by Pete & Mary McGee
Sometimes as Round Dancers, we
concentrate too much on learning as many dances as possible, and we
forget the basic actions of the various rhythms we are dancing. That
is why I always feel that clinics on the different rhythms are
wonderful! Even little exercises that work different parts of the
body are great and always help us to become better dancers.
In rumba, the art is to try to show a
very definite timing through the feet, combined with controlled
ankles, strength in the legs, and a continuous movement through the
body and arms, which can be related to the music while maintaining an
elegant poise of the head and shoulders. To express "perfect
rhythm," one must be 100% free in every part of the body. This
is not easy! But it can be achieved by the practice of isolation
and coordination exercises involving the head, shoulders,
arms, wrists, fingers, rib-cage, hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
Stand naturally erect in front of a
mirror. Alternatively flex and straighten each leg with the foot
flat. Observe how this causes a slight rotation of the hips and a
sympathetic movement of the lower arms. Now imagine that you are
climbing a flight of stairs. Take the weight completely onto the ball
of each foot. Lower the heel slowly as the leg straightens and the
other foot is raised to repeat the action on the other foot. Notice
how the hip rotation increases to include the rib-cage, and indeed a
slight movement of the head, and results in more movement of the
lower arms. This is the fundamental action that must be apparent on
When traveling across the room, observe the following rules:
Abide by these rules and you will
acquire that slow natural style that gives such pleasure out on the
From an educational article published in the ROUNDALAB Journal, Winter 2000-2001. Reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council (DRDC) Newsletter, December 2012.
If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.
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Past DRDC Educational Articles archived here.
Aditional articles and dance helps by
Sandi & Dan Finch
Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid (see Notebook)
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