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Secrets Of Successful Dancing (S.O.S. HELP!)

by Wayne & Barbara Blackford

Let's think about a couple things:

  1. What will make our dancing "effortless"?

  2. What will make our figures work better?

There are many elements, other than the basic footwork, that help us to create movement. We want to touch on some of these elements that will HELP to make it more comfortable to dance.

It is important that we understand and learn some of the structure of movement created by our bodies. Sometimes it becomes difficult to determine why we, as a couple, are having difficulty with a figure, when we seem to be doing the foot placements correctly. Many times it's because one, or both, partners are contributing to the problem, even though they are taking the proper steps.

Dancing is more than just moving the feet. We need also to think about what our body does to help us move. When we walk, we do not concentrate on our feet -- we think about where we want to go. Yet when we learn to dance, we tend to concentrate on our feet and forget what our bodies do to move us from point A to point B.

Listed below are some of the elements that are important to movement.

  1. Posture & Body Positioning -- once this is achieved, we can move easily.

  2. Balance & Control (both individual & couple) -- without it we cannot move gracefully.

  3. Partner Responsibility -- what each of our jobs is as dancers (leading & following).

#1 Posture & Body Positioning --

First, we must have good closed position, which helps create good balance. Once this is achieved, we can move on to dancing. Without good posture, or proper body alignment, the man cannot lead successfully and the woman cannot follow easily.

#2 Balance & Control --

Good balance is the reward of keeping the body well-postured. In changing weight, movement is from our center point of gravity. Keep your body "stacked" over your supporting foot. Line up your body parts. Both partners should have their upper body stretched slightly to the left over the left hip and looking over our partner's right shoulder. By standing in proper alignment, it is easy to establish a sense of balance. It is one thing to keep one's balance and body alignment while standing. It is quite different to maintain it while walking a straight line, and in a curve, in order to follow the line of direction.

#3 Partner Responsibility --

Couples should not move or step at the same time -- two people cannot occupy the same space at the same time. The man should never bring his right arm/hand toward his own body, but should have it actively moving away as his body moves. The woman should keep her back (moving from her center) in the man's right arm/hand.

It is our sincere hope that these ideas will HELP you enjoy your dancing and make it more comfortable.


From clinic notes for the URDC Convention, 2005, and reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC)  Newsletter, September 2014.


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If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.



If you are not a member of DRDC, do consider joining. The group sponsors triquarterly weekends with great dancing and teaching, and the newsletter is one of the most informative available.

Past DRDC Educational Articles archived here.

Aditional articles and dance helps by
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Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid (see Notebook)



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