20
Sep

STOP Dancing On The Beat…

This is Part 3 of a 4-part series on redeveloping techniques so they work with everyone you dance with:

By now, you understand…

why this is so important for your dancing

and…

the first guideline for turning any technique into your own Universal Technique.

If you don’t, click the links above before reading below.  Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back. 🙂

Ok, now that we’re all caught up…

Let’s take a look at the second guideline for creating Universal Techniques:

2. Make it “reaction ready” instead of “statically styled”

Many times you have probably been told to do something on a specific beat(s).

 “Stretch on 1.”

“Go into counterbalance on 3&4.”

“Rotate on 5.”

Anytime you learn anything that is “supposed” to happen on a particular beat…

…it is very important to reframe so that you can make it happen on any beat.

It is extremely rare that all your partners will do the same technique all on the same beat, even if they are all taught the same way.  Some will start it early, some will start it late, and some will do things at completely different times from what you were taught.

Creating habits that happen on a particular beat is a recipe for a “statically styled” dance that is NOT reacting to your partner or the music, regardless of whether you are leading or following.

Whereas, reframing these concepts so you can do them on any beat will make them “reaction ready”, so you are ready to use each concept at the exact moments that it makes sense in each individual situation, with each partner and/or the exact moment in the music that it feels best for you.

 

Example: Counterbalance

For example, if you are “supposed” to go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4 in any particular movement (or go in at the beginning of the dance), this is very static and unchanging.  It happens at a particular time, regardless of what your partner does.

Below we will discuss how to adjust this as both a lead and a follow to make it reaction ready.

If you really want to be one of the most skilled dancers, learn how to reframe each technique/concept both as a lead and as a follow.  That way, within any aspect of the dance (counterbalance, grounding, matching arms, etc), you can help improve the experience by subtly adjusting your lead/follow role, making each aspect of the dance more clear (as a lead) and more in sync (as a follow) while still remaining in your primary role.

Reaction Ready Reframing For Follows

For follows, you will want to change this from the statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement as shown below:

Statically Styled Reaction Ready (for follows)
Go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4. Go into counterbalance when your partner goes in and come out when your partner comes out.

Now this might sound obvious, but I can’t stress how often it doesn’t happen (especially in classes).  Even when the follows think they are waiting and reacting, they are often a split second ahead of their lead.

But follows, don’t beat yourself up!  It’s most likely not all your doing.  Of course you are naturally going to do this in the above situations.  It’s being conditioned into you!  How can we expect anything else, if you are constantly hearing that you should go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4.  Of course, you are going to be inclined to make that happen (thereby leading it) when you hear it described this way over and over…

…unless…you do something about it.

That’s why it’s soooo important to actively reframe any statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement EVERY TIME you hear or think a statically styled one.

In fact, I’d recommend restating it in a reaction ready statement, out loud, twice for every one time you hear it statically styled.  Of course, restating it once inside of your head is better than nothing.  But for every time you notice it, there are probably a few times where you didn’t notice it, so restating it twice and out loud (especially if the static statement was said out loud) will give you more chances of overcoming that accidental conditioning. 

If you actively do this every single time, you will improve your following dramatically and jump lightyears ahead of the average follow.

Follows, want an easier way?

Reframing everything you learn takes a lot of time and effort that could instead be spent on improving your musicality, connection, body awareness, and many other aspects of your dancing.

At Dance Ninjas, we are very aware of how our words affect your learning experience and we are constantly making sure we are using reaction ready statements, so you don’t have to reframe everything that we teach you.

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training so you can spend more time on the key aspects to improving your dancing with everyone.

Side note: Not all your leads will be skilled enough to clearly lead every single aspect of the dance.  If that is the case, and you don’t understand what they want for counterbalance, no problem…just use the reaction ready statement for leads (see below) and subtly get your partner to go in and out of counterbalance when you want them to.  Then appreciate your awesome ninja like skills of being able to do this without them even realizing you are helping guide them.

 

Reaction Ready Reframing For Leads

For leads, you will want to change this from the statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement as shown below:

Statically Styled Reaction Ready (for leads)
Go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4. Get each individual partner to go in and out of counterbalance at different moments of your choosing (including but not limited to the statically styled version).

There are two important aspects to the reaction ready statement for leads.

1. “Get each individual partner” reminds me that there are a variety of ways to succeed in this task and the same method won’t work for everyone.

So by focusing on what it takes to get each individual partner to do this, I increase my chances of finding more successful methods that will work on the social dance floor.

