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Thread: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

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    Registered User Lost Leader's Avatar
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    What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    I'm sure it's been discussed before but what goes around comes around. So, what are your best tips for beginners? Here's mine to start things off;

    1. Think about your appearance. If you are smartly and appropriately dressed you will be more popular than someone wearing a woolly hat and climbing boots. Too obvious? Well clearly not to everyone. It is amazing how often you encounter people who look as if they have come straight from a hike or working under their car.

    2. Ask, Ask, Ask (for dances that is) and try not to get upset about the odd refusal. it happens to everyone and most of the time there is a good reason, even if it isn't always made clear.

    3. Followers - concentrate on the technique of key movements such as spinning and turns rather than actually learning the moves. Let leaders lead (even if they don't always do it very well).

    4. Leaders - don't try to run before you can walk. Being able to execute three moves smoothly, correctly and in time is much better than trying to execute a dozen moves badly.

    5. Make sure you have smooth soled shoes suitable for dancing. You don't have to buy special dance shoes right away but you cannot dance in any shoe with a grippy sole, especially if you are a follower.

    6. Hands are important so keep fingernails short, remove rings, dangly bracelets etc.

    7. Don't neglect personal hygiene. You will get hot and sweaty. Take sensible precautions. If you smell people will notice.

    8. Learn about connection. It may seem a bit esoteric at first but it's worth persevering so listen to Franck. This stuff is vitally important.

    9. Swap places when you dance. That means both you and your partner have to move. Leaders signal when to move and then get out of the way, followers try to move in a straight line (this is called slotted dancing).

    10. Remember dancing is really just about having fun. Smile, laugh at yourself when things go wrong (not your partner), don't take it too seriously or beat yourself up about it.

    11. Always remember that you are your worst critic. Your dancing is never as bad as you think it is. Even the "good" dancers are mass of insecurities and worries just like you.

    12. Don't give up. Yes, you will have bad days, but there is always the next time. We were all beginners once and most people never forget that fact so don't be afraid to ask for advice if you need it

    13. Never criticise your partner unless they do something dangerous or totally inappropriate. Only give advice if someone asks for it. Unsolicited advice, however well meant, is often perceived as criticism and taken personally.

    14. Leaders progress more slowly than followers so be patient. It's partly that we men aren't the quickest on the uptake when it comes to dancing (or much else some might say), but also because we do have to actually learn the moves in order to be able to lead them.

    15. Listen to the music. Play you favourite MJ tracks all the time and learn to follow the beat. Keeping in time with the music is a key skill, but avoid the dreaded bouncy hand syndrome.

    Right, who wants to join in now?
    Last edited by Lost Leader; 30th-December-2009 at 09:24 PM. Reason: usual nonsence

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    batnurse (31st-December-2009)

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    The Oracle
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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    Ladies
    Keep time
    Follow your hand

    Men
    Keep time
    Remember she is following your hand
    If in doubt, do a first move or yoyo

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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    For both leads and follows, frame is the most important thing. From frame you build everything else - next most important are connection and lead and follow. Then, for follows, turning/spinning and flight are important. For leads, it's about direction and timing.

    If these simple things were taught properly in ceroc, then it would raise the standard of dancing to a significantly higher level.

    They make your dancing look better. It makes your dancing much easier. It makes lays a foundation for genuine progression in dancing.

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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    Well - back in 2006 and my encounter with 'The Master' - he summarised his 5 tips:

    1. Hands are everything

    2. Stay loose

    3. Keep to the beat

    4. Tailor

    5. Enjoy & have fun.


    For a more detailed look at these from this encounter with the Master, see the (mildly entertaining) blog post at http://ceroc.blogspot.com/2006/11/ma...nd-5-tips.html

    (The spaghetti reference probably needs some refinement but most of the rest still holds true for me).

