Hip Slides and Gentle Grips
by Patrick Corbin
When you teach the hip slide, explain that students need to be in three-point contact with the floor as they approach the slide. That is, for a slide onto the right hip, the dancer steps forward on a flat left foot, left knee bent in parallel; the right foot is back on the walk, right knee stretched in parallel; and the right hand is on the floor, just ahead and to the side of the left foot. Leave enough space between the left foot and right hand for the hips to pass through.
Next, the dancer puts all the weight on the right hand, bends the right knee, and brings the hips through, with the right haunch making gliding contact with the floor as it passes. At this moment the dancer should be sliding on the right hip with legs in a double attitude, right leg forward.
After breaking down the hip slide slowly on both sides, have students try it at an easy run.
When you teach partnering, suggest the following techniques for ensuring a good grip. Explain that when lifters find the correct grip placement and amount of inward and upward pressure, those being lifted will feel safe and comfortable.
- Bring your elbows in while pressing in and up with the palms to create the best conditions for lifting.
- Never squeeze. It’s uncomfortable for your partner, and it doesn’t facilitate the hand placement needed to create enough force to lift. No matter the grip—both hands, one arm around the waist, a hug—never squeeze out your partner’s breath or leave marks on your partner’s body.
- Start with a grip that’s slightly lower on your partner’s body than where you want to end up; the grip will almost always slip higher during a lift.
Patrick Corbin, an assistant professor at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, has an MFA in dance, performance, and choreography from NYU. He danced with The Joffrey Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and his own troupe, CorbinDances.