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Style Make-over

What do you do when you have got into a rut and know others appear to dance better? Are you getting too good at "robo-jive"? Solution - have a style make-over!

Video yourself (frightening!) and then get a video of some great jivers and watch the difference. Steal some ideas!

Below are just a few simple things that you can start to think about (you do not have to do them all at once though!).  If you have any suggestions - please email me.

Do something with your eyes

Look at your partner! Novel eh!  There are ladies who NEVER look at me (and I'm not that bad).  Just a smile - don't penetrate your partner's soul!

Do something with your arms

Never allow your arms to go below your waist except when they happen to be on the move upwards again.

Punch an arm high up into the air when you step back under tension!

Ladies - hold your arm out (above your head) in line with your body when in a dip.  This emphasises the move.

When you turn or spin, allow your spare hand to follow behind your spin, either in front of your body or behind in a sort of nelson.

Do something with your legs

Do you "plod, plod plod".  Easy eh? Yes - but now you can progress with any rhythm you like (provided it is to the music!).

  1. Try a little kick with the un-weighted foot on the jive count

  2. Try a triple-step

  3. Try raising one leg when you relax into the other

  4. Try sliding the remaining foot to the one you step out on

Do something with your hips

Get them wiggling!  Feel the music in your whole body, not just in the timing of your steps.

Do something with your hands

Try moves with clicks, or ones where you place the lady's hands on your hips and spin her from them.  She may be surprised, but you will get a smile.

Don't do the move exactly as learned, try clicking twice one way and twice the other.  She will pick it up soon enough.

Break away from learned moves

Repeat elements of moves, like the sway back on the basket, a couple or three times.  You will need a positive lead though.

Men: if you know her, try a move where the lady normally wraps her leg around your waist and shimmies, but wrap your leg around her waist and do the shimmy yourself!

Try an interesting move

Leans are usually safe.  Try one.

Try those comical moves where you offer a leg to be grabbed behind you or she does.

Many ladies like dips and drops but don't feel they can ask.  However many do not like them and many like them but their backs do not - so always ask first and do the first slowly and carefully.

Try doing a move the lady has just paid to learn

I know of many ladies who learn a great move in the lesson and no man attempts any of them!

Try to match the style of your partner

Does she always give a little kick at a certain point? Kick yourself or do something at that point.  Is he/she all hip-wiggly, try it yourself.  Is she very rock'n'rolly with his arms? Try syncopating with her.  By so doing you make each dance a unique experience with that partner.

Dance to the music not just the beat

Change your style from jiggy-bouncy to curvatious and smooth.  Show your partner you have a different dance for different music.

Act the music out - let yourself go.

Choose those moves that suit the music - kicks, clicks, walks, kneels, hallelujahs, Cha-cha-chas, Charleston or Tango.

Allow the mood to change - light and shade.  The light brings out the highlights, the shade is relaxation.  Without shade, the light would lose its impact.  You can do this within a move, or across a dance.

Stop when the music stops!  You can freeze at any point in a move where you are under compression or tension (ie not actually turning), ie you do not have to freeze at the end of a move.  If you know a break in the music is coming and are not quite sure when, keep to simple moves and do not be afraid of modifying them in a positive manner to ensure you do not have your lady spinning on the break.

  1. If the music completely stops to a silence on a break, then freeze.  Otherwise "mess around".  Usually it is the man who allows the lady to mess around, but you can both do it.  Ideas would be:

  2. Make your hips go forward, to the right, back, to the left (not a rolling wiggle, but definite compass directions).

  3. Gyrate your hips

  4. Wiggle your hips

  5. Shimmy (shoulders)

  6. Rotate your knees in circles, together or one ahead of the other

  7. Draw a large circle on the floor with the toes of one of your feet.

  8. Simply step (with intent) to one side

  9. Line-dance with your feet, ie perform triple-steps or monkey-walk

Do something with your tongue!

...like say "how lovely it was to have that dance and you" and suggest you would like another one again sometime.