Friday, February 20, 2015

Ballroom Tip: Video Yourself

Today I have yet another tip on improving the quality of your practice, and that is to video yourself.  I was at a large competition two weeks ago where one could see about seven latin dancers backstage watching video of themselves after their semi-final--videos are a hugely useful tool to actually see what you dance like.  It is a sad but definite truth that what a dancer feels she looks like is not what she actually looks like, and nothing reveals that more rapidly than watching a video of yourself dance.  Videos have no mercy, and you will quickly see  if that headline you've been working on actually looks like your ear lobes are glued to your shoulders or if the arm motion you thought looked sassy actually looks like the mad flappings of a broken chicken wing.  Over time, one does learn what correct dancing should feel like, and watching videos of your own dance is a brutal way to accelerate that process.

With the prevalence of gadgets containing video cameras, procuring video of yourself shouldn't be technically difficult.  You might need to cultivate friends in other dance categories who would be willing to take video of you, but having more dance friends is always a plus in my mind.

I am not using gentle words to describe the process, because most of the time watching yourself dance will knock your ego down by several pegs.  Kate of Riot and Frolic and buckets of dance wisdom has several tips on making the process less painful, though I would say that for me, watching old, old videos isn't so bad.  They are still embarrassing, but in the hah, hah "I used to dance like that?" sort of way, not the painful "I was so terrible" sort of way.  Having documented evidence that you're getting better is reassuring in its own right.

Happy dancing!

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