The Lone Wolf

The lone wolf. Nearly every team has one. That individual, for whatever reason who doesn’t run with the traditional pack. On the dance floor they are the most creative, most versatile, and often most successful. What makes them different? Could be their willingness to experience new things with a hunger. Or maybe their desires to create new movements and excel in other areas of dance others won’t attempt. It’s that lone wolf attitude.

Some lone wolves fit in well in the traditional dance pack, others do not. A lot depends on the pack mentality, and it’s leaders. If the pack leaders fear a lone wolf, they will often –  out of jealousy, or envy, find ways to attempt to set them aside. That fear of losing control to the lone wolf is a real fear to them.

However, when you have a team that respects ability, the lone wolf is generally picked as lead in most dance events. Lone wolf leaders are nice to have. They bring a level of experience and admiration to the group.  Positive role models.

The lone wolf is really there to dance, not socialize so  much. They have that competitive drive that is not missed by others.  Most people don’t understand that need that fills them.  Some might take their stand offishness as rude, or stuck up. That is generally far from the truth. They just have a great thirst for knowledge – dance knowledge, and they are studying it’s forms constantly. The hunt.

A lot of lone wolves grow up to be successful in their dancing. They don’t seem to be to much into the mom and pop dance studios, but rather are looking for serious dancers like themselves who bring a level of technical training to table. The lone wolf as an instructor is more likely to examine their students on the floor with a more critical eye than say a mom and pop instructor might. Years of hard core competition has molded most lone wolves  understanding toward the value of proper technique. Their  tolerance for the mom and pop is generally low.

The lone wolf can often be perceived as the leader without even trying. Individual dancers will often attempt to mimic the creative style of a lone wolf.  Lone wolf’s like to win. They don’t rest until they do. It’s just hard wired into them to be successful. Usually you can spot your lone wolves early on in their training.

Attempting to change a lone wolf to conform to the pack is not a desirable thing. Your lone wolves tend to be more mature in many ways. Changing them or attempting too – isn’t necessary. What is necessary to help lone wolves excel even more is to keep the “would be’s” under control. The “would be’s” are those who just want to push their way through life, without a care about what is important to the lone wolf,  others, or the continued success of the art of dance. The biggest concern is not that the lone wolf would get their feelings hurt, but rather that the “would be” may get bitten, and bitten hard. Remember a lone wolf is patient.

When you look at the faces of those under your instruction, how many lone wolves do you have? Do you really understand their needs? They may not be the pack favorite – but rather, the trail blazers, the one who brings competition to the table. They often compete, or rival, if you will, the pack favorite.

Some competition is good for a team – it motivates them to excel more.

The lone wolf doesn’t budge easily. They often lead without even meaning too. Others will look to them for memorization, synchronization, and technical helps.

There isn’t much disadvantages of having a lone wolf in your class. The plus side is much greater. The only area I would be worried for in a lone wolf situation is the potential for total isolation. How bad is your pack? Are they starved to death?

You have to teach everyone the same, and be fair. It is often a very different situation when you have a student who is way above the pack. They don’t necessarily challenge your authority, but they bring a level of perfection to the group, that pushes others. They also  tend to, by design, fall into the lead spots, and they should. That is the merits of dance.

Look at the faces of your dancers. Do any of them have that lone wolf characterization? Are they demanding without being demanding? Do they have a level of control that stands out? Do they force others to challenge themselves? It’s by design that some will be good, and others will follow.

Creative Commons

Artists performing at the Slickrock Cafe

An issue floating around right now is dealing with creative rights. Who owns the rights to your choreography? Well “you do”.

Studio owners may have final say if something remains in a dance or not, but the creative  rights to the entire piece remains with the choreographer “FOREVER”. Unless they have signed those rights away!

A soloist or team will pay for choreography, for a certain usage. Generally people pay for choreography because they haven’t a clue what they are doing themselves. You hire out. Note that creative rights do not transfer in this regard.

A way to learn about creative rights is to study up a little on public domain and creative commons.
Many new music artists who want to get their music heard will use creative commons usage rights to get their stuff heard and used. This means that you can use their materials “if” you give them a PR plug on your website, radio, print media, etc. What ever they request. I used an artists material recently when I put together a little video clip for a Stars dance group. The song was called “Say So” by Lorraine. I gave the artist a plug at the beginning of the clip.
Public domain is free. Doesn’t mean new – but free.
Did you know that the song “Happy Birthday” is still under copy right? Copy rights are good until the death of the creator and then 75 to 100 years after that. Believe it or not, whenever the song Happy Birthday is used in movies, they have to get approval first to sing it.
So be careful the next  time you are in McDonalds with the kids singing that “Happy Birthday” song. The creative rights people might shut your party down. 🙂 Well, maybe not… to many partys to attend. But they do shut down Hollywood movie makers.
It’s tough for independent dancers to post videos of performances on You Tube. Many find that their work is dinged with copy right violations. Most publishers won’t shut you down, however they do place an ad on your site. Which is only right. It’s really hard as dancers to be creative without owning your own sounds. That is where Creative Rights and Creative Common music kind of helps to fill the void. Although, going through 100’s if not 1000’s of tunes to find “just the right one” is time consuming. I’d never make it as a music exec.
My family has dealt with copy rights for over 35 years. My mother owns nearly 100 music rights, both hers and her mothers. It’s a process to protect your material.
Dance not unlike music is a lot of memorized steps and movements.  Eeryone always wants to learn the newest moves, hear the newest tunes. To be really creative requires some thought and some energy. It requires knowing the steps and movements,being up on the latest moves – plus generating and creating your own style into the mix. Plugging in the music is another level, or process to take into consideration.
Dance is really my thing, but I do like watching the music industry as well. Just for kicks and giggles, I created a music site over on MySpace . It’s interesting to see the types of musical people that are willing to subscribe to my site. It’s also kind of cool to get a preview of new artists cutting their teeth on their first albums. I was mildly surprised at how good some of these new bands were. REAL Music – not that canned stuff.
I’m currently working on a solo piece right now for a young dancer. She has chosen to dance to a song that is basically a military tribute to our soldiers in arms. It’s a difficult tune to work with – but it is inspiring. Sometimes you have to let the music grow on you. As I continue to listen to the song, I’m making mental notes and sampling choreography that may fit each piece. It’s a work in progress – like all things. I was surprised at her choice of music to dance too. I am choosing to keep the song private for now.
Good luck on your music choices.