don’t get nervous when I’m tutoring or lecturing. I just enjoy it so much, I don’t have time to be nervous.
It reminds me of something that Crinks said the other night. She mentioned a discussion she’d had with some other dancers (people with lots of performance experience) about getting nervous. Someone said ‘I wish I didn’t get nervous’ or something similar, and the other person said ‘I wish I still did – I don’t any more. And the nerves were part of what made it exciting. Now it’s just pedestrian’ (I am paraphrasing majorly here).
It’s funny, because I find that I do a better job if I’m not nervous, and I can relax and get on with focussing on the other stuff and doing a better job. Especially in the case of teaching or lecturing or giving papers: if I’m nervous, I can’t concentrate on the questions people ask, and I don’t do the best job I could.
So when I watched Manu and Sylvia in that J&J, all relaxed and having fun, I thought ‘yes, this is what it’s supposed to be like – fun. And a game’. Space Jump.

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