This blog deals with techniques that can be used by students of partner dance (Swing, Latin, Ballroom etc.) to improve their speed of learning. It's all about being a better student, and learning faster.
For the past couple of months I have been seeing an Alexander to help improve my mobility for general benefit and to improve my dance. This post is about the benefits I had on doing this so that you can decide if it is something for you.
The Alexander Technique
The Alexander technique is a system that helps you move more efficiently so that you can perform your tasks (whatever they be) more efficiently. It was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander who was a stage actor who had troubles keeping his voice throughout a play despite all doctors at the time telling him he was in sound health. After watching himself in the mirror as he practiced acting he noticed oddities in his posture. By focusing on his posture he found his issues was resolved. He later saw others with the same issue and noticed that by focusing upon posture and self awareness that anyone could improve their efficiency and their overall well-being.
He developed a system that could be used by what he called 'teachers' to impart better habits of movement upon his 'students'. I am unsure why he did not call them patients, but it might be because it is about teaching people better habits.
The typical session involves you taking various positions, standing or sitting or laying down, while the teacher will place hands on you to encourage the relaxation of certain muscle groups. They will also ask you to conduct certain movement as they guide your body. There will also be some imaging techniques, which are very familiar to most dancers. Finally, in my case at least, you get some exercises to do at home.
The best thing about the technique for most is that the method is very easy on you. You spend much or your time laying down so you get the benefits with little effort.
As a dancer I like to think I am fairly aware of my body and movement. I have been working on that to improve my dance for some time now. However, I still found more awareness from these sessions. Especially with parts of my body my teachers of the past have mentioned. Especially letting my shoulders drop. Since doing these sessions I have:
Felt less pain when in general - we all have aches and pains at times
Been able to adjusts what I do to limit the onset of fatigue and strain - most notably when walking while on holiday in Tasmania, which is where Frederick Matthias Alexander was born, so that was poetic
Felt more grounded in my feet - I have some pronation, which now feels reduced
Felt less aches when dancing
Felt more control over my posture when dancing
I would recommend this to anyone - it worked for me so it should work for you. Even if you do not get benefit from it, you at least know you have worked out that you're in good shape. However, you will probably have some issues that can be resolved. For dance I would especially recommend it if you have any of the following issues:
Poor hip movement
You fall into steps at times
You ever feel pain from dancing for longer periods
Stiffness in your back
Poor head position
Where to find a practitioner
In these days of the internet it is very easy to type Alexander technique and you local area into a search engine and find someone near you. I found one a block away.
This is a pretty good article on how to be a better dancer from the perspective of an Alexander teacher - The Biggest Mistake Dancers Make. It shows both what Alexander teachers know and gives advice on how to dance better.
Symmetry is naturally pleasing to the eye. We are actually much better at noticing symmetry unconsciously than we realise. Not only in static things, but also when they move. That means we like to look at people who look symmetrical, but we like it even more when they move symmetrically too. So if your body is symmetrical in appearance, then you will look good. However, if your body is symmetrical in the way it moves, then you will look even better when you dance.
That’s why we want symmetry in the body – it will make us look better (and feel better to our partners) when we dance.
Why are we not symmetrical?
There are many reasons for not being symmetrical. By understanding the different causes we can think more about the best ways to correct for them.
No one is really symmetrical in the first place. Most of us are right handed or left handed so that means we have spent year always leading with one side of the body. This side will have a bit more strength and control of movement. Just this alone can cause in imbalance.
We also have other on symmetries in the body. A common one is the eyes. Most of us have one eye stringer than the other. Do you find that text is harder to read with one eye or the other? When one eye is stringer it can cause your head to turn slightly so that you take more advantage of it. This can put your shoulders out, then your back, and then you whole body is unsymmetrical.
There are some things that come from habit. Do you lean your arm on the door when driving? Do you always sleep on one side of your body? Are there any unsymmetrical actions you repeat each day on symmetrical positions that you often sit or stand in? There probably are – we all have them in our lives somewhere. Carrying a brief case or bad could be one. It’s only small, but if you do it every day, then the longer you’ve lived the more unsymmetrical it could make you.
