Can there be too much technique.
Why is learning technique in dancing important and what is the danger in thinking too much?
First and foremost, let’s figure out why we need to learn technique in the first place. The answer seems obvious: good technique allows us to CONTROL Speed, Balance and Rhythm as well as define the dance Style. Therefore the objective of every teacher is to make you more in control of what you are trying to demonstrate on the dance floor.
You may have noticed, that coaches don’t have the same way of approaching this task. Through years of experience, teachers create their own ways of explaining certain technical tips, that sometimes seem almost contradictory. SO, it’s useful to have lessons with different coaches, because some will explain it in a way that will just click for you, BUT always ‘filter’ the information through your body and experience so far.
Imagine you are trying to learn to cycle. The instructor gives you the bicycle and explains how to sit, push the pedals and control the balance. But it’s only after you have tried over and over again that you find YOUR way of riding and balancing and then it becomes your second nature.
So, if good technique is meant to set you free, why after years of thorough learning do some dancers still feel and look ‘stiff’?! Well, because raw technique is NOT ENOUGH! Dancing is as much Art as it is Sport. Visualisation, feeling, story and genuine emotions are equally important in creating quality dancing and these things WILL help you to polish your technique and make dancing more natural.
Here are some tips on how you can practice your art:
- Sing your routine instead of counting the beats. Choreography is built in sentences, not separate words. When we speak we go faster and slower, louder and quieter, more gentle or more assertive. Similar patterns should be seen in your dancing to make it exciting both for you and the audience. Monotonous counting can be a killer.
- Communicate with your partner and the audience. Talk to them through your eyes and gestures. It could be something like ‘I know you are watching my hip here’ or ‘look at my beautiful partner’.
- Create stories within your dance. ‘I take her pressures hand and it feels so gentle’, ‘I reach up to the skies, like they hold all the answers’. Instead of just ‘bring hand forward’ and ‘lift arm up’.
- Visualise the audience around you and try to genuinely connect with them. This will prevent you from looking down or inwards.
The thing is, we are all different. Some pick up their bicycle and fearlessly shoot off without thinking too much, others will read every line of instructions before even touching it.
Whatever your strengths are, it’s important to consciously practice both the physical and the artistic side of dance. There is a saying: ‘Analysis is a Paralysis’ – overthinking indeed is not good for your creative side. Perfection is impossible and unnecessary. BUT it’s important to learn the rules before you start breaking them.
Be Yourself and Keeeep Dancing!!!