October 21, 2015      Melanie Gold

Watching pro’s dance is fun because you never feel like they are out of balance and they always seem to effortlessly express the music.  How can everyone learn to achieve balance and timing in their dancing?  Well here are some tips:

1.        Leading is more about inviting the follower to move than pushing or pulling in a direction.  Pushing and pulling will take dancers out of balance and time.

2.       A follower will move where a leader suggests that they move by the shift of weight and the impulse of movement rather than pulling or pushing the follower into place. Practice leading and following without using arms at all just the impulse of your movement forward or back, left or right. Now get into frame, but maintain the feeling of leading and following with impulse of movement and body weight shifts rather than muscling with arms.

3.       If a leader uses a lot of hand movement or momentum to move a follower, the follower will undoubtedly lose balance and lose time.

4.       Followers must always remain responsive and ready to move in the direction, they are lead without guessing or back leading.  Part of being able to be responsive is by having your weight in the right place. Two things can influence the ability to be responsive, size of steps and not having your weight under your body.

5.       Both men and women, need to be very conscious about the size of their steps.  If a step becomes too big, you do not have control over your body.  If your steps are under your body, you are in balance and can easily move and shift weight and remain in time.

6.       Similarly, back rocks are usually used to change direction in some way; therefore, be careful to maintain the weight forward not placing weight heavily on your heal and again a smaller step rather than bigger will make changing direction easier. Also, as a leader you do not want to pull the follower by shifting all your weight backwards.

7.       Know your basic dance patterns and timing very well.  If you know the basic dance patterns of a dance style, all of the more complex moves are built off those patterns.  Therefore, you will understand when to shift your weight.  Similarly, if you understand the timing of each dance, even if you make a mistake with a step you can easily regain the time and continue dancing as if nothing happened.  Once you are secure with the basics, you can combine steps and add syncopations to make the moves more intricate.  Basic patterns are like building blocks.

8.       Don’t only practice to counts. Practice to music. Sounds silly, however, we may understand a dance is slow quick quick, but not really understand how that relates to the music.   The purpose is to dance to the music, so we need to be able to hear the counts in the music and count two counts of music for a slow and one for each quick quick. Also, often we can easily find one in the music, but we have a lot more trouble when we have to start on the two count.  The goal is to get so familiar with the music and the dance that you can feel the counts without thinking of counting.

These tips should help you stay in balance and on time.