If you want the quick, dirty, and disappointing answer to this, the simple conclusion is ”JEIN.” This word is basically a combination of the German word Ja (Yes) and Nein (No), which equates to well kind of, but not really, ok yes it does, but on second thought, you get the picture…
It’s a hard thing to figure out, but honestly a very fair question. Let’s start at the very basics of comparison when we talk about longboard dancing. It’s a board sport.Does this mean that all board sport practitioners will excel at longboard dancing? Absolutely not. If you’ve been around “board people” long enough, you’ll know that some snowboarders can’t surf to save their life, some surfers hate the thought of being on a skateboard, etc. etc. etc.
That being said there are concepts that translate over from more traditional dance styles over into longboard dancing.
The pros and cons a traditional dancer may have when stepping on a longboard
Tentative Advantage – The style of dance you practice
The world of dance is gigantic, there’s so many different styles, and your chosen style on normal ground is largely going to play a factor into how well those skills translate into longboard dancing.
When I’m not dancing on my longboard, I do a lot of work with salsa and and urban dance (primarily popping and locking).
I love locking, and I love funk music. But as of right now, the elements from locking don’t really help me out when I’m on my longboard. This style of dancing requires you to “lock” for a split second in order to give the illusion the the dancer is quickly shifting from position to position with pauses in between the sharp transitions.
This is another style of urban dance I do called popping. I was messing around here blindfolded to see how well I could interpret beats, and do those “hits.” Popping is based on those small jolts I do with my body, that make it look like I am being electrocuted for a 1/4 of a second, before moving on to something else. The elements of this dance don’t really help me in longboard dancing either.
Dance styles that CAN help out on the moving dancefloor
Buuuuuut that changes with salsa. I mean for one, at the end of the day, a lot of the step sequences in longboard dancing come from other forms of dance, i.e. “The Salsa Step.” So from that perspective, you’ve got a bit of an edge already because you don’t have to process what some steps are from nothing. Furthermore, Salsa uses a lot of turns and pirouettes (especially for girls) that can be easily translated to turns on a longboard. In this case, it’s just a matter of getting comfortable enough with your initial balance on a longboard, which everyone has to go through anyways.
The style of dance that I dabble into every now and then, that I feel ist MOST translatable to longboard dancing, is house dancing. I don’t do house as much as I do other forms of urban dance, but the basics I have learned in house dancing have helped me immensely with longboard dancing. House dancing involves a LOT of foot work. You’ll be crossing your feet, turning your feet, doing things off beat with your feet, and having a solid foundation with this will help a lot when you do your moves on your longboard. You’ll be less likely to trip on yourself. Since I don’t do have any house dancing videos of myself, check out this basic tutorial by one of my favorite YouTube House Dancers, Jardy Santiago:
Solid Advantage – Dancers know how to count
This seems insignificant, but in reality it is not. Every style dance involves counting, longboard dancing is no exception to this. So it certainly helps if you’ve already developed your internal tempo to be able to apply it those cross steps and peter pans.
Interpreted Advantage – Dancers know how to use their upper bodies
Another detail small detail here, dancers from styles that don’t involve a moving dance floor already know how to use their arms and upper bodies when dancing. In my opinion, it’s almost more beautiful to see the upper body of a longboard dancer flowing during their lines than it is to watch their carving and foot work. I think it takes away when the footwork is amazing, but the upper body is just completely static.
Most people familiar with longboard dancing will already know who Giulia Alfeo is, and to be fair I’ve no idea if she comes from any traditional dance backgrounds, but her flow with her upper body when she rides makes her one of my favorite dancers to watch.
Solid Disadvantage – Most dancers use straight legs when we pirouette
In the last week or so, I have been completely getting destroyed by the pirouette on my longboard. I’ve been fighting every part of it, the timing, the balance, the landing, literally everything. And today I unlocked exactly what I was doing wrong – I wasn’t bending my knee when I was doing the pirouette. Whaaattttt? I know right, but hear me out, the pirouette comes from ballet and traditional ballet dancer fully extend and tighten the leg their pirouetting on.
Sooooo that trickles down into other dance styles, even hip hop and funk. So naturally my body was wanting to fully extend my leg when pirouetting, as it’s second nature to me. But it was completely wrecking me on the longboard, it wasn’t til I started bending my knee a bit on my pirouetting leg, that my center of weight settled better on the board, and I could pirouette on the board with way more control. Seriously, the difference in my pirouetting today with this little adjustment was like night and day.
Summing it up, to dance or not to dance on a dance floor that doesn’t move…
At the end of the day, do what you love. Just because 2 of 3 dance styles I mostly do don’t really directly translate into my longboard dancing, doesn’t mean I am going to give them up. I still massively enjoy those, so I am going to keep on keeping on. Besides, just because they don’t help me now doesn’t mean that will be the case forever. As both my normal dancing and longboard dancing progress, perhaps I can eventually fuse them all somehow, and take the sport even further. Who knows?
But if you DO wanna get into another dance style, just because you’re interested in something else that might translate over into your longboard dancing, here’s some tips to recap:
- Find something that’s footwork intensive. House dancing, swing, tap dancing, all do a ton of stuff with the feet.
- If possible, take a non-partner based dance. I’ve seen too many partner dancers who just get completely lost when they dance alone. That type of insecurity might negatively effect your lines on your board.
- If modern and/or contemporary are your thing, check with instructors in your area to see if they focus primarily on floor work. Chances are they will, because the floor is really emphasized in these styles, but the styles both offer some great flow and balance aspects that could look really badass on a board!
So there you are boys and girls, what do you think? Do you think you might dabble into another style of dance to compliment what you already can do? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below 🙂