In this post, I am going to share something precious that helps me improve my jazz dancing every day. I took it from my own experience of studying dance every single day since I was 6 years old as well as diving into Jazz culture for the last 8 years. 7 essential tips for learning & growing, finding your voice & style in an improvisation – based Jazz dance forms.

I highly encourage you to learn, practice, soak everything you can from teachers, other dancers. Take whatever you are learning and then ….

1. Search for your own style

We all have different bodies moves will, of course, look different on each one of us.
We all have our own character/image: funky, classy, elegant, “powerhouse”, playful, serious, ….on heels, in sneakers, in a skirt, in baggy pants, etc. Depending on many many of those factors the movement will look different. Search for yours. For your energy, your look, your mojo. Each of those great dancers had their own definitive signature style. Just to show a few: (from right to left)

Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Ann Pennington

Gene Kelly, Nicholas Brothers

Eleanor Powell, Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers

Bee Jackson, Josephine Baker, Bill Bojangles

 

2. Try everything from the other leg

No special explanation needed really. To be a 2 legged dancer, not to limit yourself, to play, to research. Well, it sure does sound easier than when you put it into practice.

3. Find one more variation, one more way

You have a universe in your body and self. The universe of ideas. Play with them. Learn from me, from others, but give yourself a precious present: “give birth” to your and only your variation of a step or a move.

“What if” I do it this way?

4. Be a musician

Dizzy Gillespie

We all hear music a little bit differently. What do you hear? What is your take? Take a move, play with accents or timing.

5. Play, play, play! 

For instance, you learn my choreography at the end of Acquaintance with Kicks chapter, practice it. And then change some parts, change the moves and components places. Compose your own little piece using the same music, same moves.

Dancing is playing!

6. Improvise

Learn the material, practice things and then just let it go in a flow of your dance. Put on a song and start dancing, occasionally inserting the new stuff you learned in your improvisation. The best way ever to get new moves, the technique in your body.

7. Enjoy & don’t judge yourself too hard

Feeling of joy is so important when creating and dancing. I am not talking you have to be all happy-clappy just in case, I am talking about the Joy of dancing, exploration of your movement, the joy and inner longing for connection with music, the joy of discovery. You got to enjoy it, otherwise, how would you ever encourage your self to practice, to create?

If you don’t enjoy it you simply won’t do it.

About judging… be nice to yourself, my friend, give yourself some time for growing, searching and developing. The big changes don’t happen overnight and don’t expect that after one heroic attempt to go practice you’ll skyrocket to the moon. What will happen for sure, is that you will be better than you were before that practice and that is undeniable! Practice makes you better. Regular practice will make you Top! Film yourself while working on something. Watch, reflect, make notes in your head and try again. Always with love and curiosity 🙂

Hope you will find those tips inspiring and motivating to get up and go polish the diamond of your jazz dance! If you are learning from my online courses, you can share your experiments and practice with me at Jam Circle Forum & get my feedback.

Do you have your own tricks that help you improve your dance, practice?