I read a LOT of articles on the internet. Here are my favorites from the past seven days (or so), including:

  • How to beat anxiety in competitions, performances, etc.
  • Creating a friendlier dance scene
  • Criteria for gauging the success of a class
  • And some lindy hop news :-)

Favorite Reads // Jan 11, 2014

dance reads 2 jan 11 2014

Engineering a Friendlier Dance Scene

My favorite article of the week! Usually, conversations about creating a friendlier dance atmosphere boil down to, “Here’s how you can make me more comfortable.”

This article is different.

Jason Sager of Lindy Lab has been conducting social experiments at his weekly dance venue. Rather than telling people to be more friendly, he tries to engineer environmental changes that will give people more opportunities to interact and connect.

“My feeling is that if I empower people to be outgoing rather than tell them they need to be outgoing, there is less chance of people feeling singled out or burdened with trying to make someone else’s experience enjoyable.”

Read about his experiments.

Assessing the ‘Success’ of a Class

Lindy hopper Sam Carroll will broaden your horizons about what “success” can mean in a dance class setting.

The most important thing I’ve discovered about assessing a class, is: cherish every student. Don’t think about the students who aren’t there, think about the ones who are. Value their progress, their personalities, their delight in dance. Treat classes as a chance to share fun stuff, and to meet interesting people.

Read her suggestions for gauging the success of your dance class.

The Relationship Between Anxiety and Performance

Do you ever choke during a performance or competition? You’re in good company; 20% of the population suffers this problem. Anxiety may not be your enemy:

An influential study conducted a hundred years ago by two Harvard psychologists, Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson, demonstrated that moderate levels of anxiety improve performance in humans and animals: too much anxiety, obviously, impairs performance, but so does too little. Their findings have been experimentally demonstrated in both animals and humans many times since then.

Read the full article on Harvard Business Review.

Anxiety: Getting Excited Beats Trying to Calm Down

Learn to channel your anxiety into excitement, and you’ll be more successful.

In one experiment 140 participants were told to prepare a public speech. Before delivering it, half were told to say to themselves “I am excited” and the other half “I am calm”.

‘Excited’ people were more persuasive, competent, confident and persistent. Plus, they spoke for longer–presumably because they were enjoying it more.

Get excited and read the full article on Psyblog.

In Lindy Hop Internet News…

Bobby White of Swungover introduced his Swing 101 website, Chickta-Boom. So new, and it already has a ton of great learning resources for beginner swing dancers.

Laura Windley (Lindy Shopper) won the Fashion Trailblazer award at Lindy Focus. Congrats, Laura!

DJ Chrisbe hit song #200 in his Song of the Week blog series. That’s approximately 4 years of dedication. Wow.

And finally, the Frankie100 team is spearheading an effort to get Fankie Manning a Google Doodle for his 100th birthday. Help the whole world learn about Frankie! Email Google!