A good weight transfer is a good dancer’s first concern. This feature is simply present in all the moves we make when dancing together. You can’t think of evolving the dance without evolving your way of transferring the weight.
In order to understand the transference of weight we first need to understand the balance. What happens, physically, so that our body remains stable and does not need any adjustment in order not to fall and re-establish itself.
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HOW TO BE BALANCED
It is very common to hear people saying that to stay balanced you need to contract your abdomen, lock your butt, keep yourself in perfect body alignment, have a good vertical axis. All these are just ways to help you, MAYBE, stay effectively balanced. Some of these concepts can even hinder you from balancing at certain times. It is fully possible to balance, with the abdomen loose, with the buttocks relaxed, off the axis and with the body misaligned!
For this we will understand what really makes us balance. What is the physical explanation behind the balance, what is the “formula” that does not depend on all the aspects mentioned above?
Let’s go to it:
TO BE BALANCED IS TO HAVE THE CENTER OF GRAVITY PROJECTED IN THE AREA OF YOUR BASE.
I will try to keep the explanation of this sentence as simple as possible, so that we can only reach the practical applications for dancing.
CENTER OF GRAVITY (CG)
The point that represents the ratio of the weighted average of body masses and their positions. Each piece of your body (head, arm, leg, etc.) has a mass (weight, pop.), this mass helps to attract the CG closer to its position. For example, if we open the right arm, the CG moves slightly to the right, the change is small because the mass of the arm is small in relation to the body. If we move the upper body forward, the CG moves forward a lot because the upper body is heavy in relation to the body.
The center of gravity of our body (in neutral position), is located approximately a few centimeters behind the navel.
PROJECTION OF THE CENTRE OF GRAVITY
The CG projection is the point on the ground strictly below the CG. Imagine a line coming out of your center of gravity and touching the ground perpendicularly. The meeting point of this line with the ground is the CG projection. Another way of thinking is to imagine that the CG projection is the shadow of the CG in the midday sun.
This is the area between the ends of our supports. If we have two feet on the ground the area between them is also a valid area to project the CG.
If we have only one foot on the ground, this intermediate area is lost and the valid area becomes exclusively the area below our foot.
Now we understand why maintaining balance is not an easy skill, because in many dances a large part of the dance we pass on tiptoe. Besides not having the area between the feet to support us, we don’t even have the complete area of a foot to project the CG.
Now that we understand what balance is, we can make a more conscious study of weight transfer. Transferring weight is precisely moving the projection of the center of gravity between one support and another (between one foot and another). Now it is easy to understand what it means to transfer the weight gradually and its importance.
The idea is to position the foot on the ground BEFORE transferring the weight to it. When transferring the weight do not rush and imagine that one foot is delivering the projection of the CG exactly under the other foot. Look how simple the reasoning is.
You only balance yourself if the CG is projected on some support. The area between the feet is a valid area as a support area. There you go! By positioning the foot, without weight, on the floor we gain the area between the both feet to support the projection of the CG. This way we literally create a bridge between the two feet that allows the GC projection to be moved without unbalancing the body at any time during the weight transfer.
Many styles of dance value a complete transfer between one foot and the other during the markings. But when we talk about complete transference, we are focusing only on the end of this process. I can have a complete transfers in a stable way if I makeit gradual, realize that gradual does not mean partial!
The gradual transference directly interferes with the control of movements, especially during pauses, changes of direction and moments when we want to make the famous stops. It also allows reducing and accelerating the speed of execution of the movements, as well as allowing a foot to use the remaining weight that has not yet been transferred in order to generate an adequate pressure on the ground in order to be able to thrust the body, which is very useful during long twists. This allows us to have agility and stability at the same time.
Working on the quality, awareness and control of weight transfer is the best gift you can give to your dance. Controlling your transfers is the first big “step” we take to be able to control our entire body during the dance, and the control is what separates the beginner dancers from the advanced dancers.
If you have had difficulty understanding this content, be sure to seek help from a qualified professional. Orientation is always the best way to evolve in an efficient way, saving time and effort.
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I invite for you to come visit me at one of my schools in Belo Horizonte, or any unit of the forró chain that made me fall in love with forró and dance, Pé Descalço (BH, São Paulo, Santo André, Niterói, Juiz de Fora, Contagem and London).
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