Matching the 9 Arm Connections
Have you ever noticed that you connect really well with some dancers while something feels just a little bit off with others? The dancers experience levels might look the same but for some reason you just seem to connect “better” with one than the other.
Would you like to be able to connect to the “other” one just as wonderfully as you connect with the “better” one?
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could make all your dances feel as amazing as that “better” one?
Learning the 9 Arm Connections will show you some of the hard to notice details that can make a lot of your dances feel much more connected and wonderful, regardless of the level of your partner or the method in which they connect.
Benefits of Learning “The 9 Arms”
- Learning the 9 Arm Connections will teach you the subtle details that allow you to connect more consistently with a variety of different dancers that all have slightly different ways of leading/following.
- If you mainly body lead/follow and try to avoid using your arms, this will probably open your world to a whole lot more understanding of how the arms can work wonders for your dancing. It sure did for me!
- You will be able to quickly and drastically change your style of dance by simply switching which one of The 9 Arms you are applying.
The Requirements1. You should already be able to react to 3 types of connection: push, pull, & relax.
Some call this resisting the pressure/connection of your partner, matching your partner’s connection, or giving equal and opposite connection to your partner. There are a few extra things to be aware of:
- Try to avoid adding excess pressure when in any of the 3 connections.
- Relax any muscles you don’t need in order to accomplish the connection.
- Match the connection for the length of time that your partner requests it.
- Be able to match the speed at which they request the connection.
- Make exceptions to the above rules when you consciously want to (for example, to express the music).
2. Be willing to practice in slow motion & analyze your dancing in extreme detail.
It is not always easy to notice exactly when you miss a transition, so you will need to be willing to go in extreme slow motion for the first few minutes, until you start to see and feel the transitions.
3. Don't expect to be perfect overnight.
This is not an easy concept to implement perfectly right away. You have probably been using your arms in very specific ways for a very long time and you will need to break your habits.
4. Be willing to go back to basics, especially the 3 types of connection.
Most people struggle with The 9 Arms because they don’t consistently match the 3 types of connections at the speed their partner requests or for the length of time their partner requests.
These 3 connections might be simple concepts that you learned when you first started dancing, but they can always be improved, even World Champions get a lot from practicing these concepts on a consistent basis. Go back to basics!
The 9 Arms
So how can you learn to improve your ability to match your partner’s connection?
- First, learn to match your partner’s push (compression), pull (tension), or relaxed connection (spagetti arms)… If your partner is pushing against you, match that push until they release it! If your partner is pulling against you, match that until they release it! If your partner is relaxed, let your arms be spaghetti arms as soon as they relax and never when they aren’t relaxed (most dancers forget this because too many teachers tell them spaghetti arms are bad. I challenge you to change your thinking from “spaghetti arms are bad” to “spaghetti arms are the basic of dance”. If you have been dancing over a year, I bet your dancing will improve dramatically just from that one concept.)
- Next, make sure you know the difference between Expanding, Contracting, & Static Arms.
- Put your arms in Zombie position (yes, do it now) and move them to Chicken Wing position while saying the word “Contracting”. Now, move them from Chicken Wing to Zombie while saying “Expanding”. Repeat this a few times….. Did you actually do that? Great, let’s move on :-)…
- Static Arms happen when your whole body moves with your arms staying stationary like a barbie doll (commonly referred to as body leading or body following). For Static Arms, they can be stuck in Zombie, stuck in Chicken Wing, or somewhere in between but they are NOT contracting or expanding. Walk around with stiff arms in Zombie, Chicken Wing, or somewhere inbetween and say “Static”. Dance around the house (solo) with static, expanding, & contracting arms and notice when you are doing each.
- Now, grab a partner & visually try to match their arms. Expand when they expand, contract when they contract, and be static when they are static. Notice when you can feel each of these arm movements and when you need to rely on the visual to make it work. Make sure to match the speed of the contractions & expansions too.
- Now try to match the expanding, contracting, and static arms with out your eyes. Hint, in order to do this well, you will need to be matching the length of the push, length of the pull, or length of the relaxation of your partner as well as the expanding, contracting, or static arms. Videotape your dancing and look for moments when you match & when you don’t match your partner. If your partner is challenging the norms of your dance scene, you will probably find A LOT of moments of unmatched connection.
- So what are the 9 arm connections in forward/backward movement? The first 3 are having a PUSH connection while Expanding, having a PUSH connection while Contracting, & having a PUSH connection while moving with Static arms (body leading). So what are the other 6?
Hint: 3 of them have to do with a PULL connection & 3 of them have to do with a RELAXED connection. Post your guess in the comments below before clicking here to finally see the answers.
The other 6 arm connections are PULL connection while Expanding, PULL connection while Contracting, PULL connection while moving with Static arms, RELAXED connection while Expanding, RELAXED connection while Contracting, & RELAXED connection while moving with Static arms.
6. Get detailed… break each one down in slow motion and make sure you can match that specific arm connection for as long as your partner asks you to match it!
In 7 more days I will send you another email on how to Get Others To Fall In Love With Your Musicality. Keep a look out for it!
- Do #s 1 & 2 above on your own.
- Do #s 3 & 4 above with a partner.
- Check out this free video I created to see these 9 different arm connections explained in detail and share your thoughts & aha’s in the comments below the video:
- Bonus concept: Although learning to match your partner will dramatically improve your dancing, matching is NOT always the best thing to do to give your partner the best dance possible. When are some good times to NOT match your partner and what value comes from NOT matching them? Answer that question in the comments after watching part 2 of the video:
Dance it out!
P.S. Click the “like”, “tweet”, or “+1” button to share this email with your dance friends so they can improve too!