Getting people into ballroom dancing, and modern music

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by EdwinNJ, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    So, one thing that convinced me to continue dancing was when I discovered single step as opposed to triple step (Swing dancing), and realized "Hey, this isn't so damned hard". This is something instructors should show beginners to keep them in dancing. You're scaring people away with triple step! At least show them there's both. Drop your hubris and pre-conceived ideas of how to teach! You need customers! There's a whole generation doing nothing but fist pumping and grinding as "dancing"[...] It's that same sticking with the old style that makes Spanish classes useless, they teach it to you like math.

    Another thing would be to show people there's a lot of modern music you can dance to with lots of ballroom dances. I just to a waltz lesson, my dance partner wanted us to do viennese waltz, but I started with the basics. On the stereo was R&B music, a song that I had heard. Holy Moly! I honestly had NO idea you could do that! Hearing the beat and steps though I know now there's probably TONS of songs out there you can do that, modern music that younger people like! The teacher there mentioned for example that a lot of Lady Gaga songs work with cha-cha. Right now, I'm downloading songs, I was looking mainly for Hustle (which is the only one I thought could dance to modern music), looking up Gloria Estefan, and I already found a merengue and salsa song by her! Obviously deliberate, and I guess makes sense, she's hispanic, but dang! I'm pretty sure one of them was rumba, too. With Rumba, Waltz, and foxtrot kids won't have to do the "Junior High" sway left and right! Dangit people, we have a chance to get young people into ballroom dance and class up our society a bit ! Why aren't we on this!? Why doesn't someone make a list of modern songs and what they can be danced to, could also include Sinatra and stuff which I was told is foxtrot often.
    I'll make a website if needed, I'll host it, I'll even pay to kee it up.

    You're all in the community/instructors, you could use the customers. More importantly, stuff like this is a great social lubricant. Getting boys and girls together with some confidence (and some sense and structure). And remember where I said R&B was working with the waltz? It could potentially reduce racial balkanization.

    [...]

    Post moderated by latingal to conform to site guidelines....
  2. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    Your instructor must've been pretty green if they showed you a triple step in swing before you could do single time. The instructors are really the front line when it comes to getting folks into dancing. The key is making it fun and easy. One of the hallmarks of a new ballroom teacher is that they over-teach. I find your comment about the music pretty insightful. It's hard to imagine too many high schoolers just itching to dance to patsy cline or sinatra. Even people in their 20s might have trouble connecting with it. I think it's an awesome idea for studios to update their sound machines with more modern tunes
  3. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    And show them! Show them! Show Them!
    Just go out into public and show people. Go to the union square greenmarket and show a presentation. Show kids in the schools. And like I said, compile a list

    And I can tell you, YEAH, I'd prefer to dance to more modern stuff, like R&B for waltz. I'll like Sinatra, too, but modern stuff, too.

    Like I said, right now I'm making my own Hustle list, so far it's Madonna, Kylie minogue, Rihanna, etc.
    Here, here's one song I put on it, cause I saw it on MTV, it's a nice upbeat sounding song, would be fun to dance hustle to:


    not a lot of requirements for a good Hustle song, just needs that square beat, a woman singing, and cheesy lyrics. Pure awesomeness!
  4. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    There are pros and cons for each teaching strategy. Lindy and west coast both have the triple step as part of the basic. Teaching the triple step in east coast swing makes the transition to these two swing dances easier. The triple step also gives a different feel vs the single step that you have mentioned.

