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Andrew Sutton is a World Champion Lindy Hop Instructor, and one of the original founders of the Fusion partner dance movement. He uses his extensive research in over 244 cities across 38 countries (& 44 dance forms) to help dance instructors be more successful financially during their pursuit to help their students Make Every Dance Amazing! Impossible? Maybe...but if you shoot for the moon and miss, at least you'll land amongst the stars!

How To Turn Any Technique Into Your Own Universal Technique

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

How To Turn Any Technique Into Your Own Universal Technique

This is Part 2 of a 4-part series on redeveloping techniques so they work with everyone you dance with:

So now that you see the value of having a Universal Learning Method, you are probably wondering…

How do you implement the Universal Learning Method in your dancing and learning?

I promise I will show you exactly how to do this on your own below but first let’s look at the easiest method.

The easiest method (especially if you have never done anything like this before) is to join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and start using the 100+ techniques, tips and concepts.  That way you can see and experience a bunch of techniques that have already been redeveloped from taking thousands of hours of classes (see guideline 3 below).

Our redeveloped techniques would give you a huge head start over having to create everything from scratch and it would save you many many years of constantly reworking techniques that have already been created for you.

That said, we would love for you to create your own techniques too!  Plus, if you understand the structure for creating universal techniques, you might even end up improving some of ours and bringing more awesome ideas to the world of dance!

So if you are the type that wants to create some of your own techniques, you are going to love this post!

There are 3 main guidelines that we find are key to making any technique universal:

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

 

Let’s take a closer look at the first guideline.

  1. Turn judgments (or rules) into options with descriptive benefits

Anytime you hear or think something judgmental, “wrong”, “bad”, “shouldn’t”, or even “right”, “good”, or “should”, try to turn both the positive and negative aspects of that judgment into positives.

For example:

Judgment Your Option A Your Option B
The follow “should” follow your counterbalance. If your partner is following your counterbalance, then lead the style of counterbalance you want. If your partner is not following your counterbalance, then follow their counterbalance and appreciate your badass ninja like ability to do this.

Want to know what “counterbalance” is?  Click here

This reframing is important because the above judgement might inherently suggest to you (like it did for me) that if the follows do not follow your counterbalance, they are “bad” dancers or doing something “wrong”.

The downside of this was that when I came across a follow that didn’t follow my counterbalance, I didn’t do anything about it.  I assumed the dance was doomed to be subpar because they were just doing it “wrong”.

I overcame this and now have more amazing dances with both follows who follow my counterbalance and follows who don’t, and I did this by reframing that judgement into the above 2 options (A & B) and practicing them both.

Does this make sense?  If not, ask for clarifications in the comments below.

Let’s look at an example of how follows might use this concept for the following judgment:

Judgment Your Option A  Your Option B
Arm leading is “wrong” If the lead is leading with his body, match him and follow with your body to make the dance feel great. If the lead is leading with his arms, follow with your arms to balance the dance and make it feel great.

 


Now sometimes you won’t always be able to describe an exact option with benefits (or you might just create a different option than the ones above).

For instance, you might not realize that along with body leading and arm leading, there is also something called body following and arm following, so you may not be able to create the exact options as shown above.

Don’t worry, you can still create an awesome reframing that will improve your dancing with everyone.

Let’s look at an example of how follows might use this concept, if they only learned how to follow someone who is body leading and didn’t know about arm following (or any other solution to arm leading) yet:

Judgment Your Option A  Your Option B (no solution yet)
Arm leading is “wrong” If the lead is leading with his body, dance the way I was taught to make the dance feel great. If the lead is leading with his arms, find a way to make it feel great.

 


Although this doesn’t provide the immediate solution, it at least keeps your mind open and curious about finding a way to make that option great.

Whereas, if you just think “arm leading is wrong”, you are much less likely to figure out a way to make it feel great because you are predisposing yourself to the idea that it is just “wrong” and there is nothing you can do.

Many of the concepts we develop start with the “find a way to make it great” option and then develop into some exciting new discovery (like arm following) because we are relentless in our search.

Let’s look at how this Universal Learning Method can also be applied to musicality concepts:

Judgment Your Option A Your Option B
You “should” bounce down on every beat. Bouncing down gives the dance a heavier or earthier feel. Bouncing up gives the dance a lighter or heavenly feel.

 

I love seeing dancers use the music to guide their dancing.

Even if you are doing a specific traditional style of dance that usually has a specific feel to it, it is very likely that there will be all sorts of moments in traditional songs that call for moving lighter or heavier than you traditionally move.

Plus, even if there aren’t any moments that call for a different way of bouncing, I love to bounce down (or up) because I can feel it actually fits the music and I am choosing it, instead of doing it because I don’t know how to do anything else.

Experienced dancers know when to follow and when to break the rules, so go ahead and set yourself up ahead of time by understanding the benefits of both.

Note: You won’t always know the benefits for both following and breaking the rules (and some might even tell you there are no benefits to one method) but that doesn’t mean the benefits don’t exist.

Remember, this is just the first of three important guidelines to creating Universal techniques that allow you to have more amazing dances with everyone, regardless of whether or not they know the technique.

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 to work for all possible variations

Want To Take The Fast Track?

If you 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 over 100 more techniques, tips and concepts, 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.

Before you go on to the next guideline, make sure you fully understand this one.  In the comments below, give us an example of a judgement or rule that is common in your dance form and then give us the options with descriptive benefits.  If we notice anyways to help you clarify your options, we will comment on your comment.

The Universal Learning Method: A Unique Method For Dance Teachers To Have 100% Verifiable Proof That You Improve Your Students AND Ensure They Love Your Classes

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

The Universal Learning Method

A Unique Method For Dance Teachers To Have 100% Verifiable Proof That You Improve Your Students AND Ensure They Love Your Classes

Dance Ninjas Universal Learning Method To Improve Your Students AND Ensure They Love Your Classes

This is Part 1 of a 4-part series on redeveloping techniques to be universal so your students have 100% verifiable proof that you are improving their dancing:

Yay!

You’ve finally found it!

To be an in-demand, sought-after, or even world-class dance instructor…

…you know it’s super important to:

  • improve your students
    AND
  • AND make sure they love your classes

But…

But how can you make sure you do BOTH during every single class you teach?

We are going to show you a very unique and powerful method…

BUT…

You might need to make some subtle changes to the way you teach.

Let’s start by getting into the mind of a dance student…

As a student, have you ever learned a dance technique that only works as long as the person you are dancing with uses a particular technique?

I’m sure you’ve noticed this happen plenty of times. (ex: when you learn about frame it becomes super important that your partner uses their frame in a particular way)

Isn’t it frustrating to learn a cool concept and then not be able to use it with some of the people you dance with?

Well, now you can change that and make every technique and concept work universally (aka: with everyone you and your students dance with)…

…by using Dance Ninjas Universal Learning Method.

This new learning/teaching method is a big part of why I’ve been hired to teach dance in over 231 cities across 35 countries, and it’s the exact same method that’s used to create all of the techniques taught in our online trainings

…and now, for the first time ever, I’m sharing it so YOU can use it too!

This will be a game changer for your students.

Each time you teach a student how to use a technique with everyone… 

…that previously they could only use with some people… 

…you are showing them 100% verifiable PROOF that you are improving their dancing.

They couldn’t do something with some people before and now they can.  That is proof that they’ve improved.

And guess what?

They will love you for that!

Of course, we will teach you HOW to do this but…

…first, I think a bit of the history might be helpful…

How The Universal Learning Method Was Created

Over the past 18 years, I have taken thousands of dance classes…

…and as much as I love taking all sorts of dance classes and they definitely improve my dancing…

I always wanted to find a way to use the techniques I was learning so they worked with everyone…

…and a lot of the time they were not presented in that way.

For example, when I learned about counterbalance, I was taught that I was supposed to lead it and my follow was supposed to follow it.

Seems normal enough, right?

But the problem was…

…some of my partners wouldn’t follow it when I wanted them to and others would automatically go into it when I never asked them to.

Can you relate?

Have you ever experienced a moment when your partner did something they weren’t supposed to do (or didn’t do something they were supposed to do)?

Not sure what counterbalance is? Watch the video below for a quick explanation and example.

I found this really frustrating and started getting annoyed when my partners did things they “weren’t supposed to”.

If my partners:

  • ignored certain aspects of the music
  • didn’t dance grounded
  • had “bad” frame or even just a different type of frame
  • didn’t bounce (or pulse) the way I learned
  • had a very light (or heavy) lead/follow
  • or did something different from what I was taught…

…in those cases, I didn’t know how to dance well with them and it was frustrating.

The more I danced with these people, the more annoying it got and eventually I started to avoid dancing with them (even though I used to enjoy dancing with some of them before I learned these certain ways to dance).

That’s crazy!

I don’t know about you, but I want to increase the amount of people I can have amazing dances with as I improve my dancing…not let that slowly dwindle.