If you can think of something like this in your life, then try doing the opposite. Carry your hand bag in another hand, cross your legs the other way, clap with the other hand rotated forward slightly of the opposite one, lean to the other side when you sit. How different does it feel? The more different it feels, the likely you have become unsymmetrical.
What we can do about symmetry?
We can’t avoid all of the activities that might cause non-symmetry. Also, we can’t really become ambidextrous. Nevertheless, you might want to see if some of you habits can be reversed for a period. Simply putting the effort in will tell your unconscious mind to focus on symmetry.
However, what is probably most effective is engaging in some exercises that promote this symmetry. Here are some suggestions.
Franklin balls – these are balls that you stand on to improve your balance. There is one per foot so each side of the body needs to work.
Exercise – if you’re going to exercise be mindful of choosing exercises that encourage symmetry. For example machine weights will let one side of the body work harder than the other. Consider free weights – one for each hand or leg – if you’re into weights. Lunges are ok too, because you can do one per side, but squats not as much. This doesn’t mean drop an exercise that doesn’t offer complete decoupling between sides, just make sure you have some that do.
Try to be symmetrical – look at yourself in the mirror. Are you straight; is one shoulder high then the other; what about your head’s angle or your hips? Are there items in your environment that might encourage non-symmetry that you can replace?
Get a massage – many will be up for this one. If you have more tension in one side than the other, then get all the tension removed. Then you’ll be more symmetrical.
Try any of the above and you will get an improvement in your dancing. Not only that, but you will feel better. Not to mention look better too.
There are plenty of videos out there on how Latin hips should look. However, this can only help so much. Certainly looking at yourself in the mirror also provides a good indication of how well you are doing. But still, if it’s not looking right, then it can take a while to work out what you need to do differently to make those hips work. This article will provide you with some extra pointers on how Latin hips should feel so that you can better practice them by yourself. At the end of this article you will have a much better idea if you’re doing your Latin hips correctly and what you need to do to make them better.
Why do Latin hips well?
Latin hips are essential to many dances: obviously, the Latin ones. However, if you can do Latin hips well, then your body moves better, and you can do other dances well. Not only that, but getting your hips moving in the Latin hips pattern helps you work on isolation between your upper and lower body. This isolation ability is essential to good looking dance. You might have seen a video on the innergame of dance facebook page that showed how significant this isolation is to attractive looking dance. Finally, it is an excellent warm up before dance to make it feel more enjoyable and easier.
That’s three reasons for being able to do Latin hip and do them well. They improve body movement, they look good and they are an excellent warm up tool if you do them right.
What are Latin hips?
If you’ve had someone explain Latin hips to you, then you’ve likely been told that your hips need to make a figure 8 pattern. This article assumes that you already know what Latin hips are or at least what they look like. However, to make sure that you are properly following what I am saying I will give a brief overview.
You can also, do a search on the internet for video on Latin hips too. There are plenty out there.
Imagine that the red outline in the left most frame of the image below is your hips when standing up straight and the figure eight in black is the path that your hips make. The first stage of doing Latin hips is shown in the upper right frame of the image. Each stage is shown in the following frames from top to bottom and left to right. The final stage is the same as the first and the process continues. We will refer to this image in the next section.
How do Latin hips feel?
Knowing what Latin hips look like and the basic path is just the start. The next stage is to know how they feel. When you know how they feel, you can be more certain that you’re doing them right by the feedback of feeling.
Now first consider the image below. It shows an idealised torso and the anatomy of that region. This will be used to explain the muscles that you should feel working as you do your Latin hips.
At this stage you will feel the left abdominals working – these are the muscles highlighted to the right
At this stage you will feel the left side of your core working – these are the muscles highlighted to the right
At this stage you will feel the left back muscles along the spine working – these are the muscles highlighted to the right
At this stage you will feel the right abdominals working – these are the muscles highlighted to the right
At this stage you will feel right side of your core working – these are the muscles highlighted to the right
At this stage you will feel the right back muscles along the spine working – these are the muscles highlighted to the right
This is a guide for when you’re starting to work on your Latin hips or if you want to double check that you’re doing them right. You can place your hands upon those parts of your core to check that the right muscles are working at the right time. Otherwise, if you simply do your Latin hips for a while the muscles will start to fatigue, and you will easily feel each group of muscles working in turn.
