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Faster, Stronger, Bigger…Better?

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Evolution is a process you can’t stop. Sometimes it is a faster process, and other times can be slower. You can predict where it can go, or it could take you by surprise.

Every aspect of our life is influenced by the contest we are living in. The cultural changes affected the trends in every form of art. 

The same goes for the art of bodily expression, such as dancesport.

In the ’80s, it was customary for men to go on the floor in a Latin-American competition wearing a lycra catsuit, maybe even pink or yellow. Or in ballroom, in the ’60s, ladies were “carrying” such a voluminous hairstyle that today would be not only funny but really impractical, considering the fast head actions we have in our routines.

Nevertheless, we’re not going to focus on fashion or style in this article but take a dive into the tendencies of making our dancing becoming stronger, faster, bigger. But is that better?

Faster

Speed is relative. We need to have a reference point to define whether something is fast or slow. When you are on an airplane, you don’t feel you are 800km/h because you are on the plane flying along with it. 

So what do we refer to when we talk about speed in dancing and what is the reference point that makes a dancer fast or not? What catches our eyes and makes the difference between a dancer to another one is the contrast. 

“There is no fast without slow” great teachers from England used to say. But what does this actually mean?

If you dance everything fast, it’s the same as if you would dance everything slow. A performance will stand out if you can show contrasts. Play with syncopations, use an articulated rhythm, and play more with your body’s different parts through isolation. 

Sometimes just a quick head rotation is enough to take a dull figure into something much more alive. You can create sharp leg actions or use a different rhythm than your partner’s. Another example is that you can emphasize slows and quicks by delaying and holding much more the slows to be faster. 

There are many possibilities to show a “faster” dance, but escape from the idea of making everything quicker just because they told you that you have to be fast.

Stronger

“Strong” and “powerful” are considered synonyms, but they can mean different things.

Strength is the ability of the body to overcome resistance. Power is the ability to exert as much force as possible in the shortest amount of time. To make it simple, Strength + Speed = Power.

Without any doubt, our modern dance style requires strength for many reasons: 

  • We need it to resist an increased centrifugal force in ballroom, due to a bigger upper volume of the couple and a higher rotational speed; 
  • We have to keep the hand connection when sending a strong input to the partner; 
  • The leg actions have to create a powerful yet controlled movement on the floor;
  • Our core should be active so that we can have a perfect posture.

But when we see a man’s shoulder line in standard suffering an immense tension, we don’t appreciate it. When in Latin-American dancing girls have such strong arms, we say that it’s not feminine. So what is the line between being not powerful enough and being too strong?  

To answer this question and understand what is best for our performance, we must get the audience’s perspective. A pleasant-to-watch couple must have a good body structure, powerful movement, and excellent body weight control.

Each one of these aspects requires a different kind of strength. The tone of the core muscles and ligaments will be responsible for your body posture. 

Then we need the muscles’ explosive power to make a good leg drive or stop a fast action, thus creating contrast. 

Thirdly, we must always control our body weight through continuous muscle work, which involves flexibility. That lets you have an exceptional ability to use eccentric, concentric, and isometric muscle work, creating that smooth body action that we all are searching for.

Bigger

“More is more.” 

We can agree with this statement in many circumstances, but is it the case for dancesport too?

If we see how they used to dance back in the ’60s, competitive dancing didn’t seek huge lines and big volumes. Today though, it seems impossible to compete with a small upper part or without a big drive action. 

But not all dances fit into the same box, each dance having its own character. One above all others is tango. Why should tango be big? Tango’s roots are not from a theater. On a stage. It wasn’t meant to impress people. Intimate, passionate, sad, angry, painful, elegant, but in a challenging way between man and woman, a search for each other against someone else’s will. 

So, can we maintain some of this character in our competitive performance? I don’t think we should say “can we” but “we must”. Top couples do that. That’s why we love to watch them. That’s why we can also appreciate their different styles. 

Of course, we can’t forget that to win a competition we have to show all the required aspects that judges are looking for, but we can’t completely go off track just seeking bigger movements.

Better

Nowadays the dancing level has drastically increased. A few decades ago, only top couples could perform well. Today, already from the younger categories, we can see great dancers from the ⅛. 

This is due to the mechanism that created good teachers that grew good students, generations to generations throughout the years. Today it’s not difficult to get information, to be able to practice, go to famous teachers. 

But the new generations have an essential duty on their shoulder: to improve dancing without losing the original character of each dance. 

Fashions change. We will see outstanding performances in the future for sure. But keep in mind that better doesn’t strictly mean more. Faster, stronger, and bigger than before should not be the guideline for the improvement. 

