My Dancing Story and Lack of Progress
Conventional dance instruction is focused on practicing dancing figures and promises that you will be able to lead and dance with a partner. The reality is that I was not making any progress and becoming a good dancer was out of reach. It was clear that without understanding and ability to move I will not be able to progress beyond the “mechanical” stage of movement. The only option available was a high volume of unconscious practicing of dancing movements and my body will be subject to a significant physical and mental stress.
Dancing with a partner I never felt “right” and I had experiences ranging from muscular discomfort to emotional distress. Lack of improvement and at peaks of frustration during private and group sessions I questioned conventional methods of instruction, walked out of group classes and I was reluctant to get on the floor during the dance parties.
A Traditional Dancing Instruction and a High Volume of Unconscious Repetition
Most of the ballroom dancing instructors acquired their skills by a high volume of unconscious repetition. A significant drawback of the training by unconscious repetition is that you are forcing the body to move in your “own” way and it can lead to injuries, and to lack of progress. Majority of dancers who practice by a high volume of unconscious repetition require a presence of an instructor during each training session. On the other hand, if you learn how is the body supposed to move anatomically and practice consciously you will be more motivated to train on your own. Some accomplished ballroom dancers were surprised to know that I am able to practice for extended periods of time by myself.
Dancing Movement Algorithms
Kinesiology states that human body movement is accomplished by a series neuromusculoskeletal commands in a pre-defined sequence and integrated into functional chain movements or algorithms. This means that a particular dancing movement can be represented by a specific functional movement algorithm and human bodies are anatomically built to perform dancing movements.
This approach is an alternative to unconscious dance training and focuses on learning functional movement algorithms and related components or links to a specific dancing movement.
No Progress in Sight and Functional Movement
My ability to move was not making a progress after years of unconscious practicing and I had a great deal of trouble to dance even the “beginner” figures, and unable to lead a partner. It was obvious to me that I ought to stop practicing the “beginner” steps unless I develop a proper functional movement or my success in dancing is doomed for failure.
The conventional ballroom dancing instruction is ineffective because it is based on training “shoulders”, “knees” or “hips” and these body areas are not defined within the human body structure. This means the brain is not designed to perform a “knee” or “hip” movement.
The science of human movement defines that any body movement is accomplished by a group of joints and muscles. For example, lifting the leg is not accomplished by a single command. If you don’t know all the joints and muscles of the group responsible for a specific movement you will not be able to move and dance properly, and it can lead to body dysfunction and injuries.
This revelation led me to identifying joints and muscles, and to develop exercises for the basic movements of various ballroom dances. The prevailing misconception is that if you don’t learn dancing movement at a young age you will be unable to make any progress when you become older. Contrary to this general belief my body began responding to this training approach and showing signs of progress. To my surprise, I was approached by a number of individuals who asked me if I would help them to learn and improve their functional movement and dancing skills. In addition to moving with more ease and precision, my overall coordination, agility, speed, and balance improved considerably.
Dancing and Beyond Difference
I have been dancing or attempting to dance for the last 15 years. The real story is that new and experienced dancers make no progress as far as the functional body movement is concerned. Majority of the beginners stop dancing due to the lack of progress and a clear understanding what needs to be done to improve.
Those who decide to continue practicing by unconscious repetition drive their bodies into a physical and mental plateau, and often leading to injuries. On the emotional side, they live with the illusion of progress to cover up their quiet desperation and feelings for the course of their lives. This creates an atmosphere of disconnection with reality and contributes further to a psychological stress related to the loss of hope and the ability to handle it.
Dancing and Beyond is not about drilling unconsciously dancing movements to perfection. Rather, learning how is the body designed to move anatomically and avoiding an “unconscious” way of moving the body. On the other hand, if you focus on practicing dance figures without proper body functional movement it will lead to lack of progress, a loss of motivation and a life of illusion.
Dancing and Beyond is a much more effective alternative to a high volume of repetitive training that prevents reaching the “the ceiling” and avoiding overuse injuries as well. Also, Dancing and Beyond reduces significantly the training curve and provides a plenty of room of progress by improving the understanding how to move naturally and efficiently.
Weight Shift is Key to Efficient Functional Movement
It goes without saying that you can only move naturally if you the body weight is shifted properly. Dancing and Beyond focuses on learning and changing positions with a proper weight shift. In order to transfer the weight efficiently specific joints and muscles must work in a coordinated fashion and all elements of coordination have to be brought into play. I was able to define certain elements of functional movement related to various ballroom dances to establish a proper sequence of the weight shift.
It is not widely understood that you have to shift the center of body weight located about two inches below the belly button in the pelvis region. This is key area for efficient movement and if it is not properly activated the movement will not be functional. Shifting the center of body weight includes certain elements and cannot be done through a series of exercises by a high volume of unconscious repetition. As I kept learning human movement system, I discovered that the body is programmed and designed to shift the center of body weight naturally between different positions if all weight shift elements work together efficiently.
Also, this training approach of functional movement will make the body healthier and more coordinated to be used outside the dancing such as running, swimming, weight lifting, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, baseball and any human movement related to any physical activity. This philosophy of functional movement proved to be effective not only to improve dancing. I incorporate dancing movements when designing a personal training fitness program for a new client. Training dancing movements makes the body functional and lay the foundation to build functional and physical fitness.
Dancing Movements and Gender Differences
Physical dimensions and genetic composition including anatomical differences can affect movement and performance but it should not cause an inability to participate in a given sport or physical activity.
These issues need further research and one of my findings is that anatomical alignment position difference of the pelvic girdle in males and females can affect dancing movement efficiency allowing women move more natural and less effort than men. This means that additional dancing training for men is required related to the pelvis and hip joints alignment.