Am I too tall to dance? Too short to dance? Too fat or skinny to dance?

No, you are not too tall to dance. You are not too short to dance. And no, you are not too fat/skinny/lanky/whatever to dance.

Among the questions we get from our readers and STEEZY.CO members, the ones related to body size and shape are the most personal.

Body image is already a sensitive topic; now couple that with how your body looks when it’s dancing. I can understand the frustration in not looking or moving the way you want, and how self-conscious that can make you feel.

But – the beautiful thing about dance (especially Hip Hop and Street/Funk styles) is that they are not exclusive to any one body type. In fact, one of the core principles of many of these dances is to embrace and celebrate individuality.

Which means that there is no right or wrong way to look. And your unique body is what allows you to move in your own unique way. So the sooner you get comfortable in your own skin, the sooner you can own how beautifully you move in it.

In this article, we’ll focus on height – why you are not too tall to dance, and how you can embrace your height to become as dope as your inspirations… however tall or short they are.

 

Tips for tall dancers

1. Complete each move by using your own “energy ratio”

A common narrative for dancers who think they are too tall to dance is that they can’t move as smooth, full-out, or as quick as shorter dancers.

But this is not true. Tall dancers can be just as smooth, full-out, and quick as anyone else. You just have to figure out how much energy to use.

In one of Carlo’s classes, he says that it’s not about using the same quantity of energy to create a move, rather, a ratio of energy. Taller bodies and longer limbs have a further distance to “travel” to complete a move, so more energy needs to be exerted.

Basically, don’t box yourself in to a smaller or less powerful move because that’s what someone shorter is doing. A lot of the flimsiness or awkwardness you might experience actually comes from not committing enough energy into completing your movements.

In this Reddit thread, DanceBanana shares this fun fact:

In any kickline (regardless of physical size) all participants are asked to kick their leg to be level with their own eyeballs. This gives the illusion of legs being one height, when in reality they could be 2 feet difference between them, but simply because everyone’s legs are in the same relationship to their body it appears as one line.

Let’s see this idea in action. In this Chris Martin video, you can see Larkin Poynton, who’s well over 6 feet tall, dancing next to Crisila and Sorah, who are both around 5’1″ or 5’2″. Notice how he does not try to dance smaller than his body demands. He adapts all the moves to fit his taller frame and fill out the space he needs. By not compromising his execution, he looks in-sync with everyone else in the video.

 

2. Leverage your height

There are certain movements that one dancer can do that no one else will be able to replicate exactly because of our different bodies.

I can train in Popping for years, and I still won’t dance like Kid Boogie because he’s just built so much bigger. I can match his energy on my body, but it’s still my body.

And Kid Boogie can go into full K-Pop training mode for years, and still won’t look like the super thin and delicate 2NE1 girls. (He’d kill it his own way, though.)

There are certain ways that you can move thanks to your height, that shorter dancers aren’t able to achieve.

For example, your bent legs look more dramatic because you can cover more distance to reach that level. And your legs would be placed further apart, creating more negative space for a more interesting picture.

Another example, you can showcase intricate movements much more clearly. Let’s say you’re doing an isolated arm movement or a gentle head-look. You won’t look like you’re over-doing a move that’s supposed to be subtle. Rather, it’ll fit your body and the audience can read the move more easily.

We can all find things that work to our bodies’ advantage.

 

3. Fake it ’til you make it

If it’s difficult to use your height fully, right away, especially if being tall has been an insecurity for a long time.

A trick you can use is to (momentarily) lie to yourself.

Pretend you are the same height as the choreographer you’re learning from – this will trick your brain into finding what feels “correct” to you at that height. Or pretend that every single person in the world is 8 feet tall, and you’re freestyling in the middle of them.

Because “tall” and “short” are subjective. They’re just comparative.

If you have mental barriers keeping you from feeling comfortable at your height, then use this trick until you can see how capable you are of dancing however you want.

 

Tall dancers who use their height to their advantage

Here are some dope dancers in the game who will make you realize that you have an advantage, not a handicap.

Larkin Poynton

Anthony Lee

Jay Chris Moore

Ian Eastwood

Madd Chadd

Slim Boogie

You cannot change the fact that you’re a tall dancer, so (tough love alert) it’s a useless thing to worry about.

What you can control, however, are the more important things – how hard you train, how aware you are of your body, how creative you get with your movements.

And you can train all of those on STEEZY Studio!

The classes, which you can take in private, will help you grow more comfortable and confident as a dancer. No matter your height.

I recommend the Urban Dance Basics and Beginner Hip Hop Programs, and the 10-minute Daily Grooves classes. Taking them is the perfect way to try out these 3 tips.

Click the link to start getting comfortable in your own body. It’s completely free for 7 days, and you can cancel at anytime – no risk, all reward. Let’s go.

 

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