By Anthony Hurley
All disciplines must have a basic technique. Apart from giving the dancer a platform to develop from it encourages the individual to master the more advanced movements at a later stage.
Teachers/coaches should be insistent on the production of correct techniques regardless of other themes that they may be working on in lessons.
If this method is maintained pupils will benefit greatly.
Under the heading of footwork for example we must make pupils aware that it includes foot pressure and foot styling, which in turn will improve every quality a dancer works so hard for.
The regular occurrence of the accented beat, meaning the orchestra will hopefully not deviate from this pattern when playing the different tempos of the test dances.
It is as in our dance technique the common denominator and keeps all the sections of the orchestra playing the chosen tune and arrangement together within a bar of music.
The dancer must of course be fully aware of the rhythm as this is the basic timing of the dance.
The test dances as we know them today were designed to fit the music and therefore most of our basic figures created by our pioneers enhanced the character of the music.
Musicality The Crowning Glory
The perfection of all the basic fundamentals in perfect harmony with the music this department can separate the champions from the others.
The ultimate quality of musicality is in many cases a natural built in luxury, these lucky dancers hear the music the same as any of their fellow competitors but the big difference is they LISTEN TO IT and in turn learn to play with the music, which means they can extend or hold a beat almost to long and with an effortless reflex of body speed using an “&” count for example will catch up with the next beat of music.
Above all these exponents will make the audience or more importantly the adjudicator feel the melody of the music being played.
I often remind pupils that when they are competing the adjudicator is listening to the same music as they are dancing to and what he sees and hears should trigger an emotional moment together.
I love to feel the dancers are surfing on the music they hear it coming absorb it into the bodies and then follow it together into the next bar of music producing a seamless action.
All too often today many couples are basically in time but racing the music around the floor in the effort to move.