Ballroom Dance > How to improve the frame

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DonMickey84, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. DonMickey84

    DonMickey84 New Member

    Hello, you guys must agree with me that a good frame is one of the most important thing in ballroom dancing. It takes even years for gentlemen to have a stable frame, so in order to have a good frame in a very short time we needed an effective method. To me, I can't find a way to improve my frame. Help me my guys!
  2. Yana

    Yana Member

    I'm not a guy, but a girl's frame is also very important. You can try standing against the wall in a solid frame for several minutes at a time through out the day. Make sure you have good posture, head up and shoulders back and down.
  3. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Get the ox yoke from Dance Vision or similar.
  4. NonieS

    NonieS Well-Known Member

    According to my teacher, this is for the guys and the girls... I will explain it as I understand it from a lady's standpoint but my partner does the same thing.

    1. lean forward so that your body weight is over the balls of your feet.. your body is straight.

    2. turn your body left.... making sure your head turns left as well. Putting your arms out to the sides is a good way of practicing this. The feet stay pointing forwards.

    3. Take your bra line and rotate it right towards your partner, keeping your head and left shoulder to the left. If your left shoulder goes to the right/closes to your partner, he will feel as though you are on his side.

    After that, I let my arms up naturally. When Denis does a similar thing with his posture, our frames fit nicely together. I don't actually think of holding my arms up there or maintaining any position, but rather activating parts of my body as I move so it looks like I am holding a position. For example, moving forwards, I think of activating with my back behind the bra line and relaxing the neck, which creates the illusion that I am shaping back, but my partner does not feel that I am backweighted or heavy. Because of the rotation, it feels like a forward step is really a diagonal.

    I allow my arms to move in line with my shoulders... they have to move at the same time as my body or else my frame would get behind me or in front of me. It helps me to think that I am holding a shape or a ball and that I move the shape whenever I take a step. One of our coaches prefers to think of it that she is holding up the partner's number and is "showing" it to the judges.

    I don't know if this helps or is even relevant, but I have been working on frame and shape a lot lately (I have big shoulders so it is important that I do it right because when it is wrong it looks BAD), so this has been on my mind almost constantly in recent practices and lessons.

    ETA: One of our coaches tells my partner to think that he has "sharp elbows," so that rather than having a rounded frame in front of him, he has his frame in line with his shoulders. It is more comfortable for me that way as I feel I am not being pushed back and can shape over my own center. He also think about extending his movements through his elbows (some people like to think of extending through the hands, but he has a tendency to open his left arm so thinking of just the elbows extending is easier for him). So, when my partner does a natural turn, as his right foot closes, he is thinking about extending his left elbow way out... this makes me feel like I can take a large step and then make a big shape to fill his frame.

    ETA again: I just remembered. My partner also thinks about keeping his right hand in front of his right hip. It moves and turns at the same time, and I am able to stay in the frame much easier. It also help keep his frame in line with his own body so that it doesn't look like he is doing anything wonky. Turning steps such as running spin turn or standing spin are much easier now....
  5. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    There is no short cut to getting your frame [sorry].

    What you can do is practice for longer hours per day(that might shorten the calendar time it takes to get to your frame) and hit the gym to work on the specific muscles that will give your frame ENDURANCE.
    All of this is relative, of course, to good instruction, current muscle strength, and determination.

    At the end of the day, only CORRECT PRACTICE with (and without) a partner will make your muscles remember the frame--tools notwithstanding.

  6. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    My ballroom frame really needs work right now...
  7. TallTenDancer

    TallTenDancer New Member

    Practice, practice, practice. Sit straight with your shoulders set "in frame," hold your upper body frame when you're walking (looks good, too!), always try to be conscious of it. I've also found that doing core exercises (sit-ups, crunches, etc.) can help, since a lot of the frame comes from those muscles.
  8. DonMickey84

    DonMickey84 New Member

    Oh thanks guys so much! Ur advise are all valuable! Thank you again!
  9. ViviDancer

    ViviDancer Member

    From personal experience, I think the best way to train your frame is practice. I used to slouch horribly when I sat and walked 2 years ago. But after 2 years of dancing, my posture has improved.

    I believe that the best way to get a good frame and maintain it is practice. And not just during dance, but every second of every minute of every day. Whether it's walking to work/school, sitting at home on the computer, having lunch, I remember to keep my posture straight. I find that this really helps and the next time I dance, holding my posture feels more natural.