    And in terms of teaching there are instructors who do use modern songs. However, you need to understand that when an instructor chooses a song popularity is not necessarily the top criterion. There are pedagogical reasons why one song may be better than another. I get your excitement over learning dance and desire that more modern songs be used, but it isn't that simple.
  5. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Pretty much any club electronica works well for cha-cha or hustle, and some of the downtempo stuff is fine for rumba. There's no reason why ballroom dancing has to be confined to old music. Although one does learn to appreciate the classics... you have to understand that guys like Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw were considered rebels in their day, and if you can get your head wrapped around the scene as it existed then, you really appreciate what they were able to do.
  6. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    ....They use Britney, Christina, and Rhianna at competitions. "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson gets used for VW all. The. Time. (American; you have to speed it up for International.) Seal's "Kiss From a Rose." In my big ol list of danceable songs I've got Backstreet Boys songs under Rumba. My samba list includes J-Lo, Gwen Stefani, and Will Smith. And the longer you dance the less you care about anything other than "can I find the beat easily"? (I like "Cobrastyle" for mambo, and yes, it does working, but when I was starting out I think I'd have panicked. Yes, it's a nontraditional choice, it's fun anyway.) My annoyance with use of pop on DWTS is not that they use it, it's they often use the wrong dance for the song. ("My Heart Will Go On" is not a waltz. No matter how you try.)

    As for triple vs. single, I started with triple. We did not immediately attempt to do it at tempo, but as anyone can pick up single time in about five minutes at a party, and that's almost the only time you'll ever need it, it wasn't a particularly useful way to spend paid time.
  7. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    For me it depends on whether you want to teach cha cha cha with on 1 or 2. If you don't care where then yes, but for me to teach on 2 there must be a reason in the music to do so. Just finding the beat and stepping on the right beat count does not cut it.
  8. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    So "Kiss from a Rose" is what kind of dance?
    And that's funny, I can hear it with "Breakaway" and I don't even really know the steps to Viennese Waltz! It's just easy to imagine seeing people spinning like they do to that song.

    But in general, come on, people! Let's make a list somewhere
  9. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    None of this should change anything from the teacher's point of view. If someone is new to swing you show them single time or even the hustle basic with simple timing (not syncopated) if the former is too hard, without rotating it of course. 98% of the time, doing otherwise will result in overwhelming the student, as the OP experienced in their own dance journey.
  10. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    If you look up in the page header, there's a link labeled "Music" that leads to a whole area where you can build music lists. It doesn't seem to get much action these days. We need to get it going again.
  11. Eorlas

    Eorlas New Member

    The original post in this topic is extremely condescending towards youth, and you actually disrespect them unnecessarily multiple times. [the original post has now been moderated/edited by latingal to remove sections that violate site guidelines]

    Furthermore, the whole "customer is always right" mentality needs to go away. I see why you bring it up, but it's a really stupid way to try to get people to do something. Save the "customer" for the corporate world where they do nothing but bow down to the "customer" who is more often than not just as disrespectful as the original post is.

    I believe you have somewhat good intentions in your message, though your tone kills it for me. And racial balkanization? I don't think that was necessary or relevant, if anything, that was more discriminatory than helpful.

    [moderated by latingal to take out references to edited comments in original post]
    fascination and Bailamosdance like this.
  12. Leon Theou

    Leon Theou Active Member

    Viennese Waltz

    Some members of that generation are also in the ballroom! Collegiate ballroom dance is huge in much of the US, and there are plenty of younger kids dancing too.

    You had me until the "racial balkanization" part. The choice of music for ballroom has nothing to do with race relations, and if it were to help ameliorate any racial tensions, that amelioration would come from getting people of different backgrounds interacting with one another.

    This is among the most condescending, disrespectful things I have ever read, and as a college student who dances ballroom and salsa, I am rather offended. I don't get the whole piercings and tattoos thing, but I don't have an issue with it either, and I certainly don't go around denouncing it. Culture is not a static thing; it changes over time, and sometimes people experience culture shock when they see the new forms culture has taken. That doesn't mean that one is wrong and one is right. (Plus, Queen Victoria had a tattoo, it doesn't get much classier than a monarch). And I'll on occasion go out to a social dance and get my waltz on one night, and the next I'll be at a bar, bumping and grinding. That does not mean that I lack class. You seem to equate class with perpetual refinement, but that is not what it is. Each has its time, and each its place. Class is knowing when the time is for refinement, and when the time is to be unrefined, and then behaving appropriately for the situation.
  13. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    The opposite is true. A lot of people that try to do this are as musically-illiterate as could be. Their world is divided into 4/4 , 3/4, quick and slow, and end of the flagpole. Already 2/4 does not exist in these brains. Isn´t it a bit tasteless to dance foxtrot to rock music without knowing the classical shellac recordings of the great orchestras from the 20s and 30s? Or to dance rumba to a slow country music without any reference of the complex rhythmic structure of cuban music?

