Everyone struggles with mastering a move at multiple points in their dance careers, even the professionals…so don’t panic! We all find different things difficult and progress at different rates. Just because Bob has the move, you aren’t a “bad dancer” because you are struggling to get the same move. We bet you can do a move that Bob struggles with?!
There are multiple ways to master a dance move, but below are our 5 steps to help you do this. Give it a go and let us know how you got on!
Break it down
You play computer games right? Well in a game, you need to pass each level before you get to the boss. You can’t skip all the levels! The same goes for learning a dance move, you must do it in stages. Breaking down a move allows you to understand all the elements that make up that move and layer them together once you are comfortable. If you are finding a new move difficult, think about the individual elements separately (e.g, arms, legs, groove) and break them down to their simplest form. For example, you can start by trying to get just the legs right, then just the arms, before putting them together. Don’t forget, if it is a street dance move, there will be some sort of groove to the movement. Remember to include feeling this groove in your breakdown, paying attention to where your weight is placed and ensuring you have the correct posture.
Take it slow
Whether you are breaking down the individual elements of a move (as above) or you have mastered the whole move as one, taking it slowly and really feeling the move will allow your body to learn the movement pattern correctly. Once you feel comfortable with the move slowly, it will be in your muscle memory. You can then begin to speed up the movement. It is important to get the move correctly slowly first before trying to do the move fast. This will also help ensure your movement is clean when you eventually perform it faster.
If you are a visual learner especially, you might find it helpful to watch others performing the move. A lot can be learned from watching the way others perform the move, they might add their own flavour to it which you can then try for yourself and take away to develop it further. You can watch others in class, or even YouTube the move. If the move is, for example, a shuffle (house foundation step) you could YouTube “House Dance” and see if by watching house dancers, you can spot the move you have been practicing! How do they look when they perform that move and can you replicate it?
Practice and explore
Once you have mastered the foundation move, you can begin to practice and explore it creatively. For example, you could try doing it at different tempos, play with the musicality, you could turn it, change the level, or the quality of the dynamics. Have a read our blogs “What are textures and dynamics?” “What is Musicality?” and “5 ways to improve your dance practice” for inspiration on how to explore your foundation moves. Creatively exploring your foundation moves will help elevate your freestyle to the next level – anything is possible!
Teach it to others
Teaching is in fact the best form of learning. That is because in order to teach a move properly, you have to fully understand it and be able to break it down yourself. Now we aren’t saying because you have mastered a move you can go and start up your own classes, but teaching a sibling or friend, your parents, or just by helping out a class mate can help YOU learn and understand the move properly too!