When you’re good at your Latin hips, the muscles will just work and you won’t be that aware of each muscle working.
I have been writing about how to be a better partner dancer for some years now. In that time I have:
done a lot of research into how to dance better,
tried a lot of techniques to see if they improve dance ability,
had friends try techniques to see if they improve dance ability,
spoken to many women about the things they find difficult, and
spoken to a lot of men about what they like in dance partners.
From all of this, I have found essence of what makes for the best women dancers*.
And I am going to share this with you now.
In short, you need to be a graceful dancer. You need to not only dance well, obviously, but you need to be a lady that has poise and affability on the dance floor.
It’s more than simply knowing figures.
The best female dancers:
have an affability that makes it easy to ask them to dance and connect with
can feel emotion in the music
notice how others express the feelings in the music
move with grace in response to leads that they can feel
When you have these qualities, you become that woman that you have seen on the dance floor who looks at home there. You glide along the floor and turn expressing the character of the music and catch everyone’s eye as you have the kind of experience that we all want from dance. Think about those women you see dancing like that – it can be you.
If you want to be one of the best women dancers, then you need to master the following:
Physicality – for good feminine movement
Musicality – not just dancing in time with the music, but WITH the music
Learning dance – so you know that you are dancing as you should
Sensing – so you can pick up on all aspects of dance to follow and express yourself
Affability – so your partner connects, and creates that unique dance experience
You probably already have some these, but there is likely to be something you feel you lack or have perhaps never thought about.
Imagine if you had all of them, and you were like those other dancers you see and envy. You CAN master these 5 attributes of the best female dancers. And I will show you how so that dance can be what you want it to be.
If you do want me to tell you how to master these attributes, and you should, then you can read more via a report that I have written on this topic. Fill out the form below, and I will send you the report now.
*I know that it need not be a woman following. This is just the context that this article is written in. Much of what is written here is valid for leads in general. By all means, if you are a man, then you can still learn about following from the report.
I have been writing about how to be a better partner dancer for some years now. In that time I have:
done a lot of research into how men dance better,
tried a lot of techniques to see if they improve dance ability,
spoken to many men about the things they find difficult, and
spoken to a lot of women about what they like in dance partners.
From all of this, I have found out what makes for the best male dancer*.
And I want to share that with you now.
In short, you need to be a gentleman dancer. You need to not only dance well, obviously, but you need to know how to dance WITH a woman.
It’s more than simply knowing figures.
For the woman you are dancing with it’s about being able to use what you know to take her on an adventure. Partner dance is about more than 2 people moving in sync with the music. It’s about:
connecting with another person who makes you feel something – something good**
noticing what that person feels in the music
noticing how they express that feeling to their dance partner
then joining them on the journey they are about to take
If you can do this, then you will be a man who knows he dances well and provides women the experiences that they expect (probably now hope) dance will offer. In short, you will be a fantastic dancer.
If you want to be the kind of dancer that women like – the gentleman dancer – then you need to master the following:
Physicality – for good masculine movement
Musicality – not just dancing in time with the music, but WITH the music
Learning dance – so you know that you are dancing as you should
Sensing – so you can pick up on all aspects of dance to provide a complete package
Confidence with women – so that she can feel trust*** when she dances with you
Presentation – so you look the part and complete the experience
You probably already have some, but there is likely to be something you feel you lack or have perhaps never thought of. Just imagine the feeling you will have when you know you can dance that well with a woman and you show her a good time. You CAN master these 6 attributes of the gentleman dancer. And I will show you how.
If you do want to master these attributes, and you should, then you can read more via a report that I have written on this topic. Fill out the form below, and I will send you the report now.
*I know that it need not be a man leading. This is just the context that this article is written in. Much of what is written here is valid for leads in general. By all means, if you are a womon, then you can still learn about leading from the report.
