Slow Bal is a Swing dance characterized by its smooth and graceful movements to slow jazz music. There is also a lot of room for creativity and playfulness, precisely because the music is slow. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to release this within yourself. In this article we therefore give you 8 tips to improve your creativity in Slow Bal. The tips are also very useful for dancers who do another swing dances!
The 8 tips come from the interview about creativity in Slow Bal with Andreas Olsson. Do you want to read the whole article about this, or see the interview? Then click here:
Creativity in dance means integrating new ideas, moves and styles into your dance. The point is that you don’t always stick to the same moves and the same way of moving, but that you develop yourself further and experiment. In the case of Slow Bal, it can therefore be about coming up with new moves, playing with rhythms, using specific body parts or adding accents. It is certainly not mandatory to be creative in your dancing. But it is precisely this creativity that can make a dance so much more fun.
So give it a try with these 8 tips to improve your creativity in dancing:
Dean Raftery and Ray Cunningham are two pioneers in the Slow Bal world. They are also the only original Slow Ball dancers we know of. By watching them and studying their way of moving, you can become more aware of your own style compared to theirs. This increases your body awareness. These old-timers can also give you inspiration. Below you see two videos in which you see Dean and Ray dancing.
In lessons you often learn a new move. Usually such a move needs some preparation, and there is a way to get out and go back to the closed basic position. In other words: You learn an entrance and an exit. But know that the core of a move can have many different entrances and exits! When you learn a new move, teach yourself 10 different ways to get in and 10 different ways to get out.
By playing with the timing (the speed) in which you perform a move, you can add new nuances to your dance. And Slow Bal lends itself perfectly to decelerations and accelerations. An extra tip if you are going to work with delays: the right muscle tension is very important here. We often say in class: slowing down means toning up. In other words: turn on your six pack!
On the right you’ll find a recap video from one of our lessons in which we do a Slow Bal move with a delay.
Other dance styles, such as Tango or Westcoast Swing, can inspire new moves, accents and expressions that you can incorporate into your Slow Bal. That does not mean that you perform the move exactly the same, but that you take elements from the move or movement and translate them into Slow Bal. We sometimes say: ‘can we slowballify this move?’. Use other dance styles as inspiration and give it your own twist to fit the music.
By setting small challenges or restrictions on yourself, you force yourself to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. For example, instruct yourself to only make turns with slow steps (2 count steps). Or give yourself the restriction that you can only make transitions in your Slow Bal from slows to quicks, but not from triples to quicks. These kinds of assignments make you alert in a different way and give a new impulse to your creativity!
By listening to Swing music a lot, you learn to recognize the instruments and the structure in the music. By being aware of the structure of songs, which instruments predominate and what happens in the music, you can then translate this better into your dancing. In the lessons we also spend a lot of time on musicality.
Looking for Slow Bal music? We have made a whole playlist for you on Spotify.
Have you ever danced Slow Bal to Bach? Or on Metallica? Try it for fun, because it can give you different insights. Anyway, when we first tried it, we became very aware of how important the music is for the dance we dance. We don’t just make random movements, it fits and belongs to the music. Dancing to a different music style may make you move differently, which in turn can provide inspiration for moves and variations. So fun to play with!
Practice makes perfect. An open door, but oh so true. It doesn’t matter how much inspiration you get, how much Swing music you listen to or how many assignments and challenges you give yourself, if you don’t practice you will never improve. So, schedule some training sessions for yourself, possibly with a training partner.
And remember, in the end it’s all about having fun dancing. Don’t be too hard on yourself and also see the fun in strange missteps and weird combinations that don’t work for a meter.
Slow Bal is a beautiful dance that offers a lot of room for creativity and playfulness. With these eight tips we hope that you can further develop your creativity in Slow Bal and that you will enjoy this Swing dance more and more. Have fun dancing!