Updated: Nov 12
Did you ever watched a video of someone dancing and wanted to learn to do the same?
Nowadays we have access to many videos of dance demonstrations online, either by dancers at parties, dance instructors during classes, workshops, festivals, and other events. We can easily find and watch this kind of content filmed all over the world. So, why not learn some new cool steps with these videos?
It will be a trial and error process, but there are a few techniques that can help be more efficient when trying to learn by watching video demonstrations on youtube and other social media.
1 - Identify the beginning and end of the movement.
Most experienced dancers connect movements into sequences when they dance. But it is a good idea for you to isolate each movement to learn, practice, and then incorporate it into your vocabulary. It is much easier to learn a short movement than to learn a complex long sequence. Shorter movements also give you more flexibility to be creative with it in your dance.
2 - Observe and understand the rhythm and step count.
You need to understand the rhythm, weight transfer, and step count. This is at the core of most forró steps. Ask yourself:
Are we keeping the 3-count traditional forró step pattern and weight transfer?
Is there any break in the count?
Are there additional steps or counts?
How does this movement relate to the beats of the music?
3 - Identify the essential elements of the movement.
All movements have a basic structure. This can be a walk, spacial displacement, turn, weight shift, or any other movement. These same movements can also have a series of variations and ornaments. It is important to identify and learn the fundamental elements of any movement before focusing on variations or ornaments. It is very smart to simplify things to learn.
4 - Observe and understand how is the lead/follow relationship.
There is always non-verbal communication between partners to execute movements together. Call and response. You should observe and understand how to communicate the movement. Look for similarities to other steps that you already know as a reference.
5 - Understand how to link this new movement to the basic steps.
Once you learn the new movement, it is time to connect it to the basic forró steps. It will help you incorporate the movement in your dance vocabulary and to create sequences with other steps that you already know.
This process of trial and error is very natural. We go thru a similar process in regular classes. I believe all tips/techniques presented in this blog can also be applied to various other dance learning scenarios. The difference is that during a class the instructor would be giving a lot of additional information and doing movements step-by-step. Comments and critiques by the teacher can also be very helpful to improve the dance and avoid repetitive mistakes.
If you want to learn more about different learning methods and approaches to dance forró, read these other blog posts:
4 Ways to learn forró online - https://www.forronewyork.com/post/4-ways-to-learn-forro-online
4 Ways to learn how to dance forró - https://www.forronewyork.com/post/4-ways-to-learn-how-to-dance-forro
About the author
Rafael Piccolotto de Lima is an experienced teacher. He is passionate about arts, a doctor of musical arts, and a Latin Grammy nominee as a composer. For him, all forms of expression are somehow related. Based on that premise, his interest and work have a wide spectrum: from a tail tux at a concert hall, to the dance shoes at a worn-out dance floor. Born in Campinas, São Paulo - Brazil, now he lives at the Hudson waterfront, looking at the south of Manhattan.
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/rafaelpdelima