Balance is the one thing that every dancer fights for. Once you have it, magic on a dance floor can happen so you can stretch and project… well but if you don’t, it’s more like watching Bambi on ice. Do you know the feeling?
Everyone talks about being more balanced. Teachers screaming find your balance! But how often do you actually practice “balancing”?
First of all, let me just clarify that balance is an active process. This means that your muscles must constantly be working and adjusting so your body is “balanced”. Being balanced doesn’t mean to “freeze”, but to be able to use your muscles, keep “moving” in a way to support the lines you want.
Stand on one leg and close your eyes. You can feel that your ankle of the supporting leg keeps adjusting- this is balancing! If you freeze and tense all muscle, you will just fall. Same happens in dancing.
The questions is: What are the best ways to easily practice your balance and what should you focus on when you’re dancing?
Make sure that you can count all your steps in each choreography. If you don’t know whether one step is on Slow or Quick or 3 or 4, how do you expect to commit to the step? Without being sure what beat of music you have to arrive on, you will never know how much time you have to take a step.
Secondly, remember that “the way you count is the way you dance“. So if you count boring, you will dance boring. If you count excited, then you will dance that way.
How to practice it?
Literally, count out loud your choreos to music whilst dancing.
When you walk from one room to another, you go straight and you don’t wobble. How is it different in dancing? Well, if in all your choreographies you don’t know where you should be facing at the end of each step, you will never get the balance you want especially when your partner turns more or less than you.
How to practice it?
Speak to your teacher about directions in the room i.e. LOD (line of dance), diagonal wall, diagonal centre, wall, centre and steps against LOD. You should be able to dance each step and clearly show with your body which direction it ends.
Have a look at the whole video I created just for you about this topic 🙂
When you’re dancing, your muscles should always be alert and ready to move. Toned muscles respond immediately to messages sent from the brain. Too much tension, and you become stiff, to little and the body moves like a boiled spaghetti.
How do you know how much tension is enough? Well, that’s something you must figure out for yourself by experimenting.
The easiest way is to contract your muscles fully (over-do it) and then keep relaxing to find out what you really need in each specific movement that helps you maintain the balance.
You can achieve a good level of balance by focusing on the above. Also, when you train with a knowledgeable teacher, they will explain all that in details and give you exercises. If you’re very ambitious, you may also want to add classes including yoga and pilates which will condition your body and give you better muscle balance.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below as I’m always happy to help.
Photo credits: Maggiore Fotografico