Saturday, October 25, 2008

Learning to Dance

Would it be better to practice for a while applying our dancing to music? or is it important to learn the steps first before applying them to the music?

Janet in Huntington, New York emailed us her dance dilemma...
She had purchased our Associate Bronze level Foxtrot/Waltz instructional dvd. She and her fiance started using it to prepare for their October wedding.

Janet explained that it appeared that they had all five foxtrot steps down well without music.--they felt that they were able to do the steps and her partner had a comfortably firm lead hand. But when it came time to dance to the music---Janet, described the problem they were experiencing:
"There is much pause between steps, we get confused, and we both mess up the steps when we practice to music."

Janet and her partner had been doing a review of the dvd for a few minutes without music, a few minutes with music. Then they would review the dvd again, practice a few minutes without music, and a few minutes with music... Now Janet wonders if it would be better to practice without music at all for a while? Or is it important to learn the steps within the context of applying them to the rhythm of the music?

Scott's response:

The best thing to do at first is to practice without music because the hardest thing for us guys initially is the continuity from step to step. The problem is, for us guys, we have to know what step we want to do next while we are still doing the previous step. So it's fine to practice without music while you are learning the patterns and linking the patterns. You do want to make sure, though, that the next pattern starts on the very next beat. There are no beats between. I guess a question I should ask is "Are you doing the dance as a routine or lead and follow?" Just be patient and keep practicing and you'll see that it will fall into place.

Janet's second question was,

"Would it be best to learn the foxtrot steps well --before beginning to
work with the waltz steps?"

Scott's response:
It's not necessary to wait before you add new dances because usually your brain is set up to handle more than one thing. Also, you'll notice if you work on one thing too long, you reach a saturation point. So, I would say to go ahead and start learning the waltz and it should be fine. When we teach people in our studio, we usually do three or four dances at a time. But then, we always keep in mind that everyone is different. So try going on to the Waltz, but if you find it is too much, go at your own pace. We find it is better to do more than one.

Thank you, Janet, for your questions.

We consider ourselves your "Dance Instructors Online"...
So please keep all your questions coming!!!