Four Ways to Put the “OO” in Your “Smooth”
Mastery of any sport or physical activity requires practice, perfection of technique and repetition. The same goes for learning the fundamentals of Steppin. I’ve seen many students come and go in the dance, and they have high expectations for themselves when it comes to learning. I see them expecting to look a certain way in the dance and “hoping’ and expecting that they will look a certain way in the dance too. They want to look fine and have that seasoned look but aren’t sure how to get it. Mastery of the dance can be simple and these three helpful tips can start you on your way to getting the look you seek and establishing your niche in the dance. Smooth is nice, but you gotta pay the price. Here are three ways you can get there faster, especially if you adopt the practices early on your Steppin journey.
- Master the fundamentals. When I say master them, I mean MASTER them. You’ll go along way in improving your technique and getting the most out of the dancing experience. Dancing can be fun and exciting in and of itself, but knowing what you’re doing and why will make the experience even more fun. Learn how to LEAD and FOLLOW at the very beginning of your instruction. Understand the use of the lane and how to be conservative in your use of real estate. Each move on the dance has a specific foot and position in the lane. Knowing where they are helps make you a better dancer and enhances the experience for you partner.
- Seek out a master to review your style and technique. A good instructor won’t make you conform to their particular style of Steppin’, they will simply help you enhance your own. The level of experience that they have and the volumes of students they’ve encountered allows them to quickly assess where you can improve your technique. You can’t know it all because you can’t see it all. You can however see some of what you’re doing in a very simple but effective way which brings us to point number:
- Get yourself a slim mirror, one that can attach to a door or a wall where you can get in it every day and practice. Your goal is to perform every move without the greater portion of your body ever getting out of the view of the mirror. This forces you to stay linear while executing your moves in the lane (slot).
- Record yourself on video. This is the absolute best way to auto correct many of the initial flaws in your technique before you can get to an instructor for input. You already have in your mind a visual of how you want to look in the dance. I can assure you that initially you’ll look nothing like the image you have in your mind. As you record yourself and playback what your dancing, you’ll immediately see what you don’t like about what you are doing. Record yourself as you begin your journey and save the recording. Do not review the tape again for 90 days. Then record yourself again, on the same tape at the point where the first recording ends (do not look at the first recording until after you’ve recorded the second). After you’ve completed the second recording, review the tape in it’s entirety. You’ll be amazed at the difference in your technique provided you put in the time over the 90-day period. The results should be as different as night and day.
These are three of the most useful tips I know that can give you results sooner rather than later and have you looking like a “seasoned” Stepper in no time. The more time you put into mastering the moves and self-checking where you are in the process, the faster you’ll become the great dancer you want to be! Which one of these “gems” will you begin using today to put the “OO” in your “SMOOTH”? What additional “gems” can you add to the list? List yours in the comment section below!