Principles of a body movement

Movement becomes freer when dancers focus on sensing the changing relationships of the moving body, not just on positions or steps.

Glenna Batson, PT, MA (Dance)

Today I would like to talk about the principles of leading and following. It’s common to think, that the main essential element in bachata or any other kind of dance is a step. Basically, “Where to put my feet?” is the main question. But a step – is a more complicated thing than just “where to put my feet”. Β It takes all body to collaborate to make it.

Here you can see a basic step yourself:

But what exactly is a step? A movement with a direction (i.e. front, back, left, right) you would say. But what about staying in place? It is also a step. It consists of smaller “movements”. I’m going to tell you about it in a moment from a perpective of changing weight πŸ™‚ I hope it will help you to see the basic step from different angle and understand the principles behind it πŸ™‚

So to start with let’s analyze this step for a bit. Step to the left, put feet together, step to left again, and a tap or hip movement (It is a leader’s step, follower’s would be oposite direction). Can you notice a difference between a tap and a step? The difference is in how you distribute your body weight. And here I would like to introduce a concept of weight transfer or weight change, which is very important to understand to be in full control of your body.

A weight change is a movement so that the weight is moved from one supporting foot (or any other limb) to another one fully or partially.

Example? Stand up on your right feet. Now you can easily raise your left feet, because it’s not supporting you anymore. Your weight center is shifted from the center, to a vertically projected onto another body part. It is also called a full weight transfer.

One can also do a partial weight transfer. It doesn’t allow you to stay in this position for a long time, but can be used to support foot for a short time, and then followed by the drop back onto first supporting foot. It’s very useful while playing with music and using syncopation for footwork.

Changing weight is in our everyday life. We do it constantly and most of time – unconsiously. In order to hold your body in balance, walk, etc. In addition, weight transfer is also used in the communication between leader and follower. Learn to do it right, and you will be the king of the dancefloor.