Sometimes the best way to understand something is to try to create it. If you read my e-book (you can sign up to the right if you have not), then you will recall me talking about learning styles. There are three major types: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. There are others, but these are the most common three.
It's pretty obvious what each is. People with a visual preference like things to be shown so that they can understand them, people with an auditory preference like to be told and people with a kinesthetic preference like to do it themselves to understand.
When we are younger, we usually have a stronger preference for one. As we get older, we get better at the others and become more balanced. In my e-book I explained how dance needs a bit of each, and you need to sometimes think about which you should try to use if you are having trouble. Sometimes you are switched to one that is not optimal.
In this blog post I want to talk to you specifically about using the kinesthetic approach.
When you use the kinesthetic learning style you have a go at doing it yourself and then notice what happens. This approach can be great because you will likely make many mistakes. These mistakes will then help you understand the nuances of a dance.
- Your legs will get caught up, and you will then understand how important foot placement is.
- Your partner will not be at the right place or need to be remarkably flexible, and you will better appreciate how important connection with the partner is.
- You will end up with an extra step, and you will understand how each step needs to fit with the music.
- You will get to the end with nowhere to go, and you will understand how each figure needs to lead into another.
Simply put, you will make and FEEL numerous mistakes. These will help you better understand why figures are the way they are and what makes them work. All of a sudden you will recall moevements you have made in the past that were not correct. However, more importantly than that, you will know why they are not correct and how to correct them.
There is a saying I like:
There are 3 types of people in the world. The wise, who learn from their own mistakes; the happy, who learn from the mistakes of others; and the those who do not learn from either: the fools!
In this instance you are trying to increase your wisdom as dancers. By trying to make your own figure, you will develop a deeper understanding of how dance works.
So choose a dance style now and try making a figure for it. Try it with a partner, see if you can work out the leads and follows. Determine how you can get into it and out of it. Decide if you like how it feels. Then see if you like the look. Then think about where you might use it.
Doing all of this will give you a much greater appreciation of dance.
You never know; you might come up with something good too!