Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DanceMentor, Sep 26, 2012.
I figure if I knew what was good, I would have the clipboard.
Certainly, may not be as great as others, but serves me quite well.
What an interesting topic and I have really enjoyed everyone's response (and learned something from each) I have been dancing since late October of last year. Funny, I remember walking into the studio and looking at the packages and thinking, ah, 15 lessons, that should do it. I laugh about that more each day. I am now at about 40 lessons and feel like more of a beginner than the week I started (I took 3 lessons the first week I was having so much fun). My instructor, who I feel so fortunate to have lucked into (both the studio and instructor were just the luck of the draw), patiently corrects me and adds something new each time I think I am getting it. This lets me know how much I don't know. (Also, watching the Nationals being streamed made me realize that at my age, I will never be there but I am going to have a great time trying.) I think what I found interesting about this set of messages is that although I have learned the Bronze Syllabus for Rumba and a good deal of it for Cha Cha, I really feel like I am moving but not dancing.
My instructor tells me it is time to stop memorizing patterns and time to start dancing (actually she said this about 20 lessons ago but I have a real hard time "feeling" or even "hearing" the beat. How can you dance without this. So we are working on Latin movement (some lessons we don't even play the music) and working with me to hear the count. I know the time will come when my movement will become dancing, it is just not here yet. I liken it to when I was learning to land an airplane in a cross wind (any pilots will know what I am talking about). You are moving in 3 dimensions; you have the runway you want to land on, you have the wind trying to push you away and you have to precisely control pitch, yaw and roll to bring the plane in for a good landing. It felt impossible and I thought I would never get it; then one day - Ah Ha... I did it, the airplane and I were one. After that I would fly to other airports if I didn't have a cross wind at my home field. I had so much fun because I was proficient. It was like riding a bike, once I did it, it was hard not to do it right. I truly believe dancing will be like this, I expect after hours and hours of practice, one day I will have my Ah Ha dancing moment. It won't mean I can compete with the big boys (I would never have compared my cross wind landings with an airline pilot), but it will mean I am dancing.
I am waiting for that day with great expectation.
good for you....
Just don't forget, you said you would social dance with a beginner... With you being in NW Indiana and me being in Tinley Park, it could happen.
any time.....you are free to pm me...there are a few studios round these parts that I will go to
Oh, I just utterly identify with many things you've mentionned!
Again I utterly identify with many of the things you said! Fun, fun, fun!
drawing parallels between this and competitive chess, which i something i follow. the candidates tournament (competition to decide who gets to play the world champion) ended recently, and it was full of drama and a very high level of chess. Quoting from an interview of Kramnik, he was speaking about Carlsen, the eventual winner:
" I have heard people say that his style is too dry, too positional. Partly it so. However, I believe that a person of his mastery can choose any style he likes. He should ask himself only...
Yes, that’s the way he is. Cold-blooded, rather pragmatic, somewhat melancholic even. His chess is also swampy, laidback, choky/boa constrictor type. It doesn’t matter. For me personally mastery is most important. His skills are remarkable. This is great. I think it’s a bonus that all the players have unique styles. I have one style, Aronian has a completely different style. Carlsen has the third variety. It is good for the game." (emphasis mine)
Full interview can be found at pogonina dot com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1600&Itemid=1
I read this and felt that it is almost exactly the same as dance for me. I want to develop my quality of dancing, to have wonderful natural turns and mechanics and all of that. So that I can have more freedom to later on decide on what style is best for me. Right now, it's all about listening to good coaches, and improving! Style emerges naturally.
Or in less words, be yourself, and focus on quality.
What an interesting question, esp. in the ballroom context, where things are generally more standardized compared to say jazz or lyrical.
I dance standard. Sometimes I look at fellow competitors, and I think - what makes this couple look the best, and that couple not so good? Usually it's some flaw, like heaviness, droopy frame, head position, etc. But when I look at the very top couples and ask the same question, it's much more difficult because they have all achieved a standard (that is, very high) level of technique. At that level, no one is displaying any serious flaws. Some top couples appear to have perfect technique, and there is nothing particularly wrong with their dancing, but they just don't shine as much as some others - they just don't seem to have it. Perhaps they're more wooden, or not as expressive, or lack their own style, or something.
So... to get back on topic. Does that mean that in ballroom, as in many other arts, you have to be at least somewhat accomplished in your fundamentals before you can think about expressing your style? I tend to think that's the case, and would venture to say that many couples spend so much time on perfecting the fundamentals that they never make the dancing their own. It's the last, hardest, goal.
Sometimes when we get tired of focusing on technique, we would just 'express ourselves' and dance to a piece of music to break things up a bit ... which usually feels good, but probably looks quite floppy and the quality wouldn't be the 'competitive look' we strive for.
I've also got one more thought. As a standard follow, I've learnt that I'm really quite chicken when it comes to dancing on my own. I'm kind of dependent on the safety of the partnership. I freak out a little whenever a coach tells me to show her a move on my own. In that way, I've only just started to find my dancing - or find confidence in my dancing, outside the hold.
Well, that was long winded Do you guys also think that it's harder to 'find your dancing' in the ballroom world, especially the competitive one?
Back in the day when I was in a college dance team, me and my partner were being looked down (at least that was my feeling) because we ventured into a rather different direction. We tried to play with the music, adding dynamic into our dances even when we were only silver/gold dancers. Sometimes I felt that my fellow teammates were so focused on techniques that they forgot techniques are there to enable one to dance, to express oneself, not a goal in itself. Or was that too early? A question to everyone: when is a good time to start to think about expressing oneself in dance?
Me and my partner used to do that - especially after a frustrating practice - to remind me why we danced. And most of the time, those are the best dances we produced.
harder...compare to what ? I think it is hard to find your dancing regardless.
For me, it comes down to a mixture of personal preferences towards choreography/figures, style of technique, which parts of each dance you choose to highlight and emotions you portray. Naturally if you've only had lessons with one teacher, you'll emulate them a lot stronger than if you've had many instructors.
I've perhaps had too many different people teach me things - sometimes they seem to contradict, but usually I get down to the root that they're just different descriptions of the same thing. Of course sometimes it's a different style. Jive can be a bit more swing-y or really sharp with high knees - it's difficult to say one is wrong, but developing your preference is important.
Quickstep - someone might prefer lots of runs and jumps whilst someone else prefers a smoother quickstep with more swing.
I'm reminded of Franco Formica's lecture at MIT two years ago. In it, he described the difference between Standard and Latin as it regards performance and technique being that Standard is a contest of "purest-ness", that is to say, there is some sort of Platonic form of how the International Waltz is danced, and your objective in Standard is to come as close as possible to that ideal. In Latin, on the other hand, it's all about interpretations. There is no right way or wrong way to dance the Samba or Rumba or whatever. It's about interpreting the music. On the American side, I feel like Smooth and Rhythm are both in Latin's camp - you're not trying to dance the most perfect [insert dance here], because there is no such thing. You are trying to show how YOU interpret the given dance.
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