Practicing and Revisiting the Fundamentals

Evita here! Chances are, if you have been dancing for more than three years, you probably have been pushing and searching for “what’s next” in your dance journey. You most likely are supercharged about all the NEW steps, variations and cool moves to be collected. But are you really ready for it? 

Even if you answered YES, no matter what your level, you will soon realize that every cool step you learn is dependent on how well you can do the fundamentals of the dance. 

When I say “Fundamentals” I am talking about the core rhythms, footwork and even the body posture that sets up Jazz dancers for success. 

First, you just need to get comfortable and familiar with the basics. You need to know what they are. Then you can find a natural ease while moving. This allows your thinking brain to relax and lets you be present! 

Next is building your strength, balance and clear execution of the steps so that you look good and stay in time. Doing this elevates your dancing to a higher level because you exude more confidence and have better control over your body movement. You also get rid of the “am I doing it right?” expression.

The third step is finding your personal voice and connecting with the music. This is where you really have fun. Of course you can’t truly get to this point without spending time on the prior phases. Skipping over them devalues the end result which oftentimes produces a “copycat” version of the steps. 

You may consider yourself a high level dancer because you have consumed a lot of different classes, combinations and moves, but how well have you internalized that material? Is it really all there for you when you call upon it for Improvisation? Do you know the rhythms of the steps in your muscle memory so well that you can move the idea to different points in the musical phrase? 

I want to remind you about the importance of practicing & revisiting fundamentals. Especially as experienced dancers! Revisiting the roots of all the rhythms we use in Swing, after years of having fun, will unlock a deeper appreciation for the movement and how it lovingly strides alongside the music. 

Practicing the fundamental steps to a Count Basie song embeds the percussive quality of Swing footwork. And that’s the dance folks! Not the variations that you have learned. Not the flashy moves. Not even the turns and extra tappy shuffles. The fundamentals are steps, triple-steps, kick-steps and kick-ball-changes. Get those four steps to a point where they come out of you when a Swing tune plays and you will understand.

Michael and I are teaching our Fundamentals Routine on March 6, 2021 from 5:00-7:00pm New York Time (EST). It’s a Solo Jazz routine that we choreographed at Syncopated City to practice the fundamental rhythms. ALL levels are welcome. Simply register for a monthly account at Syncopated City and you will have access to the workshop and our entire catalogue of Swing Dance lessons.