You Want to Be a Better Dancer?!
3 Steps to
Connect to the Music!
Has this ever happened to you?
A song from your childhood plays on the radio and a wave of nostalgia comes over you.
You’ve heard a choir sing that sent chills down your spine.
A singer’s love ballad conveys so much heartbreak you could almost cry.
Listening to a favorite upbeat song helped lift your mood through an otherwise drab commute to work.
It’s no secret that music and emotions go hand and hand. After all, songs are often a form of communication — stories of love, loss, inspiration, struggle, celebration and more!
So often I’m asked, “How can I be a better dancer? How can I move with more ease or grace? How can I look less awkward when I dance? “
Technically, we can learn to count the beats of the song and notice the repeating patterns. Think , two steps to the right clap, two steps to the left clap, repeating on and on. We can master the dance of a song when we come to class often and feel familiar enough with the song that the movements become like second nature. This is a wonderful way we can build confidence in our dancing abilities.
But what about adding that extra wow-factor? How can our movements capture the spirit of the song — give us or others that same sensation of chills down the spine?
Open your ears, open your heart, and get ready to be brave!
Notice the elements of the song. Is the music fast or slow, does it have strong beats or slow flowing moments? If there are lyrics, regardless of the language, can you guess the feelings the singer is trying to share?
How does the song make YOU feel? Does the music bring you more energy, create a peaceful, relaxing moment for you, make you feel powerful, happy, sensual, sad or otherwise? Does the song bring back a memory for you?
Use your body and movements as if you were an instrument playing the song. Truthfully, it may be easier for some people to focus on just getting down the dance steps . After all, a misstep can quickly be fixed ( and we aren’t going for perfection in our classes anyway!). But to match our movements to the emotions of music requires us to be vulnerable and expressive— which can take courage. Just the same way our bodies react everyday in gestures such as by clenching our jaw or fists when angry, or through claps and smiles when excited, we can use our bodies to show how we experience listening to this song.
Every class we dance to so many different styles and rhythms of music such as energetic merengue, happy pop, sensual bachata, and powerful hip hop.
Today, can you listen to the emotion behind each song, match the feeling with your movement, and connect to the music?!
The music “gets into our feet,” making, as the ancients believed, feelings visible.
- G. F. W. Hegel
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