Ballroom Dance > Bent/Straight Leg - Relationship to timing/speed of movement

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by tangotime, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    The simple explanation, is this ; First, its the "character " of the genre. It was adopted from the way that Cubano ladies walked ( hip swinging actions ) .
    And, there are 2 competing theories, on HOW one achieves the CM.
    One is a straight leg (Intern style ) before weight is transfered, the other ( American style ) stepping on to a flexed knee before weight is received .
    And it really never was about aesthetics, more about practicality for those ladies who, as they carried baskets upon their heads, would walk, kinda tentatively ( with a flexed knee ) . And that, is how "we " walk, in normal everyday usage .
  2. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    The straight verses bent things has as much to do with music tempo/quality as
    anything else. Try dancing straight legged with American Rumba and it looks
    and feels ridiculous, not to mention likely to lead to repetitive stress injury
    down the road. I see some dancer doing _hyper-extended_ straight legs
    in International Rumba and I'm thinking there's a person who's going to have
    arthritis in the knees in 30 years. Doing repeated bent-leg turns in IS Rumba
    would strain the knees as well.

    It's similar to why there are different techniques for Rhythm verses Smooth
    styles of Night Club 2-Step.
  3. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, those things are part of particular style, they are actually styling and not something actually needed to execute particular figure, although there is usually some theory behind them explaining why it should be danced that way ... but they are usually called technique for some reason ... so if you want your int. rumba to look like int. rumba, you have to be using straight legs, although a theory from american rumba says different ...
  4. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    On the contrary..What "Pierre " translated from his visit to Cuba in 1948 ( we were dancing square Rumba at that time ) was to completely change the action, to suit what HE deemed appropriate for the new format. It had little or NOTHING to do with tempo .

    His exposure to Bolero (and Mambo in its infancy) would surely have impacted his decision. Two competing speeds based on the slower one, Bolero, on which both had more tendency to a straight leg action, but still with more flex than was finalised.

    The Danzon form what was being danced at this time,States-side, was closer to the indigenous style from which most of the latin genre was generated ( with the relaxed knee action ) .Even Guaracha was danced similarly .

    And if we are to examine todays interpretation of " latin ", it bears little or no resemblance to its antecedents .If you wish to see "raw " latin dance,the way it wa intended, go to a latino club and watch the " natives " !
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
    vit likes this.
  5. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    One thing I forgot to mention, in relationship to "speed " being a factor.. IF that were the case, then how would one explain that, CM in salsa, is taught with a FLEXED knee action to great success .
  6. vit

    vit Active Member

    I think it's just because of speed. Rumba is considerably slower and permits usage of straight legs that would look strange/unnatural in salsa (which is how some ballroom dancers look like when they try dancing salsa). Cha cha is more questionable - speed is higher and I'm not sure that I like it (int. version I mean) as much as I used to many years ago ...
  7. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    So, you are concurring with my claim that straight verses bent has a lot to do
    with the physical/anatomical realities of time verses body action. "Styling" takes
    this into consideration, rather than being "defined" without speed in mind.

    If you've ever look at older folks do IS Rumba, then you'd see straight-legged is
    "obviously" the way to go, as they'll step around with almost no knee bending
    at all, with all the leg bends happening at the hips. When they have to do AS
    Rumba or Salsa, then they have far more knee action because they need to

    TT is also concurring because he notes that Bolero, which is as slow as IS
    Rumba, also uses straight leg action.

    In the end, nature dictates a lot (or most) of the movements, as dancers
    will just not do moves that are impossible/uncomfortable to do, regardless
    of whatever artificial "powers that be" try to codify them. Especially
    tangotime likes this.
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    You need to re-read what I posted.I said " with MORE flexed " than was finalised, refering to the way that Pierre had transformed it, NOT the way American studios continued to teach Rumba etc...

    I did NOT agree with that principle. I stated that, Bolero and Rumba, DOES use a flexed knee before weight is taken. That's when the leg straightens, and that's how its taught .

    And that's how I and other teachers were trained to teach this method.

    Also, Bolero is much slower than the social style of Rumba 26-28 b.p.m as opposed to the much wider range of social rumba... 32-38.

