Dancing is made up of 6 elements of dance. Whether you are a world class competitor or an absolute beginner you will ultimately need all six elements. As a beginner dancer it is typical to learn only the first 3 initially. Learning more than the first 3 in your first 10 lessons would be confusing. Conquering a level of comfort and muscle memory of the first 3 elements is ideal before adding the other 3 elements.
The step pattern is the combination of steps put together to create mini sequences. These sequences can then be linked to create routines or variations.
Footwork is the action in which we use the foot to create the technical element of the dance. For example heel, toe actions commonly used in the smooth and standard dances to create rise and fall. Ball, flat footwork commonly used in the rhythm and Latin dances.
Timing is the beats of the music we move our feet to. For example a box step can be danced in waltz to a 1, 2, 3, timing. This is the feet being placed on the floor to those specific beats. A box step can also be danced in rumba but with a slow, quick quick timing, making the 2 dances very different in appearance. All dances have their own unique timing.
Lead is what the gentleman is doing to maneuver the lady around the floor and through changes of direction within step patterns. Follow is the lady reacting to the mans lead. The lead and follow element is paramount to 2 people ultimately moving as a 1 in harmony.
Style is the element that is added to create the character of each individual dance. This can be done through hip action, arm style, body position, movement across the floor. It can be grace and elegance common for waltz, the staccato action common for Tango or even the sexy hip action used in most Latin dances. Although style is the icing on the cake to create the “Look” it is achieved by the technical elements in 1-4.
Continuity is the ability to maintain the consistency of the dance. Whether it be to link the step patterns together with ease or maintain the timing of the dance throughout the music or even be consistent with the correct footwork we all aim to achieve that perfect dance performance. A perfect dance performance is ultimately unrealistic but to become as consistent as possible is definitely a good feeling and will build confidence in your dancing.
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