How To Dance

Even though there are many different styles of dance, each with its own moves and techniques, there are some basic fundamentals of dancing that are important for all dancers to develop no matter which style of dance you are learning.  These fundamentals include posture, technique, rhythm and presentation.

  1. Posture  Good posture is very important in controlling your movements and keeping your balance.  Basically, you want to think about keeping your spine straight, from your hips all the way up to your head.  You also want to make sure that you hold your head up while you dance instead of looking down at the ground.  Looking at the ground is one of the fastest ways to ruin good posture.  There are different ways to think about how to maintain good posture.  One way is to imagine someone pulling a string up through the top of your head.  This should help to keep your head up and rib cage lifted.  Another way to think about it is to imagine a pole running vertically through your body which keeps your torso straight and your head up.  An important point to remember though is that while it is very important to keep your torso straight and lifted while you dance, you don't want your body to become too stiff.  In reality, your spine is what is kept straight and lifted and the rest of your body dances around your spine.   
  2. Technique  Good technique will allow you to have more control over the movements and help you develop your interpretation of the music.  Every style of dance has different technique, so it is necessary to find a class where you can learn the technique for the specific style of dancing you are interested in.  Ballet and contemporary dance classes are especially useful in learning basic dance technique, coordination and muscle control.
  3. Rhythm  One of the most important things in dancing is having the correct timing.  The timing will vary depending on the choreography, however, it is important to hear the rhythm in the music in order to stay on time with the music.  Most people can learn to hear the rhythm by practicing various dance routines with the music.  For people with more difficulty hearing the rhythm in the music, learning to play a musical instrument or taking a basic music class can help.
  4. Presentation  A good presentation is when the dancer or performer allows her own personality and emotions to come out while she is dancing.  This is usually the last thing that is developed in becoming a good dancer.  This is because it is difficult to express your personality while you are thinking about technique, posture, rhythm, etc.  However, once you develop good dance technique and rhythm, you can become absorbed in the music and the music will be expressed through your dancing.

These are the basic fundamentals of dancing.  Learning to dance takes time and a lot of practice.  However, developing these four fundamentals will help you to become a better and more versatile dancer regardless of which style you choose.


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