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Professional West Coast Swing Dance Instruction

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Basics, Basics, Basics !!

Posted on 1 June, 2011 at 13:58
Thought I would share this with students and dance friends everywhere...I teach this, and say it all in many different ways...This comes from my good friend in San Diego, Ca.  Mr Michael Kiehm... good stuff !! Enjoy.
Basics, Basics, Basics, You can't work on them too much! 
I'm sure you've probably heard this a million times, but lets face it, watch any advanced dancer and what do you remember??? It's HOW they danced, not what they danced. An advanced dancer can captivate you with nothing but basic patterns, simply because they have mastered their ability to maintain a consistent connection between themselves, the floor, the music and the space around them. They never seem rushed or off time, and they never use more lead or follow then necessary. THERE IS NO WAISTED MOVEMENT! Even when they "play" the are able to "Keep the conversation" (stay connected to the partner).I see so many dancers dancing solo while holding on to a partner! This is a result of a lack of good basic skills. When the basic connection is solid, both partners can continue complimenting each others embellishments with matching movements or at least support throughout the movements.One of the best pieces of advice I or any other coach could give you, would be to SLOW DOWN and pay more attention to your partner. If you are in control of your balance and your spacing, miracles will happen. A perfect example of this is non other than Tatiana Mollmann. Here is a very talented follower that can take a movement that most any other follower would fall flat on the floor with, and turn it into the coolest move! Why, because she understands her body's limitation and is always in control of what it is doing. If you watch any video of Tatiana, you will see that she stays very calm and continues to dance basics in between each flurry of extravagant movements.Try keeping your feet as close to the floor as possible and think about keeping your posture strongly over your feet. Try to be aware of how you are placing your feet on the ground (what part of the foot, and how much time the foot is action and the placement of the foot) If you think about it in this detail, it will cause you to slow down slightly, which is a great thing! KEEP WORKING ON YOUR BASIC SKILLS....I DO, and I've been dancing for over 30 years.
Me too Michael !!!  Thanks for writing this !!
Courtesy of Michael Kiehm, Starlight Dance Studio- San Diego, Ca

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