Kizomba is...

"An embrace means I don't feel threatened by you, I'm not afraid to be this close, I can relax, feel at home, feel protected and in the presence of someone who understands me. It is said that each time we embrace someone warmly, we gain an extra day of life."

A quote from Paul Coelho (one of my favorite authors) that describes for me what dancing kizomba is like.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How Body Aware are You? Balance [You and Your Partner]

My previous post about balance focused on stillness and your own balance. This one focuses about balance in the partnership while you are dancing with your partner.

While dancing, leads and follows are each responsible for their own balance in the dance. To truly connect with your partner while dancing, one must also start to develop an awareness of your partner's balance as well. This second level of balance awareness can take dancing to the new heights. The added awareness allows you the space to express yourself as you dance in unison with another person whether you are a lead or a follow.

Balance in motion is tied to awareness of your partner as well as the forces at work when you move together.

For example, a follow, no matter what size, can easily throw a lead off balance if either party is not aware of their balance while moving. Follows have the last action in any movement since they are finishing what the lead has suggested. This means they carry with them some force from acceleration and momentum that if they do not control by maintaining their own balance OR if the lead does not prepare for, can easily cause the lead to go off balance. The need to be aware and in control are particularly important with movements that involve rotation and speed (quicker movement than usual). The reason we don't see more spills in kizomba is that the speed and distances traveled by the dancers are slower and smaller and so are easier to control. In the event there's a balance challenge, leads and follows can still compensate for momentary lapses of balance. The result of the compensation is usually some sacrifice of grace, smoothness and connection if things don't go quite as planned.

Building awareness of your own balance and your partners' comes with practice and experience. When I start to teach kizomba, I stress that despite the close connection, the lead and the follow each are responsible for their own balance.

When you start to be comfortable in that, you can start to pay attention to your partner's balance as well. When does the weight shift occur? When is the balance distributed between both legs? What causes my partner to step?

Building this awareness allows the lead to then play with their connection in a different way: to slide or life or pivot their follow as an interruption to the base walk.

1) Slow Motion Walking: can be done along then in partnership. Alone to work on your own balance and control while in partnership to learn to listed to when the weight shift occurs.
2) Leading a Step Without taking the Step: Can you move your follow to take a step while you don't? Are you aware of what foot your follow is on and when you can sync up with opposite feet or same feet? Start with walking together and pay attention to when your partner has committed to step. See if you can lead in such a way that you make your follow step without you (the lead) actually taking a step. Do this while the follow is walking forward and backward.