    Above those speeds, it will evolve into Guaracha .
  9. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, almost all rumba music played at both ballroom competitions and for social dancing in my venue during last decade or two (and overall on WDSF competitions) is 25-27 bars per minute (although higher number is stated in the books)
  10. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    I don't how you dance/teach Bolero, but all the Bolero I've done/seen has
    been characterized by "sweeping" movements. Many instructors even
    teach Bolero with rise+fall (which I find too artificial, but still has that
    sweeping feel/look), ala Waltz. Sweeping movements simply don't
    work well with bent knees (at turns), and use "more" thigh+hip than

    If a "Smooth/Standard" instructor were ever going to teach "Rhythm/Latin"
    then Bolero would be the one dance he/she would be most natural at
    picking up. The extended/straight leg action is part of the similarities.
    debmc likes this.
  11. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    The stuff I discuss is "general movement" that applies to any partner dance
    with varying degree. A lot of it is stuff I've heard in lessons and some of it
    is "glue" I added to make sense of it all.

    I'm one of these people who often figures out how to do dance X better while
    learning dance Y, but have done a reasonable amount of IS and AS (19 dance)
    in my lifetime.
  12. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    Bolero has indeed been called "the waltz of rhythm dances" for this very reason: The movement in bolero is very "waltz-like." This is the very essence of the "sweeping motion" that you describe.

    However, (here comes the "standard" interpretation,) the "sweeping motion" as it pertains to waltz is ALWAYS done on bent knees of varying degrees. Consider the second and third steps of a waltz closed box step. You push off from a very bent knee to another very bent knee. RISE is then attained by gradually "straightening" the right knee from "very bent" to "slightly bent." This also serves to draw the free foot into the standing foot to close your feet for "3." This is similar to the bolero motion that is done with bent knees. (At least this is the way that I've been taught.) The difference is in bolero, the standing leg does have a fully extended knee while the moving foot brushes instead of closes as opposed to a waltz closed box step.

    Or maybe we dance bolero differently 'round these parts.
    debmc likes this.
  13. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    I assume you are discussing a closed _right_ box step. Then the leg of
    consequence would be the _left_ leg as it is the one on which the
    "turn" occurs (as weight is transferred to it on/after count 2). I think
    it'd be pretty clunky to go onto the left leg with a bent left knee.
  14. vit

    vit Active Member

    Both knees are obviously "very bent" at the end of 1st step, when LF is passing RF. However, a moment later, when starting transferring weight to LF after making a side step, both knees are already "slightly bent" although it's still in the middle of the rise, as feet are wide apart at that moment
  15. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I teach Bolero as it was originally intended to be danced, as a social style.. NO R and fall

    What you appear to be seeing, is the competive style ( which generally is far ways from the social ) and has strayed, as per usual, from its latin roots.

    And.... How on earth do you also imagine, that it is possible to creae CM without stepping to the inside edge of ball, before straightening the leg from which the style was developed .
  16. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    You are quite correct. I must assume the poster has little or no experience in the dance of Bolero, and the response is typical of those steeped in Intern.Latin , which currently is a shadow of the indigenous styles of latin in general .
  17. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Well-Known Member

    There are at least 3 approaches to some of these dances...maybe more. 1-Competitive Latin (Intl), 2-Competitive Rhythm (Amer) 3- Club style. Chose whatever you like!
  18. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Actually its the RIGHT leg that is placed to the side ,on turning actions to the left, that creates rotation , and is danced with very strong CBM. When danced correctly, there is a neutral position in the body "swing " when going from R to L side.
    The style of Bolero, is one of the most complex body actions, that seldom gets seen in performance . It was originally in the American style Gold, but ( for some insane reason ! ) was introduced into Silver and even Bronze levels .

    And, its NOT a closed Box, on the contrary its classified as OPEN.
  19. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Topic veered off to side issue of whether straight vs. bent leg action was related
    to time/speed of movement. Bolero and Waltz were brought in for comparison
    purposes, though IS Rumba was the original topic.
  20. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    While my post addressed your statement "Consider the second and third steps of
    a waltz closed box step," I think you are now talking about Bolero.

    You claim that you teach "social" Bolero and then say that your Bolero uses one of
    the most complex body actions. Generally speaking, social dances are the "dumbed-
    down" version of most dances, meant to be the least-common-denominator so
    everyone gets to dance with everyone. So, your claim sounds like a contradiction.

    The "sweeping" Bolero I know can be done "small" or "large" (and anywhere in
    between), with the small version not far from AS Rumba. I don't consider this
    a social/competitive/show thing, but simply a matter of how "fancy" one wants
    to make it, like how a couple can do Wedding-style box Waltz and another do a
    flying Waltz all on the same (social) floor to the same music.

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