So, there is a step in a new choreography that you just can’t seem to get. Perhaps you have done things that are more difficult, perhaps this challenge brings you to a new level. Regardless of the situation, you are not doing what you want to do, and it is frustrating beyond belief.
Any type of problem is solved faster and more effectively if there is a structured way to approach it. Doctors, scientists, detectives and engineers would hardly be able to function without structured problem-solving. You probably use it too, whether you know it or not. If you are not sure of your approach, or it is not working for you, consider this 3 part approach to solving problems with any dance step, to make sure that your “killer” step does not kill you.
1. Recognize that your strengths are often your weaknesses.
If you are a great follower, you might be more challenged with open positions. If you are flexible, you might struggle more with steps that require a more static positioning. If you have great speed and long legs, you might have more of a challenge with tighter more intricate steps.
- Your first and most basic thing to understand is that you must pay attention to your strengths so you do not use them where you should not. It feels great to show your strengths, but it often means that the opposite skill is neglected. You may not have recognized the “opposite to strength” skill as a weakness. Often this type of concern only shows up when you start a major new challenge, are tired or frustrated, but it almost always shows up somewhere.
- Understand how to build around your main strengths by committing to spending time on their opposite. If you are a great follower, take the role of leader. After doing that for a while, dancing in an open position without a connection will feel easier. If you are flexible, work on maintaining perfect stillness, control and isolation. Then you will have the best of both worlds. This approach can apply to pretty much anything.
2. Go over your steps in slow freeze frames to diagnose where your main challenges are.
Doing a step in a continuous sequence does not always give you enough information to figure out where or why things go wrong. The more advanced you are, the more true this is since you are likely doing 98% perfect.
- To find the 2% that is off, go over your routine by marking your steps and paying attention to exactly where your feet are. Make corrections there first, if needed, to ensure that everything is logical and your foot alignment is as you intend.
- Next, move through your full body positions in almost a robot like movement. This is so you are very aware of your weight shift, balance and lines. Check yourself in the mirror for every small movement. You will almost certainly find a place that could be more comfortable, stable or look better. If you don’t, do it again to make sure that the first go around was not a fluke and have someone else watch if necessary.
- Most difficult to solve problems are due to small issues that are hard to find without this laser focus. Be open to experimenting with many different ways of approaching anything that does not look and feel awesome to you.
3. Make sure that your emotions are not getting in the way with you realizing it.
When something is frustrating, our minds and bodies react with tension. Sometimes the thing that created the tension, triggers the same type of tension even when there is no reason to any longer.
- When approaching a challenging move, you may need to practice and train yourself to relax to a level where you can execute the move seamlessly. If you find this hard, try centralizing your tension in one place, like your core. Your core should be very toned anyway, and focus there will allow the rest of your body to move the way it should.
- Keep doing this and you will eventually retrain your mind and body to calmly execute your most difficult moves.