I figured there had to be a way to learn these techniques that would increase my skills and increase my enjoyment with EVERYONE I encountered…

…and that is exactly why I started to search for…

A Universal Learning Method

(Little did I know, it was going to improve my dancing more than almost anything else I would learn in 18+ years of dancing and allow me to travel the world teaching dance.)

So I decided to take techniques that I was learning and figure out how to redevelop them so they improve my dancing with everyone, instead of just the people who know that technique.

And that is exactly what I want to share with you here…

Dance Ninjas Universal Learning Method

So let’s take the example of learning counterbalance and see how using the Universal Learning Method turned this cool concept into something I could use with everyone.

Want To Take The Fast Track?

Everything we teach in Dance Ninjas uses the Universal Learning Method.

If you want to save yourself the time of redeveloping hundreds of techniques so they work universally and instantly get a whole bunch of universal techniques to share with your students…

…check out our teacher training.

Example: Counterbalance

Instead of learning that I was “supposed” to lead the counterbalance and my follow “needed” to follow it…

…I decided to learn that counterbalance was an awesome part of dancing that I could both lead and follow (regardless of whether or not I was the official lead or follow).

That way, if my partner didn’t have the knowledge, skill level, or desire to follow my counterbalance, it was no big deal because I would just separate that aspect out and follow their counterbalance while I was leading everything else.

To be able to do this, I had to learn to do any movement:

  • with or without counterbalance
  • with varying degrees of counterbalance
  • with different directions of counterbalance
  • at different speeds and durations
  • in different positions

…and to be able to change any of this at any point during any move.

It seemed crazy hard at first, but it was actually pretty easy once I made it my focus.

And it created a totally different way of looking at counterbalance that I am constantly still improving and learning more about every day I dance.

Now, when I dance with people who don’t use counterbalance in one of the ways I was taught, instead of getting frustrated and having a mediocre dance…

…I get to learn more and improve my dance skills while I’m social dancing.

Do you see how different this is than the normal method of learning (and teaching) counterbalance?

Let’s put them side by side so you can see the exact difference in how you would teach with each method:

Normal Method Universal Method
How You Teach Counterbalance You teach a specific movement that either has counterbalance, doesn’t have counterbalance, or has counterbalance at a very specific moment(s). You teach how to go in/out of counterbalance with different positions, speeds, directions, durations, etc and then practice adjusting to each partner in any moment of any move.

and

Want to see the difference in how you might teach counterbalance with the normal learning method vs the universal learning method?  Watch this video:

Unfortunately, if you use the Normal Learning Method to teach counterbalance, it is extremely likely your students will come across many social dancers who were taught to use counterbalance in a different way…

…and dancing with them will likely feel less than amazing (and sometimes downright “horrible”) if neither person knows how to adjust.

Of course, the more classes they take from other instructors with different styles, the more they will learn about the different ways to use counterbalance…

…but this could take several years to gain the knowledge you can give them in one hour, if you use the Universal Learning Method.

So give your students the advantage!

There are a lot of teachers out there teaching people to dance well some of the time.

Go above and beyond…

Be a teacher who teaches your students to dance well ALL OF THE TIME!

This is our unique method to have 100% verifiable proof that you improve your students and ensure they love your classes.

To be that teacher, your next step is to read this blog post: How to turn every technique you teach into a universal technique

…or if you want to save some time…

Take The Fast Track

Everything we teach in Dance Ninjas uses the Universal Learning Method.

If you want to save yourself the time of redeveloping hundreds of techniques so they work universally and instantly get a whole bunch of universal techniques to share with your students…

…check out our teacher training.

So…

Do you or will you use this in your classes?

Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

The Fear Code: The Most Effective Process For Achieving Extraordinary Results

Dancing Tips , Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

The Fear Code:

The Most Effective Process For Achieving Extraordinary Results

The Fear Code is my favorite and most effective process for achieving extraordinary results in my life.

The essence of it is…whenever I have a fear I have to share it.

THE PROCESS goes like this:

1. Whenever I have a fear, order recognize it. No matter how big or small the fear.

2. Ask if I can share the fear with whoever it involves.

3. Add any disclaimers (if needed).

4. Share the fear.

FOR EXAMPLE:

1. I had a fear pop up as I was reading a post by Rich Schefren and it involves everyone who is going to read this post.

2. Since it doesn’t relate to a single person that is standing in front of me, instead of asking if I can share my fear…I will just share it below and…

3. Disclaimer: Those that don’t want to know my fear can stop reading now.

4.  When Rich asked “What’s your best processes?”, my fear code was the first thing that came to mind. Then I thought to myself, “Oh that’s not directly a process to get things done so it’s not what he’s looking for” and immediately I could feel a fear (small but definitely there) of providing an answer that was “wrong”. So here I am, sharing my fear of being wrong and possibly writing something that is a waste of everyone’s time.

But I want to share 4 reasons why I don’t think this is a waste of time, by sharing…

4 TAKEAWAYS from using the fear code:

1. Fears can seriously delay me from taking action so…

…this actually does help me get things done and they are usually very important aspects of my life…

…probably due to the fact that they actually scare me.

I’ve used this code to date people that I thought were “out of my league” or OBVIOUSLY not interested in me (when they actually were), get paid way more per hour than I thought I was worth (it feels good to know others value me more than I value myself), and have some pretty killer conversations.

2. When dealing with sensitive subjects (I’m upset with you and afraid to talk to you about it because XYZ), starting with asking if you can share a fear puts the other person on your side. It’s harder for them to get defensive because they are already in a mindset of wanting to help you defeat your fear.

This can be very powerful…be very careful and do NOT abuse it or it will hurt you in the long run.

3. A great disclaimer I use (when it makes sense) is to let the person know “My fear is in sharing this information with you…not in your response. So you can say “yes or no” and either one is perfect because you are already helping me defeat my fear just by letting me share it with you.”

This is an important disclaimer if you think the other person might be influenced to answer a particular way, rather than speaking their truth.

For example, if I ask someone out on a date, this is important because I don’t want them to feel like they have to say yes. The fear was in asking them out, not in the response they give.  So they are free to answer either way and they’ve already helped me defeat my fear.

4. Before creating my fear code, I rarely would’ve shared something that I thought might be wrong, or never had a chance of happening.

The funny part is, I know from testing it…

I’m definitely wrong about being wrong, way more often than I’m right…

…and things have a much greater chance of happening than I realize, if I just ask for them.

Although, I do have decent intuition in some areas of my life, when it comes to things I’m scared of, my intuition is way worse than I thought it was, so instead of blindly trusting it, I just test it.

Test finished. 🙂

Here’s a test for teachers…when I say “you can be a world class dance instructor”, do you say “cool, how?” or do you let fears and negative thoughts tell you “no way, not me”?

Overcome your fears and negative thoughts and check out my World Class Dance Instructor Blueprint by clicking the image below:

What do you think about the Fear Code?  Have you ever tried something similar?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

If this method doesn’t work for you, here are 33 more ways to overcome fear.

9 Steps For Using Surprises To Create Better Dances

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

9 Steps For Using Surprises To Create Better Dances

When, Why, & How To Be Creative Without Going Overboard

How can you use surprises to create better dances?
 
When should you do them and how often?
 
Why are they valuable?
 
Well…
 
Surprising moves, or moves that are out of the ordinary (like dips, jumps, fancy leg tricks, etc), are a great way to get your partner (or audience) to feel you are creative and different.
 
For a beginner, it might be something as simple as a dip or a spin.  For more advanced dancers, I’m sure you can think of some of your own movements that are more “out of the ordinary”.
 
If you do these moves too often, you’ll lose the element of surprise, and just be the one whose always dipping his partner, or doing a bunch of random stuff, or always does “that one move”.
 
And if you don’t do them often enough, you (or your partner/audience) might feel like your dances are boring.
 
So how often is the right amount?
 
Well, it depends on the song and several other elements (see step 9 below).
 
Many songs have at least one, and often a few, drastic changes in the feel of the song, so if you time those surprise moments to hit when the music makes more drastic changes, your surprises will feel more musical and purposeful then if you just randomly use them.
 
Here is a 9 step method to improve your ability to choose the right moments and implement your surprises.
  
NOTE: While all the steps below can be performed while actually dancing, for your first time doing these drills we recommend doing steps 1-7 on your own, not dancing, but just listening to the music.  
 
Steps 8 & 9 will have you apply the concepts to your dancing, which can be very easy if you hear when the surprise moments are happening. But if you try to do steps 1-7 while dancing on your first run through, you will probably miss out on improving in this skill because you will be distracted by various other elements of dance.
 
 
  
Step 1: Choose the Single Biggest Change
 
Listen to a song all the way through and pick out the single most obvious change in the music.
 
It can be a change in the feel, a more drastic hit or break, something in the lyrics, or any other musical element that stands out to you as the most drastic difference in the song.
 
If you are going to do something special or different, this is probably the best moment to do it.
 
Does that make sense?
 
Try it out with this song by the amazing and revolutionary artist, David Keogh: 
 

 
Share the time when you think the song has it’s most drastic change in the comments below.
 
Compare yours to the times others have mentioned, and then come back to this spot and keep reading.
 
