Magazine article Dance Teacher

5 Tips on Teaching BALLROOM to CONTEMPORARY DANCERS

Magazine article Dance Teacher

5 Tips on Teaching BALLROOM to CONTEMPORARY DANCERS

Article excerpt

Your students have nailed contemporary and jazz, but how do you turn their skills into ballroom beauty? Burn the Floor choreographer Jason Gilkison encounters this all the time as a choreographer on "So You Think You Can Dance." Here, he shares his top tips for dancers donning their first pair of heels.

-Kristin Schwab

1 Take In the history. Gilkison spends the first hour with his "So You Think" contestants introducing the technique and giving them the background on how ballroom came to be. "1 always smile when a contemporary dancer walks though the door on 4So You Think.' They're often so curious about other dance styles," he says.

2 Take off the heels. uFor the first hour, get them in bare feet so they feel comfortable enough to attack the work," says Gilkison. Contemporary dancers' biggest mistake is overusing their feet and legs. Pair off and walk around the room in a position to "feel being one body with eight limbs. …

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