Ballroom Dance > lessons: what are you working on?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by alemana, Mar 8, 2006.

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  1. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    DW and I are having to do a re-think on our lesson plan, since it looks like our instructor is going to be down for a while with her back injury. :cry: Next week we're going to take a lesson with the senior male instructor, which will probably focus on silver smooth technique. We may alternate weeks between him and another instructor. The studio just hired a new experienced female teacher, and I'm thinking about taking a couple of solo lessons with her to see how we interact; if it works out, I can work on leading and on getting my silver rumba and bolero (which I haven't worked on in a while) back up to speed. Also, I want to learn some new stuff in swing (ECS and WCS); I'm getting tired of everything I know! However, the other thing that is happening at the studio is that they are trying to establish a program of bringing in top-level dancers (including Larinda, yay!) to do coaching and workshops for a session each month, and we might just save our resources for those for the next few months.
  2. redhead

    redhead New Member

    And looking like we are having fun.
  3. just looking like you're having fun, not actually having fun?
  4. yanka

    yanka New Member

    sometimes you're having so much fun that you forget to show it. ;)
  5. redhead

    redhead New Member

    You see, we are "thinkers". like, serious people. and we happen to dance Latin.
  6. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    have a new teacher, and started to work on different things.
    guess what we are doing now!?

    back to walking *again*

    I guess, learning how to dance is a circular and non-stop process.
  7. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Last lesson. Stationary samba walks. WTF.

    Twilight Elena
  8. alemana

    alemana New Member

    we now have practice drills for both rumba and chacha, all open, for maximum practiceability.

    this is such a fun era in my training. with a few well-placed corrections i go from SUCKY to OH MY GOSH that's better in the space of a few minutes. i know when i'm more advanced this will stop, so i'm enjoying it now.
  9. tunape

    tunape New Member

    I'm jumping into the thread a little late. Over the years, the things I've been working on can be plotted in an almost Guassian curve. The x axis is time, and y-axis is "how advice is the material". The peak was about 3 years into dancing where I was learning all the fancy open choreography, timing, positions, etc...

    Since then, it's "digressed" into more and more fundamental things. Year 4 was about "free-er" movement. Year 5 was about frame, 6 was partnering, 7?, currently I'm working on standing up straight(er?) and better body alignment. At this projection, next year will be .... ? Note that since year 4, I've been working almost exclusively on basics(natural turns, reverse turns, feather, rumba walks, samba bounce, etc...)
  10. Medira

    Medira New Member

    I just started to officially learn International standard and latin a couple of weeks ago. Due to current outside obligations, (I'm in the bridal party for a friend who's getting married in 5 weeks and I'm juggling 8 projects at work, which means some really long days) I've only had two lessons over the course of the last three weeks, with my next one tomorrow morning. Prior to this, I had been learning American (which I am still keeping up - just switching studios and starting teacher training on April 11th) for the last year and the only International I had done had been on a trial-by-fire basis. So, when I went into the studio, I told him I wanted to learn everything he could teach me in all of the dances. I've gone into it as if I know absolutely nothing and allowing him to work with a blank slate. It's been really effective so far and I've learned a lot. I've also come out of it with a lot of notes, as you will see below. I'm copying them just as they're written...

    Lesson #1 - March 7, 2006


    • closed change
    • natural turn
    • reverse turn
    • spin turn
    • whisk
    • chasse

    Notes to improve on:
    • body position needs to lift more from the rib cage - stretch through the diaphragm and abs to create the backward arc
    • head needs to be tilted more to the left with chin held higher
    • work on maintaining posture and position - DON'T LET THE SPINE SLIP
    • be very aware of balance and body position, as well as the feeling of proper counter balancing

    Positive points:
    • Good general form and responsiveness to the lead
    • No major bad habits to correct...just need some fine tuning (YAY!)
    • Good movement ability and travelling capability - lots to work with


    • basic
    • New Yorker
    • Underarm turn
    • Spot turn
    • shoulder to shoulder
    • hand to hand

    Notes to improve on:
    • need to work on delaying the hip motion - i.e. quick (hip) quick (hip) slow (hip moves across 1-1/2 beats)
    • steps that involve rocking motion (New Yorker, shoulder to shoulder, hand to hand, etc.) need to make sure to take time for counter rocking motion to take place before turning back to face partner
    • relax arms, shoulders and hands more to gain more reach - especially in New Yorker and hand to hand
    • settle deeper into the hip to properly finish the motion of the step