Ok, are you ready for the next step?
 
 
Step 2: Choose the Next Biggest Changes
  
Now listen to the same song again.  
 
Are there any other changes that are similar in their degree of change compared to the most obvious change in that song? If so, how many?
 
Those are also great moments to throw in surprises.
 
 
Step 3: Repeat with New Songs
  
Repeat steps 1 & 2 at least two more times with different songs before moving on and if you struggle with step 4, come back and do this more.
 
This will give you a feel for how different those moments usually are and how often they tend to happen in the styles of music you enjoy dancing to.
 
The more you do this step, the easier the rest of this will become!
 
Here are some more great songs by David Keogh to try this out with:
 

 
Step 4: Choose…As They Happen
 
Now we are taking it to the next level…
 
Listen to the first 60 seconds of a song you’ve never heard before.  This is your prep time before you test yourself.
 
As you continue to listen to the remainder of the song, try to call out the moments that you think are the most obvious changes…
 
…here’s the important part…
 
…call them out as they happen!
 
So as soon as you hear a big change that you think is either the biggest or one of the biggest changes the song will have, write down the time of that change and whether you think it will be THE biggest change or ONE OF the biggest changes.
 
At the end of the song, evaluate your choices.  
 
Did you pick the actual most drastic change as your most drastic change?
  
If not, did you at least pick it as one of the most drastic changes?  
 
Note: You can ignore any drastic changes that happen in the first 60 seconds when evaluating yourself, since that is your “prep time”.
 
Do step 4 at least two more times before moving on as this will train you to be able to pick out the most drastic changes on the fly.
 
 
Step 5: Move Ahead or Go Back
 
Choose the option that suits your situation:
 
A. If you are having trouble picking the most drastic changes in the songs in step 4, go back and repeat steps 1-3 a few more times.
 
B. If you picked correctly (or mostly correct), move on to step 6.
 
Often, it doesn’t make sense to move on, if you are still struggling with the previous steps.  
 
That said, sometimes pushing yourself to the extremes and then stepping back can help too.  
 
So if you didn’t do so well but you want to move on to step 6 and really push yourself, that is ok too!  It might even make this step seem a little easier when you come back to it.
 
 
Step 6: Shorten Your Prep Time
 
Listen to the first 30 seconds of another song you’ve never heard before (or 15 seconds or 0 seconds).  
 
Shortening your prep time will make it harder to predict the biggest changes, but it will also push you to improve in this skill.
 
As you continue to listen to the song try to call out THE biggest change and the next biggest changes, writing down the time of each prediction as it happens.  
 
At the end of the song, evaluate your picks again.  
 
Did you pick the actual most drastic change as your most drastic change?
 
If not, did you at least pick it as one of the most drastic changes?  
 
Remember: You can ignore any drastic changes that happen in the first 30 (or 15) seconds when evaluating yourself, since that is your “prep time”.
 
Repeat this step at least 2 more times before moving on.
 
 
Step 7: Evaluate Your Predictions Again
 
A: If you struggled in step 6, go back to step 4.
 
B: If you picked correctly (or mostly correct) in step 6, then repeat it again while shortening the prep time even further.  
 
Eventually you want to get to the point where you don’t need any prep time.  
 
However, even if you never achieve this, just by striving for it, your prep time will continue to decrease, and that is awesome!
 
 
Step 8: Apply Your Surprises While Partner Dancing
 
There are two ways to do this.
 
A. Pick the surprise ahead of time (make sure to texture the surprise accordingly)
 
Yes, you can actually choose some movements (dips, tricks, etc) before the dance even starts and then wait for those big changes in the music to add them in.  
 
This is easier for dancers that are not used to letting the music choose their movements yet and is a good starting point.
 
That said, try to work towards option B.
 
B. Let the music choose the surprise for you
 
As you dance, the musical elements in the song can sort of pull movements from your body.  
 
This happens a lot when you choose “never to move unless the music moves you” (which is a great training method on it’s own).
 
Dancing like this tends to look more authentic and surprising.  
 
However, this method also tends to create movements that are less well rehearsed and therefore, can be less clean and clear.
 
Use which ever method works best for you right now, as the point of this lesson plan is NOT to work on which method you choose for implementing the surprise, but instead to improve your ability to choose the best moments to implement those surprises.
 
 
 
Step 9: Be Willing To Bail On Your Surprise!
 
The purpose of using a surprise is to increase the enjoyment of the dance…
 
…so if you realize that you are going bump into someone, or the move feels dangerous or out of control, or the music doesn’t hit like you thought it was going to, or the move doesn’t fit the venue’s vibe at the moment, etc…
  
…don’t be afraid to skip the surprise and save it for another time.
 
Remember, a great dancer doesn’t just do awesome stuff but they also know when to do that awesome stuff!
  
Follow these steps and you are sure to become more creative and more musical!
 

If you like this post… you’ll love our Dance Trainings… check them out below.

Dancers…

Want step by step drills to improve in many musicality topics like the one above as well as connection concepts and more? Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and you will have access to a growing library of over 100 tips, techniques, and concepts for improving your dancing.   And if what you want to learn isn’t available, just ask for it and we will create it.

Teachers…

Want step by step drills to teach your students to improve in their musicality and connection? Join Teachers Learning Teacher Training and you will have access to a growing library of over 100 tips, techniques, and concepts for teaching dance.   And if what you want to learn isn’t available, just ask for it and we will create it.

 
Got anything to add to this topic?  Reply in the comments below.

Deepen Your Understanding Of Rhythm With These 6 Elements Including 1 That’s Often The “Secret Sauce” Behind Some Of The Most Musical Dancers In The World

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

Deepen Your Understanding Of Rhythm With These 6 Elements

Including 1 That’s Often The “Secret Sauce” Behind Some Of The Most Musical Dancers In The World

Be careful!

“Rhythm” is a loaded term.

ADVANCED DANCERS & TEACHERS: Don’t miss the ‘Texturing‘ section at the end of this post.  It will show you one of the most underused, awesome aspects of rhythm.

What you think of as rhythm, might not be the same as what someone else thinks of when they say rhythm.

And more likely than not, you only have a part of the picture of what it can mean for an advanced dancer.

Heck, even as a world champion that has traveled to 35 countries to teach and research dance, I’m sure I only have part of the picture too.

You see…

…rhythm is a subject that you can explore in a lot of different ways to improve your ability to express the music…

…and the moment you think you know it all…

…is the moment the newer, less experienced dancers will start to pass you up and gain your coveted spot of being the most musical dancer in the room.

Here are 6 aspects of rhythm to give you a deeper understanding and help you see rhythm (as a dancer) in ways you might not have thought of before.

MUSICIANS: I apologize ahead of time.  

Some of the words I use will not be the terms used from the stand point of a musician.  Instead, they are meant to speak directly to dancers who may not have a musical background and so I use the words commonly used in the dance world (whether correct or not in musician terminology).  If you feel any of the words below should be changed, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.

Rhythm Timing vs Pace

If you are an experienced dancer, timing and pace are probably pretty straight-forward and obvious for you.

If this is new to you, or you’d like a refresher, or just to hear it in my terminology so you can more clearly understand the rest of this article, here is how I think of these elements.

Timing is what many people think of when they think of rhythm.  

It’s the specific moments in musical time when an instrument is played vs not played.  

Whereas, the pace is simply how fast the timing is being performed.

For example:

Rhythm Timing 1: -1-2-3&4-5-6-7&8

Rhythm Timing 2: -1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8

Each character above (the numbers, “&”s, and “-“s) represents an equal length of time in the music.  The numbers and “&”s represent the moments when an instrument is hitting a note (starting to make a sound) and the “-” represents any moments where there is NOT an instrument starting to make a sound.  (Note: I say “starting to make a sound” because some sounds will last for a long time and could still be making sound during a “-“.)

So in example 1 above, instruments are starting to make sounds on every “beat” in the song, as well as in the exact middle of the time between beats 3&4 (as well as between beats 7&8).

Where as in example 2 above, instruments are ONLY starting to make sounds on each beat.

These are different timings.

The pace is how quickly (or slowly) a rhythm’s timing is performed.

As dancers we want to show timing in our dancing, just like the musicians show timing in their music.  Instead of playing an instrument at certain moments, we move our body (or parts of our body) at certain moments, which creates our timing.  

Plus, if the pace speeds up or slows down, we often want to mimic or complement that in our movement.

Check out this video where I discuss the difference between timing vs pace when it comes to rhythm for dancers.

Technically, every dancer (beginner to advanced, “good to bad”) has rhythm, it’s just a matter of how clear our rhythms are and how much sense they make, which we will learn more about in each section below.

Clarity of Rhythm

Just like a drummer is probably never going to be a perfect metronome, hitting his drums at the exact correct moment every single time, a dancer is probably never going to have perfect rhythm. 

We can always improve (and it’s very important for competitions, as we will discuss below) and make our rhythms more and more clear and precise.

If your rhythm is more clear and precise than those you are dancing with (or who are watching you), then they are probably going to view your dancing as “perfect” or at least not “off rhythm”.  They won’t have enough of a sophisticated eye to see the difference between what you are doing and what the music is doing.

