5 ways to be a better social dancer
5 ways to be a better social dancer
Wanna be a better social dancer? Here are Incognito’s top 5 tips:
1.) Social Dance
Many developing dancers say “I’ll go social dancing after I get better at it”. The only way to get good at social dancing is to social dance. You can take 10 years of classes and you will not be a good a social dancer as someone who has been social dancing every night for 4 months. You may know more moves, but the art of social dancing comes from the experience of social dancing. It’s the only way you learn how to spontaneously create moves and develop a relationship with the music. You have to immerse yourself into the social dance scene.
Leads, you need to dance with dancers that are not necessarily good as you. In doing so you will learn what it takes to give a clear lead, how to make adjustments to your partner and the difference between a move learned in class and a move executed on the dance floor.
Followers, you need to dance with people that are recognized as accomplished leaders. These are not the people that talk about how great they are, but the ones that other followers clamour to dance with. These are the leads that make every follower look spectacular. You will learn that a lead doesn’t have to be strong to be effective. That’s what a good leader has spent years developing
A good dancer with always have consideration for their partners ability. If leaders know the floor is sticky or you are dancing over a strip or on carpet they will try and adapt their moves accordingly. If you are dancing with someone who is obviously of a higher level, a really good dancer will be patient and happy to enjoy the dance with you even if all the moves or the spins don’t happen perfectly.
2.) Are you listening? or do you just hear the music?
Listen to salsa music – at the clubs listen to the music, notice what tracks you like. Listen at home, in the car whenever you get a chance. This improves your musicality and allows your brain to absorb the different rhythms gradually over time
Listen to constructive criticism in class and take it on board. Don’t worry too much if someone is pointing out faults while you are social dancing, its very easy to get disheartened by people’s comments. At the end of the day unless you ask someone for advice, any criticism should not be taken too seriously. Make a mental note if you think they have a valid point then get on with enjoying your dancing.
If you can, it is a nice to compliment someone you genuinely have a great dance with, or even if you see someone and just like their dancing style. It goes a long way and will probably make their day!
3.) Practice and be goal oriented
Rumour has it that a fellow musician once asked the Mozart: “Could you tell me how to you managed to perform in front of the King at the age of 5?” “Yes,” said Mozart. “Practice!”
Practice really does help. Most good dancers are good because they dance for many hours. It often helps to have a goal. Think of a couple of things you really want to work on and focus on them while you are dancing. You may want to think about your timing, specific moves or your spins for example. Practicing steps, shines and turns at home also makes a big difference. When you practice these things to the point that you don’t think about them anymore, then you can break them out on the dance floor and it will feel natural.
4.) Keep attending dance classes
No matter what level we are, we can always get better. There is always someone out there who can teach you something, even doing a different dance will improve your salsa dancing… don’t stop going to lessons.
Dancing is a language and there is a methodology to learning it. A quality instructor will be able to quickly identify your weaknesses, strengths, and help you to create a blueprint towards your aims. There are many different styles of dance and ways of teaching, find a style or teacher that suits you and do the classes for a while rather than chopping and changing every week.
Video classes if you can so you can go over moves and styling in your own time. Get other people to video you so you can see how you look. Watch other people in the classes and clubs and see what they do well.
IMPORTANT NOTE TO PERFORMERS: Is performance training as good idea? Yes, of course, its a great chance to improve your styling and confidence, but and its a BIG BUT, do not to stop your social dancing. Choreographed routines by their nature are rehearsed and performing is a different skill all together. There is far less emphasis on improvised and instinctive leading and following your partner. We have experienced many great dancers who have turned their focus on to performing, and it has made them very difficult to dance with. It has happened to the best of them… you have been warned !!!
Above all enjoy your dancing. Salsa is about having fun so don’t lose sight of the joy of dancing and get caught up in all the technicalities so much so that it becomes hard work. If you’ve had a bad day, salsa is great stress relief and you can let the music take you away from the realities of life for a little while. It is also a celebration, so share your happiness when you are able through your dancing.
Make the most of dancing with different people and making new friends. Salsa is great for meeting people from all walks of life and very sociable, after all that’s why it’s called social dancing.
Dance with many, dance lots and dance to have fun.