A dancer may learn steps, then technique, then more awesomeness comes… Well maybe.
A dancer could very well have the steps down pat, as well as have a clear knowledge and commitment to technique. But if the recorded competition video looks a lot less awesome than it should, the reason may be because the dancer is focused only on the aspects of technique that are very specific to a particular dance or dance style – straight legs, very specific weight shifts, perfect arm positions in frame. But basics of overall technique is missing. And these basics are the 7 ‘C’s:
Your core must be engaged, every single moment that you are dancing. That is right. Every moment. Even when you flex, your core should never flop. Your core gives your entire body tone, balance and presence. Without tone in your core, nothing else will look as good as it should.
Each movement, no matter how fast it is, or small it is, should be clean, clear and distinct in and of itself. If a gesture is worth doing, it is worth doing clearly. Blurred movements look, like slurred speech sounds. Even transition moves need respect. If your highlights are great and your transitions are weak, your dance overall will suffer greatly.
When you are moving, energy must flow through your body continuously. Stepping by drawing your leg up and in direction, with energy that moves from your chest – to your hip -to your ankle- to your toe, looks very different than stepping by lifting your leg from the foot, and then dropping that foot back down again. Do both ways of stepping right now and you will see.
With all that great energy going through your body, you should feel compelled to complete each movement to its fullest extension, and you should let yourself do it and enjoy how great it feels. Incomplete movement is kind of like a roller coaster that keeps going up toward the peak, then back down the same side over and over and over again without every going over.
With all the prior Cs in place, control will be easier, but should never be taken for granted. Control starts in the mind with intention, then translates to the body with tone. Control gives you stability, poise and power because your energy is focused where it needs to be rather than wherever it happens to be.
You might very well be nervous. You might also be doing really tricky moves that requires a lot of effort and concentration, but, showing your strain just isn’t an option. Whether you are dancing for judges, an audience or your partner, if you are tense, you will make others more tense if you show tension, and this will kill any and all enjoyment of the dance. Dancing calm is not just for others however. Showing calmness will actually make you feel calmer.
Connection is to dancing what energy is to sprinting. Without it, you are just going through the motions and won’t get very far. Connection to the music brings musicality, connection to your partner bring authenticity, connection to the joy that dancing brings, creates that spark that most clearly makes the difference between a step and a dance.