This is why some dancers don’t do well in competitions even though the crowd might have thought they were awesome.  The crowd might not have the sophisticated eye to see how far off the rhythm the dancers are, whereas the judges often do.

Check out this video where I discuss clarity of rhythm of a dancer compared to a metronome and how this affects your partner.

Simple Rhythms

Simple rhythms are repetitive over short periods of time (usually repeating within 1 or 2 beats).  For example:

Rhythm A: 1 2 3 4

Rhythm B: 1 – 3 (the “-” is showing an empty space where no note is playing on the second beat)

Rhythm C: &a1&a2&a3&a4 (note: Rhythms C & F are “swing” rhythms)

Rhythm D: y&a1y&a2y&a3y&a4

Rhythm E:&1&2&3&4

Rhythm F: -a1-a2-a3-a4 (the “-” represents an equal length of time and is taking up the space where the “&” would be)

Songs usually have very simple rhythms combined with more complex rhythms.  As a dancer, it’s important to be able to hear and interpret simple rhythms (as well as complex rhythms).

Many times, you will even want to filter out some of the complex rhythms, to show your partner/audience the underlying simple rhythms.

Check out this video where I share some simple rhythms with my voice.

Beginners Simple Rhythm Exercise

Step 1. Pick any one simple rhythm.  For example:

Rhythm 1: 1,2,3,4

Rhythm 2: 1 – 3

Rhythm 3: &a1&a2&a3&a4

Step 2. Pick any one simple move.  For example:

For Lindy Hop: Applejacks

For Tango: Walking

For Blues: Fishtails

For Fusion: Breathing

Step 3. Perform your ONE move, 3-5 times while only emphasizing your ONE rhythm.

Step 4. Perform the SAME move, 3-5 times with a different simple rhythm.

Complex Rhythms

Complex rhythms do not repeat as much over longer periods of time (and can be thought of as a combo of several different simple rhythms put back to back).  For example:

Rhythm A: 1-2-3&4-5&-&7&8 (again, the “-” represents an equal length of time and is taking up the space where the “&”s & the “6” would be)

Rhythm B: 1—3-4&5–&7-8

Rhythm C: –1–2-a3-a4–5–6&a7&a8 (this is a “swung” rhythm, and the “-” in this case represents an equal length of time where either the “&” or the “a” would normally be)

To avoid monotony in your dancing, try adding in (or copying from the music) a few complex rhythms within your movements…

BUT DON’T OVERDO IT on the social dance floor!  (see Contrasting Simple & Complex Rhythms below for why)

Check out this video below where I break down some simple and complex rhythms with my voice and the music and also discuss the difference between swing (or swung) songs vs straight songs.

By the way, when you practice, it’s ok to overdo it so you get some real focused time actually practicing complex rhythms.  

To practice, do the same “simple rhythm exercise” as shown above but instead of using simple rhythms for step 1, substitute any of your more complex rhythms.

Contrasting Simple & Complex Rhythms

If every rhythm you create is simple, your partner (or audience) will probably get bored.

If every rhythm you create is complex, it might start to look like you are just doing a lot of nonsensical movements strung together.  

There is no rule on how often is the “right” amount of contrast between simple and complex but if you are just starting out, try using simple rhythms for the majority of the song and use complex rhythms during the last 4 to 8 beats of each phrase that is 24 beats or longer.  

This is an extreme simplification but it can help you get a feel for it.

Check out this video where I share some examples of contrasting simple and complex rhythms with the music.

Rhythm Texturing

Rhythms might have the exact same timing, clarity, simple and complex rhythms, etc, but that doesn’t mean they are the exact same rhythms.

For example, they can differ in texture.

Try this…

Clap your hands on every beat of the first 20 seconds of a song (1, 2, 3, 4…) and then stomp your feet on every beat of that same first 20 seconds.

Notice that your timing is the same but it still sounds different.  

Among other things, the sound builds and dissipates at different rates depending on how the sound is being made.

These differences are what I like to call the texture.

Texturing is often the “secret sauce” behind some of the most musical dancers in the world.

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If you can show the difference in the texture of the song’s rhythms by changing the texture of your movements, you will jump light years ahead of the average dancer.

If you can show the difference in the texture of the song’s rhythms by changing the texture of your movements, you will jump light years ahead of the average dancer.

Check out this video where I share some examples of texturing with my voice, my hand, and my hips.

 

If you like this post… you’ll love our Dance Trainings… check them out below.

Dancers…

Want step by step drills to improve in any of the 25 musicality topics above as well as connection concepts and more?

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and you will have access to a growing library of over 100 tips, techniques, and concepts for improving your dancing.  And if what you want to learn isn’t available, just ask for it and we will create it.

 

Teachers…

Want step by step drills to teach your students any of these 25 musicality topics above?

Join Teachers Learning Teacher Training and you will have access to a growing library of over 100 tips, techniques, and concepts for teaching dance.  And if what you want to learn isn’t available, just ask for it and we will create it.

What elements of rhythm would you add to this list?  Reply in the comments below.

25 Elements To Becoming The Most Musical Dancer In The Room

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

25 Elements To Becoming The Most Musical Dancer In The Room

Did you know…

…there are at least 25 different elements involved in being a musical dancer?

NOTE: Don’t miss the ‘Instantly Reacting (not predicting)‘ section at the end of this post.  It will show you one of the most awesome and underused methods of being musical.   

Now, you probably don’t have the exact same level of skill and experience in each element of musicality.  

For example, you might do a great job of showing the overall feeling of a song while not being very clear with your rhythms (or vice versa).

So if you truly want to be a badass musical dancer…

…you’ll want to learn all 25 elements because the more ways you improve your musicality:

  • the more musical you will be.
  • the more others will love dancing with you.
  • and the more you will love dancing!

Ok, let’s get started…

This article is divided into 5 sections, each representing an aspect of musicality you might be trying to improve in your dancing.

We’ve got a finished video version of this post as well as a text version (in progress). 

View the text sections of this article by clicking on one of the links below to view the blog post ideas from that section:

MUSICIANS: I apologize ahead of time.  

Some of the words I use below will not be the terms used from the stand point of a musician.  Instead, they are meant to speak directly to dancers who may not have a musical background and so I use the words they commonly use (whether correct or not in musician terminology).  If you feel any of the words below should be changed, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.  

Let’s start with the video version…

Watch this video to learn 22 of the elements of musicality and some easy ways to practice improving in them.  See the timestamps for each element below this video.

04:48 Different perspectives can improve your dancing in different ways
09:08 Energy Changes
11:13 Example Energy Change with hand
12:48 Volume Changes
15:33 Volume vs Energy Changes – How they relate and differ
16:47 Overall Feel of Different Songs – Emotion, Description, Story
21:46 Overall Feel within the Same Song – How it changes
23:00 How To Instantly Predict Music – so you can dance musically to stuff you’ve never heard
25:05 Creating A Story – pick a basic,  go outside of it & return, adjust it & return
29:40 Rhythm Timing
31:30 Benefits of focusing on one topic
32:57 Large Phrase Changes – A to B, chorus to solo, etc
36:56 Small or Subtle Phrase Changes – A to A, etc
38:19 Hitting the Horns, Pianos, & Other Surprises
39:09 Call & Response
40:56 Being Your Own Instrument
41:53 Straight (or Even) vs Swing (or Swung) Rhythms – when being your own instrument
43:51 Measure/Bar Repetition
44:42 Tension Builds & Drops – often the same as Measure/Bar Repetition
46:30 Choreography – Surprising Your Partner – or the crowd
48:17 Rhythm Texturing
50:04 Clarity of Rhythms
55:32 Contrasting Simple Versus Complex Rhythms
56:42 Contrast – in general
57:03 Breaking Down Specific Dances  – how well do different dancers dance in these categories… Are there trends based on styles?

 

And here is the text version…

Rhythm

When people think of “rhythm” they usually have one set idea of what that means to them…

…but rhythm is a subject that you can explore in a lot of different ways to improve your ability to express the music.

Rhythm Timing

This is what many people think of when they think of rhythm.  It’s the specific moments in time when an instrument is played vs not played.  

For example:

Rhythm 1: -1-2-3&4-5-6-7&8

Rhythm 2: -1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8

Each character above (the numbers, “&”s, and “-“s) represents an equal length of time.  The numbers and “&”s represent the moments when an instrument is hitting a note (starting to make a sound) and the “-” represents any moments where there is NOT an instrument starting to make a sound.  (Note: I say “starting to make a sound” because some sounds will last for a long time and could still be making sound during a “-“.)

So in example 1 above, instruments are starting to make sounds on every “beat” in the song, as well as in the exact middle of the time between beats 3&4 (as well as between beats 7&8).

Where as in example 2 above, instruments are ONLY starting to make sounds on each beat.

These are different rhythms.

I talk a little bit more about this in the video above 29:40 – 32:57.

Clarity of Rhythm

Just like a drummer is probably never going to be a perfect metronome, hitting his drums at the exact correct moment every single time, a dancer is probably never going to have perfect rhythm. 

We can always improve (and it’s very important for competitions, as we will discuss below) and make our rhythms more and more clear and precise.

If your rhythm is more clear and precise than those you are dancing with (or who are watching you), then they are probably going to view your dancing as “perfect” or at least not “off rhythm”.  They won’t have enough of a sophisticated eye to see the difference between what you are doing and what the music is doing.  

This is why some dancers don’t do well in competitions even though the crowd might have thought they were awesome.  The crowd might not have the sophisticated eye to see how far off the rhythm the dancers are, whereas the judges often do.

I talk a little bit more about this in the video above from 50:04 – 55:32.

Rhythm Texturing

Rhythms might have the exact same timing, but that doesn’t mean they are the exact same rhythms.

For example, they can differ in texture.

Try this…

Clap your hands on every beat of the first 20 seconds of a song (1, 2, 3, 4…) and then stomp your feet on every beat of that same first 20 seconds.

Notice that your timing is the same but it still sounds different.  

Among other things, the sound dissipates at different rates depending on what is making the sound.

If you can show the difference in the texture of the song’s rhythms by changing the texture of your movements, you will jump light years ahead of the average dancer.

I talk a little bit more about this in the video above from 48:17 – 50:04.

Simple Rhythms

Simple rhythms are repetitive over short periods of time (usually repeating within 1 or 2 beats).  For example:

Rhythm A: 1 2 3 4

Rhythm B: 1 – 3 (the “-” is showing an empty space where no note is playing on the second beat)

Rhythm C: &a1&a2&a3&a4 (note: Rhythms C & F are “swing” rhythms)

Rhythm D: y&a1y&a2y&a3y&a4

Rhythm E:&1&2&3&4

Rhythm F: -a1-a2-a3-a4 (the “-” represents an equal length of time and is taking up the space where the “&” would be)

Songs usually have very simple rhythms combined with more complex rhythms.  As a dancer, it’s important to be able to hear and interpret simple rhythms (as well as complex rhythms).

Many times, you will even want to filter out some of the complex rhythms, to show your partner/audience the underlying simple rhythms.

Beginners Simple Rhythm Exercise

Step 1. Pick any one simple rhythm.  For example:

Rhythm 1: 1,2,3,4

Rhythm 2: 1,3

Rhythm 3: &a1&a2&a3&a4

Step 2. Pick any one simple move.  For example:

For Lindy Hop: Applejacks

For Tango: Walking

For Blues: Fishtails

For Fusion: Breathing

Step 3. Perform your ONE move, 3-5 times while only emphasizing your ONE rhythm.

Step 4. Perform the SAME move, 3-5 times with a different simple rhythm.

Complex Rhythms

Complex rhythms do not repeat as much over longer periods of time (and can be thought of as a combo of several different simple rhythms put back to back).  For example:

Rhythm A: 1-2-3&4-5&-&7&8 (again, the “-” represents an equal length of time and is taking up the space where the “&”s & the “6” would be)

Rhythm B: 1—3-4&5–&7-8

Rhythm C: –1–2-a3-a4–5–6&a7&a8 (this is a “swung” rhythm, and the “-” in this case represents an equal length of time where either the “&” or the “a” would normally be)

To avoid monotony in your dancing, try adding in (or copying from the music) a few complex rhythms within your movements…

BUT DON’T OVERDO IT!  (see Contrasting Simple & Complex Rhythms below for why)

When you practice, it’s ok to overdo it so that you get some real focused time actually practicing complex rhythms.  To practice, do the same “simple rhythm exercise” as shown above but instead of using simple rhythms for step 1, substitute any of your more complex rhythms.

 

Contrasting Simple & Complex Rhythms

If every rhythm you create is simple, your partner (or audience) will probably get bored.

If every rhythm you create is complex, it might start to look like you are just doing a lot of nonsensical movements strung together.  

There is no rule on how often is the “right” amount of contrast between simple and complex but if you are just starting out, try using simple rhythms for the majority of the song and use complex rhythms during the last 8 beats of each phrase that is 32 beats or longer.  

This is an extreme simplification but it can help you get a feel for it.

I talk a little bit more about this in the video above from 55:32 – 56:42.

 

If you like this post… you’ll love our Dance Trainings… check them out below.

Dancers…

Want step by step drills to improve in any of the 25 musicality topics above as well as connection concepts and more?

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and you will have access to a growing library of over 100 tips, techniques, and concepts for improving your dancing.  And if what you want to learn isn’t available, just ask for it and we will create it.

 

Teachers…

Want step by step drills to teach your students any of these 25 musicality topics above?

Join Teachers Learning Teacher Training and you will have access to a growing library of over 100 tips, techniques, and concepts for teaching dance.  And if what you want to learn isn’t available, just ask for it and we will create it.

 

— TEXT VERSION BELOW IN PROGRESS —

If you want to know when our text version of this topic is complete, join our mailing list and we will let you know as soon as it’s ready (plus) you will get loads of other great tips for your dancing!

Overall Feel

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Just like great music evokes emotions, thoughts, and feelings in those who listen to it, so can our dancing evoke emotions, thoughts, and feelings in ourselves, our partners, and any watching us.

of Different Songs

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 16:47 – 21:46.

within the Same Song

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 21:46 – 23:00.

Energy Changes

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 9:08 – 12:48.

Volume Changes

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 12:48 – 15:33.

Volume vs Energy Changes

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 15:33 – 16:47.

If you want to know when our text version of this topic is complete, join our mailing list and we will let you know as soon as it’s ready (plus) you will get loads of other great tips for your dancing!

 

Choreography

Just like a good movie has an overall structure, some surprise moments, a storyline, and contrast, our dancing can also have each of these elements which will all improve our “choreography”, even if it’s done “on the fly” as we social dance.

Overall Structural Choices

Coming Soon.

Surprising Your Partner/Audience

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 46:30 – 48:17.

Creating A Story

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 25:05 – 29:40.

Contrast

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 56:42 – 57:03.

If you want to know when our text version of this topic is complete, join our mailing list and we will let you know as soon as it’s ready (plus) you will get loads of other great tips for your dancing!

Phrasing

Phrasing is a part of the structure of a song.  Just like the music, we also want our dancing to have structure.  This is what helps our dancing make sense instead of looking like a bunch of random movements strung together.

Large Phrase Changes

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 32:57 – 36:56.

Small (or subtle) Phrase Changes

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 36:56 – 38:19.

Measure/Bar Repetition

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 43:51 – 44:42.

Tension

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 44:42 – 46:30.

If you want to know when our text version of this topic is complete, join our mailing list and we will let you know as soon as it’s ready (plus) you will get loads of other great tips for your dancing!

 

Miscellaneous

Here are some more elements of musicality that don’t fit into any of the above categories.

Predicting Music

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 23:00 – 25:05.

Call & Response

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 39:09 – 40:56.

Hitting the Horns, Pianos, & Other Surprises

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 38:19 – 39:09.

Instantly Reacting (NOT predicting)

Coming Soon.

Being Your Own Instrument

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 40:56 – 43:51.

Breaking Down Specific Dances

Coming Soon. For now, watch the video above from 57:03 – 1:00:52.

If you want to know when our text version of this topic is complete, join our mailing list and we will let you know as soon as it’s ready (plus) you will get loads of other great tips for your dancing!

 

If you like this post… you’ll love our Dance Trainings… check them out below. 

Want more tips to improve your musicality?

or…

Want Extreme Practice Drills that literally force you to improve your musicality at a much faster pace just by doing them for 7-10 minutes?

…then…

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and start using the 100+ techniques, tips and concepts to improve your dancing.  

Dancers…

Want step by step drills to improve in any of the 25 musicality topics above as well as connection concepts and more?

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and you will have access to a growing library of over 100 tips, techniques, and concepts for improving your dancing.  And if what you want to learn isn’t available, just ask for it and we will create it.

 

Teachers…

Want step by step drills to teach your students any of these 25 musicality topics above?

Join Teachers Learning Teacher Training and you will have access to a growing library of over 100 tips, techniques, and concepts for teaching dance.  And if what you want to learn isn’t available, just ask for it and we will create it.

What elements of musicality would you add to this list?  Reply in the comments below.

— TEXT FOR — INFOGRAPHIC COMING SOON —

Ok, let’s get started…

This article is divided into 5 sections, each representing an aspect of musicality you might be trying to improve in your dancing.

We’ve got an infographic version of this post as well as a text version.  You can download a PDF version of the infographic here.

View the text sections of this article by clicking on one of the links below to view the blog post ideas from that section:

Let’s start with the infographic… (Click the image to enlarge or download the PDF version)

INSERT GRAPHIC HERE

And here is the text version, including examples…

How To Turn Any Technique Into Your Own Universal Technique

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

How To Turn Any Technique Into Your Own Universal Technique

This is Part 2 of a 4-part series on redeveloping techniques so they work with everyone you dance with:

So now that you see the value of having a Universal Learning Method, you are probably wondering…

How do you implement the Universal Learning Method in your dancing and learning?

