Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lindy Hop and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

"Five minutes of embarrassment rather than an hour of wondering," I said to my friend in response to her invitation to join her in the intermediate/advanced lindy hop class yesterday evening. And found to my surprise that instead of five minutes and then skedaddling into the main dance room, I ended up in the class for the full hour.

So, what happened? If I recall, the class I am referring to was supposed to be a class for non-beginners. And before last night, there were maybe one or two other times in my life that I had ever done lindy hop, and one of those times was a long time ago, as a sophomore at Georgetown. Hell, I've danced Argentine Tango more than I've danced lindy hop, and I definitely consider myself to be a beginner there. And I received confirmation after the class that I was a beginner still, by virtue of the voting apparatus known as dancing with a different partner to live music.

If I had to guess, I would invoke the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which basically says that for a pair of variables, if you attempt to measure one with more certainty, the other is less measurable with certainty. At least, that's how I remember it from high school chemistry.

However, what was the pair here? There is class difficulty as stated, and my ability to handle the class. I am not certain that is a pair.

Regardless, here's what I think happened:

At the beginning of the class, we were asked to dance for a little bit, which allowed the instructors to see how we danced. Of course, you slap you your head, that's going to alert them to the presence of a rank beginner in their class and perhaps cause them to go slower. Which I feel they did.

So if I had not been present (nor any of the other beginners, which I am certain there were there), would the class truly have been more skewed towards advanced and gone faster through the basic movement they wanted to teach before moving onto variations on it? My suspicion is yes.

So maybe there was a pair there after all. And while my suspicion is yes, I can not be certain. If I was in the class, I know I could handle it because I did. But if I was not, I do not know if they would have taught it the same way, or it would have been more advanced. Hence, the uncertainty principle in life.

Or you could just say its a misapplication of quantum physics to real life...

But you would be missing the larger point - the class was bloody fun!

N.B. If only I had pictures, but maybe from another night at Jam Cellar I will.

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