Ballroom Dance > Light vs. Heavy Connection

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DanceMentor, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I'm curious about your thoughts on how strong you like your body connection in standard. I've experienced quite a few different ideas on this. Here are a few thoughts:

    1. You see many pro-am couples that do quite advanced patterns without even being in contact. I think this helps make sure the student is dancing on their own balance, and "can" be less work for a teacher that have many students.

    2. I know some people who say that strength of the body contact should equal that of the hands. So for example the force of the man's right hand on the lady's back would equal that of the bodies at the connection point, and also equal that of the held hands.

    3. Often I hear people say the more dynamic couples (or just moves) that more emphasize rotation have stronger body contact as a more leveraged balance comes into effect, rather than only personal balance.


    Oh, and do you think there are some steps where a heavier or lighter connection makes them work better?
  2. GJB

    GJB Well-Known Member

    1. I have always thought of connection as something that was dynamic varying throughout the dance depending on what pattern or figure you are dancing. And, in lead and following dancing, I always thought it was the leader's job to set the tone since he knows what pattern he has in mind and the follower does not know what is coming next.
  3. GJB

    GJB Well-Known Member

    I started as a social dancer doing Country and Western (UCWDC style) and WCS (NASDE style) before trying Latin and Standard. In those worlds, the teachers sometimes make a distinction when they refer to connection as either compression, leverage or neutral and sometimes they just say connection. I have not noticed Latin and Standard teachers making the distinction - they just say connection. I guess what type of connection is always very obvious so maybe it doesn't really need to be said. Then again, Smooth seems to make much more pronounced use of compression and leverage than Standard. I wonder if the Smooth teachers make the distinction or just say "connection".

    I think a stronger, more elastic connection is needed for figures that make use of leverage and compression and this is particularly important for figures which involve a quick change of direction as frequently done in Smooth.
    samina likes this.
  4. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    Personally, if I see a Pro-Am couple dancing complicated standard choreo with bad or limited connection, I assume it is purely that -- a prefabricated routine -- with little to no lead/follow.
  5. dancelvr

    dancelvr Well-Known Member

    Wow.....lots to think about.

    1. When there are balance issues, DP and I break apart, take a very light practice hold, and work it out. It's the same when we work on very new steps. At other times, we always dance in contact.

    2. This sounds very....balanced, but also a bit static. I've never heard of this school of thought.

    3. I believe our more dynamic rotational moves do have a little stronger body contact in order to accomplish counter balance, especially in QS.

    As far as particular steps, I like a lighter connection during weaves, and a little more in say...a spin turn.
  6. stash

    stash Well-Known Member

    I think for the most part the connection should be a happy middle. Most figures don't require either a super heavy lead or a super light lead, and in fact either extreme could hinder the couple. I think there is a time and place for a lighter connection like when the couple are working on a new move, or on personal balance. But for the most part, the connection should ramaine somewhere at medium, shifting slightly from light to heavy.

    I think the lead should be what changes. Some figures require less indication (like a turn to promenade in tango is very obvious, where in waltz it is much more subtle) or more. I think in shapes this is where it really comes into play. You need a very good connection to shape together, and shape together well. But the leader needs to indicate very well how well the follow should stretch.
    dancelvr likes this.
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    :cool:my preference depends upon the man involved
  8. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    On a scale of 1 through 10 with 1 being light and 10 being strong, I prefer more of a 7. I want to feel what my partner is doing and where her energy is taking her.
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    all yum factor aside, I find that I get my primary connection from both of us having our arms connected to our centers and then our hands connected to one another...obviously, for some extreme moments a great contact is there, but it isn't something I go around trying to modify
    chomsky likes this.
  10. vit

    vit Active Member

    Not that much in ballroom now, but with my regular partner I prefer lighter lead (probably around 3 at scale 1-10) because stronger simply doesn't work with her, as she is relatively gentle. Dancing salsa socially, it is anywhere from 0 to 10, depending on the partner (mostly on her masculinity) and is varying several notches up and down, depending on the song / during song, on complexity of our dancing etc. Furthermore, my both last latin trainers at hobby classes wanted stronger lead from me than I think was enough to lead them, just to show the 'sport' in the dancing (WDSF seems to prefer that last years)
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  11. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    Agreed!! Ugh I have had some TOUGH dances in the past.

    I definitely have most experience with the school number 2, however in a way this has limited us at some points in our dancing (sometimes creating tension) BUT I would not want to dance this way with an inexperienced leader. I can't imagine open quickstep with so much momentum with anything other than number 2. I believe you definitely need both the arms and the body connection to create dynamic dancing.
  12. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    Body connection, or body contact? I prefer a strong body connection and light body contact.
    Egorich likes this.
  13. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I like my partner to have presence -- not leaning on me, but I want to feel that she's there. I find that dancing with a partner whose connection is is very light is a bit disconcerting. In smooth (and bolero) I want as much body contact as I can reasonably get when we're in closed hold. And yes, I have heard instructors talk a lot about "push" and "pull" type connections.
  14. GJB

    GJB Well-Known Member

    I don't like the terms "push" and "pull". I think they have an overly physical connotation. I think of dancing as part art and part physics and so I prefer the terms "compression" and "leverage" because they are more technical.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
    samina likes this.
  15. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I get that. I know what they mean by "push" and "pull" -- it's just a convenient shorthand.
    Hedwaite likes this.
  16. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    It depends on what kind of vibe I feel from the person asking me. Also, if you're from this forum, I would politely decline a dance and spare you the horror of my frontness touching your frontness.
  17. vit

    vit Active Member

    Now I see original question was actually about the strength of the body contact (some replies including mine were about the strength of the leading). I mostly prefer whether light contact whether no contact, depending on the person I'm dancing with - giving more freedom - even in dances danced in salsa community that are usually danced with much contact (bachata, recently kizomba, brazilian zouk ...). Sometimes more contact works better, if frame of the person I'm dancing with isn't good, but in that case many other things are also wrong, and with some followers, it's somehow more comfortable dancing with more contact ... so again, no universal rule ...
  18. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    I like a good, solid, firm...connection.

    I want to be able to stay connected and feel the strength of the lead. Too light of a connection can be quite hard to follow, as our top line tends to waver a little.

    When I dance with coach, I have no problems with a lighter connection, as his frame is really solid.
  19. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    Could you elaborate on this so that I get it?
  20. vit

    vit Active Member

    I suppose it means strong connection through arms and strong frame, but not much actual pressure one body against other at the point of contact

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