This topic seems to pop out quite frequently lately in my field so it’s a good moment to share a bit more about it.
To me, advanced level in dancing carries many layers.
🌀 Advanced Basics:
The first class you join in any dance, there is a big chance you will start learning the basic steps. Depending on the teacher an intro of history would come first so the student knows where it all came from, but still the class focus would be on the basic movement.
The basics as easy as they often look, are actually the hardest thing to learn as they are the foundation of the house we are building and living in. If the foundation is weak, when the time to build the windows, the doors, the floor, it’s gonna be very visible something is not made right.
For that reason the basics are to be practiced over and over, refined, experimented with, changed, erased and re-learned, played with it, devoted to, studied a life time. Basics are the true teachers as they carry all the questions and answers.
They are beginning and the end of every step and everything in between.
Basics are truly the first thing we learn and the last thing we master.
Before we step in front of someone, ask for their hand, then hold or be held close in an embrace, there are many things happening first inside of ourselves.
The energy we come into that moment is different every time. Our core, our presence and emotions will often play the main factor on how the dance will flow.
Our partner of course comes with their own state of being, so the more we are connected to our selves and clear with what we bring, the better the whole experience will be.
Beginners don’t think about this much of course as their focus is on the steps they just learned, but an advanced dancer should pay a lot of attention to this theme.
Do we truly bring the best of ourselves into that moment?
Do we bring care, love, joy, or do we project frustration, anger, negativity?
Many practices to become more conscious to these parts of us, we can do ourselves or with a partner.
It’s truly a beautiful theme to work on and will affect not just our dancing, but every day life.
This comes down to practice, over and over. Repetition of the same move but in a different way each time will bring more clarity on what is the best way of execution.
Sometimes what we learn well works with one partner, but might not work at all with another. That moment is a beautiful opportunity to look deeper into it again, while refining it even more.
Technique is a lot like speaking a language and the way we pronounce sentences, how we construct them. The quality and clarity come hand in hand so both in union will create a beautiful technique which will be felt and seen.
For an advanced dancer the goal is to reach a high level of technique, and then completely “forget it”.
To Forget, means to stop trying to move the leg, but to allow the leg to move itself.
It will not come anymore from the mind, but from a much deeper place.
But before that, we practice practice practice.
Speaking of language In the previous theme, learning the language like Portuguese for Kizomba or Brasilian Zouk, Spanish for Salsa, Bachata and Tango, from my experience, brings me so much closer to the dance itself.
With it I can now understand all the songs I hear, so dancing to them makes so much more sense. As I feel the meaning of the lyrics, I can create even more meaning inside myself, and that I can bring to the dance and my partner.
It also helps me connect to my teachers who often I noticed express them selves completely different when they speak their native language, then in a foreign one. From that we both can connect deeper.
It is not obligatory to learn it, but I can say that knowing these languages brought me only amazing things.
I really disliked history as a kid in school. I found it very, boring. Probably it’s because the school itself was not fun for me at all, as the only class i really enjoyed was art.
But as I really love dancing, learning history came natural, plus I had teachers who were teaching it a lot and explaining how it was all created.
Knowing history is also honouring the dance it self and everyone who came before us.
This theme branches in different directions yet it’s all connected.
Big part of it is listening to music, a lot.
And I don’t mean just letting it pass from one ear to the other, but really allowing the body to feel it fully and then move with that. After that comes understanding of it, the structure and then the instruments, especially to an experienced dancer. What can help this process a lot Is learning one instrument, and it really can be any.
So for example if you dance salsa, learn to play the Guiro or Campana. If you feel more adventurous, go for the Congas or the Bongos, etc. If you dance Kizomba, get the Dicanza, the drums, etc. You don’t have to be a professional musician to learn any of these instruments basics. You just have to love the dance and music enough to go for it.
With all that, we move into dancing again and see what changes it has created, and trust me it will create some major ones.
Everything good takes time. (Except the Mango in my fridge which I will go eat now)
To be advanced is a great goal, but the journey itself is truly the most beautiful part of it.
Allow it to be experienced, tasted with every part of your being, then give it time to digest.
Add some spice to it on the way, trust the process, and have fun.
Wish you all a beautiful and creative day