What is a frame? How do you use it? Why is it important for dancing?

In today’s video I talk all about the basics of how to have a frame, how to use it well, and therefore, how to be able to follow whatever moves the leader gives you.

Here is a quick summary:

1. What is a frame?

Your frame is the way that you hold your body, specifically your upper body, so that you can receive the signals your leader communicates to you. It comprises mostly your hands, arms, shoulders, and lats, so the signals can get from your hands to your body.

2. How do you make a frame?

Hold your arms out in front of you, like you might put your arms around a beach ball (but when dancing you will lower your hands). Now, go put your hands up against the wall. Lean into them, but do NOT let your arms move at all. Stay still. Notice how you have to activate some muscles in order to do so.

Grab hold of a (closed) doorknob. Lean back. Don’t change the shape of your arms. Notice that you need to engage muscles to do this, too.

When you do both of these exercises, try to lessen the amount of muscle tension you need to hold your arms in place. This is what you want to do with your partner (in my opinion) – lessen the amount of “tension” in your arms as much as possible.

3. How do you use a frame?

Now that you have a frame and know that you need to keep it in place, you can receive leads. You can be pulled, pushed, or rotated. In all cases you keep your frame right where it is, which enables you to walk forward, back, or rotate and keep your whole body in one straight line. And with these three different kinds of manipulations – your leader will be able to lead just about anything!

And that’s it!

But  its definitely not all. For more on your frame, the concepts of compression and extension, how to deal with unique arm positions, and frame MATH, check out the video 004: Advanced Frame Theory and tips.

Have any questions? Post ’em in the comments here or on youtube. 🙂

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Stefani Ruper

I have started so many web projects in my life that constructing a new wordpress platform feels like coming home.

But today… this blog. This blog. This blog is different. 

In this blog, more is stake than has ever been at stake.

I don’t mean to be dramatic. (Not today, anyway. I’ll save that for when I’m complaining about ladies styling.)  

But I do wish to be honest, and to let you know why this feels a little bit scary to me.

In all of my previous web ventures, I was either behind the scenes, or the thing about which I wrote was so far removed from my personal life that I never had to worry about blurring the line between the blog and my life. In a lot of ways, I was a blogger at work, and a person at home.

To this day, almost 100% of my friends have never seen my other websites.

I really like it that way.

But in this topic, I am sure not only to just blur the lines, but to take them and mash ’em together like two drunk kizomba dancers.

Dance is my life. Dance people are my life. I can’t remember the last time I befriended (or slept with, for that matter) a non-dancer. A full 98% of my ‘friend’ adds in the last 12 months has been dancers.

And now…

Now my heart and my skill and my terrible, awkward bumbling through these dances is all of yours for the taking, my darling, beautiful friends.

So ask your mercy, and most importantly, your forgiveness.

I am an amateur in dance, as in all things. This blog is about the few things I have learned. It’s about the problems I am troubleshooting. It’s about elevating the discussion of what it means to have quality dances, as both a leader and a follower.

I have no desire to ever declare myself an authority on dance, period. I will never, ever think that have all the answers, or stop listening to feedback, or leave my humble, student-oriented mindset behind.

So this means that I will probably say things that are pretty dumb from time to time. I will probably have ideas that are second-rate. I will probably piss people off because I’m getting things wrong. I know. I am well aware.

I am sorry.

Please, in all of these instances, just tell me. Or don’t tell me. But I am the world’s biggest fan of open, honest, empathetic communication. I want to learn from you. I want to become a better person and dancer through you.

I want to be friends.


I will also probably look like an idiot. Hell, I certainly feel like one, approximately 100% of the time.

So I beg your forgiveness in that, too.

Or perhaps not – since feeling like an idiot and willing to go out and do the things anyway is precisely how I managed to fall in love with dance, and starting figuring out how it all works, in the first place.

I am excited, and I am nervous.

And sorry, and thanks.

Welcome to my blog…



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