After my first Ceroc dance class, I was not keen on going back anytime soon. The reason: I was elbowed in the face. It hurt, my glasses fell off. It was five years before I took another class.
Five years later, I was dragged into another class by a friend and I found my Ceroc class to be enjoyable. I enjoyed putting the music in physical form. Recently single, I loved the way my social circle exploded. In short, Ceroc was fun. It still is. But there are many rough edges.
Injuries are one of the rough edges. They are not fun. I was dancing with a guy who used his thumbs, and pulled my arm out suddenly. Sure, my weight could have been sitting differently, which would have made the injury less bad. As it was, I had a sprained arm, and was not able to use it properly for a week. Dancing was out of the question for about three weeks.
Then there was an incident that is best graphically explained:
That one tore my teres minor, and set off a pain syndrome in my back.
These are the worst dancing injuries I have had, though not not only ones. I get that people make mistakes on the dance floor, and I understand that accidents happen. But both of these accidents stemmed from bad technique, and were avoidable. Both were from people who thought they were wonderful dancers, and who would correct me and blame me when things went wrong on the floor.
Thumbs in Ceroc are generally** a big no-no. Some men say they cannot dance without them. Well, I cannot dance with men who use them. It is too risky. My shoulder girdle has had enough problems. Lack of thumbs mean that I can let go if someone wants to pull my arm out of its socket. Lack of thumbs mean that moves will be invites rather than brutal yanks.
As for that lift, well I need to work on the strength of my latissimus dorsi for a number of reasons, but the way that lift was performed did not give it a hope of doing anything. Teres minor had to take the burden. This little muscle just could not do it and was torn. Of course, I was corrected by the guy while this was happening.
Many have injury horror stories way worse than mine. Concussions have happened. I do not want to see how much worse things can get. I have been observing when accidents happen and why, and I have put together a list of what I look for in a lead I am likely to get injured with:
1. Superior attitude without a darned good reason. This is a massive one. If someone thinks they are a good dancer, and always blames the follow when stuff goes wrong, they are less likely to amend their lead and learn from their mistakes. Incidentally, they are less likely to become a good dancer. Many teachers who are among the best dancers in the country will admit to me that a lead did not work due to their poor leading*. If a teacher or advanced student is correcting me, cool. If anyone else is, I will not listen to them. Related: Dunning-Krugar syndrome.
I have often observed that this is a man to woman thing. Men thinking that they are generally superior to women and manspalining. I detest this in dance and in life.
2. Likes doing big tricks with beginners or lower intermediates who have not been dancing that long. Why oh why can’t these be done with people who know what they are doing? The amount of skill in dips, drops and lifts is just as much for the follow. You are putting yourself and the less experienced dancer at risk if you do these with them. Just don’t.
3. Habitual thumb usage (see above)
4. Being a yanker. A thumby yanker is the worst. I always avoid thumbsy yankers.
5. History of hurting other people on the dancefloor and/or being known as ‘rough,’
6. Being a dancer that people avoid.
I hated writing that list. The negativity annoys me, but it is needed, because I need to keep myself safe, and I need to have a strategy for doing this. I do Ceroc for fun, but the reality is, my priority is not enjoying myself. My priority is staying uninjured, because injuries can cost lots of money, stop me from enjoying other things, stop me from being able to cut my steak***, and generally impair my life. I love that Ceroc is all inclusive, with anyone of any body shape, and level being able to dance with anyone else. I feel rotten that I cannot model the all-inclusive approach that I love so much, but I want to stay unbroken, so that I can enjoy it more.
* It is possible that they are just being nice.
** It has been used as a tap tap lead, and thumbs are good in butterfly hand grips, and lifts. Otherwise, keep them away from me. But consistent thumb pressure throughout a dance. Maximum no!
*** This happened when I sprained my shoulder. My mother had to cut my steak for me.