I've been practicing waacking for about six weeks now, and I've gotten to the painful, long stage of the art-making process that I'll call "The Gap" for lack of a better term. The Gap refers to when you know enough about some art form to be able to distinguish good, bad and amazing. But your ability to practice the art is still in the bad range.
As Ira Glass puts it so eloquently:
All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.
For example, the other night I was practicing with my friend / mentor Reina at an open session, and other people were waacking around us. Watching them dance, I could see things that I appreciated about some of their movement, and things that I didn't like — sloppy technique, lack of musicality, lack of energy, poor form.
I can watch different waackers and am starting to distinguish different styles and strengths in each dancer. I have favorites and inspirations. There are others that I can appreciate technically, but don't really want to emulate. Everything is a revelation, every day is a new discovery.
I don't know if I am going to put years into working on my waacking. But it's kind of cool being in this phase where I know I'm pretty terrible, but recognizing and accepting my terrible-ness and dancing through it. That's a very risky, thrilling, and scary experience.
And for now, I'll just watch crazy amazingness like this, to inspire me to keep working on my dancing.