Building Skill in Dancing – Barbara Ambroz | Tips from the PROs
Your personal technique – the skill
As a competitive dancer, your aim is to have good results. Maybe you want to become champion or stay on top as much as you can. But how do you get there? What does it take? What separates the good from the truly great? Is it just the technique, or simply the power in the body? Might it be the talent taking the stage? The fact of the matter is that it’s a combination of all that, translated into one word – skill.
OK…so what exactly is this skill?
First of all, it’s no secret that it takes a lot of time, a lot of work and a lot of passion to become a skillful dancer. The dancer needs to acquire the knowledge, which is the institutional technique. You will have to learn the steps, the timing, the routines and how to use your body to make all that happen.
After you learn the “how to” of dancing, you’ll need to put your footprint on it. Transform that institutional approach into a personal technique. Use your personality to recreate the dance. In this way, you will turn the dance in something unique.
2. Personal touch
Where does the love for all the great dancers come from? We find them utterly fascinating because they know how to use personal technique to create moods, atmosphere, appearances, effects, and illusions. They drive your eye whenever they move. Through their artistry and emotions, they create a different world that moves you and that you can escape to.
As we established earlier, you use your body as an instrument which needs to perform flawlessly. Your mind needs to be aware of which aims you set for yourself and what areas you want to explore: emotions, musicality, technique, connection.
The awareness is one, if not, the most important aspect of dancing. If you are aware of your surroundings, you’ll allow your spirit – your intuition – to lead the game. The intuition is the best dictator, it will set you free to create the most beautiful pieces of art.
You have to trust your body, your instinct. When all layers of your being harmonize and create a holistic unit. Then you achieved your skill and is a good moment to express it.
Get a teacher that can truly see YOU
As a teacher and as a judge with an experience of over 30 years, I could say that I don’t have a set of aspects that I look for in a dance couple. I think that is a quite narrow and channeled way of perceiving.
The right teacher will actually pay attention at what you have to show and will not necessarily search for something specific. You would really want a teacher that will be willing to find out what you really want to express.
In order to evolve, dancers need teachers that have a wider perspective, a soft eye and gives you the space to talk to them through your own style of dancing.
Here is where it gets tricky! Are becoming a good dancer and achieving good results your goals? Then, in order to get there, you’ll need to enjoy the ride!
I want to encourage the dancers to be present, to enjoy the journey and not think about the destination (that first place!). If you only think about the future you’ll lose contact with yourself. Rest assured that the inspiration will also start to fade.
Only by being present in the moment you’ll be able to be creative. Here and now you can react to the music, to the feelings and emotions, to your partner’s movements and touches.
The beauty lies in sharing
In order to create something, you have to be connected to that someone or something. But how do you establish a connection? Through sharing, that is how the magic is created. The funny thing is that the more you give, the more you get back. The more you listen, the more it’s revealed.
To put it put it in a more metaphorical way:
We are all angels with one wing, we need to embrace each other in order to swing.
As we’ve seen in this article, it takes a few thing to become a good dancer. First of all you will need to learn the technique, then use your personality so you can translate it into your style. Then you have to be present and aware of your surroundings because it’s only then when you can truly be creative.
On an ending note, I’d like to leave you with the most important advice I have:
Dance every day, even for five minutes!
Find out more about Barbara Ambroz in our podcast with her. She has so many insights!
With an experience of over 30 years of teaching, Barbara has an open eye for every student. She loves to see how they translate the information they receive into their own style of dancing. Being connected to the present and remembering the roots of dancing are two essential aspects if you want to be a great dancer. Read more about her project, Cuban Experience: here