Fundamentals for fluidity
Fluidity. That elusive intangible that dancers across the world crave. I read a lot of posts from polers who are on an endless search for better flow and more fluid dancing. In my opinion, the #1 thing *ANY* dancer can do to improve his/her fluidity is to make sure the fundamentals are picture perfect. Get them so you can do them just so, every single time. NAIL them. And when I say nail them, I mean nail them. Don’t just be able to “do” them. That, frankly, isn’t enough.
- Turns and twirls: at some point your feet will be on the floor, even if you’re a tried-and-true pole trickster. And what you do with your body while your feet are on the floor can make or break your fluidity. Make sure you can do turns and twirls of all sorts. Pirouettes. Salsa turns. Directional changes. Around the world/halfspin/bounce steps. There are dozens of ways to get around the pole, and then there are dozens of variations for each of those ways. Practice them until you feel soft and light in every way. Watch Rachele Ribera for ethereally beautiful pirouettes, glides, twirls. Her footwork is unbeatable if you ask me.
- Poses: take your time to figure out some great poses. Choose the ones that complement you and your style of dance. Practice getting into and out of them artfully. Practice the poses themselves, until you know exactly what your body looks like from every possible angle. UPA Founder Annemarie Davies is a master at poses. She is not afraid to stand in one place. Stare down the audience. Stroke her face. She takes her time, and it’s glorious.
- Walking: practice walking. Practice it a lot. Do it in shoes, out of shoes, do several different types of walks until you feel balanced and free in your walk. I’m serious. The walk is as much of a dance move as ANY trick you will ever execute. Do. not. neglect. it. There are lots of dancers out there with really beautiful walks — signature walks. Make your own signature walk!
- Floorwork: floorwork can be the answer to lots of questions. I like using it to help me move across the floor. One of the best at this is Nadia Sharif. She incorporates acrobatics, slinky slide-y movements, and everything in between to get from Point A to Point B. If you like floorwork done in full on, bold, authentic style there’s Leigh Ann Reilly, who moves across the floor in such a way that you hardly even realize she’s traveling . . . until all of a sudden she’s on the other side of the room. PS: not to be forgotten, AMD’s crawl is the crawl to end all crawls, in my opinion, anyway.
Obviously there are SO MANY dancers who have gorgeous examples of the fundamentals I listed above (in fact, we’d love love love to hear some of your favorites!). If you are truly solid in your fundamentals, something magical happens. Your uncertainty when dancing will start to slip away. Freestyle dancing will no longer fill you with dread, because you’ll have delicious fundamentals to fill the spaces. Mmmm!