**It’s different from what men feel when they are with someone they like dancing with so many men don’t get it.
***But now you know what it is that women want to feel with a man before they dance with him. In the report, you will learn how to achieve this feeling in your dance partner
On this Season of Dancing With the Stars Bindi Irwin has pulled off some remarkable performances and got the scores (and final victory) to prove it. Many of us would not expect this from the daughter of a crocodile hunter. Her dance partner Derek Hough, noted that at the start she could not dance “No joke, she could not dance,”.
She has surprised many with how well she dances.
She has something that helps her dance so well. This makes her an ideal person to study to understand how we can all become better dancers. If we can work out what helps her dance so well, then we can emulate this.
Bindi’s posture did improve over the season. However, that was more a result of mindfulness. Derek noted that she became aware of her body as she practiced more. Once she was aware of this, she could produce the right posture. If you watch her dance, then you can also see how strong and clear her movements are. Bindi has had an active life, which has given her a physicality that is ideal for dance.
The lesson: if you find that your body does not have the ability to move as you wish, then you probably need to engage in dedicated exercises to build the strength that is needed for dance. Take a look here to learn some of these.
Whenever I watch Bindi dance, I can tell that she has a sense of timing. When she did tango to Shook Me All Night Long by AC-DC Bindi spoke about how music reminds her of her past. Because music plays such a role in her life, Bindi has a deeper connection to it, and thus a sense of timing and expression. This lets her then focus on learning routines and movement without needing to put extra effort into paying attention to the music - she feels it naturally, and will be in sync when she dances.
The lesson: focus on music separately. Listen to it and connect with it. If you want to learn methods to pick up timing faster, then take a look here.
Because of her age, Bindi would still be accustomed to learning from others. Many children learn well because they think they have too. When you feel compelled and have no alternative, then you learn fast. Kids don’t actually have that much of an advantage when it comes to learning – they just have no alternative. Bindi’s mother commented how much she has grown over the season and how Derek had a lot to do with this – Bindi was able to learn a lot more than just dance. Bindi is accustomed to learning from others, and lets that happen. Thus she can learn dance fast.
The lesson: We need to learn to learn. We also need to simply put the time in to learn. This can mean study in your own time. I can mean really paying attention to your teacher. It also means that you should manage the way you learn – learning dance is different from learning other things, and you might need to adjust your learning style. If you want to know how to tune your learning strategy to become a better dancer, then take a look here.
The Halloween dance showed how much Bindi can get into her dancing. When you want to perform, you are indeed performing; it is a lot like acting. Bindi has experience acting and she also seems to like doing everything she does well.
The lesson: if you want to succeed as a performance dancer, then you need to realise that you are acting too. Work on your body language and attitude to match the dance. If you want to learn some tricks to being able to express and act in dance, then take a look here.
Bindi dances well and learned to dance well fast because she had the attributes that make a good dancer: musicality, physicality, nd ability to learn and attitude. These can be developed outside of dance so that you too can learn dance fast. Learn more about developing attributes to dance better faster here.
Most of us have encountered another dancer always seems to dance better than us - not matter what we do. We sometimes look for reasons to explain away their better dance so that we do not need to confront the frustration this can bring. However, many of these reasons we produce are myths. If you confront each myth to find the truth, and use this truth to improve the way you learn dance, then you will become the one that others make myths about.
Here are the 8 myths that people hold about those other dancers who dance better and how to confront them to be a better dancer.
1 They are naturals
Depending upon which country you live in you might or might not follow cricket. If you do, then you will likely know of a man by the name of Shane Warne. He is known for resurrecting spin bowling and delivering the Ball of the Century. He is for this reason considered a remarkable athlete and some would say a natural. However, he is also known for Warne’s rule:
There is no such thing as a natural.
He is certainly not the only person to posit this notion. However, it is noteworthy that one so talented and considered a natural would say this.
The notion of there being no such thing as a natural is also supported by the researcher into expert performance: Anders Ericsson. Ericsson found that all world class experts in their chosen field had completed a period considerable practice to become as good as they were. This was the case for Shane Warne and for those people you think are naturals.
