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The Student begged his teacher. "Break it down for me, will ya?

"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." - Proverbs

Breaking down a dance movement in technique principle, move by move, is crucial and significantly more important than imitating a dance move in slow motion. In today's social media-driven dance industry, it is common for dancers to rely on online videos to learn choreography and fundamental steps. However, this approach can be misleading and potentially dangerous for the majority of learners. Let's explore why breaking down dance movements using technique principles is essential:

Meticulous Understanding: Every second and every little move in partner dancing is significant. When instructors break down dance movements, they can explain the specific details and intricacies to the students. By understanding these finer points, such as foot placement, body alignment, and timing, students can execute the dance correctly and develop a strong foundation.

Avoidance of Incorrect Technique: Relying solely on imitating dance moves from online videos can lead to the acquisition of incorrect technique. Poor technique can result in bad habits, limited progress, and even potential injuries. By breaking down dance movements using technique principles, instructors can guide students and ensure that they learn the proper technique right from the start.

Importance of Fine Points: Partner dancing requires precision and connection between partners. Focusing on the finer points, like weight distribution, leading or following cues, and body awareness, is crucial to successful partner dancing. By breaking down the movements, instructors can emphasize these finer points, enabling students to improve their overall dance skills and foster a stronger connection with their partners.

Choreography vs. Concepts: There is a significant difference between learning choreography and understanding dance concepts. Choreography is a pre-set sequence of moves, while understanding concepts allows students to grasp the underlying principles of the dance. Breaking down movements through technique principles helps students understand these concepts rather than merely memorizing choreography. This understanding provides a solid foundation that can be applied creatively and adaptively during social dancing.

Long-Term Skill Development: The adage "teaching a man how to fish instead of giving him a fish" is applicable to dance education. Learning through technique principles and concepts equips students with skills that allow them to apply and adapt their dancing in any situation. Understanding the underlying principles encourages improvisation and creativity during social dancing, resulting in a more enjoyable and unpredictable experience.

Avoiding Robotic Dancing: Relying solely on memorized choreography can result in robotic and predictable partner dancing. However, when dance concepts and technique principles are emphasized, social dancing becomes more dynamic and enjoyable. The application of concepts during social dancing adds an element of unpredictability and eliminates the feeling of anticipation as dancers are encouraged to truly connect and improvise with their partners.

In summary, breaking down dance movements using technique principles is crucial for effective learning and safe dance practice. While imitating dance moves online might seem convenient, it can lead to incorrect technique and overlook the essential nuances of partner dancing. By focusing on the finer points, understanding concepts, and fostering creativity and adaptability, instructors can equip students with the skills necessary for long-term growth and a more enjoyable social dancing experience. So, I'll see you in class?

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