Are you more King of the Wallflowers than Lord of the Dance? Get ready to shed your foot-planted ways. We’re going to prove to you that anyone can learn to bust a move.
“Well, on the one hand, you’re either born with rhythm or you’re not,” says Travis Wall (in red), a two-time Emmy-nominated choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, and founder of the dance company Shaping Sound, which will embark on a U.S. tour in early 2013. “But the good news is that anyone can learn how to count music. And if you can do that, you can move to the beat.”
And if you can move to the beat, then you can up your game with Wall’s five-step dance primer for those of us who want to get jiggy with it without totally embarrassing ourselves.
Strike (or fake) a confident stance.
“If you feel unsure of yourself, you’re gonna look it,” says Wall, who suggests finding confidence by slightly moving your feet to the beat even when you’re just standing with a drink in your hand. Notice that everyone is in their own world. “Just start moving your body a little, look around and ask yourself: If they’re not judging me, why should I be judging me?” Wall says.
Step-touch with the feet — plus hips.
Step to the right with your right foot and bring your left foot to meet it, touching only the ball of the left foot to the floor. Then step left with your left foot and bring your right foot to meet it. Repeat. This is the step-touch. You know this move: You did it at your middle-school formal. But do it stiff as a board for too long, and you’ll look like you’re still in junior high. “Loosen it up and get more of a groove by rocking your hips back and forth,” Wall says.
Bust out with a body-roll.
Keep that side-to-side, hip-enhanced step-touch going and throw in some vertical movement by moving your head back and body-rolling down to your hips — or going the other way and rolling up from your hips to the top of your head. “Body-roll twice as you step-touch with each foot,” Wall says. So: Step-roll, roll-touch; step-roll, roll-touch.
Uncork the chaîné.
Chaîné is a French ballet term for a series (or “chain”) of quick, alternating foot turns that swiftly moves you in a circle — but don’t let that intimidate you. “This may take a little practice,” Wall says, “but it’s easier than it looks.” Take three steps to the right (right foot, left foot, right foot) to turn clockwise and step-touch your left foot to your right when you’ve completed a 360-degree turn. Then reverse to your left.
Remember: Less is more.
You’ll want to start throwing in some shoulders and arms and adding your own personality — which is all good to a point. But, warns Wall: “You just don’t want to cross that line and be confused with one of those ‘club’ dancers.”