If you know someone who dances better than you and it seems that they have done the same amount of practice as you, then one (or maybe more) of three things has probably happened:
They engaged in a hobby or pastime prior to starting dance and developed skills that carried over to dance
They actually practice more than they let on – many people do this to create an air of mystique
They practice in a more focused (deliberate) manner than you
The fact is that the people who dance well are either now or were once engaging in deliberate practice to develop the numerous attributes that make for a good dancer.
If you want to dance as well as them, then review how much deliberate practice you put in and how focused that practice is.
2 They have a dancer’s body
I have used this one a few times myself. I know men with trim builds who can more easily wrap theirs and their partner’s limbs around their torso. They can also move a little faster because of their leanness. It is true that some people will have a physique that gives them an edge, but it’s not a huge edge so don’t go thinking that this is the reason for someone dancing that much better than you.
And there is a lot more to dance than body shape.
I know I have said this before, but John Lindo is a perfect example of how much more there can be to dance.
Nevertheless, depending upon the dance style, you will likely find that a bit of deliberate practice to improve strength, flexibility and endurance will help.
3 They were born in the right culture, which gives them some je ne se
This one is heard a lot. It is especially espoused by people from the respective culture. I personally find it odd that someone would rather try to exclude others from enjoying their culture than try to promote their culture to others and take pride in how it is loved and mastered by so many. But I think this gets back to people needing to find other ways of feeling good about themselves.
But getting back to the point – it is not that they just have some je ne se because of their culture. It is simply that they:
grew up with the respective music so they can express it more in their dance and
they get the attitude to goes with the dance so they can also express the style easily as well.
The solution to this is once again a lot like practice.
You would be well served first by listening more to the kind of music you dance to. Second, think about the attitude and try expressing that. I only know a few teachers who actively encourage this so if you work on it, then you will quickly improve.
Learning to express attitude can take a while, and is more like acting. However, acting is a component of dance, and is worth trying.
4 They pay for more dance lessons
There is certainly an advantage to having more lessons. However, if you know how to practice properly in your own time, then you will make much more out of a smaller number of dance lessons. In my experience, people who pay for more lessons often grow complacent in their practice, and the benefit of the extra lessons is lost.
Remember that much of learning is actually processing what you have learned in your lesson, and not just doing the lesson. Thus, doing more lessons are often just a substitute for practice. Twice as many lessons will not make you improve your dance twice as fast.
Doing the following will make up for any difference that comes from someone else taking more dance lessons than you:
Focus on processing what was covered in a lesson by going over it regularly (at least once a day with physical practice) and before going to sleep each night in bed to drive it all to the unconscious mind for greatest benefit.
Record video footage of the key things (figures, techniques, routines and such) taught in each lesson.
Dance socially – this will really test you. When the other person has learned elsewhere, the leads and follows are different. Which means you need to lead/follow properly instead of relying on the other person knowing what they are meant to do. This will really force you to know and learn the figures.
Book practice times with other students – it’s free, they might know what you don’t know. And vice versa. You can go over routines with them, and, like social dancing, but not as extreme, you will improve your ability by dancing with another. There are many places that you can practice too.
5 They don’t work, and have more time to practice
It is certainly the case that more practice will help, but quality will always win out over quantity. Practice can cause fatigue if done too long in the wrong context. Focus on the quality of your own practice and make it deliberate.
Do you take notes at the end of each lesson to remind you what to work on until the next lesson?
Do you take notes when practicing so that you have focused questions at your next lesson?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to both of these, then you’re going to find that practice quantity counts for less. This is because the quality of your practice will now be so much greater.
6 They are the teacher’s favorite
Teachers do have their favorites. However, apart from when it’s because of sexual attraction, it is a result of solid learning habits and a focus on improvement by the student. If you take your learning seriously, then you will likely be the favorite.
And even if you’re not the favorite, your learning is your responsibility. Utilize your teacher to become a better dancer, and their lack of motivation teaching you when compared to other students will become meaningless.
7 They have a better teacher
There is such thing as a bad teacher, there is also such thing as a bad student. However, there is no such thing as a good teacher or a good student; only a good student teacher relationship. The key is to match the learning style of the student to the teaching style of the teacher.
