Here are some tips for dancers on different levels - in salsa, bachata, kizomba, urban kiz, tango or whatever social dance you enjoy. We start out with beginners...
This is an excerpt from a bonus text in one of my books - "The Secrets of Social Dance - How to Become a Popular Dancer" which you can find on Amazon.
First of all, don't hesitate to go dancing. The longer you wait, the longer you miss out, and the harder it will be to dare to go. You don't have to be a great dancer to enjoy dancing.
When I started with capoeira, I went to classes for some time, but I think I took at least ten classes before I went into the roda, before I put anything that I had learnt to the test. I started seeing people who had just taken one class or a couple of classes going into the roda, and I began to wonder what I was doing. Why didn't I enter? Waiting for too long just made it more and more difficult as the pressure to perform got higher.
The earlier you start, the less pressure. And the more often you go, the faster you will improve your dancing.
You might not impress anyone with your dance skills yes, so focus on having fun. Please make sure you do everything in this book that is easy to do; everything we talk about in this book that is not dance-related and start working on what is dance-related.
When we are beginner dancers, we usually think a lot. And thinking makes it harder to really dance. When you practice, try to get movements into muscle memory as soon as possible. And when you go out to dance, try to use mostly the moves you already have in muscle memory. Don't practice too much on the social floor. Dance to have fun. Dance to relax. That way you will be much more able to pay attention to your partner, the music and the people around you.
And on the other side of the fence, if you are dancing with a beginner, have patience. Remember we have all been there. Start slow, with the basics, and slowly increase the level. Try to avoid confusing them with a lot of styling or complicated steps.
When we move on to improver level, we are starting to get the basics right and get curious about a bit more difficult combinations. Here we often focus on picking and choosing from the moves that we know. We try to connect them. For leads, there is a strong pull to try to learn a lot of new moves and steps. And for follows, it is pretty normal that they start trying to add styling to their dance. The problem with this is that the basics might not be well in place yet. And adding more new moves and styling makes us think too much about that, and we miss out on other things.
Very often, dancers want to rush through the class levels and move up, to be able to say they are intermediate or advanced dancers. But there is still work to do on the basics, and on other fundamental steps that define the dance. Try to resist the temptation.
Try to pay attention to the music and your partner. Start thinking more about how you can fit what you do to the music. And how you can adapt yourself and your movements to your partner to get a better connection.
So, instead of making more complicated moves, do the simpler ones, but to the music and really dancing with your partner.
When we get to an intermediate level, we are starting to dance pretty well. The basics are mostly in place. We have a lot of material we can use, and also a decent technique. Dancing becomes more relaxed. Intermediate dancers usually start paying more attention to the music and the partner when they dance. There is some more capacity left in the brain to do that now. Leads often keep adding new moves to their repertoire and follows often try to do more styling. But there are some problems we need to pay attention to.
We still focus too much on what to do and too little on how we do it.
And pretty soon there is also the temptation, especially among follows, to stop taking classes. There can be a certain arrogance that starts growing among intermediate dancers. They start thinking they know how to dance now. They might start saying no to beginners on the dance floor. And you often hear "I learn more on the social floor". But this is a big mistake, in my opinion.
Keep working on technique, keep paying attention to the music and the partner. And try to focus more on how to do things than on what to do.
The advanced dancers sometimes feel that they have gotten to the end of the stairs. They have reached the top floor, reached the goal. There are no more classes to take in their local school, no more levels. It is starting to settle in; they are good dancers. But from there, they separate. They take two different roads.
Some of them kind of stop there. They stick to their clique in the social scene; they hang out and dance with the other advanced dancers. People might be watching them on the floor, and it can make them feel good. But they don't take classes anymore. They wouldn't think of embarrassing themselves by repeating a beginner, improver or intermediate course. And they stick to their dance because they don't want to start over and be a "beginner" in another dance. They avoid the beginners on the floor because it is "boring". In short, they don't challenge themselves anymore and stop learning.
Others have reached "enlightenment". They realise that they will never stop learning. Even if they look at someone who is not as good, they can still pick something up that they can use. They understand that everyone has different skills; everyone has something. It could be how they listen to the music. Maybe a lovely move. Perhaps some unusual technique they have. Or how they connect to their partner. These dancers dance with the other advanced dancers, but they also dance with beginners, because they want to help the scene. And they also realise that dancing with beginners is the best way to improve their own technique, to really fine-tune it. They might start from zero in another dance, take ballet classes, or repeat some course they have already taken. And when they can they go for private classes with experienced instructors.
If you are an advanced dancer, I challenge you to keep learning. There might be some revelations that make dance even better, for both you and your partner.
Suggestion - Check the kizomba & fusion courses here.
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