One of the questions dance teachers get asked a LOT is; "How can I become a better dancer?"
Whether you are a salsa dancer, a ballroom dancer, a jazz/tap or ballet dancer, a high heels dancer, an Irish dancer, a samba dancer or a hip hop dancer, consider these seven main points, and you will be well on your way to upping your dance game!
We spoke to several dance professionals from around the world, and according to them, these are THE most important things to consider if you want to up your dance game.
It may not be evident to the naked eye, and it may not seem that way to people who don't dance, but professional dancers are STRONG humans! And they need to be!
To be the best dancer you can be, you need to have a strong core, so that you can hold your centre and essentially control the movement of the rest of the body, as well as finding your centre of gravity as you change directions in motion.
Pain and tightness in the body can be an indication that you need to strengthen your core muscles, as having a strong core is an essential component in avoiding dance-related injuries.
Some things that you can do to strengthen your core and ultimately become a better dancer are:
- Pilates and yoga
- General core workouts
- Martial arts and boxing
- Dance! Dancing itself, although not alone, can help you get abs to die for, so do more of that!
Perhaps you are someone who does a style of dancing that does not seem to require any real flexibility?
That is all fine; however, continuously working on and improving your overall flexibility can be a positive way to stay healthy and help you avoid injury through dance.
Also, very importantly, correctly working on your flexibility can help to improve your posture - which brings me to my next point...
We all know that professional dancers have posture perfection, but how is this, and why?
Dancers need to have proper posture because this helps them with balance and coordination as well as the aesthetics of their movement, as, after all, dance is a spectator sport!
Having a perfect posture helps dancers to articulate their movement elegantly and gracefully, all the while the dancer looks strong and confidant and of course - good posture is another essential safeguard against injury.
In partner dancing, good posture is vital for both the lead and follow as the dancers' frame is used as a guide to lead and follow through the dance.
Having the right pair of shoes
We've all heard the saying, right? "Give a girl the right pair of shoes, and she will conquer the world."
Well, this is especially true when it comes to dancing shoes.
There are so many reasons why having a well-fitting, comfortable, appropriately high (or low) suede or leather-soled pair of dance shoes is essential to being the best dancer you can be, but here are just a few for you to mull over:
- As mentioned in previous blog posts, a well-fitting pair of dance shoes can help you to stay safe against injuries on the dance floor.
- Dance shoes are far more comfortable than standard street shoes. This is due to the fit, materials, heel type and height, the way the soles are made and various other factors, but the main thing is, they keep you comfortable - and a comfortable dancer is a good dancer.
- For high heel dance shoes, the heels are positioned accordingly to align the dancer's body slightly forward pushing more weight onto the balls of the feet.
Get yourself a training partner
Get yourself a training partner that motivates you to keep working hard at your skill and drives your passion and motivation to become the best dancer you can be.
You don't just have to dance with your partner; you can workout, encourage each other to eat well, stretch, and listen to music that will increase the knowledge base of your chosen style (i.e. salsa music for salsa dancers, classical for ballet etc.)
Having a training partner can be an excellent way to stay accountable and keep you active and engaged even when it's easy not to be!
Listen to the music that represents the dance styles that you do
It's really important that as a dancer, you understand even just a little bit about the music you are dancing to, and to get an understanding of music, we need to listen to it, it's that simple!
Listen while you are driving. Listen while you are walking. Listen while you are cooking! Anytime and anywhere the music is available to you is an excellent time to tune in.
And finally, have a sense of humour! 😆
Now, this has got to be one of if not THE most important factor in becoming a better dancer, especially in couples dancing!
If you make a mistake, fall, or one of your moves doesn't turn out exactly as you wanted it to, have a laugh and enjoy the moment; it will be much more fun for you and your partner if you don't take yourself too seriously.
By all means, try your best, be serious about your passion for dance, but also, keep your sense of humour and remember at the end of the day - it's just dancing!