TECHNIQUE: Walk like a Dancer
“Change your Walk-Change your Life”
Professional Dancers move through space by the skillful use of body control. The Center Point of Balance (Solar Plexus - CPB - Core) tightens & lifts as the “3-Toe-Base” presses DOWN into the floor, creating a Sending Foot. Learning to Dance is much more rewarding, once the secret of controlling the Center Point of Balance (CPB) has been mastered. This mastery forms the foundation for a Dancer’s Walk. Think of projecting the Center of your body forward - as if you were moving a shopping cart in front of you. Your foot does not hit the cart because your body sends the cart slightly ahead of your foot. The “Contra Walk” is achieved by pulling the Right hip slightly back on the “&a” before stepping forward on the Right foot on count “1”. Then pull the Left hip slightly back on the “&a” before stepping forward on the Left foot on count “2”.. As you control the hip, you will find that the shoulder will go very slightly back as if it were connected to the hip. (That’s because it IS.) Repeat that action through several “Sets of 8”. Very soon, you will start to feel the freedom and exhilaration of Basic Contra-Body Movement. (MOST important for Followers).
The Sending Foot presses down & BACK, in order to propel the body forward. The Receiving Foot accepts the weight transfer and immediately starts pressing in order to become the next Sending Foot. Let’s identify what is being sent and what is being received. That object is the Center Point of Balance (CPB). It is about the size of a fist, located in the Solar Plexus. A tightened, projected solar plexus (CORE) carries the whole body with it, in one controlled and connected movement. This control can elevate your level of performance overnight.
Many years ago, Yolanda, of “Veloz & Yolanda”, was known for her “entrances.” She would pause in a doorway - then slowly project herself across the room. By the time she reached the other side of the room, all eyes were on Yolanda, and the room was silent. You and I might not aspire to such a dramatic entrance, but we can certainly appreciate the impact of a great WALK. GSDTA has their own “Yolanda” in Sharlot Bott. Reference to a Dancer’s Walk in the past few years, often includes Sharlot’s name. A Dancer’s Walk requires developing individual elements - slowly - and one at a time.
One important Dance technique is to press the Centering Knob BACK. (The knob is located at the base of the neck). It takes practice to keep the chin from going either up or down - but it is worth the effort. By pushing that knob straight back, the head centers itself over the spine & frees the entire body to move effortlessly across the floor. This action helps develop that wonderful feeling we call Body Flight. A beautiful Dance Walk is created when each element has been learned & mastered individually. The separate elements join together in their own time. These elements include: Sending Foot - 3 Toe Base – a lifted Center Point of Balance (Core) - Contra Body Movement - and always pressing the Centering Knob BACK.
View the dancer’s body as a musical instrument that needs constant tuning. (Guitar strings need attention to stay IN TUNE. Even accomplished Dancers need frequent review of BASICS to maintain and improve their skill level.) Dancing to recorded music - all of the SOUND comes out of a little black box. The Dancer, who understands both the music and the dance, becomes the VISUAL part of the music.
“The Artistic Skill with which a Dancer moves to Music can actually change the way an audience HEARS the Music. However, that only takes place when the dancer has “arrived” and has become the lead instrument in the band!” - That process produces what GSDTA refers to as “The Goosebumps Factor.” -- Skippy Blair
Courtesy of Skippy Blair, known in the West Coast Swing World as the Teacher of Teachers. www.swingworld.com