When learning social dance, I am very sure that all of us always hear repeatedly from our teachers and other experienced dancers that learning and practicing basics are so important and here is the basics blah d blah, blah blah blah. You need to learn the basics to dance Brazilian Zouk blah d blah…
However, it’s so rare anyone actually explains WHY!?
First of all, let me list out some of the basic movements of Brazilian Zouk (movements that fit in 8 counts):
- Passo Basico (Basic step)
- Viradinha (Open the door, close the door)
- Lateral (Corridor)
- Preparação pro giro (Preparation/lunge with turn in place, step pivot for the girls)
- Giro Simples (Simple turn with girls traveling)
- Elástico com corporal (Elastic with contraction or body roll)
- Soltinho (Turn of the Lead, turn of the Follow)
- Ondulação (Body roll)
- Bônus (Boomerang)
- Washing Machine
What you need to understand is that the set of basic movements was created to teach someone who never danced in togetherness, to able to dance in togetherness. However, it does much more than that and should help you develop the following…
- FOOTWORK, FOOTWORK, FOOTWORK, ADAPTING YOUR FEET POSITIONING + AWARENESS OF WEIGHT TRANSFER & TRANSITIONS! You build your dance from the ground UP.
- These basic movements are designed to teach your body how to navigate and move around the dance floor without crashing! Floorcraft 101.
- It teaches you how to move musically and on time.
- In its simplest form, it allows you to dance safely, in balance and train to control your own body.
- They are simple movements that allow you to apply dance techniques and concepts.
- They are also your roadmap, a set of guides and rules. (You may break them once you’ve mastered them. IF you master them…)
- Help you gain efficiency, using the least amount of energy to dance. Sometimes you feel that you are able to dance longer, it’s not only because you have strengthened muscles, but you are able to move around more efficiently. (This is true, I dance much longer periods now but still getting fatter, that’s efficiency haha)
- They are your base, your foundation, everything else you add or build later, goes on top!
- They are your best tools to gauge the level of experience of your social partners so you can adapt accordingly.
Each of the basic Zouk movements teaches your body to move in a particular direction, how to change directions and how you can switch lanes.
It’s like learning to drive a car, you will learn many maneuvers and by the end of passing your driving test, you should be able to get around most roads and situations. You get better the more you drive, more awareness, safer, better control of the speed, looking & planning ahead, driving in lane, turning corners all improve as you gain experience and confidence. And if you’re cocky and drive dangerously like a pr*ck, you’ll likely crash and injure others!
Remember, the uniqueness of Brazilian Zouk is that we use our entire body to navigate and dance. It’s completely 3D navigation on the dance floor so you will need to develop very well controlled motor functions, self-awareness, inner balance with the understanding of weight point & axis.
You’ll need to master navigating the 2D space before attempting to add the 3rd Dimensional movements whether static on the spot or while moving: head movements, tilts, or other off-axis positions. I see far too often beginners trying to navigate in 3D when they barely can navigate in 2D. But that’s another discussion to be had 🙂
PS. I would never write a blog about how to do the basic movements correctly because it’s up for too many misinterpretations. That’s what classes are for! My focus is on adding knowledge and context to what I see is missing or overlooked in classes, so students can do some out of class reading.
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