Becoming an advanced dancer takes years of practice. That much is obvious. But what does it mean? How do you know when you’re there?

Do you suck this hard? Find out...

Being an advanced lindy hopper is about so much more than technique or even artistry. Advanced is a mindset, maturity, breadth and depth of study. It takes time and hard work to develop a deep partnership with the music and an intuitive understanding of biomechanics.

It doesn’t mean everyone wants to dance with you, or that you’re winning all the competitions. Those are the fodder of fantasies.

Instead, I’ve compiled a list of 31 Signs You’re Not an Advanced Dancer Yet, drawn mostly from my own experience. Ready for a reality check? Even if one of these applies to you, you’ve got something to work on.

You might not be advanced if…

  1. You’re still concerned about what level you are.
  2. You’re still taking your follow’s feet out from under her when you dip her.
  3. You’re still dipping your partner at the end of every dance.
  4. You’re still wondering whose fault it is when a move doesn’t work.
  5. You’re still bothered that you can only remember 6 moves at a time.
  6. You still think you lead with your arms.
  7. You’ve never obsessively listened to and dissected music.
  8. You don’t have impeccable rhythm.
  9. You don’t add your own creative ideas to the dance.
  10. You’re still wondering how to make your free arm look good.
  11. You’re still afraid of “messing up the lead” with your ideas.
  12. You still complain about not being challenged enough.
  13. You’re still bumping into people on the dance floor.
  14. You still can’t identify basic genres of swing and jazz music.
  15. You still can’t tell when a song is about to end.
  16. You still have the urge to blame your partner when you go off balance.
  17. You still don’t practice by yourself.
  18. You refuse to dance with newer dancers because you can’t have fun.
  19. You’re still bothered when other people say no to dancing with you.
  20. You’re still hitting every break and musical element in a song.
  21. You’ve begun to think you no longer have much to learn from classes.
  22. You’ve never seriously studied a dance other than swing.
  23. You’re bothered that people don’t realize how good you are.
  24. You still think winning a competition validates you as a good dancer.
  25. You never doubt your favorite instructors’ teachings.
  26. You constantly doubt every instructor.
  27. You think the music is your servant.
  28. You think you’re a servant to the music.
  29. You can easily tune out the music and still dance.
  30. You still get really sore after a weekend of dancing.
  31. You still don’t know who is the most important person in the dance.

Great, I suck. Now what?

You probably only suck this much.

You may be feeling irritable or down on yourself after reading this list.

I wrote this to stimulate your curiosity and discomfort. You should have more questions than answers. The world of movement is bigger than you know—bigger than I know.

We don’t start lindy hopping because we want easy popularity. We take the journey to becoming lindy hoppers because we crave challenge.

What challenges do you have after reading this post? Let me know in the comments.