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home | Free Articles | Building a Strong Dance Foundation

Building a Strong Dance Foundation
Michele Rasmussen
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When building a house, the foundation is one of the most important tasks that a builder has. If the foundation is not properly laid then the entire edifice will be unstable. This applies to everything that we do in life. We need a strong foundation on which to build.

And so it is with dance. Learning the basics and learning them well are the most essential elements to becoming a great dancer.

Do you remember when you learned to swim? First you had to overcome that huge body of water, one toe at a time, and then up to the knees, not so bad, right? Now if you can only step down one more step, the water will cover your entire leg. With one step to go and the water reaches your waist. You are now in control as the gradual sloping pool allows the water to become deeper and deeper. Do you keep walking or just bend your knees a bit? You must be brave: you take a deep breath and sink quickly all the way down to your chin, with your eyes closed, opening them quickly to see if anyone was watching. OK, that wasn't so bad, one more attempt and you might actually submerge your nose and the next time your entire head. Soon you begin to realize that it really isn't nearly as scary as you had anticipated. You even have breath holding contests with your friends and begin to float in the water. Eventually you begin to jump around, using your arms and legs and before you know it, you are swimming! You didn't know how to swim when you first put your toe into the pool; it took a bit of practice and a whole lot of confidence, before you were able to jump off of the diving board and into the deep end of the pool. You had to keep adding to the basics, little by little, becoming more and more confident in each previous accomplishment.

Dance is no different. It is unfamiliar, uncharted territory. While rhythm and music and dance are a part of our integral being, partner dance requires a foundation. It takes time, patience, instruction and practice. Just like stepping into that pool you have to be brave, you must slip your foot into a dance shoe and then right onto that big scary dance floor. One step at a time, one beat at a time. Take your time. Build your foundation. Find your center or core, also known as balance. Develop your frame. Feel the connection with your partner. Develop muscle memory by repeatedly practicing the beginning basic steps until you can do them without having to think.

If you build a strong foundation, you will be able to enjoy the sport of dance no matter where you are, or where your travels may take you. Dance is a universal language that has no barriers. So why not start building that foundation now? It will be the greatest gift that you have ever given yourself.

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