When you’re in your early 20s, physically demanding dances don’t seem to overwhelm you that much. If you’re heavily involved into competitions, dancing a single final could feel like a “walk in the park”. Even if your journey to the pedestal starts from the quarter-finals, it still might not be that big of a deal. But, the closer you get to your 30s or even 40s, all of a sudden, you are starting to realize that your body is getting majorly abused. But, when you watch top professional couples who are way past their “spring chicken” stage and still are blasting it all out, you wonder… Where do they get their power?
Knowledge and Technique
Technique has been created not just for the purpose of looks, but it actually helps your movement to become “more natural”. A great example would be your body weight. I am sure you heard your coach endlessly repeat – “Transfer your weight!”. Well, I can only base this of my own experience (yet, I am sure you will find the resemblance to my words), but it’s SO MUCH EASIER to “fall” into step, than to actually “make” one. The reason is – Gravity. Since my upper body has a bunch of weight, I just shift it all aligned with my pelvis in a direction I want, and BAM… I got myself some directional movement! But I bet you already knew that. So in that case, all top pros know these technical tricks, which they have acquired over the years of practicing, getting coached and personal analysis. And we now can conclude that – the better you utilize you technique, the easier and more power efficient is your dance.
I’d be a hypocrite to deny the fact that I love busting through my routine when I just warmed up. Yet, after watching top pros practice, I’ve realized the benefit of slowing down. We all remember the good ‘ol muscle memory, which unfortunately refuses to work with the speeds of our competitive desires. “Going Slow” is something our coaches alway tell us, and they say that not for just the heck of it. From the anatomical stand point: each muscle is innervated by motor neurons, and unfamiliar signal passage from the brain to a muscle takes time to reach it’s destination. Try cutting a piece of bread with a knife in your weak arm, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The more frequently this passage is used, the sooner our muscle memory appears. Eventually all slow movements will become ‘well used’, and your mind and body would be able to do them faster. The ‘slo-mo’ principal works with anything – from the simplest to the most complex moves and choreographed routines. And, by the looks of it, top pros obviously utilize that.
Quality Takes Time
Everyone knows the 10,000 hour trick! When you spend ten thousand hours on something, you become an expert. But, imagine repeating a mistake for an entity of time, and then realizing you were doing it wrong. (Yep, happened to me, I’m sure it happened to you too). It seems that top pros are great because they spend a chunk of their time on analyzing and overanalyzing their dance. Their stamina is built over the years of repetitive movement and most likely extra curricular exercises. Their technique and choreography has been danced, changed or altered over and over. If you follow top couples who have been together for a long time, you could observe that some choreographical patterns they danced 5 years ago are still being used today. That is a perfect example of quality over time, as well as confidence in movement and power.
Clarity Of Goals
It’s hard to believe that an idea shared by two dancers can last for so many years. Yet, for some it won’t last that long. At a competition we usually see the result of each couples’ dedication and amount of time they spent on their dance sport. Even though, occasionally results might be controversial and unfair, in the long run, everyone will get what they deserve. We also can’t deny the fact that some might be more “cut for this” than others. Some are more determined, lucky and simply more driven. And, it’s okay. Each and one of us will take it as far as we want and can.
Live Your Dream and Best of Luck!