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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    Practice makes Perfect
    so don't run off at the end of the beginners class
    stay right till the end of the freestyle
    if you area bit shy and no one asks you to dance
    stand, on your own, at the edge of the floor and SMILE

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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    Followers - keep weight forward (more on toes) with make your follow faster and feel lighter to the leader (picked up from workshop with "super mario" salsa instuctor)

    Driclor (available from boots) roll on anti perspirant is best ive found by a mile (never seems to fail), best applied as early as possible at least morning before for best results (once a week is usually enough to last between applications, can last longer)

    Wear very comfy shoes - I tend to get trainers (football/boxing type) and get suede applied to soles (i do my own using shoe goo glue, but you can use a cobler and will probably get a better job) but I suppose doing your own soles is more for the committed dancer (you could also get black leather trainers and colour in markings to make them look more formal)

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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    Not sure I quite agree with the letter of the law here...
    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Leader View Post
    1. Think about your appearance. If you are smartly and appropriately dressed you will be more popular than someone wearing a woolly hat and climbing boots. Too obvious? Well clearly not to everyone. It is amazing how often you encounter people who look as if they have come straight from a hike or working under their car.
    For beginners, I say wear what you feel comfortable in. It's not a cattle market, it's a dance . Wear what makes you feel confident, but also consider that you will be expected to dance in it: for girlies I recommend making sure you can't jiggle out of clothes, there are no whippy or dangly bits, rings and jewellery won't impale your partner, shoes you don't hobble or totter in. For blokes, make sure that your shoes are not too sticky.
    For both, try and make it a clean top and use spray. (& mints)

    2. Ask, Ask, Ask (for dances that is) and try not to get upset about the odd refusal. it happens to everyone and most of the time there is a good reason, even if it isn't always made clear.
    True; you only get better by dancing, and you get more dances by asking. But it should never be an "obligation" or "mercy" dance - dance because you want to: it's not nice to dance with someone who would rather not be dancing with you.

    3. Followers - concentrate on the technique of key movements such as spinning and turns rather than actually learning the moves. Let leaders lead (even if they don't always do it very well).
    Followers - don't concentrate. Just listen to the music and go with the flow. It should be fun: thinking too hard can spoil the dance and the enjoyment. Especially don't concentrate on the moves in the routine - that's the lead's job.

    4. Leaders - don't try to run before you can walk. Being able to execute three moves smoothly, correctly and in time is much better than trying to execute a dozen moves badly.
    Yea, but it's easy to get board with your own set of moves. (You will get tired of them long before your partner). Instead of trying to learn "new" moves, try and learn variations on what you know.

    5. Make sure you have smooth soled shoes suitable for dancing. You don't have to buy special dance shoes right away but you cannot dance in any shoe with a grippy sole, especially if you are a follower.
    You don't need to buy dance shoes at all. Many folks still just wear dress shoes. The problem with sticky soles is that you will be expected to spin and slide - trying to do this can really hurt your knees (and they are sort of vital to this dancing lark)

    6. Hands are important so keep fingernails short, remove rings, dangly bracelets etc.
    Nails - they are only a problem if you develop a "claw" and grip onto your partner - it's a 'hold' and even then it's the touch that is important, not the shape your hand is in or if you are clasped to your partner.
    Rings - it's just the sharp bits that hold rocks in place; hands slide over hands and catch hands. Turning them inside is even worse.
    Bracelets - you may loose them and the lead's fingers may get caught in them; a lot of catching of the hand starts at the fore-arm and slides to the hand.

    7. Don't neglect personal hygiene. You will get hot and sweaty. Take sensible precautions. If you smell people will notice.
    As said above, at least start the evening fresh and fragrant. The more you dance, the hotter & sweatier you will get. Some folks take changes of clothes and towels, but it's up to you. Sometimes you get a soggy partner: if you don't like it, you don't have to dance with them. Sometimes you are the soggy one: be considerate to your partner and don't drip over them & make them damp with your sweat.

    8. Learn about connection. It may seem a bit esoteric at first but it's worth persevering so listen to Franck. This stuff is vitally important.
    There is a whole load of stuff to learn; connection is one part of it. Don't get too hung up on having to do everything perfectly - it's about having fun; the rest will come in time.