I promise I will show you exactly how to do this on your own below but first let’s look at the easiest method.

The easiest method (especially if you have never done anything like this before) is to join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and start using the 100+ techniques, tips and concepts.  That way you can see and experience a bunch of techniques that have already been redeveloped from taking thousands of hours of classes (see guideline 3 below).

Our redeveloped techniques would give you a huge head start over having to create everything from scratch and it would save you many many years of constantly reworking techniques that have already been created for you.

That said, we would love for you to create your own techniques too!  Plus, if you understand the structure for creating universal techniques, you might even end up improving some of ours and bringing more awesome ideas to the world of dance!

So if you are the type that wants to create some of your own techniques, you are going to love this post!

There are 3 main guidelines that we find are key to making any technique universal:

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

 

Let’s take a closer look at the first guideline.

  1. Turn judgments (or rules) into options with descriptive benefits

Anytime you hear or think something judgmental, “wrong”, “bad”, “shouldn’t”, or even “right”, “good”, or “should”, try to turn both the positive and negative aspects of that judgment into positives.

For example:

Judgment Your Option A Your Option B
The follow “should” follow your counterbalance. If your partner is following your counterbalance, then lead the style of counterbalance you want. If your partner is not following your counterbalance, then follow their counterbalance and appreciate your badass ninja like ability to do this.

Want to know what “counterbalance” is?  Click here

This reframing is important because the above judgement might inherently suggest to you (like it did for me) that if the follows do not follow your counterbalance, they are “bad” dancers or doing something “wrong”.

The downside of this was that when I came across a follow that didn’t follow my counterbalance, I didn’t do anything about it.  I assumed the dance was doomed to be subpar because they were just doing it “wrong”.

I overcame this and now have more amazing dances with both follows who follow my counterbalance and follows who don’t, and I did this by reframing that judgement into the above 2 options (A & B) and practicing them both.

Does this make sense?  If not, ask for clarifications in the comments below.

Let’s look at an example of how follows might use this concept for the following judgment:

Judgment Your Option A  Your Option B
Arm leading is “wrong” If the lead is leading with his body, match him and follow with your body to make the dance feel great. If the lead is leading with his arms, follow with your arms to balance the dance and make it feel great.

 


Now sometimes you won’t always be able to describe an exact option with benefits (or you might just create a different option than the ones above).

For instance, you might not realize that along with body leading and arm leading, there is also something called body following and arm following, so you may not be able to create the exact options as shown above.

Don’t worry, you can still create an awesome reframing that will improve your dancing with everyone.

Let’s look at an example of how follows might use this concept, if they only learned how to follow someone who is body leading and didn’t know about arm following (or any other solution to arm leading) yet:

Judgment Your Option A  Your Option B (no solution yet)
Arm leading is “wrong” If the lead is leading with his body, dance the way I was taught to make the dance feel great. If the lead is leading with his arms, find a way to make it feel great.

 


Although this doesn’t provide the immediate solution, it at least keeps your mind open and curious about finding a way to make that option great.

Whereas, if you just think “arm leading is wrong”, you are much less likely to figure out a way to make it feel great because you are predisposing yourself to the idea that it is just “wrong” and there is nothing you can do.

Many of the concepts we develop start with the “find a way to make it great” option and then develop into some exciting new discovery (like arm following) because we are relentless in our search.

Let’s look at how this Universal Learning Method can also be applied to musicality concepts:

Judgment Your Option A Your Option B
You “should” bounce down on every beat. Bouncing down gives the dance a heavier or earthier feel. Bouncing up gives the dance a lighter or heavenly feel.

 

I love seeing dancers use the music to guide their dancing.

Even if you are doing a specific traditional style of dance that usually has a specific feel to it, it is very likely that there will be all sorts of moments in traditional songs that call for moving lighter or heavier than you traditionally move.

Plus, even if there aren’t any moments that call for a different way of bouncing, I love to bounce down (or up) because I can feel it actually fits the music and I am choosing it, instead of doing it because I don’t know how to do anything else.

Experienced dancers know when to follow and when to break the rules, so go ahead and set yourself up ahead of time by understanding the benefits of both.

Note: You won’t always know the benefits for both following and breaking the rules (and some might even tell you there are no benefits to one method) but that doesn’t mean the benefits don’t exist.

Remember, this is just the first of three important guidelines to creating Universal techniques that allow you to have more amazing dances with everyone, regardless of whether or not they know the technique.

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 to work for all possible variations

Want To Take The Fast Track?

If you 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 over 100 more techniques, tips and concepts, 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.

Before you go on to the next guideline, make sure you fully understand this one.  In the comments below, give us an example of a judgement or rule that is common in your dance form and then give us the options with descriptive benefits.  If we notice anyways to help you clarify your options, we will comment on your comment.

Why A Universal Learning Method Is So Valuable For Your Dancing

Dancing Tips , Free

Why A Universal Learning Method Is So Valuable For Your Dancing

Dance Ninjas Universal Learning Method

This is Part 1 of a 4-part series on redeveloping techniques so they work with everyone you dance with:

 

Have you ever learned a dance technique that might improve your dancing with those who do the same technique but doesn’t seem to work with people who don’t use that technique?

Isn’t it frustrating to learn a cool concept and then not be able to use it with 50% (or more) of the people you dance with?

Well, now you can change that and make every technique and concept work universally (aka: with everyone you dance with).

What I’m about to share with you is the exact same method that’s used to create all of the techniques taught in our online dance trainings and all the classes I teach to thousands of dancers around the world.

As a dancer, you can use this method to create your own techniques that work with everyone you dance with.

And as you’ll see below, there are quite a few more benefits you’ll get from using a Universal Learning Method.

Here’s my disclaimer: I obviously can’t promise that you will get the same results as I do when you create your own universal techniques. Your results will vary due to a variety of factors.

That said, by using the structure of the Universal Learning Method I’m about to share with you in these posts, you will be way ahead of me when I started my journey to create techniques that work universally.

How Our Universal Learning Method Was Created

Over the past 15 years, I have taken thousands of dance classes and as much as I love taking all sorts of dance classes and they definitely improved my dancing, I always wanted to find a way to use the techniques I was learning so they worked with everyone, and a lot of the time they were not presented in this way.

For example, when I learned about counterbalance, I was taught that I was supposed to lead it and my follow was supposed to follow it (often at very specific moments) but some of my partners wouldn’t follow it when I wanted them to and others would automatically go into it when I never asked them to.

I found this really frustrating and started getting annoyed when I danced with the follows who didn’t follow my counterbalance or always went into counterbalance without me leading it.

As I learned more awesome techniques, I also found it frustrating to dance with partners who ignored certain aspects of the music, or who didn’t dance grounded, or who didn’t bounce (or pulse) the way I learned to.

The more I danced with these people, the more annoying it got and eventually I started to avoid dancing with them (even though I used to enjoy dancing with some of them before I learned these techniques).

That’s crazy!

First off, I don’t want to have to avoid dancing with certain people.  It takes too much of my energy and it doesn’t exactly help create a great atmosphere or make me (or them) feel great.  I’d rather just find a way to have awesome dances with them (and yes, I did and I will show you how below).

Secondly, I was actually losing my enjoyment to dance with certain people as I was supposedly improving my dancing!  I don’t know about you, but I want my enjoyment for dance to increase as I improve my dancing.

I figured there had to be a way to learn techniques that would increase my skills and at the same time increase my enjoyment with everyone I encountered…

…and that is exactly why I started to search for a Universal Learning Method…

…so I could take techniques that I was learning and redevelop them so they improve my dancing with everyone, instead of just the people who know that technique.

And that is exactly what I want to share with you here…

Dance Ninjas Universal Learning Method

So let’s take the example of learning counterbalance and see how using the Universal Learning Method turned this cool concept into something I could use with everyone instead of just those that followed me perfectly (even when I probably wasn’t leading perfectly).

Want To Take The Fast Track?

Everything we teach in our Core Lessons uses the Universal Learning Method.  

So if you want to take the fast track and get a bunch of techniques that have already been redeveloped to work universally, you will definitely want to check out our dance training.  

You can find all the details here.

 

Example: Counterbalance

Instead of learning that I was “supposed” to lead the counterbalance and my follow was supposed to follow it…

…I decided to learn that counterbalance was an awesome part of dancing that I could both lead and follow (regardless of whether or not I was the official lead or follow).  That way, if my partner didn’t have the knowledge, skill level, or desire to follow my counterbalance, it was no big deal because I would just separate that aspect out and follow their counterbalance while I was leading everything else.

Of course, to be able to do this, I had to learn to do any movement with or without counterbalance, and with varying degrees of counterbalance, different directions of counterbalance, and go in and out of counterbalance at any point during any move.

It created a totally different way of looking at counterbalance that I am constantly still improving and learning more about every day I dance. Now, when I dance with people who don’t use counterbalance in one of the ways I was taught, instead of getting frustrated and having a mediocre dance, I get to learn more and improve my dance skills while I’m social dancing.

