The 4 levels of learning dance steps

Every student in this world can cook pasta with tomato sauce. At least he thinks. 

In this article you will find out what knowledge about the preparation of spaghetti has to do with dance steps or forró and how you can benefit from it.

Let's take a look at Luigi: Luigi is a top Italian chef. He prepares exactly the same dish: Spaghetti Napoli. Only the spaghetti is homemade, his tomato sauce has a secret ingredient and the dish is beautifully presented on the plate. 

In contrast, how do the student's cooking skills look from Luigi's perspective? Can the student cook pasta in his eyes?

Perhaps. However, you should also keep in mind that there are many other ways to prepare pasta. Luigi knows how to vary this dish in hundreds of ways and thus adapt it to guests, location or circumstances. Isn't it magical to turn such a simple dish into something special?

But Luigi has not always been able to do that. He started like all of us: make the water hot, put in the pasta and add the sauce from the supermarket - done.

I call this level of knowledge "Function". The minimum is met: it works and you don't starve to death.

It's the same with dance moves. Unfortunately, many are satisfied (not to die) at the first stage. What I observe is this: It seems that all dancers have a list of movements (and figures) that they can dance. If something works, it's on this list and they sort of ticked it off. Little or nothing is invested in the further development of this movement, but the energy is put into new movements.

If I go to a restaurant that has a lot of choice but poor quality, I will not go back. It's not about how big the menu is; it's more about how every single dish was prepared and how it suits my needs. Not more, but better, should be the motto.

If Luigi is to continue his learning process, then he has to cook the same dish over and over again. The ingredients do not change, but the quality of the preparation increases. I call this level “TECHNOLOGY”. The timing is better, the composition is more precise and the end product is more aesthetic. 

When dancing, communication also becomes clearer and therefore easier for the partner to understand. Overall, the dancing of these figures that go through this phase becomes more and more pleasant.

However, the development opportunities don't stop there. Even if the execution is 'perfect' there is still a lot to learn. I call the next level “VARIATIONS”.

At some point it gets boring to do the same movement over and over again. Instead of looking for new movements, the task should be to vary the old ones first.

How do I find variations?
Ask experienced chefs, search the internet and just try - prepare the same meal over and over while changing a little bit. There are many options, a mix is ideal. My only recommendation is: Don't wait until the variations come to you (in a workshop), go ahead and find the variations !! If you discover one, test it thoroughly and observe the effects it could have.

Knowing how to vary a movement doesn't help you that much if it is varied 'randomly'. The final stage of this model is understanding which variation to use and when. I call this stage "SITUATIVE APPLICATION" and it is the most complex. The point is to use the learned variations in the right context, or to find the variation that fits (like a puzzle). At this stage the magic arises regardless of how difficult the basic movement is.

You can adjust your movement to a variety of parameters (to make it fit). Most often, variations (by professionals) are adapted to the music. This matching is an important part of the 'musicality' skill. However, there are also other factors for which it makes sense to select a suitable variation: The space on the dance floor, the dance experience of your partner, the relationship with your partner, the emotion you are feeling at the moment (or your partner), the context and at what level you are communicating with each other. 

When and how can this model be used?

This model is only a suggestion. Of course there are other ways to develop figures and movements ... But it just works. If you take part in a workshop, then use the workshop as a framework: You dance with different people that becomes movement (usually) work and there is a lot of repetition. Think about the different levels, analyze your current point of view (difficult because you don't know what you don't know - but try) and look for suitable information. Asking the teacher for personal feedback (regarding a certain level) is an effective way to gain knowledge. Besides, you have to Bring perseverance: You have to do the same workshop a few times before you can reach the more advanced levels.

My special tip:

Which movements can you use in every dance (or followers: are used in every dance)? I agree. The basic movements. So start going back to the basics workshops. It is much more effective to know how to vary these basic movements compared to these damn hard steps: you can maybe do them once in a dance, and that with 2% from the dance partners. In addition, it is easier to improve, adjust and vary the basics because there is more freedom between the lines. If leading and following is already incredibly complicated, what freedom is left? Possible, but very difficult. Get in touch if you can cook the simple dishes! 😉

Sometimes it may feel like there is nothing left to develop further. Luigi knows: there is always something in which to develop. Especially if you think so, you are probably not as advanced as you think. Maybe you haven't tried hard enough to find something, or maybe you're looking at the wrong level. Sometimes the ideas for the previous level only come when you are mainly looking for the next. One thing is certain: if you don't look, you won't find anything. Good luck with your search!



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