Samantha: [00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of Ballroom Chat. I'm your host, Samantha with Love Live Dance today. I'm joined by Luca Baricchi. He was an amateur Italian national ballroom champion several times over as well as an amateur Italian national 10 dance champion. In his professional career, he was a two-time professional world ballroom dance champion, as well as a European, UK, and British open professional champion.
He's now the head of the Baricchi Institute of Movement and Art. And I got a chance to sit down and chat with him about the Institute, as well as what he means by instinctive perception and the idea of teaching to the individual rather than education as programming. So I hope you enjoy our conversation with Luca Baricchi.
Well, thank you Luca so much for being a guest on today's podcast.
Luca: [00:00:57] You're very welcome Samantha, thank you.
Samantha: [00:01:00] So I mentioned in the introduction that you have many accolades from your amateur competition career and your professional career as well, right? For those that maybe don't know your history or your dance journey. How did your entry into the ballroom dance world start and kind of, what is the quick version of how we got to today with the opening of the Institute?
Luca: [00:01:25] Yes, of course. It's a long story. I'm going to try and short the recap of it. Yes. Dancing when I was 9 years old and my parents are teachers. And so they introduced me to the, to the dancing world and they originally actually, I was not interested. But then I remember going to watch a show from our school and there were, there was this, of course I was nine years old.
Yes. And so there was this, I dunno, eight years old girl. And which, she looked very cute. And so I remember going to my father after the show, and then only, I only attended, I only watched. Yeah. And then I went to my father and I said, look, if I can dance what this with this girl, I am ready to start. So of course we're all children.
So it was very easy to arrange that. So, so I started to dance, then I believe after two or three months, actually this girl stopped, I guess, for school reasons or, and I had started
when I do something. I like it. I like to do it well. So I got into it and then I, I just kept going and that was successful very, it's a very young age. I think after about one year or one year in my class, you know, I was kind of successful and then went on and so it just became. what I did. Then I liked to learn. So I like to study, I like to develop, I liked the fact that dancing is very much about self discoveries. So I think that attracted me to, to continue. Then, then in the age of about 15, I was then first introduced to England, obviously where the best teachers were at the time.
I started to travel to England with the support, of course with the support of my parents. You know, I used to spend two weeks in London, two weeks in Italy, and so on every month. And then around the age of 18, 19, I then moved or 20, I then moved to actually London. And that's where really my career had a huge, yeah, then I was, I was doing well, you know, I was a champion in Italy.
I was making a semifinal of the major competitions in the amateurs, you know, international competitions. But then when I moved to London, I changed partner, that's when, within a year I was in the final of the profession. So the it's a very young age. I turned professional. And under the guidance, the guidance of my teacher then, which suggested to me to actually skip a generation, you know, I kind of move into the professional About 10 years earlier, then usually it's done. And I'm under the guidance of my teacher, you know, my teacher said, just, just forget those, you know, just why don't you, just what, he saw obviously the potential for me, it was very difficult to see that I had any opportunity in the professional at the time, but, um, I trusted him.
So I turned pro. And then within, yeah, within one year, one and a half year, I was in the final with the professional in all the international competitions. So British Open, International and so on. So, so there was my big leap, so there was a big transformation in my, in my career. And then within a year after that, again, I was number two in the world. So there was, it was a slightly unusual career, you know, going from of course doing well, but more nationally reasonably well internationally to then leaping into, you know, huge transformation. So there was a Exciting time for me, of course, very surprising, but exciting time. Then then I retired very young also.
I did everything very early, so turned professional very young. I also then retired very young. And then, and then of course I wanted to share, I feel I have a lot of knowledge. I like to study. So all through my career, I always looked for more than just dancing informations. So when I retired and of course I was very excited to share my knowledge and and that's why now we are here right after, of course, more years, right?
I think this year we'll be. 20 years since I retired, I mean, time goes super fast, right? I retired in 2001. So this, this is going to be 20 years since retirement. And in these 20 years, of course, I continued to study, continue to develop the educational approach to movement. And then, and then came with the idea of developing an Institute to build the community.
And this is really where we are now in the process.
Samantha: [00:06:23] Excellent.
Luca: [00:06:24] Was that short enough?
Samantha: [00:06:26] That was perfect. That was perfect. No, a lot to dive in there. So looking back, do you think it was the right decision to turn professional so young and would you encourage others in a similar. Skillset, if they have reached a lot of success in amateur, in, at, you know, 18, 19, 20 to go ahead and make the switch to professional? Or looking back do you think that no, it, you, you could have used a couple extra years in amateur just to mature a little bit more before moving into the professional category?
Luca: [00:07:00] I think the key factor is to have the right person for you, which can guide you to make the decision. Because I, you know, for me when I was when I first moved to London yeah. And then decided to turn pro, so in that period, I was looking at the professional, and to me they were like gods. Yeah. So for me it was just impossible to compare myself to them. And with my partner, um, you know, we clicked, worked well. We felt it could, it could develop with my partner and there for me, you know, my vision was okay now maybe I can make the final in the br, amateur in the British Open or in international competitions. So there was my visual, right.
I had a short vision cause that's all I thought my potential could do. I, at that point, I didn't even think that I would ever maybe turn professional because they said these, these were like gods. So for me they were just too far. But I was fortunate to always end the mentality maybe because I grew up with my parents and as my teachers.
So I always had, I always trusted one teacher. Yeah. So I never went to so many teachers and so many opinions, but I found the one that I trusted and I kind of, we work very good together. So when I moved to London, well before actually I moved to London, there was a transition between my parents being my teachers, to Hans Laxholm.
He was at the time actually number two in the professional from Denmark, but also living in London. And he saw potential in me. So when I, when I was going to London, those two weeks, you know, two weeks in London, two weeks in Italy, he's he told me, he said, look, you know, you are, you have potential.
