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About the author 

Andrew Sutton

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!

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The #1 Most Vital Concept To Drastically Improve & Inspire Your Students

The #1 Most Vital Concept To Drastically Improve & Inspire Your Students
  • Babysteps says:

    Day-to-day practice as a follow
    How can I improve my following on an everyday basis? What and how can I practice on my own?

    • Dance Ninjas says:

      There are lots of options here.

      1. Youtube videos!

      There are tons of videos to watch, so you can practice styling steps. I haven’t seen too many videos that offer tips on following technique on youtube but as far as styling goes, there’s a ton to watch!

      2. Private lessons

      These can be a lot more costly ($30 – $200 per hour). If you can do this, I recommend it! If not daily, maybe weekly, monthly, or yearly. This is definitely a great way to get loads of follow technique that is specific to your dancing.

      3. Group lessons

      Even if you only take one lesson per week (or even per month), most of the time a single lesson can have a ton of ideas that you can then turn into Extreme Practice Drills (see below), that allow you to improve your dancing on a daily basis.

      4. Extreme Practice Drills

      This is when you take a concept that you like and you drill it down to it’s fundamentals in a way that allows you to practice it as close to 100% of your practice time as possible. The benefit of this is that you get 10 – 100 times the amount of practice you would if you practiced the concept in the more “normal” methods.

      For example, if you just learned about grounding (in the way I talk about it), then with many dancers you will only get to practice your grounding (in ways that prove you are grounded) at the edges of your movements. In Lindy Hop (or any other dances that use this), if you are using the common “rubber band” like “impulse” lead/follow technique, then in an 8 beat swing out, you will only get to practice your grounding (in ways that prove you are grounded), for less than 2 of those 8 beats. That means 3/4ths of your practice time on improving your grounding is lost to other things. So if you break it down and just look at how to practice your grounding without the other distractions involved in a Swing Out, then you can get at least 4 times the amount of practice in on improving your grounding.

      But it gets even better…

      Since you are practicing this one concept without a bunch of distractions, you also have a much better chance of actually accomplishing grounding at a higher level. Of course, eventually you will also want to practice grounding within all your movements, but by starting out doing it on your own, you can jump lightyears ahead in your improvement.

      5. Dance Ninjas Dance Training

      We have tons of tips for improving your following technique. We have Extreme Practice Drills that have already been tested on thousands of dancers in all sorts of dance styles. We currently cost less than taking one private lesson per month and you get a live group coaching call each month to ask your personal questions about what you currently want to improve in or get help on. We have lots of ways to practice on your own, at home, without a partner.

      You can join here: https://dance.danceninjas.com/dn-dance-training

      Hope this helps! Feel free to ask more questions on any of this!

  • Babysteps says:

    Finding my voice
    How do I decide how to dance and who to take inspiration from? How can I experiment with dance expressions?

    • Dance Ninjas says:

      I’d answer that question by asking you…

      Who inspires you?

      Or if you don’t have a “who”, then “What inspires you?”

      For example, for me I’m inspired by improving my ability to connect to people and to the music. I love these concepts, so I’m always on the lookout for people who teach how to connect to people and how to connect to music.

      I’m more inspired by making the dance feel great. I like when it looks great too, but I’m not as inspired by having people watch my dancing and say “Wow he looks great” as I am by having people walk away from the dance almost buckling at the knees by how amazing the dance felt.

      So when I look for inspiration, I’m looking for people who feel great to dance with and who connect musically. If they look great, that’s a bonus but it’s not the thing I’m looking for so I filter it appropriately, and that is what has made my dancing unique. I filter what I learn to create what I want.

      As you get more clear on what you love, and what inspires you, and as you start to hunt down those people that can share that with you, you will gain a more unique identity.

      Does that make sense?

  • Babysteps  I’d answer that question by asking you…

    Who inspires you? 

    Or if you don’t have a “who”, then “What inspires you?”

    For example, for me I’m inspired by improving my ability to connect to people and to the music.  I love these concepts, so I’m always on the lookout for people who teach how to connect to people and how to connect to music.

    I’m more inspired by making the dance feel great. I like when it looks great too, but I’m not as inspired by having people watch my dancing and say “Wow he looks great” as I am by having people walk away from the dance almost buckling at the knees by how amazing the dance felt.

    So when I look for inspiration, I’m looking for people who feel great to dance with and who connect musically. If they look great, that’s a bonus but it’s not the thing I’m looking for so I filter it appropriately, and that is what has made my dancing unique. I filter what I learn to create what I want. 

    As you get more clear on what you love, and what inspires you, and as you start to hunt down those people that can share that with you, you will gain a more unique identity.

    Does that make sense?

  • Babysteps  There are lots of options here.

    1. Youtube videos!

    There are tons of videos to watch, so you can practice styling steps. I haven’t seen too many videos that offer tips on following technique on youtube but as far as styling goes, there’s a ton to watch!

    2. Private lessons

    These can be a lot more costly ($30 – $200 per hour). If you can do this, I recommend it! If not daily, maybe weekly, monthly, or yearly. This is definitely a great way to get loads of follow technique that is specific to your dancing.

    3. Group lessons

    Even if you only take one lesson per week (or even per month), most of the time a single lesson can have a ton of ideas that you can then turn into Extreme Practice Drills (see below), that allow you to improve your dancing on a daily basis.

    4. Extreme Practice Drills

    This is when you take a concept that you like and you drill it down to it’s fundamentals in a way that allows you to practice it as close to 100% of your practice time as possible. The benefit of this is that you get 10 – 100 times the amount of practice you would if you practiced the concept in the more “normal” methods. 

    For example, if you just learned about grounding (in the way I talk about it), then with many dancers you will only get to practice your grounding (in ways that prove you are grounded) at the edges of your movements.  In Lindy Hop (or any other dances that use this), if you are using the common “rubber band” like “impulse” lead/follow technique, then in an 8 beat swing out, you will only get to practice your grounding (in ways that prove you are grounded), for less than 2 of those 8 beats. That means 3/4ths of your practice time on improving your grounding is lost to other things.  So if you break it down and just look at how to practice your grounding without the other distractions involved in a Swing Out, then you can get at least 4 times the amount of practice in on improving your grounding. 

    But it gets even better…

    Since you are practicing this one concept without a bunch of distractions, you also have a much better chance of actually accomplishing grounding at a higher level. Of course, eventually you will also want to practice grounding within all your movements, but by starting out doing it on your own, you can jump lightyears ahead in your improvement.

    5. Dance Ninjas Dance Training

    We have tons of tips for improving your following technique.  We have Extreme Practice Drills that have already been tested on thousands of dancers in all sorts of dance styles. We currently cost less than taking one private lesson per month and you get a live group coaching call each month to ask your personal questions about what you currently want to improve in or get help on. We have lots of ways to practice on your own, at home, without a partner. 

    You can join here: https://dance.danceninjas.com/dn-dance-training

    Hope this helps!  Feel free to ask more questions on any of this!

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