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Alternating Sides in Your Across the Floor Exercises

across the floor

When going across the floor, it is important to practice the right and left iterations of skills.

A few weeks ago in a jazz class, my students were reversing an across the floor progression to the left side, and the groans immediately started. I stopped the music and explained that one-sided dancers are one-minded dancers.

If your students are of the mindset that certain skills can only be accomplished on one side, then that will likely be the case. But, if a dancer is willing to work the weaker side of the body to make it stronger, the results will be evident.  It is all about mind power and the commitment to improve!

Training Both Sides Across the Floor

While dancers typically have a stronger and weaker side, it is important to train both sides of the body to make the dancer as strong, versatile, and successful as possible. At our studio, we teach everything on the right and left: flexibility training, balance work, acrobatic skills, extensions, leaps, turns, and more.

Once students are ready to layer more challenging sequences to their progressions, alternate sides within the progressions.

Here are some basic examples for alternating phrasing:

  • Chasse Step Right Grand Jete, Chasse Step Left Grand Jete
  • Chaine Right, Chaine Right, Chaine Left, Chaine Right
  • Right Double Pullback, Left Double Pullback

When introducing more complex across the floor patterns and sequencing, use movements and phrasing that work both sides of the body.

This enhances the students’ well rounded presence and improves their ability to sequence and shift direction/focus. It has made a noticeable difference in our dancers, and I am confident you will see results, too.

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Chasta Hamilton Calhoun

Chasta is the artistic director and owner of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also the founder of The Dance Exec, a website and organization that provided resources and training for dance studio owners. The resources from The Dance Exec have a new home on the TutuTix blog, giving dance studio owners an even more in-depth library of free tools and information with which to grow their business. Chasta contributes to the TutuTix blog from time to time, offering her perspective as a studio owner (and TutuTix client!).