Okay. But if you, if you're going to start to have lessons with many teachers, you're just going to get confused. So if you want, I can help you. But you have to take lessons with me only until I tell you that you're ready. And then I will guide you to which teacher can help you then to continue your process.
Because I came from that mentality of my parents being my teachers and therefore there was a trust. I felt I could trust him. I didn't know him very well, but I thought this is somebody famous that is interested in me and I am a nobody. So I took that opportunity, I trusted in him. So, and it was Hans that suggested to me to turn professional.
So I would have not been able to see it on my own, on my own. You know, I would have continued maybe to stay down for another three, four or five years and then to professional possibly later on. Was it the right decision? I think so. You know, because amateur then is only a stage, right? It's a stage to develop to then face the professionals. And, and at the time the gap actually between amateur and professional was, was greater. And now, now that the gap is less obvious. But by trusting him and him pushing me into a different environment, right, the whole environment affected me also right.
Now, being on the floor with great dancers. That energy kind of effected me too. Yeah. And then, so I think it was the right decision for sure. And I would not, I don't think, eh, you would have just delayed my success if I had stayed in the amateur. Sure I would have been maybe successful in the amateurs.
Maybe I could say, okay, I was finalist in the British Open in amateur, which I never was. Right. But, and then that's not making a big difference. Yeah, so, I think it was the correct decision and to couples, I think a is difficult for the couple to see it, you know, because you are involved in the dancing and you cannot really see, you cannot really realize your potential also, right.
It's difficult to, to recognize your potential. And then if you are too convinced about yourself and you're too arrogant about it, actually, that can work against you. Right. Cause then you're not really putting the work in. So you have to be humbled to know that you have to develop. Therefore it's important for the person next to you that you trust that can actually guide you, right.
To make the decisions at the right time. They can see the big picture. And because the dancer cannot see the big picture because it's so involved with their own personal development. So I was fortunate enough to have Hans, that guided me there. So to the young dancers, I would say Trust a person, you know, that find a person that can really be next to you.
Not that tells you what to do, because of course it is the dancer. And as we will talk about the approach of the Institute, this will become more clear. It is not about being controlled by the teacher, but somebody there that can guide you. Right. And they can, you can trust. I think it's that important.
Samantha: [00:12:03] Well, and that, that goes back to a theme that I feel like is coming out of, of season two of the podcast, which is the idea of building a team around you that you trust that knows your goals, and that can work together to get you to that next stage in your career.
I think you said something interesting that, that Hans had had passed along to you, which was the idea of not listening to too many voices until you know how to filter through the information. Because I think so often I imagine, you know, many of my listeners and I know myself included have experienced the sense of you work with an instructor that you trust and you, you believe their knowledge, and then you go to someone else and get conflicting information. And now you're suddenly in a position where you don't know, know who to listen to, and it's not until you then get out and listen to, you know, 50 different opinions that you, you can start to sort for yourself, what is best for you and your goals and your body and your experience.
Can you talk to me a little bit about the mission of the Institute and how that goes with finding your individual voice as a dancer?
Luca: [00:13:20] Yes. As the Institute we stand for nurturing, inspiring and empowering. Those are our three key words. And connecting to actually what you just said, Samantha is, is, what the Institute stands for is really awakening the talent of each individual dancer. And we are looking at each individual dancers as a unique human being. So, as you said, and as you have experienced as all of us experience in our, in our time we have a teacher, right? And then we get exposed to more teachers and then we start to have conflicting opinions.
And that can be very confusing and it takes time, takes a long time, right. Normally to a dancer to then work out, what works for you and what doesn't work for you. That takes years, right? If you are lucky, right. That's why only few become great. Yeah. And I'm not taking, I'm not talking about the one that actually even win championship, I'm talking about iconic dancers, there's very few.
And because it becomes a combination of, of hard work, obviously the talent, but I believe everybody has the talent. If it's, if they can tap into it And then it's also part of luck, right? You're stumbling into what works for you. Yeah. So it's a very hit and miss kind of process.
Now, what we are doing with the Institute. Because for me also, it was fascinating. The two things were very fascinating to me. One was that when I w what later on in my career, when I got exposed to more teachers, And they had different opinions or sometime opposite opinion yet totally opposite opinion. But when they showed me something, actually they look good doing what they did.
Right. So I will look at this teacher would move any look fabulous and I'll see, okay, so this must be the right way. Then I go to another teacher. Right. And the other teacher also looks fabulous, but he's explaining something totally opposite. And that was veryinteresting to me because I was thinking, how come? Right then at the time, of course I left it as, okay. It's just different styles.
Then because I always been a very sensitive dancer, for me, I was not so difficult for for the way that I liked, because I had to feel good, so I, I, you know, although I work very hard in my dancing and the I will spend hours practicing, so it was very dedicated, but at the end I wanted to feel good.
So it was a little bit easier possibly to, to select which information worked for me and which information didn't work for me. Cause if it didn't feel good, by one day, two days, but I still couldn't feel it. I would try to look at that information from a different angle. Yeah. Because for me, how it felt was very, very important.
And the other important, very interesting aspect was when I retired from competitions because I retired at my peak, I retired at thirty-one I was reigning world champion at the time, evolving, dancing in a direction that was quite innovative. And so I, I thought I knew everything right. Uh, so I of course had many students. Until then the generations were different at the time. I was not teaching much when I was competing. Yeah. Because we were generating financial income by doing shows. It was a different era. So there was eating was not the priority. The priority was our own dancing and then a lot of performances, a lot of shows. So the teaching was very, very limited. I used to select very few couples that I liked and that maybe were close to me and that would help a little.
