In our first guide for beginner dancers, we explored the concepts behind musicality.
In the next beginner’s guide to dance, we talked about getting to know your body.
Now, we’re going to join these two concepts in the ways that you can move your body to match certain sounds. That’s right, we’re gonna start executing!
The variance in this execution is what turns a set of moves into a dance. When you watch dancers who seem to become the music when they dance, it’s because they have a good understanding of the music + their bodies, and how to use that control to depict the sounds they’re hearing.
Read on to learn more about how to execute choreography – the way you want to!
1. Hitting For Beginner Dancers
Usually, (but not always!) loud, heavy sounds in music are going to be matched with an equally powerful move.
These “hits,” wherever they are initiated from in your body, are going to require 3 basic things to be properly executed:
The RIGHT amount of energy
- You don’t want to be too soft and undersell the move,
- but at the same time, you don’t want to over-kill it.
- Remember, the goal is to become/embody music, not compete with it!
- Imagine your energy levels as following the pattern of an audio visualizer to calibrate the impact of your body to that of the song.
Awareness of the body part you are hitting with
- If you’re just using your arms to, let’s say, punch in the air, use those arms! If you’re using your whole body to pop, use your whole body!
- Isolation, and descriptions of / exercises for other popping fundamentals (that a lot of “hits” utilize), can be found here:
See Article: 7 Exercises To Boost Your Popping Fundamentals From Charles Nguyen (Poreotics)
- While it’s definitely not good to be late on a hit, anticipating the move and catching it too early (before you actually hear the sound) can be just as disadvantageous. This is where your musicality comes into play!
When you’re watching a video or taking a class, observe all 3 things in how the choreographer executes a move – the power, body part, and timing.
2. “Milking” A Move For Beginner Dancers
“Milking” is a term we hear often. It’s most commonly used to describe movement in in-betweens of pictures – the “pathway” between A and B.
Here are a few ways “milking” is used
- At the end of a move, instead of “putting a period” on it, that is, ending it definitely by stopping the movement, think of it as a “…”
- The “dot dot dot,” connoting that you’re dragging out that move, to extend its pathway past “B,” what would’ve been the stopping point without the milking.
- Or, you can milk from one picture into a completely new picture.
- To practice this, set 2 poses. Every 4 counts, change your position.. but here’s the challenge! Use a different pathway each time, to slowwwly get your body where it needs to be.
- Think of milking as a change in acceleration (ooh, physics terms!)
- Really, all moves are some sort of slowing down, speeding up, or stopping. Milking is just the term for gently stepping on your brakes. Where your car goes (the pathway) is up to you.
3. Speed Control For Beginner Dancers
As mentioned in the previous section, learning how to manipulate your speed is going to be a huge factor in shifting dynamics and textures.
To practice speed control, pretend that your arms are hitting a “wall.” But instead of stopping at this wall, that wall is the checkpoint at which you change your speed.
Go from fast and hard hitting, to completely “milking.” This variance in speed will help switch up the mood and “textures” of a piece.
4. Textures For Beginner Dancers
Think of textures the way you think of the physical connotation of the word. Have you ever heard dancers being described as “smooth“?
They probably move like honey.
Visualize the way that a song feels. Is it staccato, with abrupt starts and stops? Is it flowy and silk-like, with lots of vocals? Is it gruff and interrupted, like an angry rap song?
While many songs do embody a specific “texture,” most have elements of several.
And because a lot of songs carry with them hints of different textures, the variation in your hits, milks, and speed, are all going to contribute to how well you embody those textures, and subsequently how you match the music.
5. Pictures For Beginner Dancers
*This isn’t necessarily on the execution of movement, but the movement involved in achieving a “picture.”
Think of pictures as literal pictures.
If someone were to take a photo of you on the count that you’re hitting a picture, the clearer that photo turns out to be the “cleaner” you are executing that picture.
So.. How do you get a clearer photo?
The timing at which you reach that pose, and the timing out of it, should match the exact sound in the music that your picture’s supposed to land on.
You can either switch directly from pose A to pose B, or “milk” in the pathway between them – but the count that the picture is supposed to be on, should be unmoving (whether it’s for .00001 miliseconds or 30 seconds!)
These were some basic concepts behind the execution of movement. All of these will play into choreography, no matter the style and level. Get familiar with these and you’ll be readily equipped to tackle any piece!
Found this info helpful? Let us know what else you’d like to learn about by leaving a comment below!
Wanna practice these ways to execute movement? There’s plenty of choreography to try it out, on STEEZY Studio!
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