You have a few options here if you think someone has a better teacher/student relationship:
Change teacher – obvious really.
Manage your lessons – by focusing the attention of your teacher on the things you need and extracting the information you need in a form that works for you, it will matter less how your teacher naturally teaches.
Adjust your learning – it’s like the opposite of option 2. I would be careful about trying this. If you adopt learning methods that don’t suit you, then it’s hard to conceive how you will dance better. However, you might find that your teacher is actually on to a better method if you give it a go. So be cautious, but try it.
8 They are more confident
Probably because they practice properly or because they can fake it.
Once you are up and dancing, much of what worries you disappears, and it's all down to practice. Practicing under stress can also negate the effects of nerves when performing. Therefore, confidence (or lack of it) is not a reason to not dance well.
Nevertheless, it is more enjoyable to dance when feeling confident. This is one of the best methods I have tried to boost confidence in dance.
It is probably well known to most of us that dancers have excellent bodies. They have balance, poise, they move gracefully, and fluidly, and they are symmetrical. These are all characteristics required to be a good dancer, and they need to be displayed when dancing. Years of training and simply trying to dance with these characteristics will develop them in anyone. This means that you know you can eventually develop them too.
However, it would be much better if you could fast track your development of your body so that that you can dance well without the years of practice.
It would also be better if you could do this outside of dance class. It is always good to get feedback on how you’re moving when you dance. But really, that can be a waste of time. Dance classes are best spent learning a dance instead of having your teacher make you try to move the right way. In fact, this approach is doomed to fail. You might get it right in one class, but by the time next class comes around you might have lost the movement, and you’re back where you started. Plus you might have a disgruntled teacher.
The ideal solution is having a body that naturally moves in a way that suits your dance.
Exercises for a better dance body
So if you do want to get a good dancer’s body at a faster rate, then you need to engage in dedicated exercises that will really get your body working. The other advantage is that a dancer’s body is usually healthier and more attractive. That means you will feel better and look better when you try some of these exercises. However, I think the best advantage is that by working on this outside of your dance lessons you will have more time to actually learn dance.
Depending upon where you start from it will take longer to see the benefits. However, when I started working on improved movement, I saw results within two weeks (this was based on comments made by others). I also know fellow dance student who got positive comments from her dance teacher within a week.
There are a number of other activities that you can try to help develop a body that moves well. Such activities could be: martial arts, Pilates or yoga. The key is that these activities work the whole body. By doing so, they get all the small muscles that provide balance and control working. When these muscles are well exercises and strong, you will have much better movement.
If you’re into weights, then you might want to take a look at kettlebells. Because they do not have a handle that encloses their centre of mas, they require you to provide the stability. This extra effort works those small control muscles mentioned earlier. Also, because they are work one hand per weight, they will develop symmetry, which is essential for a good looking dancer’s body.
By hips I really mean the whole pelvic area. Doing little more than walking and sitting doesn’t really do much for this part of the body. Many dances (especially the Latin ones) require fluid movement within the hips. This means that for many of us this is a weakness. The best exercises I have found for this part of the body are lunges. However, you can’t just do them forward. You need to do them to the side and with a twist around to the back. This will work those muscles in each of the key directions of movement.
Like the hips, many of us probably do not have a core that works as well as it should. Also, this is probably because of our lifestyle.
The thing that probably enters your mind straight away is sit-ups or crunches. These can do a lot to build strength, but you need more. You actually need your core muscles to activate naturally while you move (including dance).
As a test, try the following:
Stand up with feet should width apart
Now lift your hands above your head and interlock them with your arms straight
Now lean back like you’re trying to reach out the wall behind you
Note where you feel stress: is it in your stomach, you back or a mix?
If it is all in you back, then it means your core is not working well. Try the following:
Place a chair in front of you
Place one foot on the chair
Raise the opposite hand above you head (you might want to have the chair oriented so that your other hand can hold the back for stability)
Now lean back and note where you feel tension
Try leaning to the side or twisting to induce a stress in your stomach
If you still can’t, then try breathing deep into your stomach – this will often cause the tension required, and encourage your stomach to work naturally
It’s good to do the above prior to your crunches or other abdominal workouts so that you do them with an activated core. You will then have a core that can help move your hips and keep them isolated from your top-line (upper body).