Unleash your talent without losing proportions, the character of the dance, musicality, and, most of all, your partner. 

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5 Lessons 2020 Taught Us

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As horrible as this year must have been, we should be thankful for it has taught us plenty of lessons. The year 2020 forced us to reevaluate our plans and dreams. 

2020 showed us who our real friends are and who is willing to give up on us when we need them the most. This year a lot of partnerships have ended, and others have formed. Some have quit dancing, while others have started new & exciting projects.

I summed up what I think are the most important things that 2020 showed to us. 

1. We Love Competitions

As a competitive dancer, preparing and going to competitions is your main activity and this year showed us that we might take them for granted.

This year I saw how much all dancers, from beginners to dance legends, suffered that they couldn’t attend competitions such as the Blackpool Dance Festival, German Open, and many other competitions that hold a special spot in each dancer’s heart.

This year we missed all the fuss and excitement that surrounds a big event. We missed people that we see maybe just once a year at that certain comp and we certainly missed being on and off the dance floor.

2. How Addicted To Dancing We Really Are

Ok, at first, it was quite nice. Everyone thought, “Oh, I can finally have a well-deserved break now”. 

But we soon realized that we could not live without dancing. We all started dancing around the house, we reorganized our living rooms in mini dance studios, and we used our walls as partners. 

Some of us who gave up dancing a while ago know how difficult it is to stop. But for those who were in full ascension, I imagine this forced pause felt even worse. 

Nevertheless, dancers are not easily broken down. Many of you practiced in your homes and used this time to learn new things about dancing. Some of you listened to interviews or perfected specific dancing skills such as elasticity. 

3. Online Education Is Important

Because we are on this topic, we realized how crucial online teaching resources really are during this pandemic.

Many dancers couldn’t see their teachers, and this is how online classes came into play. Either if you prefer pre-recorded courses as we offer on Dancesportlife Academy, or live classes, you cannot deny that this is what kept dancers growing during 2020. 

4. How Attached To Our Dance Family We Really Are

The connection between partners is something very difficult to put into words. It is that type of fondness that is hard to explain. In 2020 we didn’t only miss dancing. We also missed what goes hand in hand with dancesport – our partners. The connection between the two partners is one of the most beautiful aspects of dancesport.

Besides our partners, we missed our teachers. There is nothing like a good lesson with our favorite teacher. We missed that type of lesson in which you get those “Aha!” moments when everything clicks. 

5. To Be More United

All in all, I think the most important lesson this year taught us that we need to be more united. 

Many dancers came together to create beautiful online projects this year. We’ve watched fascinating discussions between dancers that otherwise might have never seen together. 

I think we should always remember that the most important thing is never to lose our humanity & kindness. 

The post 5 Lessons 2020 Taught Us appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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11 Online Courses For Soft Skills In Ballroom & Latin

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Technique is crucial if you want to be a good dancer. But what do you need to do in order to achieve that higher level? Well, that’s when soft skills subjects like partnering, communication, musicality and style choice come into play.

I put together a list of 11 courses you can find at Dancesportlife Academy that will help you be a more sophisticated dancer. 

A tip from me: because Santa Claus thinks we’ve been good this year & respected all the rules, we have all our courses on SALE.

1. Partnering Skills in Rumba by Espen Salberg

In his lecture at Dance Amore Roma 2019, Espen Salberg is discussing the sensitivity of lead & follow. Dialog and communication between the two bodies are essential in order to create togetherness.

Espen showcases in his lecture, assisted by Oxana Lebedew and Laura Zmajkovicova, two ways in which you can improve your leading actions:

  1. By knowing the order in which you need to communicate with your partner.
  1. By knowing the amount of energy/physicality you need to put into your leading actions.

Length: 35 minutes

Here is the link to the course

2. Finding Your Dancing Self by Oxana Lebedw

Learning how to express yourself through dancing is one of the most beautiful and challenging aspects of dancesport. It’s something that allows a dancer to touch other’s hearts and souls. That is done by discovering and expressing your own uniqueness.

In this course, you will explore the freedom to show yourself as a performer. You will find out how to relate your own self to your dancing self by learning to be aware and open all your senses.

Length: 45 minutes

Here is the link to the course

3. Mastering Of A Partnership by Oxana Lebedew

In a course that feels like a discussion with a wise psychologist, Oxana shares her pieces of advice on how to develop your partnership into something out of the ordinary.

She touches on subjects like how to communicate with your partner and how to connect. She offers examples on how to divide the duties in a partnership and how to choose a style for you, as a couple.

