This is a great analogy to use with non-dancers, when you want to explain just why you'll spend three nights per week and hundreds of dollars per year doing what looks like, to them, a version of the hokey pokey.
|But what is he trying to say?|
Here are some of the ways that that this awesome analogy holds true:
Dance styles and languages each have unique syntax and vocabulary. For dancing, these are moves, rhythm, and the order in which it makes sense to do things.
Both dancing and language take a finite amount of separate pieces - words or movements - and recombine them creatively in infinite different ways.
Both dancing and language are used expressively. I originally got hooked on lindy hop when I saw people using it to tell jokes with each other!
|Ever feel like this in class?|
With both dancing and languages, classes are certainly helpful, but the best way to reach fluency is always immersion - for example, by living with native speakers, or by social dancing frequently with good music and skilled people.
You can have an accent in both dance and speech. If I dance, say, ballroom with any competent partner, they will almost certainly spot my lindy hop background from the way I move, connect, and respond to certain cues.
Once you learn one dance style or language, it is easier to learn another. Although, when you start learning a new one, your first style or language will probably creep in and disrupt the process a bit. I know I kept trying to rock-step when I first tried salsa.
Learning a line dance is very much like learning a rote poem or chant. You can use it to practice vocabulary and pronunciation, and then you can "recite" it alone or with other people for fun.
|Wow, she must have dance-dissed him|
Dancing with a partner is very much like having a conversation with someone. You can share moods and thoughts, respond to each other's communications, and in the process, learn a lot about each other. In both verbal and dance conversations, people can be overbearing, shy, subtle, casual, funny, serious, challenging...the list goes on!
I am frequently sad that with most new friends, words are the only way to get to know them. If only everyone could speak a dance language!