There comes a point when a dancer has a great core technique nailed down and wants to start focusing on the things that will make their dancing look sharper and more stylish.
But what tends to happen is that as the music gets faster, the moves get more complex, and the turn patterns and shines more content-rich it’s easy to let some of the basics slip.
One of the things that starts to go AWOL is timing…especially towards the end of a night when you become tired. Feet start to lag a little behind the beat and foot placement gets sloppy.
This isn’t so noticeable for guys because they aren’t locked into stepping on 1,2,3,5,6,7 as the ladies are. If their footwork gets a little “lazy”, as long as the lead is still smooth and well delivered it won’t always be too obvious.
However, if your thing is fast, intricate, syncopated footwork shines which cross the phrasing of the music, then speed and precision are essential to deliver the full impact of the styling.
For me, this is one area where I delve back into my previous life as a personal trainer and fitness coach.
I used a lot of boxing in my own training, so often incorporated speed, agility and sports drills to improve foot and hand speed, coordination and reaction time.
Things like speed ladders, hurdles and plyometrics are fantastic for developing these specific qualities and will definitely have a carry-over into dancing, and there are ways of adapting them to make them even more powerful. Working to a metronome app on your phone that can be speeded up will enable you to measure improvement and ensure that your steps are accurately timed.
You can even insert sprints in between each set of drills – this will mimic the effect of a night of dancing and over time will force your body to adapt, thus reducing the accumulation of tiredness and lactate buildup in your legs.
If you can stay sharp and nail that complicated footwork when everyone else is flagging, it will definitely get you noticed!