Have you ever watched a dancer and thought how good they look, even when they are dancing basic steps? Have you ever wondered why your dancing never seems to feel ‘easy’ whilst others make it look effortless? The answer usually comes down to an understanding of good technique.
Here are our suggestions on some key areas to study to improve your dance technique:
- Improve your Posture – Whether you are dancing Ballroom or Latin-American, learning good posture is vital to any dancer. Improving your
posture can help to increase your balance, improve your body co-ordination and develop better muscle control. By studying the different types of posture in each of the dance styes, you can better understand the different actions to help your dancing. There are also several health benefits to improving your posture such as reduced back pain, better hip movement and even benefits to your mental wellbeing.
- Improve your Feet – All of the best dancers will tell you that all movement starts from the feet. In fact, Strictly Come Dancing’s head judge, Shirley Ballas, believes that good footwork is the most important thing for a dancer to learn. It is extremely important that you understand which parts of the feet you should use in order to create the correct action in each dance, for example fast and sharp movements in the Cha Cha Cha, bouncy actions in Jive or smooth and elegant movements in the Waltz and Slow Foxtrot. Good footwork can help you to create speed in Cha Cha Cha or a smooth soft swing in the Slow Foxtrot.
- Improve Your Leg Actions – Most dancers will learn which direction they want to move their legs in and where they need to go, however there is often little focus on HOW they move. By thinking about the journey your legs take to get from ‘point A’ to ‘point B’ you can dramatically improve your dancing. The technique of leg action is mostly developed from natural movements to make your dancing feel natural and easy. For example, when dancing a forward walk in the Latin-American dances, we swing our leg from the hips, bending the knee as it moves, arriving on a straight leg. You might realise that this is the same way we move our legs when walking, however when we dance, we simply exaggerate these movements to develop the artistry of dance.
- Improve your Balance – Remember that there is a collection or settling actions in all dances, where you “collect” your weight before moving onto the next step. If you are on balance, your body weight will assist you to move more easily onto the step and allow you to have dancing more control of your movement.
- Improve your Timing – No matter how good your footwork and posture are, your movement to the music will not feel right if you do not understand the beat value of every step and how to interpret each beat of the music within the dance. Take a few seconds to listen to the music before you start to move and count it through in your head. If you start on time it is easier to continue this through the dance and then you can start to feel the music with each step you take. Use music without words to allow you to recognise the beat, which may get lost in the melody.