People often think I’m joking when I say “the most important part of dancing is looking good!”, but stay with me. If you make looking good your #1 goal, it will create plenty of other great stuff, like: a fun time, an amazing connection with yourself, with others, and with the music, faster skill building, etc. It truly is a hidden tool the best dancers use. When you admire or enjoy the way someone dances, one of their characteristics is that they make it look beautiful. They are graceful and purposeful in their movements so even the smallest of details look good.
What are they doing? They are using BEAUTY as a tool. The pros are more interested in how something is done not so much what is being done. If you think of your basics steps, a beginner student can quickly learn a step and will want to know what the next step is, and the next, in order to move up levels as fast as possible so as to become an advanced dancer. A pro, however, will be focused on how to do the most beautiful basic step they can muster. A pro will focus on
Creating Beauty In Every Movement.
A beautiful excerpt from Louie Schwartzberg’s movie featured in one of his TED Talks demonstrates how this in inherent in Nature. Nature uses beauty as a tool to create great things. Watch this Video to see the wonderful dance between the flowers and the pollinators. We are part of nature and are thus wired to be attracted by beauty. To enjoy beauty in a piece of art, in a dance, or in another person, is part of who we are.
You can use this idea in your dancing today!
What inspires me about this learning approach is that you don’t need to know much, you only need to create something beautiful with what you know.
This is what we love to teach in our classes. We often ask students if they are smiling while doing their basic salsa step, or if they are breathing while doing a tango pivot. These simple techniques beautify any person. We all know this; someone looks more attractive when they smile because their inner beauty shines through.
So when you approach each dance step with the mindset of creating a beautiful movement with your legs or arms, you will notice a positive feedback loop being created. You will start to feel good as you dance and that feeling will also create more ease in your movements, resulting in more beautiful execution. This never has to end.
So next time you are learning something, take the smallest of the elements, get feedback from your teacher on how you can look better doing that movement, then in your own practice time, stand in front of the mirror and work on mastering that feedback so you are doing what you’ve learned in the most beautiful way possible.
Written by Nina Perez director of Baila Vancouver Dance School. Expert Dance Instructor in Argentine Tango, Salsa, and all the Latin social dances. For more information www.bailavancouver.com