Connecting, Listening and a Passion for Life
Our coaches, Luca & Loraine Baricchi, are coming to town in less than 4 weeks! Joel and I are so excited to be able to host them both here in Vancouver. Having lived with them in their hometown in Italy, it’s great to have them come and experience the life that we lead in Canada, even if it’s only for a few days.
For those of you who don’t know, Luca & Loraine are amazing people! Sure they have the accolades of being British Open & World Champions, but that’s not what makes them special. What makes them unique from everyone else that I’ve ever taken lessons with (and that’s a great many!) is how they connect with people. They have this uncanny ability to connect with almost anyone who walks through their studio doors or even into their lives.
I’ve thought about this a lot lately… What is it that makes you truly connect with people? I think a big part of it is to really listen to a person and actually care about who that person is. To have a genuine interest in some else’s life, whether it be a family member, a friend, a stranger, or even an animal or a tree is to have a respect for life and for individuality. Having this respect and passion for life is an essential trait that allows you to really connect to people.
These days, it seems to be so hard to connect with people. Everyone is so busy and preoccupied with all the things we have stacked on our plates, that we tend to forget the people who are living and breathing around us. How often do we go to Starbucks and barely acknowledge the barista or cashier, because we just want to grab our coffee and go? How about in the elevator or on the sidewalk? How many times have we tried to avert people’s eyes instead of giving a genuine smile and an honest hello?
That’s something that I really notice about Luca whenever I’m around him. Every time he meets someone, familiar or not, he looks them right in the eye with genuine interest. Whether we’re at a restaurant or at the studio, he pays the same amount of respect and attention to everyone. He is definitely aware of who he is, and exactly how he interacts with everyone and everything surrounding him.
One of the big lessons that Luca taught me is that listening and therefore connecting is a very important skill. Not only do we need it to listen to our partners and to the music, but we also need to listen to ourselves. We need to reach a state of incredible awareness; where all of our senses are heightened and we are practically using our sixth sense to listen to our own bodies and to everything around us. This is the case in dance as in life… and in life as in dance.
I believe that to be a great dancer, teacher, or a master at anything, above all else, you need to have an extreme passion for life. You need to be able to connect with people: be it your partner, the judges, the audience, your students, your employees, your co-workers or friends. You need to recognize that each unique individual thinks, feels and experiences things in a multitude of different ways and therefore in order to be truly successful at anything, you need to be flexible, creative, ever-changing and learning.
I find that the truly exceptional teachers are not the ones who merely provide information, but rather the ones who take a real interest in your life. They care enough to go the extra mile and find out who you really are. They are flexible and creative enough to change their teaching style to match your learning style. And rather than just teach you what to think; they see the bigger picture and teach you how to think. They encourage you to think independently and apply your knowledge wherever you can.
Having had such great role models in my life, I can too aspire to be a great master of dance as Luca & Loraine are. They are caring individuals who are interested in helping students change their approach to dance… and for me, through their teachings… they have changed not only my outlook on dance, but on life.
Come and experience the inspirational words of two of the most admirable people in the world of ballroom dance. Luca & Loraine will be giving 3 lectures on August 30th at the Broadway Ballroom in Vancouver, BC. It would be a shame to miss such a wonderful and unique opportunity right here in our home town!