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Foundation of Foundation: The 4 misconceptions

Foundation is key. 

Back to basics.

Work on your foundations.


These are all phrases we have heard time and time again as dancers. With good reason. Foundation is so important in everything we do yet it is also the one topic that has us stumbling around in confusion with the BIG question: WHAT is Foundation?

Foundation

faʊnˈdeɪʃ(ə)n/

noun

  1. an underlying basis or principle.

    "this idea is the foundation of all modern economics"

 

Foundation is the the base principle/idea that everything else is built on in dance(Moves/techniques). Foundation usually is the most stripped down, core essential that is applied to everything that comes after.

 

 


Misconception 1:  Only beginners need to learn foundation.

 

WRONG.

Beginners are the ones who learn foundations the most.  The Pros are the ones who use foundations the most.

The more you learn and the more you progress on to more complex moves and combinations, foundations will play a part on how quickly/well you can pull of the techniques.

Foundation can be built in a year but even the strongest of foundations need to be maintained. Therefore revisiting your foundations is key. Finding new ways to solidify your foundation is also necessary, that is why you can always learn something new from a real foundational class.

 If you are an experienced Dancer, "going back to basics" might not mean going back to doing beginner moves but it means revisiting the essentials of what makes your way of moving stronger. 

Example: If you find your wave is not as smooth as you like it to be, its not going to be that effective if you keep drilling arm waves. You should go back into the foundation of flow. Practice moving your arms/body through longer flows that will help smoothen out the waving and transitions. Learn to find the foundation that makes waving smooth.

 

 

Misconception 2: Working on MOVES will strengthen my foundation

 

Yes and no. Any movement or technique in dance has a foundation. We are not talking about basic/foundational moves, we are talking about foundation itself. Foundation is stripping something down to the minimum, from which more layers of foundation are built upon.

Moves are NOT exactly foundation.

Here is an example:

Let's say we want to execute a turn(pirouette).

We would need to dissect the move and find out the components of what makes a good pirouette(I'm sure experts can list down much more points than me):

  • Core Control

  • Ankle Strength

  • Posture/alignment of full body

  • Spotting of the head

  • Torque from the midsection and releve

  • Balance while on releve

By actively training each of these foundations(components), you will then be able to better execute the pirouette AND any other move that uses the same foundations.

Of course, you can just attempt the pirouette over and over again and be able to achieve the same result...but you lose the understanding of the breakdown. This means that while you can perform the pirouette as well as the person training purely foundation, you can only do one move well whereas the other person can translate the foundation into other moves.

Once we understand the list of foundations that leads to a pirouette, we can also build upon and use the pirouette as a foundation for harder moves like pirouettes without spotting, on heel or even variations of it. 

A move is like a very specific foundation, it achieves a singular purpose. However general foundation ensures that you will use it in as many situations as possible. If you understand the foundations of a move, you can do so much more than just mastering a MOVE. If you want to be a good dancer, practice foundations of the moves more than the move itself.

 

 

Misconception 3: Repetition and hours of drilling foundations will guarantee results

 

It all depends on what foundations you are working on. Sometimes I hear students say they are not able to better execute techniques or moves even though they have been drilling their foundation daily. Most of the time the cause of the "issue" is that these students are drilling moves or foundations that does not directly contribute to what they want to do.

Don't expect killer biceps if you do squats everyday.

You have to know what you want to do and find out the foundations that will help you achieve that. Doing anything else will just leave you confused and demoralised. Every move, style and concept has its own set of foundations. Go find out about them.

 

Understanding and thinking things through is just as important as the physical act of dancing. Repetition is the way to master movement but without knowledge or any thought, you are just mindlessly drilling something into your muscle memory which might cause problems later.

Imagine this, if i told you that you need to attain 100 push ups a day for 1 month. At the end of it i sign you up for a 100m race. I'm pretty sure you will not be able to do much better than day 1....because you have been drilling a different foundation than what is needed

 

Just spend some time thinking about things and you will save yourself a lot of effort and time :)

 

 

Misconception 4: Everyone has to learn the same foundations.

 

Yes it is true to a certain extent. It is another common topic that everyone learning "insert style name" would agree on. You see every student of that genre practicing the same moves and "basics" everywhere you go. 

Yes, that is important when learning a style that has a structure and an existing culture already because we need to understand the foundation of what defines a style. Popular moves contributed to the association to a style. For example, everyone who learns "Hip hop dance" knows popular moves like the Bart Simpson, Cabbage Patch, Pepper Seed etc.

However, on the other hand, other than knowing foundations that define a style, we also need to learn GENERAL and PERSONAL foundation.

General foundation spans beyond a specific style and these techniques are broadly used in most movement patterns. Some examples of GENERAL foundations are:

  • Body Balance

  • Cardiovascular Fitness

  • Strength and Endurance

  • Flexibility

  • Rhythm patterns

  • Psychomotor skills

     

 

Personal foundation are techniques that apply to you only. These are techniques that you train to help you get better at what YOU do. For example, as a person who specialises in floorwork and tutting, some Personal foundations may be:

  • Mid-Low Level Core Balance

  • Russian Squats

  • Plank/Side Plank/Bridge Exercises

  • Big Angular Arm Exercises

  • 90 degree Arm Exercises

  • Box Tuts

  • Moving Tuts

  • Fixed Point Tuts

  • Footwork Patterns

  • Drops

As you can see, not everyone would need these foundations if they were not doing the same thing. Even another person doing tut may have a separate set of foundations that would help him/her.

In short, learn GENERAL and SPECIFIC foundations in addition of foundations that are typically associated with a style. 


In all our programmes, we teach our students GENERAL and STYLE specific foundations. We also coach our students and help them find their own PERSONAL foundations. Come get started into the world of Dance or Popping with our Dance Introduction Programme(DIP) and Popping Introduction Programme(PIP).

Experience a whole new way to learn dance.

 

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Rachel LeeDance, Foundation