Lots of dancers say to me when taking lessons, both group and private, that they just want to be good social dancers and not competitors, so why do they have to learn proper dance technique. I reply with this explanation, “without using good dance technique you don’t become a great social dancer”. If your not using the correct foot positions, or the proper posture it causes balance problems and lead and follow problems as well. Usually when a move doesn’t work, it is because of an incorrect body position or some other dance technique problem. I think that some people confuse technique with showmanship, that the competitors are trying to achieve. Learning proper technique makes you more enjoyable to dance with, whether you are a leader or a follower in couples’ dance. Good technique makes a dancer look smoother and helps the general flow of the dance executed.
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Try never to refuse a dance with someone who is asking you. It doesn’t feel very good to be rejected. This tip is for the ladies and the gentlemen, and a reminder to the Intermediate/Advanced dancers as well. This is how we learn to be better dancers; by dancing with lots of different partners and dancers of all levels.
Lastly, stay connected within your own body. Make sure your whole body is telling the same story. It is easy to let your arms flail around, completely disconnected from your body. Arm styling does not look very good if it does not seem to be matching your body—feel as though you are using your body to start each arm movement. If your arm is reaching to the side, your body should be, too. Do not let your arms go behind your body, because this creates a broken line.
Posture is an important part of this. Keep your shoulders back and your upper body stretching upward. Do not let the sides of your body, from your ribcage to your hips, collapse when you make body shapes; rather, keep both sides straight and stretch one side more than the other. Every line in your body should flow smoothly to the next.
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