    But then again, that is just posture. Frame requires more dance to get used to it :) And it's good to have someone to point out to you if your frame isn't right and then you can correct it. Most of the time, you just can't see yourself properly.
  10. mikeylikesit

    mikeylikesit New Member

    NonieS – Thank you for that tip!!

    I think this will certainly help me to maintain my frame and create shape to my body. I’ve been dancing for almost three years now and over the past year I have been concentrating on improving my frame. The past two months I hit the gym twice a week and work on my back muscles. With every dance the first thing I always think about is my frame. Eventually in time I hope this should come naturally and then I can concentrate on other aspects of my dance.
  11. jamesandanne65

    jamesandanne65 New Member


    I bought a dance training aid for my husband at the UK Open in Bournemouth in January which I'm sure could help you! Its called Topline Dance Frame - we use it regularly as part of our practice and our teachers have both commented on the significant improvement already! I'd be happy to share our experiences with this frame, just let me know.

    So far, almost everyone we've shown it to has been out and bought one too and are finding that its a part of their regime now too (theres been a few couples that think they dont need one!)

    Hope this helps!
  12. DonMickey84

    DonMickey84 New Member

    Thank you so much, but hix hix there's nowhere to find that tool in my country and I'm sure its cost is very expensive, too... So can I myself make a tool similar to that thing? It's so important to me, you know...
  13. jamesandanne65

    jamesandanne65 New Member

    Have just looked at their website (if you google topline dance frame you'll find it) and they can post to anywhere in the world. My husband was also dubious at the price (about £130) but when I pointed out that the last pair of shoes we bought cost £80 and only lasted 3 months, and that this will last forever (quality has been excellent) he admitted that it was worth a try - and now, it's been an absolute bargain - we use it every lesson and can't recommend it enough
  14. NonieS

    NonieS Well-Known Member

    No problem!! Maintaining frame through movement has been the hardest thing for me as well..
  15. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    I think you should work on improving the frame as it relates to a partner--doing some work by yourself will be helpful, but often guys have a frame which gives the lady not much room to breathe. Working on it yourself is good, but also with a partner and learning how to allow the frame to create space in the hold is essential.
  16. jofjonesboro

    jofjonesboro New Member

    One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in developing a good frame is to get rid of the concept that the frame is created in the upper body.

    A good frame actually begins with your feet. Confidence in your ability to execute patterns gives your entire body more strength. An indecisive lead is a weak lead. Accordingly, some of your practice time needs to be devoted to mastering the figures.

    You cannot have a strong upper body without a solid core. Always, always, always keep your abs and glutes tone while practicing your steps.

    Finally, the most important muscles for your frame are those in your upper back. If you're going to hit the weights, lat exercises should be your first priority.

    The best advice that you've been given is to practice as much as possible. Use some of this time both to elicit feedback from your partner and to provide the same yourself.

    I personally do not recommend the "yoke" that has been mentioned. As a general rule, I believe that such artificial aids breed dependency and keep you from conditioning your muscles through proper use.

    Good luck.

  17. Casayoto

    Casayoto Member

    I have also heard that braces like that aren't helpful in the long term.
  18. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Agreed. I ask my students to wear it and it certainly is an eye opener for them; having a good frame makes the dancing work! However, without training, they almost immediately revert to their old posture. In the long run the student has to be able to create the frame from within their own body.
  19. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    As an alternative point of view from an anatomical perspective, read posts 48 and 49. In a nutshell, if I recall, the advice is not to avoid working the lats, but rather to ensure that they and other muscles are flexible enough to lengthen, which they should be, rather than contracted. You didn't say to contract the lats when dancing, but some people hear "use your back" and they contract every muscle they can, shortening what should be lengthened. Also, the post makes a good case for the deeper muscles of the back as important, whereas the superficial ones are usually highlighted. It's a good read.
  20. DonMickey84

    DonMickey84 New Member

    Hey Josh, how you can post a link in ur posts while I can't? By the way, can I make a dance training aid by myself?

    Thanks Yana, nucat78, NonieS, madmaximus, TallTenDancer, ViviDancer, mikeylikesit, jamesandanne65, jofjonesboro, Casayoto, Bailamosdance & Josh

Share This Page