5 Common Mistakes Latin Dancers Make & How You Can Avoid Them
In an age of instant gratification, we all want to see immediate results, but sometimes we are getting in our own way. Challenges and the “tough stuff” are great for our ego, but without our basics it means nothing.
WHY YOUR BASICS ARE SO IMPORTANT
The foundation of your dancing lies in your basic step, having the correct technique for stepping and placing your feet, how to transfer weight, and maintaining rhythm and timing. Everything that you learn after your basic will depend on it. When your basics are solid, you can then focus on the new information you are trying to learn. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
1) GOING TOO FAST AND FAILING TO ACQUIRE SOLID BASICS = GUARANTEED DISASTER
It’s rare to find someone who, when starting out a new dance, is willing to learn the dance properly and start from the very beginning. Those rare gems are students that truly understand the importance of having a solid foundation. However, most people prefer to be challenged. They find themselves being bored repeating the same thing over and over. But if your goal is really to become a better dancer, slow and steady is certainly the route to choose, building on what you have learned and putting them into practice as soon as possible.
2) LESS IS DEFINITELY MORE
There might be some new move that all the advanced dancers are doing, but they have built it on top of their solid foundations. Dancing contains basic steps, specific timing, and essential partnering techniques that are needed to facilitate non-verbal communication with the partner on the dance floor. There is no point in styling or throwing in fancy moves if you aren’t actually dancing with your partner. So priority No. 1 is just that – Dance with your partner! Funnily enough, advanced dancers tend to enjoy dances that are less hectic and focus more on connection and musicality.
3) ALL STYLE AND NO CONTENT
Ladies are always eager to learn styling, some even rushing off to styling-only classes because no partner is necessary. But styling should be last on the list of priorities. Leaders are not innocent either! They are also anxious to add some pizzazz to their dancing. But adding styling without the proper and adequate foundations such as coordination, body control, timing, etc. can turn simple figures and patterns into something incomprehensible to the follower or makes a follower unleadable because they are over focused on the styling and not following as required. Either or both can make it painful for both dancers and equally for anyone else watching.
4) NOTHING IS BENEATH YOU
Quite often the experienced and advanced dancers know the value of practicing and mastering their basics. In many other dance styles, dancers with many years of experience return to beginner classes so they can focus on mastering the basic skills they require to execute the more advanced moves. But in Latin dances such as salsa and bachata, students often try to progress to an advanced class before they are ready. Challenges are necessary to keep pushing ourselves, but in order to truly improve as a dancer, mastering the basics is the secret key.
5) BAD BASICS GET IN THE WAY
One of the most interesting things about partner dancing is the silent conversation that two people have on the dance floor in order to move as one. When you are dancing it, it feels even better than it looks, magically almost! You move past executing figures and you can just feel what the other wants or how they will respond. But bad timing, heavy or invisible leading or following, bad footwork all affect the partner work and stop the flow and magic from ever being created.
To become a better dancer you need to take your time, work through the frustrations, focus on your basics, practice your basics and enjoy the results in the long term!