    Don´t get me wrong. There is nothing against experimenting. But claim some education first, please!
    First: It does not work with waltz, at all, and secondly: Free-style or hip-hop dancing can reduce balkanization even better. Hey, Edwin, free-style dancing is fine! Why these objections? Why do you try to press unsuitable things together. There is so much pretty traditional music around to dance slow english, country, boston or viennese waltz?
  14. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Upfront, I really do respect your competence and your dedication. But I totally refuse this approach. It simply is the wrong way only to choose music. It´s the root of the illiteracy. Most instructors (dont want to call them teachers) choose classified, homogenized, standardized tracks. But it should be the other way round: introduce and lead students gently to the music. Do not exclude inconsistencies. Tell of the history of the dances, of the relevant culture, and the developement of that specific music. Dance students should learn to adapt to the music, but not the other way round.
  15. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    Last three ECS group classes I've been to taught triple swing. One showed single to and the other showed single and double too.
    Yes, key is to making fun. On teacher suggested not to worry about foot work
    to start in ecs, then when you feal can put the proper foot work and look
    really cool:)
  16. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    Modern music. Awhile ago I with comments following by others went through
    the top 40. Yes lots of the songs you could hustle to but
    there were like 3 or 4 that fit under ballroom
  17. Ice Bucket

    Ice Bucket Member

    I'd say not. I don't think knowledge of the music to which a style of dance was originally danced is a rerequisite for its appreciation. I'd say it adds something, but it's not the be-all and end-all. A lot of your post comes across as very snobbish. It doesn't surprise me to find snobbery in dancing, because it turns up everywhere, but it's unhelpful.

    Similarly so the snobbery of the OP in talking about the degeneracy of youth. When you were young, there were adults saying the same things about your generation. When they were young, there were adults saying the same things about theirs. They were wrong and so are you. Feeling out of touch with youth culture is part of ageing, but we don't have to become reactionary.

    It's also worth pointing out that tattooing, which I presume is what you mean by "painting themselves," is an ancient art, not a new one. It's fashionable among the young at the moment, but it's neither a symptom nor a symbol of their generation's culture.

    On the original topic, I've danced a paso doble to Lady Gaga. :D If music works with a dance, I don't mind what it is. I think there's a lot to be said for an open mind (and an open ear).
    opendoor likes this.
  18. stash

    stash Well-Known Member

    I completely understand both sides of the argument here. As a college student, I was super excited to find out that Lady Gaga had cha-cha's, Rhianna had lots of Latin and quickstep music, etc, and that the theme song to Harry Potter was a v. waltz. It gave me something early on to connect to as a younger dancer.

    However I do agree with opendoor a bit as well. Each dance has it's own personality, and part of the personality comes from the original songs that it was meant to be danced too. These songs help us understand the feelings that go a long with the dance, and how to express oneself to that dance. I would argue that you need to at the very least understand the feelings and personalities of each dance and the songs that reflect this, before breaking the rules and choosing Green Day's Christian's Inferno as a quickstep.
    mindputtee and IndyLady like this.
  19. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Okay guys, there are a couple of comments in this thread that are out of bounds. Read our guidelines, we do not allow name calling or defamatory statements to individuals or groups.

    I will be sending messages to those who have crossed that line regarding edits.....
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  20. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

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