What does it mean to have proper basics in Urban Kizomba. We discussed this the other day and the best way we could come up with to explain it is to compare it with a strategic board game like chess. Having proper basics in a couples dance is to know how to play the game and user proper strategies and play to win! Let us explain!
The game is played by the leader assuming control and in harmony to the music tell a story with the each technique. At the same time, the follower is attentively listening and without hesitation instinctively surrender and let the leading come to life through the expression of their following!
Like in chess, every move is governed by the a very precise set of rules, a pattern that make up the game. Every movement of the leader represent a signal that is being matched by a response by the follower. Every signal and response become a new signal and the couple manages to engage in a wordless dialog that embody the emotions and beat of the music. The dialog is then also shared and mirrored by the other dancers and atmosphere in the venue making it into the magic connection we social dancers love so much!
But, unlike chess, the game or Urban Kizomba, or any couples dance for that matter, can only be won together. When both dancers separate after one or more songs of intense pleasure and connection may end the dance more happy and inspired than when it started. The game is lost when the dance is over and neither or only one of the parties feel happy and content.
To have proper basics is to know how to move each piece of the game, when to move and when to stop. Having balance to support yourself and the partner and making sure that each step is made in a continuous flow. With the basics in place, hundreds of moves can be learned and make them safely performed with any partner of sufficient level! This is something that we think most dancers will instinctively agree on.
So, if playing the game well is so important, why is not everyone perusing perfection in their basics?
Sadly enough, many dancers learn the dance without mastering the foundation from attending classes and workshops. Picking it up a little here and there on the dance floor or just winging it just a little bit will be suficient for a while. But, as you become better there comes a time when your technique seems to stagnate.
The lack of foundation manifests itself most often than not in frustration with the partners. A leader without a solid base will find that their moves does not work on some followers. loosing balance and having difficulties to learn and perform some more demanding techniques or tricks. For followers, confusion and the feeling of not knowing what to do becomes apparent with some partners. As they gain experience the shaky ground and bad habits prevents the dancer from developing. Blaming the partners however will not lead anyone anywhere and the dancer is running the risk of loosing the joy in the dance all together making people around them miserable in the process.
To be fair though, it is often not even the dancers fault. Most of the time a responsible teachers might be very hard to find! The reason is simple. Teaching basics is hard.
Teaching basics is explaining and repeating those perfect signals and responses enough so they become second nature. To do this without boring the students to death is and absolute art form. As someone having workshops it is far more rewarding to just focus on fun techniques to make everyone happy in the moment.
We in Movem have committed to be different.
Our goal is not just standing in the middle of a dance studio. As we see it, tossing step combinations on your students by the eighths will at best make us an instructor. If we wish to call ourselves dance teachers, we have to give so much more than this!
A dance teacher in our definition is someone who takes responsibility for their students potential and future inner dancer, maybe even long before the student themselves realizes their own potential. A true teacher, manages to keep their classes interesting and useful in the now while, at the same time, conveying a deep understanding of the essence of the dance and manages to keep the interest up while one technique at a time is put in place to make up a decent basics. A teacher should also introduces sound values and proper manors to their students, both on the and outside the dance floor, to prevent the dancer from taking advantage of others or spreading bad energy around them.
We are always surprised to se how other instructors avoid beginners. For us, each person in front of us has their level and we as teachers seeing progress and how a person grows in skills and confidence is what gives us goose bumps, not the level of techniques we teach in our classes. We love beginners but we love to share our skills and passion to students of all levels also off course!
For us, the highest honor we can think of, is if someone would answer the question, “Who is your teacher?” With proudly stating that “Marten & Yana is my teachers!”
Wellcome to learn from us, develop with us and some day possibly also out grow us. Maybe some day in the future, one of our students might take on the same passion and deep responsibility that we have taken on by starting to teaching themselves. That would be so cool!
Lets figure out how the game is played! Together!