Back to the Beginning - Why it is always a good idea to revisit your basics
The further we progress in our dance journeys, the more we think about learning and performing difficult and advanced figures and routines. We're so focused on progressing forward that we only think about continuously increasing the difficulty of our steps and tricks.
The problem is that sometimes we get so caught up in moving forward, that we create mental blocks for ourselves - the fear of failing makes us put more pressure on ourselves, which often makes it more difficult to learn and improve as dancers. Other times, dancers simply hit a plateau - we find that we aren't able to improve anymore and our dancing has stagnated, or even worse has deproved, which leaves us frustrated and disappointed.
At times like this, it is important to stop, reflect, and go back to basics. Many people think that the more advanced you get, the less you'll need to go for classes covering basic technique, but the opposite couldn't be more true. The more we progress, the more we should re-visit our basics.
Work with a good foundation
Re-visiting our basics helps us ensure that we have a solid foundation for our future progression. As figures and tricks get more difficult, it is important that we able to rely on proper technique and a strong foundation to ensure that we can perform new choreography safely and properly,
A good foundation and strong basics also ensures that you minimise the risk of injuries. The more difficult trick you are attempting, the more important it is that you use the right technique to engage the correct muscles in your body, to ensure that you don't hurt yourself. When you're struggling with a new move, or are experiencing pain while attempting it, this is your body telling you that you are doing something incorrectly, and you should revisit your basics to ensure that you're preparing yourself correctly.
Focus on the quality of your movements, not the difficulty
The beauty of any dance comes from the ease and fluidity that dancers are able to perform their movements with, and what is extremely impressive about the best dancers is their ability to make even the most difficult figures look easy (from the audience’s point of view). How they achieve this is by relying on good basic technique, and exercising immense control over their movements when performing or competing, a skill that is only achievable when one has a solid foundation to work with.
Advanced figures, while impressive on their own, look messy and disjointed when performed by those lacking a proper foundation. Conversely, even the “easiest” dance move can look beautiful and elegant when done with the proper basic technique. Sometimes, less is more. Simple steps and beautiful basic technique can make a dancer look just as mature and elegant as a complex step.
Keep humble and keep working
Continuously going back to revisit our basics keeps as humble and ensures that we don’t become complacent as dancers. The thing about basics is that they can always be done better – your foot could be pointed more, your lines could be further extended, and your core could be better engaged. Going back to basics reminds us that we can always improve ourselves as dancers, and this prevents us from stagnating. Dancers who forget their basics, or think that they are “too good” for a revision of their foundation are at risk of becoming big headed and hindering their own process.