FUN-KEY or FUNKY! What is your dance style?

“You put your nose in,
You put your nose out;
You put your nose in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about!”

The hokey-pokey tune aka chicken dance

Yesterday evening Eva told me, “I like your FUNKY style! I need to dance with you lots more, I need to learn.” Fun-key – the key is attitude – fun with a little extra added on the end, fun with an accent. That is why I started out with the chicken dance. There is a time and place to be serious, such as when taking a test or following someone teaching a dance move, but never forget to make space for fun. If I was given the opportunity to share one thing about dance it would be having fun. When you have fun you switch off that analytical, intellectualizing, logical brain and open yourself to the emotional, the creative, the inspirational – all those endorphins, those feel good hormones.

It is through having fun that I organically developed my “funky” dance style and you can do the same too. Though yours does not have to be funky if you don’t wish it to. I remember as a beginner knowing a few moves and the basic and feeling that there was so much more in the music. One easy thing I had fun doing to express the music was to play with my feet. While going back and forth in the linear style salsa dance slot I let my legs/feet follow one instrument and then another superimposed on the basic footwork. First the drums, then the cowbell. The trumpet, and in some songs the flute. Once my lower body got moving the upper wanted to follow, and it progressed from there. I first learnt how to do this before I knew many moves. Note that what you are doing can be felt by your partner, so you are sharing how you are feeling the music, your musicality. Don’t worry about what I just said. If you are having fun it is hard for your partner to have a bad time.

Naturally I have given a simplified explanation. When I was having fun as a dance newbie I did not have a clue which instrument I was following in a song. I just picked a particular sound that I liked and followed it for as long as I was enjoying it. If I got bored switched to another, or if I couldn’t find any sound that I wanted to play with I just stuck to doing only the basic footwork. Don’t make having fun a chore. The point is pick something that you like as you are more likely to play/have fun with it than be serious. For example, maybe the lyrics of a song resonate with you, or perhaps the emotional variation of the singers.

From having fun while physically connected to a partner it is easy to transition to having fun doing shines – dancing solo. In some dances I will separate from my partner and both of us will do shines, responding to what the other is doing. (You don’t necessarily have to be just by yourself when doing shines.) I’ll leave you with an inspirational clip of Eddie Torres, a famous salsero, having fun. I will explore shines in more detail another day.

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