Do you see how different this is than the normal method of learning counterbalance?

Let’s put them side by side so you can see the exact difference in how you would practice or learn with each method:

Normal Learning Method Universal Learning Method
How You Learn Counterbalance You learn a specific movement that either has counterbalance, doesn’t have counterbalance, or has counterbalance at a very specific moment(s). You learn how to go in and out of counterbalance with different positions, speeds, directions, lengths of time, etc and then practice adjusting your counterbalance to each partner.

 

One upside of the Normal Learning Method above is that you can create a very specific look or style of dance with people who also know that style (or have a Universal Learning Method).

One downside of the Normal Learning Method is that you are extremely likely to come across many social dancers who don’t dance that movement the exact same way and it can make the dance feel less than amazing (and sometimes downright “horrible”) if neither one of you knows how to adjust for the other person.

Of course, the more classes you take from different instructors with different styles, the more you will learn about the different ways to use counterbalance but this could take many years to gain the knowledge you can get in one hour by using the Universal Learning Method…

So give yourself a head start on your learning and start turning every technique into a universal technique or take the fast track and join Dance Ninjas

Why A Universal Learning Method Is So Valuable For Your Dancing

The most clear and simple benefits of using a Universal Learning Method are:

  1. You no longer need your partner to know a specific technique or react a specific way for your dances to be awesome.
  2. You are learning to react to the music and the partner instead of habitually doing movements at specific moments because that is the way you trained them into your body.  
  3. Every dance can be it’s own dance.  Each partner and each song changes how you move and creates the dance for you.  Even dancing the same song with the exact same moves will be totally different depending on your partner.
  4. You are creating habits of creation and reaction instead of habits of stylistic movement.

 

There are a couple additional benefits of using a Universal Learning Method that might not be immediately obvious.

  1. By creating a habit of adjusting to each partner and song, you will teach yourself to learn new stuff and adjust on the fly as you social dance, sometimes learning new styles and concepts without even taking a class.  Of course, we still recommend taking regular classes too as they will also teach you plenty of different concepts that are great for your dancing!
  2. You can create your own style(s) just by changing one small aspect of your movement (like the direction of your counterbalance).
  3. You are learning how to dance instead of learning a dance.  Our d’ancestors didn’t do a dance, they danced!

There are a lot of lessons out there teaching you how to improve your dancing.  Dance Ninjas Dance Training shows you how to improve your dancing universally.

Click here to get more information about DN Dance Training

3 Methods To Experience More Amazing Dances By Changing The Way You Ask For A Dance

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

I used to occasionally experience what I call “dance highs” or non-stop amazing dance nights.

One of those nights where every dance I had was AMAZING and I just kept having more and more amazing dances with everyone I danced with!  I would be the last one to leave the dance floor and I’d be so pumped that I’d have a hard time falling asleep that night.  I couldn’t wait for the next…chance to dance!

Unfortunately, sales over the years, these “dance highs” started happening less frequently and often only when I attended those big yearly dance events…

…until I changed the way I asked people to dance.

Now, I often have non-stop “dance highs” in my local scene, even though many of my dances are with brand new or beginning to intermediate level dancers.

Disclaimer: What I’m about to share with you worked wonders for me and has worked for thousands of other dancers but that doesn’t mean it will automatically work for you.

There are many ways to improve your dancing, using either mental or physical techniques, and I am constantly searching out techniques in both of these categories and I highly encourage you to do the same.  

That said, I find this single concept is one of the fastest ways to dramatically increase the amount of amazing dances I have in the shortest amount of time.  It will literally only take 2-4 minutes for you to read this and then implementing the change (especially option C below) will actually save you time whenever you ask people to dance.

 

So what did I change?

When asking someone to dance, there are 3 main methods I use:

I used to mainly do option A…

A. Look around the room for someone that I loved dancing with and go ask them to dance.

Now, instead I often do options B or C and only occasionally do option A.

B. I look around the room for someone that I can give a great dance to and ask them to dance.

Or…

C. When I’m done dancing with someone, I just turn around and ask the next person closest to me to dance.  If they say yes, I commit to having a good… no… an amazing dance with them, no matter who they are, what their experience level, etc.

These changes might seem really simple but don’t let that stop you from experiencing the power in them.  

Look at how Jonathan almost missed out on the power of this tip and then had his “aha” moment an hour later.

“When I first read this post, it didn’t strike me as interesting or important at all. It actually took coming back to it after an hour that I realized that this was the common denominator in all of my favorite dancing experiences. Since you’ve only got a couple minutes to work with, the way you start a dance tends to be the way it continues. So starting off with the right attitude is absolutely essential.

In all those incredible dance nights I’ve had, I realize that with zero exceptions, I was trying to find people that I could give amazing dances to, which often ended up being my favorite dances. The nights when I’ve just used the first method, asking who I liked dancing with, have generally left me feeling a bit insecure and uncertain.
So while it may seem small to some, this is exactly what I needed. Mind = blown.”  Jonathan Baumgartner

Read Jonathan’s bluntly honest thoughts about this post!

After talking with thousands of dancers about these techniques, I’ve learned that many of us have different beliefs for why they work for us.

Here is why I believe they work so well for me…

Option B & C are both really powerful because they changed my subconscious and conscious perception of who has the power to make the dance amazing.

For example, when I used to use option A all the time, and ask other people that I loved dancing with to dance, I was subconsciously suggesting that THEY were the reason why the dance was amazing.  Over time, I started to actually need them (or at least dancers of their caliber) to have those magic dances.  (Don’t get me wrong, I still love those dances.  I just don’t need them in order to have those non-stop dance highs anymore.)

When I switched to option B or C, I started making a conscious choice that it was me that was going to be the one to make the dance feel magical, regardless of my partner’s skill level.  Of course, I don’t always succeed…but I succeed way more often now that I’m making a conscious effort to be the one that makes the difference.

Magic Dances

If a great dance seems to happen magically, and you don’t feel you did anything different compared to your other dances, it probably wasn’t magic…

…it was probably your partner.

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training…

…and be the partner who constantly creates the magic!

 

 

The Extra Benefit For Popular Dancers

For those of you who already get asked to dance a lot, there is one more great part about Option C.

When I am doing Option A (or even B), and I’m on my way to go ask someone to dance, I usually get asked to dance before I get to the person that I was going to ask. Sometimes, if I’m not thinking about it, I then spend that dance planning how to make sure I can dance with the person I was planning to ask.

The dance might still be ok but I am positive that I would have enjoyed it more if I was fully engaged in the dance I was having, rather than thinking about a future dance.

Plus, when this happens several times in a row, it can get really frustrating!  I know I can also say no, but I don’t tend to think of that on the spot (and besides, I like saying yes).  Before I found a way to change this, I had nights where this happened every single song for hours on end (sometimes the entire night).  It was extremely frustrating to have a goal of asking someone to dance and constantly failing all night long.

By choosing Option C, since I just turn around and ask the next person closest to me to dance, I almost always succeed.  It is awesome!

 

The Exception

If you always do options B & C and you haven’t had a dance high in awhile, then you might want to switch things up and try option A to see if that helps.

My goal here is not to tell you that one way is the right way, but instead to point out that you have options and if one method isn’t working, try a different one.  

But wait, there’s more…

By practicing this concept every night I went dancing, I started becoming aware of all sorts of situations where I was waiting for someone else to make something amazing, not just in my dancing, but in my non-dance life too.  

Plus, I started noticing how often I (and many of the classes I take) also influence students to passively wait for those amazing dances instead of actively creating them.  

Being aware of it, allows me to stop waiting, take action, and help my student’s take action too!

Dance Ninjas Dance Member Extra

Access your ‘So Good You’ll Want Seconds’ Lesson Plan in Dance Ninjas Training Area.

Start here and master the 7 different strategies to actively create more amazing dances with everyone you encounter.

Click here to access your Lesson Plan

Not a DN Dance member?

Click here to learn more about Dance Ninjas Dance Training

 

Take a small action now and share your thoughts in a way that connects it to something you already knew from past experience (this is proven to dramatically increase retention).

For example, just complete one of these sentences “This reminds me of when…” or “This is similar to…” or “I disagree because in my experience…”.

Then look at some of the thoughts from other dancers for extra learning possibilities!

Easiest Way To Build Amazing Websites That Sell Your Products Without Needing Technical Or Design Skills

Free , Organizing Tips , Teaching Tips

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Holy moly… I feel like I just stumbled upon the best possible software combo in dance website history!

No joke.

This is seriously powerful website and sales software that I just started using and it’s going to be groundbreaking for the dance world.

And it’s actually ridiculously affordable!

It allows you to build websites (and more importantly sales funnels) in a matter of minutes without needing any technical or design skills. It’s literally copy/paste & drag/drop but with all the power and customization of a regular website builder like WordPress AND it will build your entire sales funnel including taking payments, sending emails, & easily analyzing what part of your funnel needs to be improved.

It blows away everything I have ever tried and I would have saved a lot of money if I had known about this even a few months ago.

