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June 5, 2013 By Andy Ross

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Keeping the beat

What do dancing sea lions and weaving have in common?

Well, in this article from the Scientific American, the author is of the view that Ronan the sea lion is not a natural dancer but had to learn how to dance and keep a rhythm. Many people believe that people are natural movers and that rhythm is instinctive rather than learned, but in the same article the author claims that the ability to keep a beat is a learned process, and a lengthy one at that and not as spontaneous as we may think. 

As weavers know, keeping a beat is important in the production of textiles using a loom. A regular beat produces an even cloth while an irregular beat produces a different effect on the finished article. I, for one, think that the idea that we take time to learn rhythm and beat is important. It speaks of weave as something to be nurtured and practised, rehearsed and refined until we can produce something beautiful. It tells us that we need to learn and then work at something to create. In other words, we need to craft it.

And that, dear reader, is what I think dancing sea lions and weaving have in common!