From the very beginning of taking ballroom dance classes, when we talk about the smooth ballroom dances: Waltz, Foxtrot, and Tango, a key element to incorporate is contra body motion. Simply what this means is that while you may be stepping forward with your left foot, your upper body turns from right to left. When I first heard this, I was thinking “Yeah right! I’m just now trying to remember the steps.” Contra body motion is actually quite natural. If you think of the way you walk, your body moves in this way to help keep balance and provide the most natural feel. It’s only that we’re thinking about every step while we’re dancing that makes this a challenge.
In my last private lesson, our instructor has started to use my height and elongate my steps with the waltz. That involves reaching as far as I can in my step, capturing the floor, and then sweeping into the 2-3 step. I really struggled with this until she said that the contra body motion really makes it much easier. I tried it. She’s right. Once I built in the motion, I could step much further and with much more ease. So not only does it look more natural and stylish, but the function works as well. This is extremely important because (next to Cuban motion) contra body motion was one of those concepts that was really lost on me.
I’m sure I’ll still mess it up from time to time, but the concept is really starting to click now.