Stop The Fluff and Focus on the Fundamentals

Today, I’ve received a blog post update by James Clear in my inbox. While his latest entry is focused on the application of the fundamentals in general, the same can be applied to dancing.

On the dance floor, I’ve seen way too many people, both leaders and followers alike, wanting to do all sorts of “cool moves”, yet none of them looked good from an aesthetic point of view (generally subjective, but you can usually spot the good dancers from the bad).  Or, I would hear people, usually improvers/intermediate level dancers, complain that they “want to know more moves” because they feel that they’re not progressing.

Yet when the professionals (or very good amateurs) dance, their quality of dancing is still noticeably better.

The most frequent complaint to seeing this scenario is, “Of course the professionals are better! They do this everyday and they have better coaches!”

While that statement is true to a certain extent, I would not agree to use this as an excuse for a dancer’s lack of progress. Simply because it means that we’re not taking full responsibility of the way we approach our dancing.

So, in reality, we simply haven’t mastered the basics as well as the professionals do. The very thing that separates the good from the bad is the ability to do the basics as perfectly as possible, as seen in Bryan and Carmen’s retirement announcement dance in the video.

Were Bryan and Carmen, the reigning Latin dance champions of the mid 2000s, doing anything to trick you into thinking that they’re better than they really are?


Their Rumba looks absolutely amazing in the video because every single step, all consisting of basics, is executed perfectly, deliberately rendering each movement to be beautiful with only the fundamentals.

Remember this: embellishments, “cool moves” and all that fluff are actually variations and have been derived from the basic steps. Master the basics first, even if it will take years to do so, because you’re judged on how well you can do them.

Read James Clear’s blog entry on fundamentals here.

Over to you: how often do you emphasize on the fundamentals of dancing? Let us know in the comments!

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