One often hears about “Ladies’ Styling” or “Men’s Styling” that refers to various arm, leg, and body movements added to a pattern for enhancing its look. Styling is often considered an “add-on” – an optional bit, usually for more advanced dancers that involves precise placement of hands, an extra syncopated step, a particular hip flare, or “shaping” either the lead, or the follow, or both. There are special styling classes and workshops that often focus on body isolations – individual movements of individual body parts for styling effect – or the exact way to place one’s feet or take an “and” step.
All of these techniques can elevate even a simple, Foundations-level pattern to look and feel like something special. And, you don’t necessarily need special workshops to introduce great style into your own dancing (although they are indeed useful for someone who has learned and is comfortable with the fundamentals).
In our Foundations class – weekly at 7:00 – I mention some of the key elements of great style in every class: great posture, on-beat timing and weight shifting, foot placement, proper hand and arm position, “reaching” with your leg rather than stepping with your foot, and more! These elements are important focus areas for all dancers, and especially for those who are now sufficiently comfortable with the basic elements that they don’t have to think about where to put their feet, or not falling over during a travelling turn. Repertoire students who join the Foundation class (at no extra charge) can use the time specifically to focus on these elementary fine elements.
For more experienced dancers, there is always the opportunity to add in additional arm styling for the followers and crisper (not more forceful!) leads for the leaders, especially when individual elements are momentarily disconnected. This week’s Repertoire class has many of these elements that we’ll pay some extra attention to, and probably for the following week as well.