Knowing the steps is not enough. A pretty simple sentence, or is it? That truth has eluded many a novice. Knowing HOW to do the step WELL and HOW to USE the step are equally, if not more important. One of my former students was having a coaching session with 12 year undefeated American smooth champion David Kloss and wanted steps. He refused saying she’d never dance the choreography the way he did it and said it’s how you dance that wows an audience. He demonstrated by taking just the man’s first slow step in Bolero. He made it look like a 30 second routine on zumba class toronto!!!
He also pointed out how the proper combinations of steps danced well, can maneuver you through most any dance floor while maintaining line of dance and improve the look and feel of the dance!
Another key to utilizing a floor well is knowing all the weapons in your arsenal well. The experienced dancer will do better by “reaction” than remembering what works well in a tight situation, novice dancers should be thinking about the “save my butt” steps and intermediate dancers will probably do a combination of thinking and reacting.
In Waltz and Foxtrot, diagonally travelling patterns do well. Reasons: Picture the dance floor as a three lane highway. The novice dancers pretty much dance straight down the floor (or sideways across it, or in little circles in one place) in the center lane. The intermediate dancers predominantly use the outer edges (right lane) of the dance floor (from doing a twinkle diagonal wall, leaving you heading backwards toward diagonal center.) Unless you’re setting up a right turning movement with those diagonal wall twinkles, you end up with something basic that hugs the wall only using the outside of the floor. The advanced dancers tend to maneuver in both the left and right lanes (hogs…just kidding). However, they usually move a small diagonal, then move a good distance down the floor in their lane, then a little diagonal, then a good distance down that lane.
This leaves most diagonal steps as prime candidates to maneuver us through this traffic.
Last tip, know both left and right turning movements (especially right). They call right turning movements “natural” for a reason, they naturally get us out of trouble! Most right turning movements move us naturally out of the way of dance traffic, almost like magic, they just move us around people.