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Tricks: The excellent adventures of a student supporter (SSP) – Chapter 7

I’ve got a bag of SSP tricks.

But that’s not unusual. Most of Rio Rhythmics’ thirty or so Student Supporters have bags they’ve filled with dance-magic, over time.

Some SSPs like to keep the contents of their bags a secret. Others get quite excited about their collections and talk about them every chance they get. The truth is… EVERY SSP has a favourite dance trick. Some are spectacular. Some are quiet as a mouse.

This SSP’s very best dance trick has been fine-tuned after years of development and personalised dance floor testing. In what might possibly be the first-ever SSP revelation of its kind, I will declare it here. An historic occasion.

I call my SSP trick, “The Trusty.” It’s a combination of special words, a soft tone, and a gently precise leader’s embrace. While the trick is customised for starter dancers in a starter dance class environment, it may also be applied to quite spectacular effect by dancers in advanced classes.

The Trusty should be initiated by leaders, applied with discretion, and sparingly. Leaders should consider applying The Trusty when their partners are especially nervous, when their followers aren’t finding the beat, and when they’re particularly tense.

THE PROCESS: Make sure your dance frame is all in place, just as it should be. Politely ask your follower for permission to try something. (Tone is important. The words you choose are up to you.) If she’s happy to proceed, quietly invite her to close her eyes. Ask her to listen to the music and to follow your lead and not to think about anything else. (Nothing at all.) (Her mind must be a clean slate.) Dance a little bit. Support her very carefully and give quiet encouragement. You might say, “Don’t think about anything at all.” You might also say, “Just listen to the music and follow my lead.” Guide her clearly, so there’s no doubt and by this stage, if your tone’s just right and your lead’s just so and she’s not peeking, you should begin to feel a most miraculous change. As The Trusty takes effect, your follower will relax, forget her inhibitions, stop thinking she CAN’T, and realise she CAN.

Your dance partnership will blossom like a spring garden.

The very best part of The Trusty is what happens afterwards. When your follower opens her eyes, smiles hugely, and tells you, “I did it!”

(Talk to a Rio Rhythmics Student Supporter about their bag of SSP tricks. Ask them about the dance goodies they’ve stashed away in there. You’ll be amazed.)


Linda Brucesmith is a writer and public relations consultant based in Brisbane. She managed Rio Rhythmics’ marketing from 2003-2008 and has danced with the Academy ever since.

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