In my previous blog post and in one of my emails I asked following question:
“Which body part do you tend to forget when you’re dancing?
(If you want my opinion, send me a video)”
I received quite a few videos and the result was surprising:
I didn’t notice any „stiffness“ due to forgotten body parts. Head, chest, arms, hands and feet – it was all there, beautifully involved most of the time.
And yet, there was something „mechanical“ killing the flow.
It was the STARTS-AND-STOPS every couple of moves.
After watching all videos again I could recognize following pattern:
Pausing and readjusting to „prepare“ for the next move, including unnecessary re-grabs and steps
Often this is a technical issue. If you’re stopping to readjust your body position, check your technique:
1) WEIGHT TRANSFER*
Problem: not being clear about where’s your weight, when you’re exiting a move – is it on the front leg, is it on the back leg or is it equally on both legs? How do you shift your weight to the next move?
Even when both feet are on the ground, often the weight is on one leg and you’re shifting it to the other leg to transition further. More clear and elegant transitions than regular steps are dips, pivots and circles (slides) keeping feet on the floor.
… is often unnecessary. You can flip your hand between the palm and the back of your hand without losing contact with the pole (e.g. in turns and pirouettes). You can even change hands without letting go off the pole – by opening the fingers and sliding the palms up and down on different sides of the pole.
3) DON’T STOP. PIVOT!*
Instead of stopping completely, keep pivoting on the ball of your feet when you transition between moves. As long as you’re pivoting, you’re keeping things moving.
(*My new online course „Body Awareness & Fluidity“ which is being created and tested at the moment, covers these three techniques. Write me an email if you’d like to be notified when it’s available for purchase.)
4) DRILL TRANSITIONS
Another reason for the „starts and stops“ can be that your mind and your body are simply not used to blend certain transitions yet. I recommend taking a minute to drill transitions that feel a bit off. While doing so, pay attention to your weight transfer, feet and hand positioning.
Special case: FREESTYLING
If your goal is to dance freely without starts-and-stops (instead of practicing pre-choreographed combos), then a different type of „technique“ is required – not in physical sense but rather connected to your intention and your mind.
If you stop to think what to do next, you’re missing the point of freestyling.
Freestyling is not about staying in the comfort zone of moves you already know. It’s about exploring NEW movement patterns.
It is not meant to impress either. It’s a learning tool for your own practice.
As a teacher I’d prefer seeing a video with clumsy bloopers, but also with some intuitive transitions that keep you moving the entire time.
Not: elegant move – stop – elegant move – stop.
„Stop thinking about the next move“ is easier said than done. The main rule during your freestyles should be setting ONE FOCUS (intention).
More about how to think less and dance freely here.
Does any of these techniques apply to you?
Anything else that disturbs your pole flow?
Let me know in the comments below.