Gangsters, at least as we know them from the media, were social people. They loved a good party, with the latest tunes and a lively crowd.
Capturing the gangster spirit requires that you find social opportunities on your gaming ventures. Sitting in the sports book studying the racing form for ten hours is not enough. Just getting out is not enough. You need social contact.
And no, saying, "Please pass the nuts," at the Saddle-Me-Up Bar and Grill doesn't count.
A Social Connection
You already have a social scene available anywhere they play music by dancing.
Getting out on the dance floor lightens the mood. It stirs a festive spirit and opens another side of your abilities. A few steps to Sinatra sends out the message, "This person isn't as boring as he looked from the distance."
Your dance steps can vastly improve your ability to connect with others.
Romance Gangster Style
The old gangsters knew how to stir romance. They had diamonds and flashy cars. Flowers and evening gowns completed the image.
But genuine romance is more complex than a box of chocolates and a dozen roses. It's about sharing adventures and excitement. Dancing is one example. There's something about moving together, in tune with the music's rhythm, that sets the mood.
If you're already involved with someone, dancing on a road trip offers a chance to say, "You're part of this adventure. Enjoy it with me."
The message is also part of the romantic code. The words, "Care to dance?" brings a gleam to your eye and lightness to your step. It's primitive; it's about connecting at a deeper level.
News flash: Shuffle, shuffle, turn...shuffle, shuffle, turn...is not Gangster Style dancing. You can't be a mope.
Granted, any dance attempts are better than sitting on the sidelines. So, point taken.
I know, however, how much I learned about my poker game with just a little reading. After just a few chapters, I was aware of concepts that I never knew existed.
In fact, after three days of poker study, I looked back and was embarrassed at my previous understanding.
Learning to dance is like that. It requires a little study. With just a few hours of attention to your dancing, it's possible to go from small town mope to gangster smooth very quickly.
What's quickly? I'd say four practice sessions with a good video instruction tape. Figure each session is fifteen minutes. That's pretty fast.
Instructional tapes lay out essential moves.
Living Room Instruction
I'm not going to let you stumble through this dance instruction alone (no pun intended).
Here's the first difficulty. Most dance and athletic coaches are horrible teachers. The problem stems from their knowledge. They know too much; they understand the moves too well.
Typical instructors can't recall all the little moves they missed in their first attempts to learn. All they see now are the grand moves. In dance, they now focus on step, over step, slide, and twirl. They've forgotten that a single move might be a hundred shifts for a beginner.
Unfortunately, our minds and bodies are programmed to learn at a certain rate. If you exceed that rate, you shift into overload. Learning stops in overload.
If you've ever had the sense of blanking out when listening to a teacher's fact-filled lecture, you know the feeling of overload. If, in the middle of your presentation, you saw a room of glazed-over expressions, you've put people into overload.
Out of Overload
There is a way out. Here's the exercise:
Watch the dance video in your living room. Go back to the first step. Stop the tape and repeat the move. Repeat that single move until you absolutely have it down.
If it takes all day, that's fine. It's not just a single step. You're not a dance professional. For your mind and body, it's a lot of new moving parts.
Again, breaking out of overload involves separating and isolating the moves. Repeat each one until it's second nature.
Unfortunately, the dance halls of the golden gangster days aren't as common today. For the same effect, you need to find more regular venues.
In a Casino town, most establishments have a lounge. Many have a small dance floor. That's enough. Remember, you're looking for a bit of romance, not a crowded sports event.
When the band hits a good tune, get up. Put your moves to work. Two dances are the minimum for any respectable gangster.
Some road trips put you in a quiet town. In that case, a local tavern will suffice. Feed the jukebox and get in your two-dance minimum.
Once you gain confidence in your steps, it's time to polish them. Home study is the best way to begin, but for true gangster level style, you need polish.
For each road trip, identify dance instruction classes near your hotel. Most towns have dance studios.
Try to schedule a dance class for each trip. Since you only pass through occasionally, a private lesson might be best. Pick a dance you've practiced...it's never good to be a complete klutz.
The first class will be the hardest, but the dance studio will add a dimension to your romantic side. Also, with dance class under your belt, you've earned two afternoons at the racetrack.
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