Yeah. But I was very selfish as a dancer because of course you have to take care of yourself first. Yeah. You have to develope your own performance. So when I retired, I was very eager to share. So of course, I had many dancers that then came to me and there. I, that's when frustration started because then I started to have dancers that were talented and they could do what I was chatting with them.
And other dancers that, no matter how hard they tried, they just couldn't get it. Yeah. And that was very frustrating for me because I truly thought, you know, I have the truth, right?
Samantha: [00:18:00] Yeah.
Luca: [00:18:01] Yeah, I have the best technology available. How come it's not working? How come you don't get it right. How come, I'm not, I wasn't just blaming them.
I was also blaming looking at me and saying, as a teacher, how come I cannot get this information across? Right. So it was a very frustrating time for them and for me. So that's what guided me then to, to go into a different process, which evolved then into what we now define as the instinctive perception.
Right. Because I was, at that time I was teaching them what I was doing, how I perceived it. Hmm. When you are describing these different teachers, right. That have different way of describing things because they're describing it the way they understood it. They describe it the way their body understood it.
And that's why it can actually sound, and not just sound, its actually totally different. Yeah. Because you will have a teacher that says you have to stand on one leg that you know, foot to foot is very important. And another dancer, the teacher will tell you, no, it's very important that you spend time over two feet. The teacher that will tell you, you must move from your back and another teacher that will tell you no, more from your pelvic area.
You know, I know these kind of things and they're all correct. Right. If they are good dancers, they have found maybe not totally, their instinctive way of movement, but we they found part of it. And therefore what they teach is correct for their body, for their instinctive movement, but not necessarily for the student. And, uh, and this is when the luck part comes in, right?
Because then ir you are lucky to stumble into a teacher that has a similar perception to you. Then this teacher can really guide you and you can really develop together. If not the teacher can actually become a problem, can actually be what stops you. Right? Cause if, then if you totally trust this teacher, but this teacher is a very different perception from you. As I stated earlier, not because the information is wrong, but the information doesn't support your perception, right. You can actually really delay your evolution.
Samantha: [00:20:14] So when you're talking about foot to foot or split weight, or the idea of moving your pelvis versus moving your spine or your head weight, that that really resonates as something that we use commonly when we're teaching or when we're getting coaching, but. Like you said, if, if you can find the instructor that speaks your language, it's perfect. And if we find an instructor that's speaking the opposite language, it can be very frustrating. So I want to talk a little bit more about your definition of instinctive perception. Is that, does that go hand in hand with body awareness?
Is there, is it more in depth than just the idea of being internally aware of how your body moves kind of, what, what do you mean when you say instinctive perception?
Luca: [00:21:07] Of course awareness is the key. Yeah. So awareness is, is the, is the key aspect here. And instinctive perception is. We, we have not actually understood yet why we all grow with very different way of perceiving our body. And obviously we are individual in our personality, we're individual in the way we look. we are Individual in our proportions.
But we have not found in our researches and studies, we have not found any connection, let's say, between height and a certain perception or actually certain personalities, certain personalities fit that we have found some connection with certain characteristics in the personality that fit with the way the person perceivers their body. But it's totally unrelated to height, width I don't know, age, you know, it's it's we just don't seem to find any, any connection there.
So it is most likely at the moment we assume that it is how children, as babies, if we learn first of all, to stand. And find our way of interacting with gravitational pull. And then, right, as a, as a baby when we start to walk and start to find a way of coordinating, our legs, our limbs, our arms to the movement that is the moment that we, because nobody's teaching us how to do that.
Right? So at that point, we assume that that's the moment that we instinctively find our way. To perceive that. Yeah, so we have so far discovered 18 centers, in our body.
And each individual person uses these 18 centers, likely differently. Yeah. So we have what we defined. We actually used to define them as power centers and free centers, but we have renamed of course the method is in process of evolution.
We're still studying and evolving. And, and as we are sharing, we're realizing what works, you know, with that, we try to be very specific with the language. Yeah. Communicating with language is never simple in any case, and trying to be more and more precise in the, in the choice of words that we're using.
So we actually currently moving away from power centers and free centers and moving to direct centers and indirect centers. Um, so these direct centers affect our balance immediately. So that's why we also used to define them as power centers. and this is where you will have different teachers telling you, you know, more from your hips or more from your back or your spine, more from your head.
Because that's where they find the possibility. They either they learn from a teacher and therefore they're just repeating that. Or if they are more evolved dancers, they found it in their body that works for them. Yeah. So this means that they are sharing with you what where their first direct center is. The point is there's 18 of them.
Samantha: [00:24:19] Okay
Luca: [00:24:20] And then we have certain centers that are indirect. So they effect indirectly our balance and that can be used of course to maneuver movement. So, but the key factor is to, what we are doing with the Institute and what we're doing with our certified teachers, right? Because we are educating teachers as well to the method is we are looking at every student individually, right.
And we guide the student through that process of awakening. So we come into, into the interaction with a student, not with a preset idea of, okay, this is how you do it. And this is what works. And this is what the truth is because there are many truths.
Yeah. And then we really go and guide the student to understand where their direct centers are, where the indirect centers are, how they work, you know, and we, we really guide them through that process of awakening.
Th's why we define it as a process of awakening, its definitely not a programming.
Samantha: [00:25:27] Yeah, I'd love to talk to talk to that point a little bit more. In one of your uh, informational videos that you've put out, you mentioned this idea that traditional education is based on programming. It's it's root memorization. It's very formulaic. There's a structure behind it. If we think of our syllabus, right? It's very programmed learning. You learn step A, then you go to learn to step B, learn to step C.
Something that I was very fortunate in my general education, not necessarily my dance education was the idea of the Socratic method, right? The teacher is learning from the students. The students are learning from the teacher and there's a dialogue back and forth. So it sounds like. The direction that, that we should move with our dance education is bringing more of that in is asking those questions from our students and empowering our students to give us information about how their experience experiencing their dance movement.