Plus, it allows you to clone webpages & entire sales funnels, so once you have a website that you like for one event, class, workshop, etc… you can make a new one in less than 5 minutes.

It costs as little as $37 per month and if you understand how to build a proper sales funnel, you will make this back by a landslide. For example, I just built my first sales funnel using this software and made $3,500 in a couple of days and I definitely did NOT set up the best sales funnel that I could have. I expect to blow those numbers out of the water when I optimize it.

It’s so easy to use & there is even a 14 day free trial!

I set up my entire funnel and made the $3,500 before I ever had to pay a single penny for Clickfunnels.

I can’t wait to start using this for creating dance events, workshops, merchandise, and things I probably haven’t even thought of yet.

Again, this software is called, Clickfunnels.

You might also want to get the Napkin Project which teaches you how to build a basic sales funnel that allows you to acquire customers at break even or better. I thought I knew how to grow scenes fast, these guys are blowing my mind!

Let me know if you get either of these products!

Dance It Out!

~Andrew
P.S. Disclaimer: I decided to become an affiliate of Clickfunnels, so the Clickfunnels links will give me a commission if you decide to join. I have never really advertised an affiliate product before because there really hasn’t been anything I came across that was relevant for dancers that was worth becoming an affiliate for. This is.

P.S.S. I would also like to become an affiliate for the Napkin Project explained above and highly recommend that too but I am not an affiliate for that yet. Still, I recommend it at the same level and the combo of these two products together is mind-blowingly awesome (yes, mind-blowingly).

The Simple Psychological Trick To Making Every Dance More Amazing

Dancing Tips , Free , Teaching Tips

The Simple Psychological Trick To Making Every Dance More Amazing

 

Do you want to constantly have more amazing dances?

Many of us have experienced amazing dances, good dances, ok dances, not so good dances or sometimes even downright horrible dances.

But what are the factors that determine the level of enjoyment you have?

I can say that aboutdietpills.comDuromine Online and proper nutrition are important in losing weight. I saw this as a buyzithromax250mg.com generic equivalent Azithromycin.

How can we ensure we have the most amazing dances possible, night after night, with every single partner?

 

The BenefitsEmily McCourt Testimonial

What I am about to share with you allowed me to experience a month long “Dance High” in my home town that I would normally only experience when attending the top events in the world with the best of the best social dancers.

This concept will allow you to increase the percentage of amazing dances you have, turning the horrible (or just ok) dances into good dances, the good dances into great dances, and the amazing dances into the unforgettable ones.

You will soon have WAY MORE control over whether or not you will have great dances each and every time you dance!

 

The Requirements

To gain the benefits above, be prepared to do the following…in this order:

  1. Finish “Your Task” below (1-2 minutes)
  2. Read the rest of this content (3-6 minutes)
  3. Use “The Trick” the next time you go dancing

 

Your Task

Before I share this tip on how to have more amazing dances, let’s check to see what your current thoughts are…

What makes an amazing dance for you?

Quickly enter 10 different ways to finish the sentence below:

I have more amazing dances whensubject (I, my partner, the music, the floor, etc)…action (have great connection, is great, is smooth, etc).”

Try to do it in less than 1 minute… ignore spelling/grammer… the faster you answer, the better, because it taps into your subconscious.

 1.  
 2.  
 3.  
 4.  
 5.  
 6.  
 7.  
 8.  
 9.  
10.
STOP: Don’t read below until you have finished your task above!

 
Ok, now that you have done that…continue reading.

WARNING

If you did not write these 10 things out and instead, only thought of them in your mind, go back and write them down.

Writing them down is important because…

A. You won’t forget what you wrote down.

B. You will have a record of your very first thoughts before I have any influence on you.  

 

Click Here To View The Rest Of This Content. For best results, finish Your Task above before clicking here.

Most Common Answers

I have more amazing dances when…

  1. they play great music.
  2. my partner has a nice connection.
  3. my partner is smiling or enjoying the dance.
  4. the dance floor is smooth.
  5. everyone is having fun.
  6. my partner is challenging me but in a nice way.
  7. I have a creative partner.
  8. there is a good vibe or atmosphere.
  9. my follow doesn’t anticipate.
  10. my leader is not just doing every move he knows but is actually dancing.

 

What do all these answers have in common? Compare them to your own answers.  Do any of yours stick out as different? If so, how?

 

Now, look at this less common example:

I have more amazing dances when…I am really feeling the music and connecting to my partner.

What is the difference in this statement compared to the other ten statements?

Take a guess first & then click here when you are ready to find out.

Everyone of the first ten answers requires someone or something else to make the dance amazing. The music, your partner, the floor, the atmosphere, etc…

Put another way… the most common answers all give someone else control over whether or not you have great dances.  They are all passive. Whether you are waiting for the DJ to play the right song, the venue owner to purchase a better floor, or your dance partner to smile, give you a “better” connection, or become a better dancer… by focusing on these things, you are waiting for others to make your dances more enjoyable and possibly even blaming them if it doesn’t happen (their connection was “bad”, they were off time, they ignored me, etc).  

But in my experience, if we improve certain aspects of our dancing, then our partner’s skill level (or any of these other factors) really doesn’t matter…

…and needing or waiting for someone else to improve their skill level (or any of these other factors)…is actually hurting your ability to improve your dancing!

The Single Biggest Factor For Amazing Dances

I have found that the single biggest factor for having amazing dances starts with how I think about it.  Is my natural state of mind to take action or to wait for someone else to make the dance amazing?  Originally, it was definitely to wait for someone else but not anymore!

After I started adjusting my thoughts (and actions) to be more active & focusing on me, like the less common example, I ended up having WAY MORE amazing dances.  Now, I constantly experience month long spurts in my home town where almost every night I go dancing, I am on a “dance high” that I only used to get when dancing at the top events in the world…and when I shared this with my students, they had similar experiences too!

Emily McCourt Testimonial

 

Remember this quote from above?

 

It is just one of many quotes on the difference this psychological concept & the physical concepts in the Make Every Dance Amazing Lesson Series has made in people’s dancing.

 

Did all your answers focus on external factors that required someone else to do something or did some of them focus solely on internal factors about yourself?

If you had any internal factors, share them below in the comments. They are rare and extremely valuable!

If you didn’t, don’t worry, that is normal.  From surveying thousands of dancers on this topic, the average group gives about 70% external factors, but within that group there are plenty of people who give 100% external factors.  

This is normal.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.

That said, you don’t have to be normal!

Sara Huntington Quote I decided years ago that I wanted to start having amazing dances with everyone.

After realizing what I just shared with you, I started analyzing every spot in my dancing where I could take more responsibility & more action towards being the one to make the dance more amazing…

…and I have learned some mind blowing ideas from looking at dance thru this lens and I doubt I would have discovered them if I was just dancing and taking classes like I did in my first few years.

Let’s start with this super simple psychological trick to quickly start having more amazing dances without even needing to improve your skill level (although we highly recommend doing that as well).

  

The Simple Psychological Trick

The next time you go dancing…

A. Instead of looking around the room for someone who gives you amazing dances and asking them to dance… look around the room for someone that you can give an amazing dance to and ask them instead.

Or…

B. When you are done dancing with someone, just turn around and ask the next person you see to dance and if they say yes, commit to having a good… nay… an amazing dance with them, no matter who they are, what their experience level, etc.

These tasks might seem really simple but don’t let that stop you from experiencing the power in them.  They might not seem much different from what you are probably doing right now…

…but in my experience teaching this to thousands of dancers, from beginners to international champions, it’s a game changer.  

Besides, what do you have to lose?

Now, of course, you don’t have to do this all of the time, and even when you do it, you probably won’t succeed every time and that’s ok.  Because you will succeed A LOT more often by taking action & focusing on what you can do, compared to waiting for it to magically happen.

Magic Dances

If a great dance seems to happen magically, and you don’t feel you did anything different compared to your other dances, it probably wasn’t magic…

…it was probably your partner.

Dance Ninjas Dance Training
Be that partner who
constantly creates the magic!

 

Of course, there are many more physical things you can do to enjoy more dances… but for now, try this trick. It’s a game changer!  

It will definitely increase the percentage of amazing dances you have, and for some of you it will be the spark that allows you to have amazing dance after amazing dance all night long!

Dancers Tab Pic 1 -Jasmine Herrick

 

Dance Ninjas Dance Member Extra

Access your ‘Make Every Dance More Amazing’ Lesson Plan in Dance Ninjas Training Area.

Start here and master the 7 different strategies to have more amazing dances with everyone you encounter.

Click here to access your Lesson Plan

Not a DN Dance member?
Click here to learn more about Dance Ninjas Dance Training

 

Your Homework

1. Try trick A & B the next time you go dancing.

You might find one of them works better for you because of where you are in your dancing. Use that one for a little while and then try the other one again later to keep things fresh.

2. Share your biggest “Aha” or any internal factors in the comments below.

Sharing will root this concept more firmly in your brain so you are more likely to remember it later.  Plus, it shares your thoughts with others, and sharing is awesome! 🙂

 

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