Five Elemental Forces
When you think of dance lessons you probably think of learning 'dance steps' or patterns. While this is very important it can be of tremendous value to learn what 'elements' those patterns are made up from. Here are FIVE elements that constitute many of the most popular dance steps that you will learn.
1. Walking the Walk
Before you can walk you learn to crawl. Before you can dance you need to understand 'The Walk'. Practising walking forward and back may seem redundant, however the best dancers gain familiarity with the pace and feel of moving from one foot to the next in straight line while smoothly passing the feet in both the forward and back directions.
Put on some music and try to walk in time. You may find it an uncomplicated way to gain a sense of stability and awareness of how your body moves. Controlling how you walk will help you master how you dance.
2. Side Stepping
A key element of almost any dance style is the side-together step. The main focus here is gaining the ability to change weight from your side step to the closing foot in order to free up you original foot to take another step.
Feeling comfortable with this weight change will unlock a massive range of dance steps that will help you add variety to your repertoire and importantly synchronise your steps to your partners, helping to avoid stepping on feet!
3. Time to Rock
The popular Rhythm dances like Swing and Latin require us to 'Rock' our weight from foot to foot in place. After stepping forward, we keep our feet apart and 'rock' back to the foot that hasn't moved yet. We can also use this element leading back or either side.
The rock step helps express rhythm and can help move the hips in isolation for an awesome 'cuban' look and feel. Keeping you weight somewhat between the feet will help you time and balance this element. Again, practising the rock element on its own will help you feel confident when including in your patterns.
4. Skip to the Chasse
An exciting dance element you will learn is the Chasse. The Chasse feels very dancey. Simply skip in a quick series of 3 steps. The Chasse can be taken left, right, forward or back. The Chasse will form the back bone of the Swing and the Cha Cha and can be danced in many other styles.
Practising the Chasses on there own with help give you the right feel and posture when dancing Swing, Cha Cha and more.
5. Tapping into Rhythm
Our fifth element is the Tap Step. Instead of moving your foot and landing on it, 'Tap' your foot out to the side without weight. Including this action will unlock more variety in many of the different styles. You can tap either side, forward or back and even kick or flick out the foot.
A good dancer will practice the tap step with music to get a sense of beat. Combining tap steps with weight change steps is very popular. Tap the foot, then step and repeat on the other leg.
By isolating each of the elements and practising them in isolation from each other and the 'steps' or patterns you learn will help to create great habits for confident and stylish dancing for beginners and advanced dancers.