A great picture, as we know, is made of little details. Dancing is no different. Keep these 7 Super Tips in mind when you do your International Latin, and they shall help you with your progress.
1. Have your weight on the “Balls of the Feet”
- When standing, concentrate on where your weight is. A good place to start is to have your weight evenly distributed between two legs, with both toes slightly open and heels together.
- Shift your pelvic weight (along with the rest of the upper body) weight forward until you feel your toes curl up to keep your body from falling forward.
- By having your weight on the balls of the feet, you might feel uncomfortable at first, but in the long run, it will help you with your balance and frisk your moves.
2. Keep both feet attached to the ground. Especially in the beginning.
- When walking, be sure to have the inside edge of the ball of the free foot (or big toes) lightly attached to the ground. Friction should be heard when making the step. It’s like painting a picture on the floor with your foot.
- The free foot should not have much weight on it at all. Just enough to have it attached. Eventually you can “split” weight to increase the size of the step, but in the beginning, stepping “naturally” is good way to start.
- Don’t forget to Point Your Toes!
3. Close Your Thighs
- Have your weight on either leg
- Before making the next step, bring in and brush your free thigh (foot) through the standing leg. This will bring more contrast and finesse to your latin dance and ensure a good balance.
- Some also chose to “Track” their feet, instead of “brushing” thighs. Just a different technical approach, but, essentially, an aim for the same result.
4. Switch knees when applicable
- Some Latin dances have more pronounced knee switch due to the character of the dance. So, be sure to show the difference when the knee is bend and when it is straight.
- The speed of the knee switch matters a lot. If you take cha cha, for example, the switch is very quick and very sharp. Trying the same technique might not work for rumba.
- Watch Your Knees!!! Love them and cherish them! Even though it is hard to call Ballroom Dancing a “Natural” Sport, but there are still certain techniques to avoid the unneeded strain on your knees. Remember, they can only bend forward and back.
5. Your Hips and “Cuban Motion”
- You would notice that hip action is slightly different in all Latin dances. It really depends on the style and definitely the music of the dance. Hip Elevation is one of the techniques that could seen in all dance. To practice, stand on one leg, elevate and drop the free hip by contracting and releasing the side waist muscles.
- Note that surrounding hip muscles are toned and are not allowing the hip joints to “pop out”. The rotation of the hip, also known as “Figure 8”, is produced by the use of surrounding waist muscles, combined with knees, and transfer of weight from one leg to the other.
6. Frame is Round
- Get your elbows up, leaders, and make sure they are slightly forward towards your partner.
- Followers! Don’t hang your elbows on top of your leaders and definitely don’t dig your fingers and squeeze the bicep muscle.
- The elbow crease is not static. When dance partners are in a closed position, elbows serve the purpose of “shock absorbers” and the connecting piece to the lead and follow, when movement is created.
- Partners, of course, are looking at each other. It’s Latin, right?
7. There is a fine line between pushing and pulling.
- There are 3 centers: “Mine”, “Yours”, and “Ours”!
- Since the leader initiates the movement, the follower feels the impulse and reacts accordingly
- There could be a push away from “Our” center, there could be a pull towards “Our” center, and there could be “Moving 3 Centers At Once”. All decided by the leader.
- More on leading and following could be found in [THIS] article
There are, of course, so many more out there for improving your Latin Dance. Since, with time and complexity of our steps and choreography, we tend to forget about basics, remembering these will help you out. They sure helped us.
Be sure to check [The super 7 Tips On Ballroom]