Why Study Dance Technique?

So I’m beginning a little class at Google – a 6 week class on “Dance Technique”.  It’s a little overwhelming trying to boil all of dance technique down to just 6 hours, so I put together these thoughts for those who are going to attend the class.

Why Dance Technique?

So what is dance technique? And why should we study it?

What, for that matter, is dance?

Some might say that dance is an artistic form of nonverbal communication.

Which sounds very nice, but doesn’t really pin it down.

Dance is a difficult thing to define, since it overlaps the boundaries of sport, art, social activity, and spiritual activity. For some people, dance is only about one of these four, for others, any combination of these four categories.

Dance technique improves a dancer’s ability to exceed their goals in any of these four dimensions of dance.

If you dance for sport, dance technique can help you jump higher, stretch further, run faster, and spin more times without falling over.

If you dance for art, dance technique can help you to express yourself more fully and look better while you do it. With better balance, and a wider range of movement available to you, you can express a wider range of concepts and emotions. Since dance is a visual art, how you look while you dance is important to the aspiring artist, and can be improved by studying technique.

If you dance as a social activity, dance technique can help you improve your movement efficiency so you can dance for longer, more comfortably, and without injury.

If you dance as a spiritual activity, dance technique can improve the way you feel as you dance. By improving the efficiency of the body, technique can free you to move in a way that feels good and fulfills your spiritual needs.

No matter why you dance, dance technique can help you improve how you look and feel, and what you are capable of doing without injuring yourself. For this reason, many dancers study technique their whole lives.

In this short course I am hoping to give you a brief glimpse of what dance technique is, and how it can be helpful to you. We will be studying 6 basic components of technique: posture, balance, spins, use of core, use of legs, and jumps. Each week we will talk about one of these main topics, however they all overlap so there will be lots of review.

Hopefully you will learn some exercises that you can continue to practice during and after the class. If you practice these exercises and apply the concepts during other dance classes, your technique will slowly improve. Just like learning a language, learning technique takes time and practice. I hope that you will use the other dance classes (Hip Hop, Around the World, Zumba) that we have here at Google as an opportunity to practice what you are learning in technique class. The improvements you make will be well worth the effort!

Dance is a very special activity – what other “hobby” encompasses: music, expression, community, movement, exercise, creativity, spontaneity, memory, culture, flirting, spiritual expression, ecstatic trance, fine art, communication, and partnering?

I hope that you use this class as a way to not only improve your physical dance technique, but to think a little about the role of dance in your life – what it is, and what it could be.  And please share with us – why do you dance?  What are you improving in your technique, and how?  Please comment below!

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