Length: 25 minutes

Here is the link to the course

4. Samba by Slavik Kryklyvyy

In his lecture from the Gladiators Dance Congress 2019, Slavik is touching many important aspects that create and give samba the characteristic of a “body dance”.

He is pointing out that nowadays, many dancers and teachers forgot what are the core principles of this dance or what are its origins. Thus, the character of samba has been lost.

Length: 31 minutes

Here is the link to the course

5. Movement In Rumba by Slavik Kryklyvyy

In this lecture, Slavik is focusing on body movements in rumba, while tackling subjects like freedom and fluidity.

Being the talent that he is, his lecture is truly inspiring if you want to develop your thinking in a more artistic way.

Length: 30 minutes

Here is the link to the course

6. Creating Your Own Dance Story by Klemen Prasnikar & Sasha Averkieva

Klemen Prasnikar & Sasha Averkieva, WDC World Latin Champions, take you into a self-expression journey by playing with one of the most fundamental principles of dancing: connection.

In the first chapter, they tackle the physical connection. Then they show you how to stay connected even if you are not touching your partner. Lastly, they show you how to play with these types of connections to create your own dance style, your own dance story.

Length: 1 hour 25 minutes

Here is the link to the course

7. Freedom Through Breathing by Paul Moldovan & Cristina Tatar

Paul Moldovan & Cristina Tatar are one of those dance couples that are simply meant for each other. They are currently semi-finalists in all the major events in WDSF Amateur Latin and former World Champions in WDSF Youth and Under 21.

The course is structured in three parts. In the first chapter, Paul & Cristina will show how deficient breathing can influence your mental state and affect your performance. In the second part, they explain how faulty breathing patterns can affect your body, especially your stamina. Lastly, Paul & Cristina shed light on how you can use breathing to play with your steps during your routine by creating a different dynamic.

The course is very unique and could be illuminating for many dancers out there, Latin or Ballroom!

Length: 34 minutes 

Here is the link to the course

8. Qualities Of A Long-Lasting Partnership by Paul Moldovan & Cristina Tatar 

Long-lasting partnerships are something we all strive for. They offer us a sense of security and reliability, which helps us truly focus 100% on the dancing.

But how to maintain a good partnership throughout the years?

Through their 18 years of experience together as a dance couple, Paul & Cristina realized what worked for them. Now, they are willing to share some of their key ingredients of such a beautiful relationship.

This course will leave you with the impression that you just discussed with your most responsible and thoughtful friends.

Tip: This course can be found as a BONUS if you decide to buy Paul & Cristina’s course – “Freedom Through Breathing”

Length: 11 minutes

Here is the link to the course

9. How To Make A Ballroom Dancing Hairstyle For Men by Madis Abel

This course is a step-by-step program designed for Ballroom and 10-dancers to give you all the tools needed to have a champion’s hairstyle.

You will find 20 lectures divided into 5 sections: Preparing your hair, Basic principles, Blow drying, Hair spraying, and Common mistakes. This isn’t fluffy theory stuff either. You’ll get real, ready-to-use tools that you can begin to implement immediately. 

Length: 2 hours

Here is the link to the course

10. The Details Make The Difference In Latin by Frederic Mosa

Frederic Mosa is one of the most sought after teachers and adjudicators in the WDSF Latin world, coaching top Latin couples.

In his lecture from Master Evolution Training Camp 2020, Frederic is showing you with the help of Andrea Silvestri & Marina Varadi the importance of details in our art.

Three of those details are: creating a signature move, musicality, and the connection between partners.

Length: 39 minutes

Here is the link to the course

11. How To Make The Interpretation Interesting, Using The Musical Structure by Pietro Braga

When you say musicality in Standard dances you automatically think of Pietro Braga – one of the best teachers to go to if you want to excel in this area.

In his lecture from Master Evolution Training Camp, Pietro teaches you how to interpret movement by understanding the musical structure.

Length: 28 minutes

Here is the link to the course

The post 11 Online Courses For Soft Skills In Ballroom & Latin appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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11 Best Online Courses On Ballroom & Latin Technique

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We’ve put together some of Dancesportlife Academy’s best courses and premium camp lectures for Ballroom & Latin technique. 

We also have massive Black Friday & Cyber Monday promotions at the moment, so if you decide to buy some of the courses, now is the time! 

1. Fundamentals Of Ballroom by Mirko & Edita Gozzoli

One of our best-selling courses is, by far, the greatest choice if you want to learn the core principles of Ballroom technique such as posture, hold, centres, footwork & body action. Furthermore, you get the chance to discover four novel choreographies and how to apply the theory to them.

Mirko & Edita Gozzoli barely need any introduction. They are one of the most renowned names in ballroom dancing. They have been both World Champions and European Champions.

