Developing ‘The Look of the Dancer’

May 30, 2017

It’s elusive, mysterious, and yet we want it more than anything (isn’t that always the way? *wink*) There’s just something irresistible about the dancer who has the ‘look’. But what is the ‘look of a dancer’ anyway?

In one sense, it’s about confidence - being good and knowing it. Think about it - do any of the dancers you admire seem hesitant or restrained in their movements? No, they express passion, power, and sensuality - to name a few - with absolute self-assurance.

But confidence comes with knowledge, and there are specific, teachable techniques these exceptional dancers have learned - and you can too.

1. They have musicality.

Having a sense of rhythm is one thing, but these dancers stand out by mixing speeds with sharper and softer movements to make a dance come alive. They take what they hear, and change their movement in response.

2. They have balance and poise.

Glance at a pro dancer’s feet the next time you see one perform. Do they slide around like they’re dancing on ice, or stick like glue where they were placed? Now, let your eyes wander up to their body (not in that way). Are they leaning or falling into steps, or do they stay upright with every step?

Their secret is two-fold: they know how to maintain pressure on the floor to control their foot placement, and how much to push off that connection to arrive at the next step, without overbalancing.

3. They know how to connect.

Ballroom dancing is danced with TWO people - one cannot look their best without supporting the other. The experienced dancers use steady connection and as many contact points as possible to lead challenging patterns effortlessly.

4. They use styling.

Shaking hips, arm flicks, body sway - these are what most people think of when asked about styling. While this can be the most fun part of learning the look of the dancer, the trick is making the movement look natural rather than spastic, polished rather than sloppy.

5. They do it all effortlessly.

As they say, it’s like riding a bike. It’s one thing to know the technique, another to dance it without thinking about it. Above all, developing the look of a dancer means growing comfortable enough to relax into the dance, wasting as little energy as possible.

This is all well and good, but HOW exactly do we go about learning the look of a dancer? Let me explain… Next week ;)

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.



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