I (along with other teachers) often stress the importance of learning and practicing the basics (of all dances). It is also important to DANCE the basic steps – not only to connect other moves, but in and of themselves.
Especially for leaders on the social dance floor: it is not about showing off for your partner or being flashy to others, it is about demonstrating that you actually know [the basics of] the dance.
Many years ago, at a dance competition weekend, champion dancer Robert Royston commented in an advanced west coast swing workshop in which he was teaching a complicated pattern, to watch him and his partner on the social dance floor, that they do not generally dance complicated patterns. Instead, they dance the basics (with variations) – just REALLY well!
As to dancing to the classics, I just received an e-mail that reminds dancers that it is usually the classics that got us hooked on dancing in the beginning. And so, I am passing this reminder along…