How, how do you as an instructor go about creating an environment where your student feels like they are allowed to speak up and allowed to have questions?
Luca: [00:26:42] We, well the first introduction to them is always that they are not going to learn anything. But they're going to discover many things. Yeah. So we, we change the interaction we in and
the first approach is always to make the student not a student. Right. But it disciple that these interacting with the master. Right. So the master guides the way, shows the path, but then they disciple takes that path rather than the relationship of teacher student. The student is just sitting there waiting to be fed information and to be told by the teacher what is right and what is wrong?
Of course, within the method we have, a very clear understanding of how to guide the students. So their responsibility is not just totally given to the student to say, okay, now work out when you're 18 centers are. Of course we have exercises. We have different processes of awakening, proper section training, and a lot of different tools that we are using, you know, to help that student very quickly to actually discover how they feel their bodies.
Yeah. But we, for sure want the student to be fully participating in their evolution. Right? So the, the challenge is my challenge, Daria's challenge, the challenge of our certified teacher is to guide the student to tap into their talent. Right. And, you know, I have you know, this is quite a controversial process, you know? So the establishment is a little bit concerned about it because of course it's kind of a revolution. Not that I intended for it to be a revolution, but as you know, change is always seen as a revolution.
So I, I also have like famous dancers that visit our Institute privately and don't be exposed, you know, don't wish the establishment to know that. And the transformation in these dancers, you know, can be done within 30 minutes. Because of course the more evolved the dancer is the more awareness, they have with the body, the moment that they are guiding and allowed to move in the way that it's really instinctive for them, suddenly they become capable of doing incredible things.
For younger dancers, and when I say younger, I don't mean necessarily mean in age. I mean, in experience of dancing obviously, we have to go through a little bit more of a process also of developing that awareness. Of awakening that awareness of self so that they can start to sense much more what is going on in their body and how they actually like to move.
But even in that, you know, in, in, in this last 10, 11 months, you know, since pandemic started. And, and of course we moved a lot of our education services online and we met many new students that actually we never met in person yet. Right. Because everything is still online. And then even just through that. So without even meeting in person, without being able to, to physically touch the movement of another person the transformation of the students, and some are, you know, top amateurs, some are top professionals, some are Pro-Am students that, that have more or less years of experience. Transformation is huge, you know, and, and it's really inspiring for us. And of course, fulfilling for us to see that, you know, cause then every student becomes a individual project. So there is no repetition in the information, you know, it's not just obviously the principal are the principals.
But, you know, how that principle is perceived and recieved is very unique for each individual. So it's a very, it's a very beautiful, inspiring process to, to be able to empower the people, you know, to do that
Samantha: [00:30:58] There's a lot that I want to dive a little bit deeper into there. I want to start first with the idea of it being a revolution and, and some of the pushback that you're experiencing from the establishment.
Is that pushback coming from a fear of critical thinking? Or because the, when you change how an individual experiences their body or as aware of their body, then the look and the form changes?
Luca: [00:31:30] It's, eh, its the approach that is, is creates the fear because they, they, the result, yeah. Is, and I will share a story with you too, if we have time to confirm that.
Everybody wants to see a movement that is organic and because true beauty only comes from a fully organic movement. Organic movement can only come if mind, body, emotion are in harmony during that process. And and that can only happen if intuition and instinct are also involved into that.
Right? So otherwise we see a movement and then we always left with a question mark, because you may look cosmetically clean. It may look techniqually correct, but it will still leave certain question marks into it still leaves certain, "but". Yeah. Good, but the good, but is due to the fact that we, as humans, we can perceive that their movement is not pure.
It's not true. It's not total.
Yeah. Can be better or worst of obviously, if you have, I mean, I judge competition where I have six couples on the floor and they were all just cosmetically pretty, but there was no depth. And then, but still you have to choose who is first and who is six, because these are the six couples that you have to compare in the final. But who you're giving one to doesn't mean that you like that kind of dancing.
It's just that it's the best on the floor at that moment in time. So. Everybody agrees no matter which belief they have everybody agrees that something is great when something is way. So when something is truly organic, its harmonious, and that beauty comes through from that harmonious totality, everybody agrees.
So I'm not trying to create a dancing that is different. Yeah. It's not about changing the dancing because then also the style must be very much related to the dancer itself. What the dancer should wish to express. Right. Very traditional. It can be, or can be any kind of expression. This very much depends on what the dancer wishes to express,the artist wishes to express.
So the difference and the let's say the, what is felt as a revolution is not there, right? Because in fact, these famous top couples that came and visited and they continue to visit and continue to be influenced privately. They actually having great success. Yeah. And they're breaking into finals and that, you know, the result is really changing.
So everybody's accepting that because they see that your movement coming. Yeah. What is seen as a threat is the different approach in the education. And as you know, in our dancing world, we have a lot of ego.
And, uh, for, you know, these egos, you know threatened by the idea that their way is not the only way. Because every teacher, if they're famous teachers, they create their own bubble. Right. And within their own bubble, they think that they are invincible and then they are so fantastic. Of course the Institute is breaking that belief because not because we are denying their greatness, but we are saying, this is not the only way,
Samantha: [00:35:14] right.
Luca: [00:35:15] There are another, many other ways to achieve greatness. Right. And this openness of mind to it is rare to find in our dancing industry due to the egos that are very present in these human beings. So, so this is, this is the threat. This is threat. You know, we we are seriously not doing anything against anybody.
Yeah. You know, I am not interested in doing anything against anybody. I have no time to worry about them because we are so into what we are doing. Right. And that's what what is important to us. We're always open to this why we are, we are offering certification, you know, we are open to people and we have more and more professionals that are interested in learning the method in, in understanding what.
