Spoke with a guy a few months ago after watching him practicing Shag. Now, I don’t pretend to be a terrific Shag dancer, but I like to think that I’m a terrific learner.
I helpfully volunteered my advice, which is a terrible, terrible thing to do. But I like A, and hoped he could take my advice in the context that I meant it: wanting to see him succeed.
Once we’ve learned basics, it’s easy to get trapped in a place where we want to make those basics extremely dynamic, extremely fast, or extremely stylized. In my mind, it’s too easy to focus on the end goal (in A’s case, the speed of the music he wanted to dance too) and not enough on a good path to the goal.
I came across a story about how Ben Hogan (widely regarded as having one of the best swings in pro golf, ever), would practice his swing: slowly.
I even like the quote in the description of this second clip:
“Fast playing is not based on fast practice. It’s based on flawless execution at slow speed.” — Daniel Bonade – World class clarinetist
Speed can cover up the technique problems in movement. Can I perform my movement perfectly at very slow speeds? Once I’ve corrected gross problems at slow speeds, I move on to performing it at close to normal speeds. Then a bit faster. But I try as hard as I can to perfect my movement at each speed level before speeding things up again.