Returning to the Basics: Some tips from Dayanisma

Recently we were talking about how to keep our students interested in working on the basics when they feel like it is boring. The longer you dance, the more you realize how much there is to learn, including the absolute value of returning to basics as often as possible. To help our students, we brainstormed a list of all the things that dancers can focus on when they are returning to the basics. We hope it will be helpful to you, your troupes and your students!

1.       Practice muscle engagement- which muscles should you be using?  Are you using those?  Are you dancing from your core? 

2.       Practice flocking

3.       Practice body matching- Start at head and scan down the leader’s body, how closely can you follow the leader based on your body type?

4.       Spatial Awareness in formation, on stage…

5.       Musicality and phrasing— How can you use the Lead to set up next Leader, like for a dynamic change in the music or phrase change? Are you filling the entire beat with movement? Are you transitioning moves when the music phrases transition? Are you matching your movements with the style of the music? Are you setting up next dancer to be on music phrase change?

6.       Zilling— Are your rings strong and consistent? How is your tone?

7.       Zipped ribcage

8.       Dancing within a movement family and building complexity

9.       Achieving flow when following

10.   Dance Posture

11.   Audience engagement and facial features for performance

12.   Strength of cues— How am I communicating with my body position, arms, head, gaze?

13.   Visuals and group dynamics— How am I being the dancer that sets up cool shapes or helps the other dancers match the music? Am I thinking about how our Show looks viewed from the audience? From above? Am I integrating interesting shapes and challenging the group to do so even using beginning moves?

We would love to hear your ideas? What are the things you continue working on when reviewing basic moves?