Where to go beyond the basics

Now that you’ve learned the basics, what should you do next?  The best way to answer this is by asking a second question, what are your intended goals for learning?

If you are planning to compete or participate in the studio showcases, then I would say start focusing on the body actions for the different styles.  Hip actions for your Latin or Rhythm dances.  Begin to incorporate arm styles to accentuate the positions and/or to create character.  Develop swing, sway and fluidity in the smooth dances.  Be sure to spend time learning proper footwork.

However, if you are strictly interested in social dancing then I say you should revisit the theory of the Inter-related System.  We first apply this to learning the basics; how the Walking Step is used in Foxtrot and Tango, or the Triple Step is used in Cha-Cha and East Coast Swing.  Now you can apply this concept with some patterns.  Example- patterns you learn in Salsa, Rumba and Cha-Cha can be varied slightly to fit each dance as you probably noticed with Crossover Breaks or the Crossbody Lead.  But you can start to integrate some of the variations from one dance to the other with minimal changes.

This holds true with Foxtrot and Waltz.  Foxtrot has a lot of playful rhythms, one of which is the Box Rhythm.  What you learn in Waltz can easily be applied in Foxtrot as long as you know the Slow, Quick, Quick timing.

Adding patterns from one dance to the other is a great way to increase your variety, but use with some restraint.  Just because the Cuban Walk is fun for Rumba, it doesn’t really fit the style of Salsa.  Yes, it can be danced and perhaps enhanced for a showcase, but may not be the best for a social dance.

Have fun.  Experiment.  Discover what patterns work best for you while dancing.


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