A strong and fluid upper body is required for good posture and balance while dancing. The most important thing for this is a chest and back that respond naturally while you move, and dance.
To get this movement, swing your arms up above you’re your head or around your body or behind your head. The important thing is this is dynamic and there is a bit of a snap at the end to make the muscles respond. It is this snap at the end that really gets the muscles switched on, and working naturally for better posture and upper body control.
Taking it further
The above should have convinced you that a nice moving body is good for dance and something that you can work on outside of your dance class.
It has also given you some basic ideas on what you can try doing to improve this movement, However, it is just an introduction. There are many programs out there that will help you take this further. Part 1 of Dance Better Now has some suitable exercises, but Part 2 has some really good stuff along with other useful information for dance students looking to improve their learning ability.
If you’re interested specifically in improving your body though, then take a look at the products below. I have used them and found them to be excellent. For full disclosure, note that I will get a commission if you make a purchase. That should not affect your decision, but I want to be transparent with these things.
Code of the Natural (For men)
by Rob Brinded
Rob has put together a really interesting package here. It is a book that explains a system that is designed to free up your body to give more attractive movement (which includes symmetry). The thing is that such movement is ideal for dancing. When I used this system I felt my walk and movement improve after about two weeks. I also got comments on how well my body (especially my hips, which are hard for men) was moving. Even though this is meant for men, women can perform the same exercises. Rob tells me that a womens version will be out soon. Once it is I will have a link to it here.
The Truth About Six Pack Abs
by Mike Geary
A strong core can be key to isolation in dance, and better movement.
This e-book covers the keys to building a strong core, increasing fitness and trimming down to have good looking and athletic body. I have still been able to use the contents of this book to build a stronger core that allowed for much better dance.
The human hand is one of the most impressive example of sophisticated machinery on the face of the planet. What it can achieve is amazing. If you know how to take full advantage of its ability, then you will dance with your partner at a much greater level.
Just take a moment to look at your hand and think about what it can do:
It can move from a flat surface that can easily slide
It can form a tight ball like fist
It can curve into a hook shape to hold onto something
It can spread out to distribute load on contact
It can grip around objects of various shapes
It can apply a force
It can sense pressure from another hand so that another dancer's position can be inferred
it can twist and bend at the wrist so that it can do the above in different orientations
It can then move to almost any position around the body on the end of the arm
Just stop and think about the above. You hand can do a lot for you by sending signals via movement and force and at the same time tell you a lot about what is going on with your dance partner.
To take full advantage of what your hand can do, it needs sufficient attention from you.
Next time you are having troubles leading or following, try focusing on your hand: its position, shape, force applied force felt, movement and so on. There is potentially a clue to dancing better. As note, this is more likely to be an issue in your swing, Latin and street Latin dances, but always keep it in the back of your mind as a tool to use when you have dance issues.
Do you ever have troubles maintaining balance while dancing? Do you get dizzy sometimes, and feel that reduces your dance ability?
If you do, then take a look at this. It has a whole section dedicated to improving balance and removing dizziness.
---- A letter from a fellow dancer ----
How does one develop strong balance for standard dances? Are there any specific exercises?
---- Response ----
Thank you for the email. A lot of people have issues with balance and dizziness while dancing, and want to know what they can do about it quickly. So this is definitely a good question to discuss.
Fortunately, balance is just like fitness, flexibility and mental ability. If you exercise it, then it gets better. Obviously the question is: what kind of exercises?
Much of balance comes from the feet so anything to strengthen them will help. You can also subject yourself to lots of spinning or vigorous movement that normally makes you dizzy. You will eventually get over this and be more balanced. It's a bit like sailors getting their sea legs.
Probably the easiest way I have found is using Franklin balls.
When I want to improve my balance I just stand on them for 10 or so minutes each night while watching TV. Once that's easy, try standing on one foot or moving more while standing on them. People normally notice an improvement within a couple of weeks, but we're all different.