Sharing The Joy Of Dancing
Dancers come in two different configurations; Solo Dancers (two-legged) and Partnership Dancers (four-legged). Solo Dancers' movements are generally free style. The movements are completely under the individual dancers' control. Partnership Dancing movements require cooperation between the two dancers. Partnership dancers may morph back and forth between Solo and Partnership movements. This complicates the ability of a Partnership to move as a single entity even further.
Solo Dancers have been moving in a two-legged manner their entire lives. There are such things as two-legged rules, but most people don't think of them as rules because they learned them as part of growing up. The following is an example of a two-legged rule: "In order to walk across the room, you must take steps with one foot in front of the other. If the steps are taken in-place, you will not progress across the room." This seems like a no brainer, but none the less, it is a two-legged rule. There is an entirely different set of rules for four-legged movement.
Generally speaking, Partnership Dancers are new to four-legged movement. The four-legged rules are not as obvious as two-legged rules and are a little more complicated. The four-legged rules are devised from the physics and geometry of "Two-Headed Four-Legged" movement. Most of the rules are very logical and make common sense. However, there are some rules that seem illogical until you really take the time to understand them.
The following are some examples of "Four-Legged Rules":
- The leader's Dance Frame does not hold the lady; it defines her space in the Partnership and maintains the physical offset relationship. This allows the lady freedom of movement. She is not held in a vice.
- The Dance Frame remains still, on top of the partnership. The more active the frame is, the harder it is for the lady to feel the lead.
- The partners maintain an "equal and opposite pressure" toward each other no matter the dance position.
- The lady keeps her shoulders parallel to the leaders except when the leader overrides it (example: moving from Closed danced position to Promenade dance position). This allows the leader to alter the ladies body position for precise leads.
- The dancers' head position is always opposite the partner. This helps to maintain the counterbalance of the partnership.
- "Invisible" or "Logical" connections are movements with no apparent physical contact. Examples are: ladies head movement from "Closed" to "Promenade" dance position and the ladies side leg movement in a Rumba "5th Position Break".
- Get into dance position by standing with the weight on both feet, and then move the weight to the right foot. The lady will now know what foot is free.
- Stand on only one foot at a time (clean footwork). Make it a mandatory habit of never being on both feet at the same time (there are always exceptions). It must be clear to the lady which foot to be on.
- Move (power) from the supporting leg. Your partner cannot feel the free leg moving. The supporting leg is "BOSS". If you think of dancing up a slightly inclined floor, this will force you to push off the supporting leg on each step.
- Leverage your partner's power when you move. Example: on a powered "Inside Turn", the leader supplies "X" amount of power, the lady then uses that power and adds "Y" to it. This gives the lady more control of her own movement.
- Move through the center of the partnership, not around your partner.
- Move from the core (center of gravity) of the partnership not yourself.
- In precarious balance situations, reinforce the connection by reaching toward each other slightly. Learn to use all four legs. You should never be out of balance when you have four legs.
- In Smooth and Standard dancing, maintain as much physical contact as possible but not so much as to restrict movement.
- In Latin and Rhythm dancing, it is imperative that the "Four-Legged" entity be maintained when transitioning between partnership and solo movements.
- In Latin and Rhythm dancing, the legs start at the bottom of the ribcage and reach to the floor.
- In Smooth and Standard dancing, the legs start at the hip sockets and reach to the floor.
- Whenever the individual dancer's legs cross, the upper thighs must touch. If there is air between the thighs, you will take a forward or backwards movement instead of a side movement. This will adversely affect the partnership relationship.
Once both partners start thinking "Four-Legged" instead of "Two-Legged", the partnership movements and feelings will change dramatically. The movements become very fluid and there is a complete feeling of unity. You can figure out the "Four-Legged Rules" by simply analyzing the partnership movements from the physics and geometry aspect of a "Two-Headed Four Legged" animal. The goal is for the Partnership to eventually dissolve into a unified Singularity.