Sharing The Joy Of Dancing


I recently wrote an article about the two different ballroom bodies. I mentioned keeping the body still and moving just through the legs (keeping in mind that there are two definitions of legs). The problem I have encountered is that the dancer tries to hold the body still. This results in a robotic movement when they dance. I have had amazing success by using the word "allow" instead of "hold". For example: "Allow" your body to be still. This statement seems to cause the dancer to be able to relax more. That "allows" the body to be still instead of using muscles to hold the body still.

This is more a guy problem than the ladies. Men tend to try to muscle everything just by nature. They try to drive and steer the lady like they would drive a car. I have seen dramatic changes in the man's frame just by saying: "Don't hold your frame, "allow" it be there". You can actually see the muscles across the man's shoulders relax.

Another example of a dramatic and immediate change is the position of the ladies head and upper torso while dancing Smooth/Standard. Women also have a tendency to hold themselves rigid in this position. Once they start "allowing" themselves to be in that position, the more natural everything seems to get.

As you can see from above, words are very powerful and some time you have to keep searching for the right word to get the desired body response. Some students respond differently to the same words so you can't assume every student will have the same response. You just need to try to find the particular words that work for that student.

I have seen dancers trying to take heel steps in Smooth/Standard dancing by placing their feet instead of allowing their body position to "allow" the heel step to be taken. This is even more prevalent in Latin/Rhythm dancing. Dancers hear: toe flat steps, inside edge toe steps, being knock kneed, rotating hips, etc. and try to execute these through each separate part of the body instead of "allowing" the whole body action to create these movements.

The partnership is all about balance and counter balancing the two-headed four-legged animal. If the two haves "allow" the balancing to happen instead of forcing it to happen, then everything seems to just flow.

If the leader is rigid or is muscling various parts of the movements, the lady gets distracted by this feeling and it limits her ability to follow and participate in the lead or movement. Most ladies are feeling by nature and this feeling of force just confuses her. As the leader relaxes and "allows" the movement to happen, the lady will just naturally respond and participate in the movement.

As the man starts to "allow" his body to do things, the lady will unconsciously feel it and start "allowing" also. The whole partnership just seems to smooth out and work more naturally. The partnership starts to melt together into a single entity (the two-headed four-legged animal). Once the dancer starts "allowing" things to be still and happen instead of holding them still and forcing movements, everything becomes easier, smoother, and more natural.