    9. Swap places when you dance. That means both you and your partner have to move. Leaders signal when to move and then get out of the way, followers try to move in a straight line (this is called slotted dancing).
    Some bits of the dance are "slotted", some are "circular". Sometimes leads orbit the follower, sometimes the follower orbits the lead. Share the movement.
    It's more important to avoid other folk on the dance floor than worry about whether you are on a line or not: Be aware of where your partner is. And leads: move. You're not rooted.

    10. Remember dancing is really just about having fun. Smile, laugh at yourself when things go wrong (not your partner), don't take it too seriously or beat yourself up about it.
    That's why we dance: to have fun.

    11. Always remember that you are your worst critic. Your dancing is never as bad as you think it is. Even the "good" dancers are mass of insecurities and worries just like you.
    And sometimes it is as bad as you think. And sometimes it's worse. If you're that concerned or insecure about your dancing, ask a teacher or (less intimidating) a taxi dancer. The fact that you're willing to look at your own dancing and improve will make you a good dancer. (Maybe take a while, but you'll get there )

    12. Don't give up. Yes, you will have bad days, but there is always the next time. We were all beginners once and most people never forget that fact so don't be afraid to ask for advice if you need it
    If you're not having fun, you're not having fun. Sometimes it's the music, sometimes it's your dancing, sometimes it's because the day has a "y" in it.
    I find that one good dance can make a night. When you start, one bad dance can ruin the night. And you can get nights where almost every dance seems like a bad one. As you get better, it tends to go in phases; but the 'good' gets better and the 'bad' not as bad.

    13. Never criticise your partner unless they do something dangerous or totally inappropriate. Only give advice if someone asks for it. Unsolicited advice, however well meant, is often perceived as criticism and taken personally.
    True, but never say never. As a beginner, many folk may give you advice. And some folk will probably not do as the teacher told them to. Never mind them - pay attention to the teachers and taxis.

    14. Leaders progress more slowly than followers so be patient. It's partly that we men aren't the quickest on the uptake when it comes to dancing (or much else some might say), but also because we do have to actually learn the moves in order to be able to lead them.
    When beginners start, the lead should take the dominant role; they should be in control and dictate to the follower what to do, and when to do it. Understandably, this takes a bit more to learn than the submissive role of the follower. (Although learning to "trust" the lead is something I personally find really difficult.)

    15. Listen to the music. Play you favourite MJ tracks all the time and learn to follow the beat. Keeping in time with the music is a key skill, but avoid the dreaded bouncy hand syndrome.
    It's dancing - you dance to music. In MJ there is normally a step on every count. With the lead having to concentrate on how to move the follower, where to move them, keeping them from bumping into other dancers, smiling, ... there is little processing brain power left for musicality. For beginners, I would recommend leaving the musicality to the followers until you have a bit more experience in mucking things up.


    My tips:
    Leads - don't stop dancing.

    Followers - let the lead take your hand and lead you; try not to anticipate or grab at your partner.

    Both - rule #1: don't hurt your partner. Everything else is optional.

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    Lost Leader (31st-December-2009)

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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    (Loads of really good thoughtful stuff)
    My tips were straight off the top of my head just to get things started. You have greatly enhanced, tweaked, amended and added to them and that's absolutely fine. You have made a lot of very good points - you might even say that together we are almost perfect

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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    try not to fall over.

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    Ascot Lady (1st-January-2010)

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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    breath - everything is easier when you remember to do this

    smile - easiest way to enjoy something is to smile

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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    Don't let your elbows go past your back (connection)

    Smile

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    Re: What's the best bit of advice for beginners?

    The best "bit" of advice I can give beginners that they should attend lessons, listen to the teacher and do what the teacher says and demonstrates.

    The second best "bit" of advice is that beginners shouldn't take too much notice of the advice they receive from self-elected teachers.

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