Knowing how to dance is great.
Knowing how to lead or follow is great too.
But, can you do BOTH and take it to the next level?
Today I have something that will help you develop the elusive skill of Fluidity.
During my classes, this is a question that has been circulating among my intermediate and advanced students. They’ve observed great dancers on the floor and have asked “what do they have that I don’t?” The answer is Fluidity. This mysterious skill can be mastered.
Bruce Lee once said, “ When there is freedom from mechanical conditional, there is simplicity. ” This has resonated with me because simplicity is a key element of fluidity.
Both the traditional dancer and the modern dancer know a bundle of sequences or dance steps with pre-fixed rules, and they share some in common. By understating this and whether you belong to a traditional or a modern style creates a false idea of yourself as a dancer. Once you have mastered your patterns, and you know the steps you can gain the freedom to be fluid.
Fluidity is the capability of flowing freely like water, to change easily and the ability to show a smooth and easy style.
To develop fluidity we need to understand the following:
Dance is not all routines, patterns or dance steps
Simply put, the ability to be fluid in your dance steps is a matter of mind set. It is about setting your mind to focus on the right part of your dancing. Which is your body motion and movements. Learn to have the ability to adapt or change but not fight against what is happening in the moment.
Use body motion to enhance the momentum given by the step. Use your body position to give presence or attitude to any dance step at any moment. This approach comes from understanding the mechanics of the step by practicing AND being aware of what your body is doing in relation to the non-mechanical part of the step.
For example, how to stand when you lead a right turn, or how you frame a booty roll on the second half of the basic as a follower are non-mechanical areas of the dance.
Another thing to consider in developing fluidity, is understanding the music. Listening to the music will give hints of upcoming changes of rhythm. This change of rhythm, once you understand it, will help you enhance your body motion in relation to the dance steps you’re executing. For a more sophisticated look you need to allow you body position to define that desired look.
Depending on how the music makes you feel in that particular moment, you may feel empowered as the song becomes full with sound. As Cheyenne said, in Dance With Me with Vanessa Williams, “the music tells you what to do.”
Love your transitional motion
I encourage my students to think about dancing more playfully. Once you know the dance steps and are comfortable doing them, I introduce the concept of transitional motion. The space between two dance steps is where transitional motion take place. This can change each time you do two or more dance moves. First, by being playful, you allow yourself to move with the timing, momentum and energy of the music, giving you freedom of fluid creativity. This can be expressed as a simple shifting of your weight a little more in one direction than is needed. Or not shifting at all. You need to be able to sense where you are with the dance step and when to get yourself back to where you want to be.
The transitional motion concept is exploring how to transition from one step to the next. Always working out what the transition should be for yourself. Transitional motion is subtle and can be one of the most difficult things to master in your dance training. As long as you keep your mind set in a playful mode, you will be able to overcome this challenge.
Dancing requires you to develop the ability to think on your feet (your mental agility), and especially for the lead, to think about how to put steps together way before you are planning to execute them on the dance floor. Remember the simple concept, you lead and she follows. The momentum you are creating and the transition you are putting out there is in direct connection to how fluid she’s going to be.
To recap, Fluidity is develop by doing the following:
1. Enhancing the step without compromising its core mechanical structure.
2. Having a playful mind for freedom of mental creation.
3. Make use of transitional motion by shifting your weight to emphasize the body posture of your liking.
As you practice your dance steps, explore the transitional parts of the dance. Fluid motion will begin to come to you naturally. As you add to your body of movement knowledge and experience, open your mind to let it work for you and let your movement flow.