Why We Must Be Clear with Dance Semantics

Starting a dance class for any beginner means learning the fundamentals. However, such fundamentals may differ in semantics depending on the dance school and its instructors.

In the Revolutionary Principles of Movement, we based our teachings on principles outlined by Ruth Petrinovic. These principles focus on the “how” and not the “what,” thus teaching students how to achieve certain forms and movements. By focusing on the three major areas—the physical, technical, and artistic—teachers can develop a complete or well-rounded dancer without affectation while equipping them to accomplish all dance styles.

For instance, one dance school may ask dancers to “pull up,” “tuck-under,” or “tighten” their buttocks, stomach, and other muscle groups. While these directions are given so dancers will achieve proper posture, first-time dancers may find it difficult without understanding “how” to do so. In response, they may tense up, contort their bodies, and risk injuring themselves.

RPM provides practicality to these principles with concise cues derived from physics and kinesiology.

For instance, instead of telling students to “straighten themselves,” we ask them to “push themselves tall.” This subtle change of instruction gives them the idea that they must first tap into their bodies’ energy through visualization while also using their surroundings. The less tension in the body, the better the flow. This instance enables them to shift from one movement to another without difficulty or risk of injury.

In short, when students hear such cues from instructors, they know how to make these principles work for them through energy and body mechanics.

This crucial lesson is just one of the many ways RPM differs from the rest. Other semantics that the methodology teaches include proper feet positions, executing the body’s neutral state, and the appropriate turned-out position. However, instead of using tension or telling students to tense their muscles, we create opportunities where students can appear to create tension without risking injury.

RPM, as Wes Chapman adequately states, brings back the body’s innate ability to move, not only for the talented body, but for the average body as well.

When we start with the fundamentals, we need to be clear and concise with our words and demonstrate how to execute them properly. This method enables students to actively participate in dance without fumbling the basics and risking long-term injury.

To learn more about these principles, visit our website here. Aspiring dance instructors can also seek certification to become master teachers of this innovative method.

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