Drinking and Dancing – A Curvy Relationship

Kiz Talks, Aug. 20, 2014

I was talking to Florian on Saturday about how drinking influences one’s dancing. It reminded me of the first time someone shared a flask with me; Jameson, outside a blues dance back in 2009. I could definitely notice a difference for myself, and over the next few months I decided that it could probably be mapped as a Gaussian currve. The more you drink, up to a certain point, the better you dance. At some point you peak, and if you keep drinking, your dancing deteriorates.

Of course, I’m not saying everyone needs to drink to dance well. However, I do think a little alcohol in your system can help. It relaxes you, which is more comfortable for connection. It reduces your mental load, which can help you more easily express what you hear in the music without passing through a filter of stress and ego. Florian mentioned that he felt he unlocked some new creativity after a couple of drinks this weekend, and I have noticed a similar effect. You feel free to experiment because you’re not worried about messing up or looking stupid, and because you’re putting things together differently than you might when more of your rational brain is engaged.

Obviously too much alcohol then impairs your ability to move well, so connection and footwork are poor. If your ability to think decreases too far, then you won’t be able to string steps together or follow easily. Too much beyond that, and you may even become obnoxious – absolutely the worst, right? Or just want to go to sleep.

In 2012 a very well-known swing dance teacher, DJ, and blogger named Bobby White created an excellent graph:

140820 graph
You can check out his clever blog here: swungover.wordpress.com

I guess a disclaimer is in order: drink responsibly, and hydrate frequently.