What this method is about. And for us, it's great. You know, because our intention is to, is to create a very positive community, because in a way, this is what I experienced as a young dancer. So my, my big transformation that I mentioned earlier when I, when I moved from Italy. Yeah. From going to London two weeks at a time to then moving, to actually live in London. The reason for my big transformation was obviously, eh, having the right teacher next to me having a partner that we had similar, now I realize, we had similar perceptions at the time.
Yep. I changed four dance partners to my, into my dancing, competing times. With this particular partner, it felt easy to dance together. Now I understand it obviously is because we had similar ways of instinctively moving. But what really make a big difference was the environment. Yeah, becuase England at the time had, you know, obviously there was no internet.
There was no, for sure there was no online education or nothing like this. Right. So if you wanted to learn, you had to be in London. And so you had all these talented dancers from all over the world coming to London you know, we would have our lessons and then we would have our practice and then we would have our public practice altogether in the evening, every evening we would meet and we would have this open practice and then we would stop and talk to each other about what we were discovering, what we are experiencing, what the frustrations are, and it was that environment, it was all that environment that really allowed great, greatness to a appear, right? And that's why from my generation, right. Or for the generation I danced in, it wasn't really my generation, but from the generation I danced in, um, quite a few icons came out of that period.
And it wasn't because for some reason, you know, we were born with special gifts. It was just because the environment was allowing for, for the talent to, to, to be truly nurtured and inspired. So now I feel because the dancing world has become so international and so spread, right, there is no one center, there are many centers, many areas and many people doing different things independently. I feel that that community is kind of lost.
I. What we are intending to do with the Institute is to build that community, but to do so, we need the involvement of many people. So we are not closing our doors, our doors are open and we want like minded people to, to participate and to bring also their knowledge and bring their experiences and bring their know-how and their instinctive perception. That is the way to the methods.
Samantha: [00:39:17] No, I like that. Yeah, and I, and I think, you know, the world is big enough for multiple different perspectives to exist in it for multiple different teaching methodologies. And I, I'm thinking about my students as, as you're going through this information and I know that there are several students that would take to this idea of internal reflection and internal introspection and, and experimentation really well. And there are others that would outright object to it because that's not their mindset. That's not their experience. They want, they want the absolute yes or the absolute no.
And the check box and the very The very structured approach to it. So I think that, you know, the dance world is big enough that many different schools of thought can exist. Going back to the, the idea. Yeah, absolutely.
Luca: [00:40:12] If I may talk to that. They, our approach also adjusts to that. So we have students in the Institute, so not everybody has to come in with, you know, flowers around their head and be super spiritual.
Right, to understand. We have actually people that are coming and they're very intellectual and they want to know the, the, the black and white. And we can give that, right. We can give that, but we still give it to guide them towards finding their own instinctive way, but that is possibly their instinctive way. So first of all, we bring them to towards a process of recognizing is it this really how I like to learn, right. This movemement process, is it really how, how I like to do it? Right. Or I do this because I think this is the best way to do it? Right now once then differentiation is clear. Yeah. Right. If there's and we recognize that no, actually this is the best process for this particular student. Then we take that process so it can be technical and it can be very specific and it can be very precise.
Still in reference to that particular student. Right. But the approach can be very, um, you know, I have students that take lessons with me. They will take lessons with me everyday if I was teaching everyday. Yeah. I don't teach online everyday because it's quite draining. Yeah. but they, when I'm teaching, right.
Which is usually four days a week, They take lessons every day. Right. And they come every, every lesson with questions and it's all intellectual questions, but what if I do this? And what happens if I do that? And we go with that process because this is their process, this is the way they can learn the best.
Right. So we are not against, we're not against any way of approaching it. We just do want to make sure, first of all, that the student recognizes, as I said, if this is truly the way they are born to learn or think that they have to learn that way because somebody may be told them. Right. Somebody in a previous experience told them, the only you can be great is if you do it this way.
Right. So that's, that's the first assessment that we have, once we recognize that actually this is the way they like to do it. Fine. You know, we take them through that process. Yeah. So, um, Makes sense.
Samantha: [00:42:35] Yes, no, absolutely. I appreciate that clarification. Talking about the idea of online instruction the last year, I think many of us have found ourselves in a situation where turning online was the best option to keep our students moving forward, to keep our businesses afloat.
You mentioned earlier that you've had success working with students online. And, and using this methodology even without being able to physically connect. Do you find that there is a benefit to not being in the room when you're thinking about something like how, asking a student, how they perceive something or because it's a partner sport because it's a physical sport because we have connection, are you looking forward to a day where you can be back in the studio in person with your students?
Luca: [00:43:30] I believe both processes are very important. Yeah, because we, often, right. So let's say before pandemic, everything was in the studio. Everything was done with a partner. Right. So if pro-am student will be dancing with the teacher, right? If its an amateur couple, they will be dancing together, professionals will dance together.
So there's always this desire to share. And these therefore this sense of dancing together is more important than really learning about me individually. Yeah. So there's always a struggle. So this actually 10 months, of pandemic, or 11 months, has forced everyone to give up on that attachment of relying on if they are students, pro-am students, for example, on relying on their teacher.
Right? Cause the teacher now is no longer present in the room with them. and for professionals and for amateurs to, to really spend time to discover themselves. Cause at the end, dancing is like any good relationship, right? So the two individuals have to be allowed to be themselves and then find a way to interact together. Right. And the more clear it is who you are, right, as a, as a human being, the easier it is for you to relate to the other person. Often when that clarity is not there, then, the interaction as a couple also becomes difficult. So in dancing, it's the same. So these 10 months actually is really motivated dancers to really discover themselves, learn much more about their own personal coordination.
Right. Again, if we want to talk about instinctive perception, very often the couple have different perceptions within the same within the couple, right? So these differences can disturb each other.
Samantha: [00:45:30] Right.
Luca: [00:45:31] Cause then, you know, one will try to push the other to move in the same way and to try and understand each other. Yeah. Understand in my talking the same language, right. By saying the same thing by understanding things in the same way. these need of distancing now from, from each other actually allowed each individual not to be distracted in the self discoveries, right. Which will mean that when they go back and dance together.
Right? The two human beings that we meet will be much more evolved and much more clear in themselves for who they are. And that will make that sharing much more special and effective. Yeah. So the balance of the two I feel is very important, and I mean, for us in the future, and you know, if it does seem, now with vaccines and so-on that we may be moving out of this pandemic soon, or at least in the next few months.
Yes. but we will continue our online education too. It's not something that we wil stop doing. Also, first of all, because, well, of course we have students that are, you know, for us now, the benefit is. Anybody can be very close to us. Yes. We have students from Israel. We have students from England. We have student, obviously from Japan, from China, you know, from, from Vietnam, from all kinds of different countries, which normally would have to wait for us to either go to them, to our institutes in those countries.
Or for them to travel to us right now, of course they can attend student courses that we do twice a week workshops that we do weekly and also it's much easier for them too. So we're going to continue the services because I feel individual evolution is, priority in order for them to really shine.
Now, obviously the sharing as a couple is a beautiful part. Right. That's the beauty of what we do, right. The fact that these two people that are going to share that, but we need to bring something in, in order to share it. And often the try to share it becomes a draining for both human beings. And then the practice become, there's nothing left inside because everybody's trying to please the other person and all this conflict.
So I believe this time is actually really helped to, to develop the individuality and, um, Possibly make dancers aware of how important their individuality is and how important that they don't lose their individuality. When they go back to share it with another person.
Samantha: [00:48:11] Yeah. I mean, I'm just thinking of, of it from like a relationship standpoint, the metaphors abound. But yeah, you, you don't want to lose your individuality. You don't want to lose your individual voice when you're working as a couple then. You want to have your voices amplified and find a shared commonality where you can still be yourself, but also be part of the whole.
Talking from an instructor perspective, you mentioned something very interesting, which is that moving into this mindset, every individual is different and you have to instruct every individual differently according to system and structure and what they're, what works for their body. do you find that the instructors that you are training. Have a mental hurdle to jump over in order to get to the point where they can do that? Or are the instructors that are signing up for your courses to take your training, they've already been doing something similar. It's just a matter of putting a little bit more information and education behind what they've already been doing in their studios?
Luca: [00:49:22] Yeah, that's a good question because actually we had, ah, different situations, but we had, you know, when we first offered the certification online, cause before I ended, of course we were doing these certifications in person in our institutes. Yeah. You know, come to get, and so on.
when we started to do it online, of course we had people that we never met interested in the certification, then maybe they followed us on the social media. They, they, you know, they, and then suddenly they had the opportunity to actually access the information. And we had in certain cases, a negative effect, or we realized that we cannot immediately introduce them to a certification if they don't know anything, if they're not being exposed to the method because they are not ready for it.
Yeah. So some of them come in and they just it's just too much as a first approach. So then what we normally suggest is for everyone to start, first of all, by looking at our educational material that we have online. We have a lot of educational recordings, there that share the method, share part of it, right. At least the first introduction to it. To start to open the mind to it, right. To start to see if they're interested really in the method. Right. And if, and start to recognize, start to be introduced to it. and then later access also the certification. Yeah. But there's always a small kind of interview or before we allow teachers to then be certified because they, you know, if I feel, if we feel that they are not ready, of course we don't reject them.
Right. But we say, okay, Let's first of all, do this and that, you know, let's, let's be more of preparation before we go to the certification. because the most successful cases for our certified teachers, those cases are also, they've also taken private lessons for themselves. So they have experienced the method on themselves on their own skin first.
Right. So they've experienced it on themselves. They realize as a disciple, right, how that can transform you and out of that experience. And of course they can learn more easily how to be the master that they shared, because they know the experience that they have to guide their students through. So, so again, also for the certified teachers and a certain way the, certification, also, we keep in mind the different distinctive perceptions.
So who likes to learn how right. So, um, yeah, so let's say there's a openness there too, and it's not an openess just as an openness. There's an organized, obviously openness and different processes that different people have to, should they take different pathways they should take to, to reach that. But yes, we have experienced for sure. And because in the past, obviously, or when it was in person, the people that went through certification had already had some journey with us before that, right. As I said, we, we have experienced, you know, something we were told. And then we said, sure, we can try. But then very soon after that, you know, I said, okay, no, this is not working.
Let's go through a different process. And now we've developed a program, different processes for, for these kinds of, teachers that have never been exposed. So a little a bit of exposure first of what is necessary
Samantha: [00:53:04] well, and, and because it's a very different methodology, it, it makes sense that the certification process would be, slightly malleable to, to the individual taking the certification versus something like, a syllabus exam where the material is, what the material is, and you either know the material or you don't know the material. Something like this where it's a little bit more fluid, requires a little bit more fluidity in the certification process as well.
The last note that I kind of wanted to end on, and then I want to open it up to you. If there's anything else that you'd like to share with our listeners is a question about, perception versus reality. When we are dancing for judges, you mentioned before that, you know, very often you have six dancers in front of you and it's not, who is.
Who you like. It is what is the best of those six. So for someone that is listening to about listening to the idea of instinctive perception, and listening to the idea, uh, you know, you mentioned you, you want the whole package. You want to see everything that is coming from the person, that can be a scary concept when you have been taught your entire life to follow the technique and follow the precision and follow the look of the dancers on the floor. So can you talk a little bit more about our fears as, as dancers and your reality as a judge,
Luca: [00:54:37] the. If we look at history yeah. In dancing, Hmm. And we look at all the great dancers that they be successful. And as I said, great dancer doesn't mean just somebody that has one championship, but that goes above that. And that becomes a great dancer. And then therefore space becomes fast to history and becomes iconic.
We have dancers that are iconic that actually never won one championship. Yeah. So let's talk about these first. Then we talk about the competition. What creates the iconic dancer is uniqueness.
Right. But it's a full expression of that uniqueness. So in communication right in, in, um, you know, I also went to study psychology and different kinds of aspects again, were all taking into then the method. there are the in communication right there are the overt messages and the hidden messages.
Right. So I try to tell you something. but if I am not feeling what I wish to tell you, the hidden messages will tell something totally different. And as human beings, we'd be more on the hidden message. Then on the actual overt message. So if I see a dancer on the floor that is trying to smile, but I recognize how much tension they have on their body.
I don't see the smile. I see the tension. I see the difficulty they have. So, like in anything we are as human beings, we are open to accept opinions, as long as we feel that those opinions are sincerely shared.
I totally believe in what I'm saying. And all of me is behind what I'm saying, right? The overt message and the hidden messages are all fitting together. Therefore, you will accept what I'm saying. You may agree or not agree. That's a different thing, but you will respect what I'm saying, because you know that it is sincere. If, when I share with you, I'm trying to tell you something that I am not believing in, or that I am not experiencing as I'm saying it to you, you will start to see that the hidden messages are telling me other things. That there are other things. At that point as human beings we go in protection, because we know that this person is kind of lying to us
Samantha: [00:57:15] right
Luca: [00:57:17] Now, if we bring, if we bring this to dancing, it's exactly the same thing. So that's why the totality is very important. And then totality doesn't disregard technique does not replace history. It announces actually the technique, right? It supports, the history of the dance, it supports the development of the true character of the dance, but then it has to be your personal interpretation to that. What is your version of that?
The important thing is that you are totally into that expression because then as a judge, you see that and you respect it and you will like it because it's real. And it's only real, not because you're trying to show me something, but because you're experiencing what you're expressing.
Now, very, very rarely do we see this on the floor. This is the difficulty of these generations. I hate to speak like this, cause it sound like an old man. But when I say my times, and you will have in the British open, for example, in, in Blackboard yet you would have the couple that was totally switched on in that. You would have the whole audience, right. Supporting this couples, going around the floor. You know, I'm getting goosebumps just now talking about it because I've experienced that as an outsider. Right. When I was seeing these guys as gods. Right. And I've experienced it, one of those guys, right.
And there was so much purity in the commitment to produce the real thing. Right. It would make people cry. It would make people, you know, touch the audience right, so much. and then, and that is what I feel this desire to be competitive or this desire to please the judges is compromising that because then it becomes much more of a faking it.
The problem is judges are not stupid. Right. You know, and humans are not stupid. We are not stupid. Right. So we are sensitive. We can sense things. We can see when something is real. And when something is fake. As I said, when you have six couples that are fake and then one of them is to win. Right. And I say fake with respectfulness.
Yes. They don't mean they are trying to be fake, but they are not totally yet in that, in that, in that performance. We still have to choose one couple to put first. Now what happens is the other dancers look at the marks possibly. And they say, Oh, this is the couple that is winning. This is the couple that gets all the first. Or so I must do the same, but it's not necessarily the case because maybe this couple is just the best of those six couples, but its not doing really the real thing. Yeah, not yet has achieved it. Right. So the advice that I can give to competitors. you know, what is important is that your message is delivered clearly.
So as a judge, we have to understand what is it that you're trying to do? What are you trying to express? Right. No matter what you actually are trying to express, if it's delivered, clearly we will accept it. Okay. If its half delivered because you have trying to do it, but how you are trying to please the judge and try to try to do what you think the judge wants to see. Then forget it because you ask them 20 judges and they tell you 20 different things. You asked 50 judges and they will say you 50 different things. But in the end, everybody will agree when something is real.
Samantha: [01:01:21] So. Two, two thoughts on that. The first is you know, the, the benefit of being in the digital age is that we can have coaching with anyone in the world. The access to information is so much better. we can have online lessons, we can listen to lectures. It's all there in front of us. The detriment of being in an online community is everyone can watch the same videos of the same final six. And watch what the top couple is doing. And then as you said, take that as an indication of what is good. What, what has the stamp of approval.
If you were put in a position where you have the final six in front of you, and there are, let's say four dancers that are technically as close to perfect as perfect can be. And you have two couples that you see truth and authenticity, and you believe those couples, but maybe their technique is not at the same level as the other four. How do you place them?
Luca: [01:02:31] Well, we have to define technique.
First of all, I understand your question, right? We have to define technique. A technique is not just the execution. So if we look at the technique book, Right. This is a very good question, Samantha, that you're giving me, let me see if I can give a clear answer to it.
The dance technique is explaining the result of a movement, not explaining right, it's describing the result of the movement, right? So it's right foot forward, diagonally to wall. But. And its a heel-toe for example. Right. But that is, that is the result of what the body has done before that. Right. The body has done something before that to create that step, The body has been used in a certain way to create, a heel-toe. The body had the certain transverse movement to create the step, into diagonal direction. Now that is the technique.
Well, I can not, it can not happen that I have four couples that have perfect technique or near perfect technique, two that are authentic in their movement. Because if you're not authentic in your movement, you can not have perfect technique.
Now it can be that you are authentic in your movement and you're expressing and you're so into it, and you disregard all the technique. Right, this is possible, and we're not promoting that.
But I don't want technique to be the artificiality of just copying the correct footwork and because the feet are closing, this is correct technique. Because if the feet close, but the body's all tense and I'm not doing anything just because I'm trying to close my feet. This for me is not technique, so the correct technique is seen by what the body's doing, right?
What is the body doing to achieve then the correct size execution and therefore having the technical value of that specific figure. And the only way you can do that is by being authentic through the movement, and organic through your movement. Yeah. So technique is not only feet and legs and timing. It is the totality.
Yeah. Can you see from where I'm coming from?
Samantha: [01:05:08] No, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think that's a very, I very much appreciate how you worded that. because I, I think that gives me a greater insight into what we've been talking about this entire time. It's not just what feels good in the body and how do I move?
But if I'm doing a natural turn, what do I have to set up before my step through my body in a way that I can reach one, two and three, in the correct way in my body, centered, with the correct movement pattern in a way that I can transfer that to my partner. So I think that that sums up a lot of what we've been talking about in a very beautiful way,
Luca: [01:05:56] Right because this is how, this is how the technique book was written. There was dancing developed from music, right. There was music first. And then humans felt the need to move to music. Right? And then if we relate it to ballroom dancing, for example, that was used as a social way to interact, right. To get, to meet people in very beautiful environment, with a very sophisticated, refined way of, of interaction.
And, and then it was much later, there was not a clinic at the time, right? The dancers learn how to move their body, how to use their bodies, right. Not, not steps how to use their bodies out of them. So music was in their body and then out of their body, right. Steps came then later on the top dancers decided to write what they were actually doing.
But in fact, it was too complex for them to write what their body was doing. Right. So they just wrote down, the result is right foot forward, diagonal to wall. But what what's happening, I mean, how much is happening before that, for that to happen.
Samantha: [01:07:11] Right,
Luca: [01:07:12] right. So that is the real technique.
Samantha: [01:07:15] Interesting. Yes.
Luca: [01:07:16] That is the real technique. And that's why with the Institute. We are not trying to create a way of dancing that is, different, you know. It's actually, we're trying to capture the essence where it comes from, and it comes from music. It comes from music, it comes from movement of the body to that music. And out of that comes the step that is technique
Samantha: [01:07:40] looking. W would you agree that it would be instead of looking at patterns as destinations, it's looking at the space between each step as a journey.
Luca: [01:07:55] Sure. It's always the process, right? It's the process. Its why, you know, in the method we, we have, speaking obviously about different centers in our body, about counter rotations through the body, so that we can learn how to use our body awakened to how we use our body, how our body's designed to move.
And immediately after that, we are organizing space. Because spatial awareness becomes very important because once you are aware of your body, then you need to know clearly sense in which space is your body traveling. Right. Is it changing levels, is it sagital or transverse, is there a corner?
You know, so there's a very precise process there of, of understanding that all designed to achieve a full expression. We still fully respects the technique. Yeah. So I don't see it as, I don't see if there is okay, this is the technique. And then I have to be explosive. I don't see that as,
Samantha: [01:08:58] yeah, no, I like that. I like that. I'm excited by this, this concept and this process, Anything else that you would like to let our listeners know about anything that you would like to make sure, they understand before, looking farther into joining the Institute or taking lessons online with you?
Luca: [01:09:21] I think what these important to you is for, you know, there's been quite a lot of, what is the word I'm looking for? Character assasination towards me, again, you to the reasons that there's a certain fear connected to my name and what I believe in and what we are developing with the Institute. So I just suggest people to, before making up their mind of who I am.
Meet me first and then make your own mind rather than listening to certain people like to say, and the same goes to the method. The same goes to the Institute. If you're interested, if it's something that you see as a possible interest, come and see for yourself. You know, we, we are always open to share and then we don't expect everybody to be in love with it.
Maybe they're not ready to be. Right. But I would like people to make their own experience rather than listening to others.
Samantha: [01:10:36] Yeah. I like that.
Luca: [01:10:40] That will be the advice I suggest, because we have incredible knowledge. We are happy to share it,
But I would like them to experience it and then see if it is really great. Maybe it's not for them. I'm pretty confident that it will be. Be transformed. Right. But often that first, because they have heard about, you know, because I hear what people say, you know, about the Institute or about me or about things and, and, you know, it's, it's sometimes very, to me it doesn't make a difference. What people say about me because I know who I am. But it is disturbing just because it may block people may, may create a, an idea, right. And a full block, the possibility of their evolution. It doesn't make my, it doesn't change my life. Yeah. So their involvement in it doesn't change my life, but it may change there's.
Samantha: [01:11:49] Yeah.
Luca: [01:11:50] And to me, it's disturbing when I see the people that are, you know, pushed away because of what they heard, that we are doing or that we are, or, yeah. So it's just my advisees coming visit and see, but see for yourself, make your mind up. Maybe you still don't like me. That's fine. You know, I'm absolutely fine with it. I can live with it. But, do you know, make your own mind up, right? come and visit the Institute, the same with the Institute, come and see what the Institute is like. And then if you like it, great, if you don't like it, that's fine too.
Samantha: [01:12:25] I feel like that's good life advice just across the board is, you know, meet someone before you judge them. Experience it before you, before you disregard it, you know, be a, be a critical thinker, be a free thinker of your, of your own mind. So thank you Luca so much for being a guest today on the podcast,
Luca: [01:12:46] Thank you Samantha, its a pleasure, pleasure to share with you. Thank you very much.
Samantha: [01:12:50] Thank you once again to Luca for being a guest on today's podcast. If you are interested in finding out more about the Baricchi Institute of Movement and Art, or taking a private lesson with Luca to discover instinctive perception for yourself, links for that are in the description box below. As always I'm Samantha, I'm your host with Love Live Dance. You can find our podcast versions of these episodes at ballroomchat.com and you can find us across social media at Ballroom Chat. As always stay safe and stay positive.