Improving your dance technique

By Deborah Laws

Deborah, Principal of Razzamataz Plymouth working with a student

It doesn’t matter how many dance classes you take, there is always room for improvement when it comes to technique. It may be that you want to improve your jumps, your turns or your floor work, if you are not seeing any improvement, it is probably time to go back to basics and work on that technique.

The responsibility and awareness of a dancers’ technique starts before they even begin class with their warm up. A dancer should understand the 5 basic elements of preparing for class that include cardio, swing, strengthen, stretch and balance.

After the body has been warmed up the most important thing is awareness of posture and core. if a dancer is to achieve ease of movement and flow and control they need to have a power house of control. This comes from a strong set of abdominal muscles and a focused use of these throughout class.

After this alignment is crucial. Not only for safe use of the joints but in order to create precise and exquisitely executed moves. It is also important that a dancer understands use of line. This is a true feel for when the arms and body lines are correctly placed and look pleasing to the eye.

Always try to dance using all of your space. This doesn’t just apply to the room and studio but even more importantly within your own personal boundaries. You need to really reach to the ends of your finger tips and to stretch beyond in order to really dance.

Working with resistance bands to improve technique

Outside of the dance studio, there is a lot that can be done at home. Work on those core muscles (rectus abdominus, Obliques and transverses abdominus). Work on stretching the muscles, particularly the hamstrings for split leaps and kicks, and the abdominals for a flexible back.

Try to work at home on remembering your routines too so that you can focus on improving the techniques and not just remembering the steps when you are back in class. Dance is a combination of getting the body to move right, musicality, performance skills and great technique so there is a lot to take in.

Good technique is so important in order to keep the body free from injury. It also makes you stand out from the crowd when your technique is strong as it shows a dedication and good training. Of course, it also makes your dancing look so much better and will help you grow as a performer.

Practising at home

Top tips for dance technique
• Use a mirror in order to practise so you can see yourself and correct your alignment.
• Ask your teacher for some exercises to work on your flexibility and strength at home.
• Listen to every word your teacher says and think about if it applies to you.
• Acknowledge the areas where you are not as strong and work on them routinely and you will see improvement over time.

About the author
Deborah is an experienced teacher, lecturer, ISTD examiner and the Principal of Razzamataz Plymouth. Deborah stared dancing at the age of two and was on stage taking part in competitions at a very young age. She went on to study at the prestigious Laine Theatre Arts where she was awarded the ‘most promising teacher’. At the age of 24, she started her own dance school and has since gone on to achieve the highest qualification in the ISTD.

Strengthening and flexibility exercise in class