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Flow, Fluidity, and Finding Yourself

Feeling like a spider on skates?

You’re not alone. Most new(er) dancers — including me, when I’d just started out — ask this question (in fact, I continually ask myself this question) at some point: how can I become more fluid?

Me: the perpetually awkward dancer

I remember watching some of the greats and thinking “oh good gravy, I’ll never be able to move like that.” Their dances had beautiful, elegant transitions, floorwork, and pole moves, all exquisitely bound together. It didn’t matter whether they were dancing to slow or quick beats, they were fluid and every single gesture was just right. In contrast, I felt awkward and mechanical, even though I was technically correct (for the most part … no one’s perfect!) in my movement.

How I overcame the awkwardness

I started to study how I moved, how they moved, and I realized something: sometimes it’s not about having perfect technique as much as it is making a move yours, making it, errr, “dance-y” in a way that fits you and your body and your frame of mind. Think about watching a talented dancer,ice skater, singer–really, any performer. There are some who are technically brilliant, but they come across as cold. Brilliance without soul. Then there are those who may not be spot-on in terms of their technique, but they leave an audience mesmerized.

I know which I’d rather be.

But … back to flow and fluidity

Watch other dancers. Watch them a LOT. And spend as much time as you can simply dancing. I’d also suggest that you record yourself. Video doesn’t lie, for better or worse! Set aside a half-hour of any practice to dance and you’ll be amazed at how much better your flow is after a week or two. Put on comfortable clothes and dance. Do floorwork. Avoid tricks unless they are solid and you can do them gracefully with transitions into and out of. Dance to music that moves you, that you love, that you can listen to time and again without growing weary. Allow yourself to get pretzeled up and then figure out graceful ways to extricate yourself. Move deliberately.

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