2. “…at different moments of your choosing” trains my body to be able to adjust the timing of the movement.

If I train my body to do things on a specific beat, then it will be harder to adjust my body to change based on my partner and the music because I will be working against a static habit that I  trained into my body.

Whereas, if I train my body to be able to change at any moment, then I am teaching my body to be able to automatically adjust. That way my body can automatically choose a version of the counterbalance that will work best depending on how my partner is moving and the exact moment in the music.

That’s why it’s soooo important to actively reframe any statically styled statement to a reaction ready statement EVERY TIME you hear or think a statically styled one.

If you actively do this every single time, you will improve your leading dramatically and jump lightyears ahead of the average lead.

Leads, want an easier way?

Reframing everything you learn takes a lot of time and effort that could instead be spent on improving your musicality, connection, body awareness, and many other aspects of your dancing.

At Dance Ninjas, we are very aware of how our words affect your learning experience and we are constantly making sure we are using reaction ready statements, so you don’t have to reframe everything that we teach you.

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training so you can spend more time on the key aspects to improving your dancing with everyone.

Side note: Not all your follows will be skilled enough to follow every single aspect of your lead. If that is the case, and you can’t seem to get the outcome you want for counterbalance, no problem…just use the reaction ready statement for follows (see above) and subtly go in and out of counterbalance when your partner is going in and out of it while leading the other aspects of the dance.  Then appreciate your awesome ninja like skills of being able to do this without them even realizing you are adjusting for them.

 

So leads and follows…

STOP dancing on the beat…

…that you were taught is the “correct” one and start making each aspect of your movements reaction ready so you dance them on whatever beat your partner is asking you to or whatever moment the music is calling for.

 

Remember, this is the second of three important guidelines to creating Universal techniques.

To sum up all 3 guidelines again, they are:

  1. Turn judgments (or rules) into options with descriptive benefits
  2. Make it “reaction ready” instead of “statically styled”
  3. Continuously redevelop for all possible variations

 

We will cover the last guideline soon.  

Join our mailing list to get updated when it’s ready and you will also get an awesome free tip: The Ultimate Tip For Month Long Dance Highs.

In the meantime, think about this:

To learn to dance at the highest levels, you will want to create Universal Learning Methods for every aspect of your dancing, including:

  • Counterbalance
  • Grounding
  • Body vs Arm Leading/Following
  • Musicality (and a variety of subcategories of musicality)
  • Stationary Spins and Traveling Turns

…and much MUCH more.

So pick a technique you want to redevelop and get started on this today.  You can always revise and improve it as you go (and if you’re anything like me, you will do this many times) but if you don’t start, you won’t have anything to improve.

Want To Take The Fast Track?

If you want to get a jumpstart on learning universally and experience a bunch of techniques that have already been redeveloped for you from thousands of hours of classes in over 231 cities across 34+ countries…

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and get all 5 of the above techniques (plus much more), which will all be taught using the above 3 guidelines for Universal Learning so you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

Have questions? Feel free to ask them below!

  • The Universal Learning guideline in Part 3 is very similar to the guideline in Part 2 but I couldn’t figure out how/why it was so similar. I finally figured it out last night and I’m curious if anyone else figures it out before I make the reason public in a video I’m creating right now for Part 3.  If you think you figured it out, post your thoughts by replying to this comment.

  • Aimee Eddins says:

    Andrew Sutton Really, it’s about not being fussed about which dancer ‘hat’ (leader vs follower) you’re wearing and adjusting whether you’re leading or following a particular aspect of the based on each individual moment / dance / partner and what works best for that situation.

  • The similarity is due to the fact that the guideline discussed in Part 3 is basically an example of the guideline discussed in Part 2.

    Let me explain.

    Part 2 discusses the guideline: Turn judgments (or rules) into options with descriptive benefits

    Part 3 discusses the guideline: Make it “reaction ready” instead of “statically styled”

    When someone does something “statically styled”, they are basically making it a rule to dance in that way.  In the example mentioned above, “Go into counterbalance on 3 and come out on 4”, this is a statically styled rule for how to dance.  

    When you make something “reaction ready”, you are turning a rule into an option based on a situation.  So in the example mentioned above, “Get each individual partner to go in and out of counterbalance at different moments of your choosing (including but not limited to the statically styled version)”, you are turning the rule of when to go into counterbalance from a static rule, into a rule that has options.  

    So, if you add a descriptive benefit to the “reaction ready” versions, then you now have the guideline discussed in Part 2.

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