Recently I was talking to a fellow dancer about aspects of contradancing. She shared with me something I didn't know: that guys really needed to improve their giving weight during dances. I thought this was a basic given, but she said no. The guys could do the dips and spins, but the basics of giving weight can be lacking. She has been dancing the male part of the dances and commented that women, as a whole, give better weight. This game me food for thought!
Writing about contra topics like this seems to echo a talk about interpersonal relations. See if you can spot the links between giving weight and supporting a relationships. And away we go!
Giving weight is important for several reasons: keeping the dancers connected and communicating, making other dancers feel safe while keeping them safe, and providing momentum for their moves. All of these are incredibly important for contra to be enjoyable to all involved.
Giving weight is a constant thing. Most every contra move involves the time and correct amount of giving weight. I'm serious about this. Even the simple moves can and should have weight given. The weight given before and after a complicated move provides your partner with the knowledge that you will be there, and in fact you are. Focus on the little moves as you give weight to those around you.
Focusing on weight will keep your dance partners safer. Good weight from the male role will give the female role the confidence to try their own fancy moves because they know the other person will be there to catch them as they fly through space. The female roles will trust you when the fancy dips are performed because they know you have their safety in mind.
A really magical part of giving weight is the momentum it provides other dancers, those in the male and female roles. Contra is about movement, and some really sweet moves happen when dancers propel each other across the floor. This aspect of giving weight is one that is hard to explain, and really fun to experience.
My fellow dancer shared another secret, and this is a big one! Guys, your partners and neighbors really really enjoy a dance with proper weight given. How much? They might enjoy a competent demonstration of weight over fancy dips and spins. Nail down those basics and everyone will enjoy the advanced moves even more!