Monday, October 19, 2009

Dancing Tips...How To Practice Cuban Motion!

By Stanley McCalla

One of the students who I started to coach on a regular basis is showing considerable progress. He now looks like a different dancer: his posture has improved, his legs and feet are looking decent, and his Cuban motion is on the way to being authentic.

Last time I coached him, I said: “J, you are improving very nicely! What are you doing differently?”

“Thank you,” he said, “I have been practicing the exercises that you’ve talked about and I’m starting to feel it.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” I said.

For those of you out there who are wondering about the exercises that J is talking about, I’m going to let you in on it (although the information isn’t any different from what your teacher is telling you). But, to satisfy your curiosity, I will list them here for you. It’s about Cuban motion and how you can practice it.

Cuban motion is described as the lateral motion of the hips, which occurs as a result of the flexing and straightening of the knees, never a conscious swing of the hips. You can use this technique in the Rumba, Bolero, Mambo, Cha Cha, Merengue, and Salsa, to name a few.

Stand with your back straight. Your shoulders should be lined up over your hips. Your center should be pulled toward your spine. Your feet should be together with toes turned out. You should feel that your weight is poised towards the balls of your feet. Imagine, for a moment, that your hips start at your rib cage and that you have extremely long legs.Start by bending one knee at a time, and then straightening it. You should allow your rib cage to move from side to side over the bent knee. While doing this, you should control the movement through the center of your body. In order to feel your center, tighten your stomach muscles as well as your plexus muscle. You should then feel the natural and lateral motion of your hips. If you don’t, then your posture is incorrect.

Once you feel the correct motion, try to use the same principle by taking a small step to the side with your left foot, then slowly closing your right foot to your left foot. All the while, remember your posture, your center, and the bending and straightening of the knees one at a time.
That’s it… now all you have to do is practice, practice, practice. Make sure that you confirm what you’re doing with your teacher.

Until next time, happy dancing!

Stanley McCalla
Fred Astaire National Champion
FADS National Dance board member examiner, coach and adjudicator
Available for coaching and examinations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been taking ballroom dance lessons for 2 1/2 years. I have always loved dance but taking theselessons has given me a new love of dance, and confidence that I have not felt before. It has also made me proud since it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks.