Swing Discussion Boards > Ballroom WCS versus non-Ballroom

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by toothlesstiger, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Well, looks like you have more time on your hands than I do today.

    Here's what I wrote about you Skippy video.

    Too bad Skippy stumbled off the dance floor there. And you do see that she is behind her own count? Her cpb should be over her right foot on 1, and her heel has just landed as she counts "1," as is the man's. So, I'm thinking maybe not such a good illustration.
    And coincidently, Skippy was all over me about my center moving first, and it being over the weighted foot on the beat.
    I do appreciate your looking this up.

    And now that I think about it, this resembles both:
    Right Side Pass (from Back to Front, Man's R. side) #5 in WCS 101, and
    Throw-Out (from closed "Slingshot" position) #7.

    Of course the difference is that when you are in the "closed "Slingshot" position" and the man begins moving forward on "&" before the "a1" there is no arm to let out, (the man's hand is on the woman's back) so the woman moves with the man.

    Is the timing of the woman's movement different from a closed position than it is in side pass where the connection is by an extended arm?

    Really, I think, the word "wait" doesn't address the fine points of two people moving together and having to take 2 or 3 "steps" in one second, especially when average reaction is 0.2 seconds.
    As an exercise, sure, don't start forward without the leader moving away from you.

    Now, when you are repeatedly going from anchor to "walk walk", "don't get ahead of the lead" when you are coming out of your anchor makes more sense to me.

    I used to ask instructors these kinds of questions when I was studying Argentine Tango. (You know. Like the pro dancers who teach at festivals and come to the US to teach because they are that good.) The answers were never satisfactory, and I learned not to ask certain kinds of questions.
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "Why would so many people say it if it weren't true?"
    Same reason that many people write that there is no global warming?
    Because it's expedient?
    Because it helps stamp out coaster step like walking into the next pattern?
    Because it's easier than talking about a reaction of 0.2 seconds when the first step has a duration of only 0.5 seconds?

    let's look at this statement by dnice.

    "One thing that our intermediate WCS teacher had to constantly correct our follows on is to wait for the lead on 1."

    I would ask, does the lead come on "1" or is CPB is over the weighted foot on "1" at the completion of the first "walk" step? Since we don't work at the quantum level, it's going to take time to take a step, or move through space. So if a teacher really said that the lead comes on "1," at this point in my dance journey, I would have some real questions.

    In class Skippy pounded "&a1" into us. Then at one point she asked me to do something, and said, "1...". And I said, wait a minute, I need the "&a," and she happily (ok I'm guessing she was happy since that was what she had been teaching) counted "&a1".

    If you are ok with knowing that it takes on average 0.2s to react to a lead, and that takes 40% of the time required to move your center to complete step "1," and how that might influence that first step, and how it might be vs the second one, it's ok with me. I'd be very interested in the thoughts of someone who has addressed it in detail vs the "wait for the lead" shorthand.

    If I had to instruct someone who was ahead of me, and the music, and "don't get ahead of the beat" didn't work, I guess, after trying to explain duration and the rolling count...
    How many people teach rolling count, vs "straight count" vs using a "pick up" count before the first beat? (&1 for instance)

    How many people teach to music as the default vs people that don't use music in their lessons until they've taught a pattern? Now, THERE "wait for the lead" is useful.
    With music on, I'd say, stay with the music, don't get ahead of the beat. (may be onto something there! It may explain a lot.)
    Maybe more about me, my partner and the music tomorrow; because the music is the other partner I have in my dancing. And when I give impromptu lessons, that is the first thing I have someone listen for. Then we talk about steps.
  3. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    If you ask unsatisfactory questions, you will get satisfactory answers.

    I give up. I know what's correct and will continue to dance it that way.
  4. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Asked of Steve, our resident expert on "things people say about wcs (history) that aren't true". Epic.

    "One thing that our intermediate WCS teacher had to constantly correct our follows on is to wait for the lead on 1."

    Not sure if you are asking the question, or questioning the way it is being phrased.

    If you are asking the question. Imagine if you will that the only musician playing is the drummer, tapping two drumsticks together - click click click click - on the beat. With a perfect drummer, and a perfect dancer, and a high speed camera, you would see the foot strike in the same frame that the drumsticks hit "1". The timing of everything else is relative to that.

    Trying to be really specific about timing gets pretty hairy; human musicians aren't so precise, sounds waves aren't instantaneous, we're taking continuous time and trying to identify discrete moments by using wooooooords; and it's swing fer goodness sake, perfectly strict time misses the point!

    Therefore, instructors compromise -- you use accurate but imprecise terminology to get your group classes in the neighborhood of the ballpark, and then you apply individual refinements as necessary.

    In most cases. A common alternative explanation: the instructor tells the student to do X. The student hears that he is supposed to do Y. In attempting it, he actually does Z. As long as Z is an improvement on what he was doing before, it's a win: nobody cares about whether X or Y are correct. You don't want to deliberately mislead, so you make X as close to the truth as you can and or choose an X that makes it easiest to pivot to X' for further refinement.

    "Wait for the lead on 1" really means "wait for the lead". You aren't going to find good westie followers patiently waiting until 1 only then to spring into action following a lead they received half a beat earlier. The "on 1" part is really just there to emphasize a particular lead where not waiting makes a mess - not because of timing (which is why "stay with the music doesn't help"), but because of relative body position and momentum. (Not waiting "on 2" doesn't cause nearly the same problems; plus a number of instructors have abandoned the idea that step 2 is led anyway.)

    Just in case any salsa dancers drop in: none of this has anything to do with on1 vs. on2. Not deliberately, anyway.
    vit and twnkltoz like this.
  5. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Excellent post, dancelf.
  6. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    danced with her....danced with her... didnt dance with him LOL
  7. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    if thats what i lead yep it better!!
  8. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    I was just going to point out that even if the lady jumps the gun on 1 a decent lead can slow her down with just a little compression. Even if her connection is kind of soft, a little pressure on her palm usually works fine. Sure, there are a few moves initiated on 1 or 2 beat. However, if the lady is jumping out of extension early, I probably am not going to lead those anyway.
  9. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I was reminded of the importance of this concept twice on Tuesday. Two different leaders led a step-touch-wiggly kind of thing (different from each other but similar concept) that I would have completely missed out on if I'd stepped forward on 1 without being led. Totally cool and totally fun. Plus, there were other opportunities for playfulness that wouldn't have happened had I been on autopilot.

    And that's why I love WCS so much. When you have a good connection, you can do the most amazing things together. I think this is something a lot of people who learn WCS in the ballroom world (without the influence of WCS pros who are really immersed in the WCS world) miss out on--the play. They do the patterns, they're on the beat, but they miss out on that next level of it. I'm generalizing, of course, but that's my observation.
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    If I were doing what you are describing, "extending a pattern," I would not anchor "properly." There would be no "active connection (some refer to as leverage." And in fact there would most likely be a slightly forward "passive connection". (see Raper's dictionary) And you would feel it, and that would be your "pre lead" that something different was coming.

    I agree with Kayak about the follower getting immediate feed back if she starts forward and that it isn't in the leader's plan.

    And just out of curiousity, does Sharlot use the 2 beat unit concept and the "&a" in the lessons?

    Regarding when the lead comes, on 1 or before 1 (ie right after the previous beat), if you think about drumming, you might notice that you have to raise your hand before you do the down strike that ends in the sound being generated. Asking people to clap a rhythm, then pointing out that they spread their hands before they strike them togther should make that point, I would think.

    Danceelf, have you seen these epic statements from a recent book?
    "There is actually, no specific or unique dance that matches that label" ( ie Western Swing)
    "West Coast Swing may have been called Western Swing..." (emphasis added)
  11. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Mild disagreement -- you want the follower's relative position AND momentum to be right. Sticking a little compression into an extension lead (a) produces a lead that feels a little like crap, because it keeps contradicting itself, and (b) is hard to do well if your initial lead was correct, because your body is in the wrong place, relative to your feet, for a compression lead.

    My experience says that in most cases, you are better off moving yourself to re-establish the correct relative position, rather than mucking with the momentum. You were already going that direction, after all.

    But we don't clap on 1! :)

    In the past, I've used the idea that the dancers move when the musicians move so that the steps arrive with the music. I like clapping as a way to bring that idea directly to a student.

