Authenticity versus commercialism

Comments by Barbara Nagode Ambroz

I welcome your courage to address certain areas of competitive Ballroom and Latin-American dancing which need to be upgraded and changed for the better. In our institution there is a place for everyone, and everyone serves as a vital link in a long chain of people (dancers, teachers, adjudicators, organizers and officials). The current situation can be improved only as much as every individual is willing to improve.

No matter what school of thought or value system, there is always room for improvement and development Boredom is an expression of not being fully involved. Tiredness, in my opinion, is not so much of a physical nature, but of what I would call “intellectual fatigue”. In western society, we are mostly used to thinking, reasoning, calculation, and adjudicating, which is good…but unfortunately not balanced with exchanging love and having enough aesthetic experience in everyday life. So we can end up stagnating and feeling burnt out. That is why it is important for everyone involved to find a balance between professional and private life.

Disappointment results from expectations. There is no point of being disappointed, especially with others, when our personal input is not maximal. My father used to say: ”Mind your own business and you will have more than enough to do in your life.”

Regarding the audience – a competitor can make the wall, but a good performer can break it.

I still cherish competitions in Slagharen and Assen

…because the organizers understand the fact that the spectators need to participate and feel involved. The organizers are responsible for the whole setting and ambience and some of them are doing that brilliantly, not counting only on the performers. The more traditional events would always provide live music, great floor and light, not forgetting a capable MC and a reasonable time–table. The powerful position of parents, teachers and adjudicators shouldn’t be underestimated, as they are the ones strongly involved in shaping the personality of a growing dancer. As long as the teachers will also be the adjudicators, a possibility for objective evaluation is limited and often contributes to unfair selection from the first round of the competition onward.

In western society virtues like faith and patience are no longer on the top of the list. Especially younger generations, conditioned by a world of instant results and gratification, find it difficult to understand that good things take time and that success is much more important than winning. We live in a competitive environment, where reputation and the opinion of others often overshadow the perception of our own identity.

How to stay oneself without fighting that?

Authenticity, creativity, originality, artistry and individualism all come from inside. They are all unique individual properties that can’t be bought or faked. The properties can only be acknowledged, experienced and researched through individual interest, urge and enthusiasm, in the company of high quality participating experts. They can fully burst out only when the owner feels safe, accepted and respected. And in providing optimal conditions in order that authentic performance can happen, all the links have to understand their role and contribution.

Barbara Ambroz

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