Question by User KiD_ArMaNi
How do you know when someone is beginner/intermediate/advanced/master?
I know this is a difficult question because opinions play a big part but try to give me your best answer.
I’m looking for checkpoints for myself to reach the “next level”
Biggest difference is probably musicality – hitting the accents in song, and generally matching the mood of the music. Simple combos and good musicality > advanced combos with poor musicality.
There’s way too many axes to give a proper answer.
One of the biggest ones I’ve noticed for leading is improvement in body weight awareness. Like, at first you’re focused on the steps. At intermediate level you know things like where you should have your body weight on which foot, when on both feet, and how to shift. At a bit higher level you are more aware of the follows body weight too, and realize that to lead certain moves you need to have the follow on this body weight so that when you push them that way they don’t just fall over, etc. Plus things like never pushing them too far to one direction so that they lose balance.
Sensual bachata progression
beginner – comfortable with the music + basic turn patterns. Musicality wise you will have no idea unless you have studied music in the past.
Improver – danced a bit more to the music and can hit some of the accents in the music – more advanced turn patterns + basic sensual moves.
Intermediate – matches the energy of the moves with the music, and attempts to story tell. Good musicality and musical Interpretation. Realise that their basic step is rubbish so goes back to the basic. Wide vocabulary of moves of both basic and advanced moves.
Indeed there are many quality a dancer can learn in his path to mastery, and all of them are not necessarily learnt in the same order.
There is no clear demarcation between all these levels as a master for some people and merely an intermediate for others.
Here is a list of quality that I think bachata dancers should have (for the leader part).
– Understanding basic rythm (be able to do a basic on the count, and starting on 1)
– Knowing the basic moves (first year of bachata class)
– Enriching your vocabulary with more advanced moves
– Learning some sensual
– Learning some dominican
– Understanding the music even better: recognizing breaks (and start back on 1), adapt your dance style to the music (sensual, modern or dom depending on the music, it can change during the same song)
– Adding more styling to your dance
– Improving musicality, marking every accent of the songs that you now know perfectly
With time, we should also aim at being as light as possible in the leading (still leading clearly the moves).
For Followers other qualities are required. Styling is learnt faster than for leaders (that have other things to focus on). And at some point you learn to be lighter as well, relaxing your body and tensing up your frame only when needed.
In the end, as to how to assess a dancer’s level, I would first look at the rythm, the leading, then the complexity of the moves, and finally the musicality.
The best is to dance with the person to be sure because (great) dancers can make their partner look much better than they actually are. The ability to adapt to your partner should probably be in the advanced/master part: not leading moves that are too complex, making up for the mistakes of you partner and limiting your styling to not disturb your partner more than necessary.