    At the Skippy intensive way back when, she used the bouncing of a tennis ball, but I can't remember if it was for this idea, or something else. Anybody have a better memory of the exercise I'm referring to?
  12. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Gotta go dance soon, but...
    Am looking a Craig Hutchinson's Swing Dancer manual 1988 (again), although I can't remember what got me back there.
    Anyhow, he has the following definition

    Unit(Dance) Two beats, the first a downbeat and the second an upbeat ending on the upbeat to indicate movement placement.
    i.e. &a1&a2

    Nevertheless, he also wrote the the lead comes on "1".
    Sure would like to ask him about that one.

    OK. If the lead comes on "1," when is the "step" complete, which I (and others) define as a completed transfer of weight onto the stepping foot - CPB vertically over the weighted foot that has just stepped.

    If it starts on "1" in response to the lead, does it also end on "1," which would mean that it ends the same time it starts. (possible on the quantum level)
    Does it end on "2," or somewhere in between like & or a, which would mean that the dancer would appear to be off the beat.

    I vote for the lead started BEFORE the Beat, or the completed weight transfer. &a1.
    If it is before &a1, say on the last beat of the anchor step it would be a "pre lead," as in my example of a passive or forward leaning "anchor," or last step of the previous "pattern."
    The anchor signals that it is the end of a pattern and that the couple ready to move on.

    (Hutch was an engineer, and has scads of information on timing, music, etc. And it's obvious he was influenced by Skippy and he cites her ??? times.)
  13. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Yes. And she uses the same cards with the dots to illustrate it.

    The lead doesn't come exactly on 1. If the man steps on 1, he had to move his center before that in order to get there. Moving his center moves his arm, which moves the lady's arm, which she then follows with a step. However, she may or may not land exactly on 1 with him. She might be slightly behind it, then catch up on 2.
  14. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Steve, I isolated this because it "speaks" to what has not been "isolated " ..

    Primarily this.. In ALL dance genres, the BODY is the first thing that " moves, and, to be more specific, the " flexing" of the knee in conjunction with an intended direction of travel ( one world class coach said the "head " ).

    The old saying " body falls foot/leg catches " speaks volumes . Where that motion begins,is, as you said, fractionally ahead ,of the beat you wish to replace weight upon .

    And lastly,"we " all may hear music differently ( thats what gives us our identity, dance -wise ), and we respond to the moment . Attempting to control motion to the nano second, will eventually become robotic, to how we express our dancing .
  15. stash

    stash Well-Known Member

    It's not always the followers fault either... As both a westie and a ballroom dancer, I get a mix of guys who really do know what they are doing, and guys who just think they know what their doing (cuz their of the ballroom category) but really don't. If I wanted to prove a point during a social that many of my ballroom friends go to, I would just keep anchoring and moving back until they connected properly. But then we would never dance. I would be me going backwards, and them confused as to why I am and following me instead of settling into the anchor.

    And the sad thing is they think their doing it right, but stopped going to group classes before hand, and just focusing on patterns... WSC isn't about patterns. It's about connection and the 3 basics, push, pass, and whip. They don't ask for help nor do they want it... It makes me not want to dance with them because it's just not wsc anymore.

    And don't get me started on "biceptual leading" lol
  16. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Yes, sometimes you have to work with what you've got, and that sometimes means abandoning proper lead/follow so you can just get the job done. Then you decide whether you want to dance with that person again. Are they a hard-working beginner who will eventually get it right? Then I"ll probably keep dancing with them to encourage them. Have they been around forever and refuse to learn? They go on my DH's list of leaders he has to save me from if he sees them coming.
  17. stash

    stash Well-Known Member

    I agree, and I do encourage those who are trying. Because I know I'm still learning and making mistakes too. But it's those who just treat west coast swing as "o this is just like latin, so I must be good at it" that bothers me the most.

    And I wish I could rescue myself from them, but at the same time they are my friends as well. :p
  18. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    those people generally stink at WCS jusss sayin....:cool:
    stash likes this.
  19. stash

    stash Well-Known Member

    O I know they do. lol
  20. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    *pencils stash in for a dance at the GPSDC in phx in july*:cool:;)

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