Length: 4 hours 20 minutes

Link to the course

2. Fundamentals Of Quickstep by Hazel Newberry

Hazel Newberry MBE is one of the United Kingdom’s leading ballroom ladies and dance teachers. She was three times undefeated World Professional Ballroom champion. 

In her lecture at the Gladiators Dance Congress, she focused her attention on lead & follow by looking at body positioning and core principles such as contra body movement.

Length: 29 minutes

Link to the lecture

3. Paso Doble – Structure And Its 5 Elements by Alan Fletcher

When you say “Alan Fletcher” you automatically say “true legend of the Latin American dancing world”. One of the most sought after teachers, preparing couples to win the highest titles, reveals the five key aspects of Paso Doble.  

Learn from Alan some secrets on music, posture, shaping, framing, and resistance. Also, you will get a cameo from one of the most loved lady dancers. I’ll let you guess who that is!

Length: 26 minutes

Link to the lecture

4. Partnering Skills In Tango By Steve Powell

A true gentleman of the ballroom dancing world, Steve Powell is a multiple-time European Professional Ballroom finalist and a World Professional Ballroom Semi-finalist.

In his lecture from Gladiators Dance Congress, we can learn about partnering applied strictly in Tango, as it is quite different than the other Ballroom dances. Steve is looking mainly at how the body and foot positioning helps in mastering the partnering skills. 

Length: 31 minutes

Link to the lecture

5. Paso Shaping by Graham Oswick

Charming and charismatic, with a great competitive career behind him, Graham Oswick uses his knowledge to teach Ballroom and Latin American competitors valuable principles.

He showcases this charm and love for core principles of Latin-American dancing in his lecture from Gladiators Dance Congress. Graham explains how to create that distinct Paso shaping through mastering feet pressure and leg action.

Length: 29 minutes

Link to the lecture

6. Fundamentals Of Movement In Latin by Andrea Silvestri & Martina Varadi

Andrea Silvestri & Martina Varadi are one of the top WDSF Amateur Latin couples. They are finalists in all the major events such as Grand Slams and WDSF World & European Championships. 

For their Dancesportlife Academy course, they’ve put together five chapters of theory and choreography designed to help you learn the basic principles of bodyweight, movement, and connection. In the choreography part of the course, Andrea & Martina will show you four basic routines and four more advanced routines by applying all the principles discussed in the theoretical section.

Length: 2 hours 40 minutes

Link to the course

7. Use Of Different Timing In Cha-Cha-Cha By Goran Nordin

Goran is a former UK Closed Amateur Latin Champion, British National Professional Latin Champion, and a finalist in major competitions from the WDC world. 

He is known for his inclination towards choreography, timing, and musicality. And that is exactly what he discusses in his lecture from the Gladiators Dance Congress. Goran, with amazing enthusiasm, showcases how we can play with different timing in Cha-Cha-Cha.

Length: 28 minutes

Link to the lecture

8. Specific Positions That Give Character To Your Dance by Mirko Gozzoli

Mirko Gozzoli has a special place on this list as he appears not one time but three times! 

In this lecture from Gladiators Dance Congress, Mirko shows you how to dance a Tango that respects its character by creating different positions. 

Length: 32 minutes

Link to the lecture

9. Viennese Waltz And Its Technical Actions By Mirko Gozzoli

The third lecture held by Mirko is the one from Master Evolution Training Camp. 

As should expect from each of Mirko’s lecture, you will receive great details and discover hidden aspects of a dance. In this lecture, he teaches you the correct foot alignment & placement in Viennese Waltz and the amount of turn in the body position.

Length: 50 minutes

Link to the lecture

10. Bodyweight By Simona Fancello

Simona Fancello is a great ballroom instructor. Her career was filled with great results together with Fabio Selmi. She has been a finalist in all the major competitions, such as World & European Championships.

In this lecture, she focuses on the importance of bodyweight and how to use it in the fundamental basic steps of quickstep.

Length: 27 minutes

Link to the lecture

11. Slow Waltz And The 3 Important Actions: Swing, Sway, Shape By Irina Solomatina

Irina Solomatina is one of the most sought after teachers. Together with Alexander Melnikov, she was 12 times Russian Champions.

In her lecture from Master Evolution Training Camp, Irina explains thoroughly how the swing, sway, and shape in Slow Waltz are crucial for good leading in Slow Waltz

Length: 39 minutes

Link to the lecture

 

Next, we’ll make a list of courses and camp lectures that focus on softer skills such as musicality, artistry, or communication.

The post 11 Best Online Courses On Ballroom & Latin Technique appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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