    Positive points:
    • Good movement to the music - very good awareness
    • Better body position than in standard, latin is definitely stronger
    • Great confidence

    Cha Cha

    • basic
    • New Yorker
    • spot turn
    • under arm turn
    • shoulder to shoulder
    • hand to hand

    Notes to improve on:
    • Same as rumba
    • syncopated side steps (4-and-1) are done with the "and" step on the toe, being used to push the hip out and get more extension on the following "one" step
    • under arm turn is done in three parts. (2-and-3) "Two" is a check step in the initial direction of the turn. Weight is distributed evenly between front and back foot. "And" is the rotation. Turn so weight ends up on the back foot. Front does a hip flick into attitude. "Three" turns back to partner. Weight shifts to front foot, back foot moves beside the front foot, toe resting lightly on the ground, ready to do syncopated side steps

    Good points:
    • Same as rumba


    • bota fogas (travelling and criss cross)
    • samba walks
    • side samba walks
    • whisks
    • whisk to under arm turn
    • voltas

    Notes to improve on:
    • Bota fogas- legs stay straight as front foot brushes past standing foot. Legs remain straight until first step is placed, then lunge deep into the front knee. Second step to outside leaves outside hip raised. Focus on ribcage stretch on the inside as opposed to crunching the ribcage on the outside. Hip remains up through final step, sinking into the lunge to the inside.
    • Arms always present to partner

    Good points:
    • Good timing and musical awareness
    • Great expression
    • Picked up the motion quickly: a good start for proper technique

    So...that was my first international lesson. I may write up the second lesson sometime later on if you guys don't mind my rambles here. :)
  11. DancingJools

    DancingJools Member

    Not really, Alemana. It won't stop being that way, and that's the fun of it. It's even more fun when you've been doing something for years and you thought it was fine (and it probably was), then you're shown an even better way of doing it, or you discover it for yourelf. The "OH MY GOSH" is priceless. :)
  12. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Tango fens and cortes and some pivots, but not so much success because of sucky mood.

    Twilight Elena
  13. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Don't mind a bit. It's great to hear some specifics of what other people are working on; it gets me thinking of stuff that I might not have considered before. I've just been trying out in the office what you wrote about the bota fogas. :cool:
  14. Medira

    Medira New Member

    Okay then! :) In that case, if anything I write isn't clear, let me know and I'll try to expand on it...because just because I understand it, it doesn't mean that everybody else will. :tongue:
  15. alemana

    alemana New Member

    oh lord i hope so, i hope it lasts. it's so great.
  16. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    ooo M we must pm on this sometime
  17. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    I had a lesson by myself last night. (Since I'm married to my partner and our dancing is also a big chunk of our social time together sans child, this is relatively rare.)

    We worked a lot on basic cha-cha locks going forward. I tend not to flex my knees enough on the lock, which makes for a very stiff looking action. I need to think more about making the step that comes after the lock get its momentum from pushing off and rotating the back foot, rather than from just moving the front foot forward. I also tend to keep my rib cage too squared off , rather than leading with one side first, then the next.

    I've been dancing for quite awhile, but I feel like if I'm ever going to get better, I really need to concentrate a lot more on fundamentals. If that means I'm in silver syllabus for years to come, so be it. I've been dancing with so-so technique for way too long.

  18. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    This is going to be confusing, but the abs actaully contract to hold the lower front of your ribcage down and firmly connected to your legs. The stretch to create the look you see comes in higher up. It feels like spreading your ribs vertically, though I don't know if that's anatomically possible.

    JANATHOME Well-Known Member

    Getting ready for the regionals and dancing american smooth. We have not danced smooth in at least 2 years. We are in the studio for practice 3 times a week in addition to our lessons just dancing the routines(or parts of it) over and over and over again! Right now all we have is steps and are not really dancing it. We are still trying to get comfortable with the routines so we can move forward. Dancing smooth is quite different from International standard. Right now the possibility exsists that we will end up stratching smooth for this regional.
  20. dancesportgirl21

    dancesportgirl21 New Member

    In my lesson yesterday we added new more advanced patterns to my foxtrot and quickstep routines. Foxtrot is becoming less of a challenge (yay!!!) and I still have to work on keeping my foot, body, and new head positionings consistent during scatter chasses in quickstep and am still trying to figure out one of the new patterns. I'm chasseing everywhere now- everyone better watch out- :D
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