Light vs. Heavy Connection

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

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Here is SKippy Blair on WCS anchors.

    An ANCHOR is an “away” connection from one partner’s center (CPB) to the other partner’s center. It can easily be achieved by both partners placing their Center Point of Balance (CPB) BEHIND the heel of their forward foot. This strengthens the partner connection at the point where the anchor takes place. This also alerts each partner that they have completed what they intended and are now ready to move on.
    So, she uses the word connection, rather than pressure.
    The WCS anchor is a rather special case. That "away" pressure" shows up mostly at slower speeds when dancing to something like the song "Steam." The lack of the awayness is quite noticeable if it's not there. When it is there, there is a definate feeling of resistance and stretching when the man starts back on the next step.

    We feel the same awayness when doing colgadas in Argentine Tango, or when doing single axis turns, or, really, in a fast waltz. I can get it in a CW two step, too. In these examples it's a result of centrifugal force from the rotation.
  2. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Yes, but just to be clear...I'm not talking about Standard or Latin in the context of routines. I mean lead-and-follow connections. Just FTR. :)
    stash likes this.
  3. vit

    vit Active Member

    I understand. I was actually referring to the your salsa class, where you liked a way how one guy was leading you and didn't like the other guy. Although some salsa dancers are indeed technically very good - it is still social dancing, variety of "personal styles" and range of technical level is much wider, requiring much wider range of adaptation from both leader and follower side in order to enjoy the dance, including connection. There is always (or there should be) a kind of "connection negotiation" at the beginning of the dance, especially if it is a person you never danced with (or at least didn't dance for a while). You need a time for this skill to develop, like you need a time to improve your technique in ballroom. The same for WCS. In choreographed dancing, it's different - you have your regular partner, you have a tryout, you see can you make a good couple, otherwise you try to find someone else etc.
    samina likes this.
  4. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I'm also remembering how I've successfully followed hustle/WCS/salsa with barely touching fingers, and even experimentally without touch. I think you're right, vit - there is a divide between the requirements for those styles and S & L styles, where that would be highly impractical.
  5. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    Light enough not to interfere with my own balance. But "heavy" enough to feel my partner.
    chomsky, samina and fascination like this.
  6. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    My experience is that there is actually a much wider range of personal styles of lead and follow among competition dancers, because they don't as frequently dance with people other than their competition partner, and so have less opportunity to get pulled back towards the average style by partner styles.

    I think the reason social dance tends to be associated with a wider range of adaptation is because you actually do have to adapt to different partners, while a competitor can get used to his or her competition partner only.
    chomsky likes this.
  7. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, this is also a sound argument which I agree with ... on the other side, formal ballroom training is pretty much the same all around the world I suppose, consisting of quite long period of training very basic syllabus things, with a trainer etc ... development of typical salsa dancer consist mostly of attending some group classes (although it can last several years) and big amount of social dancing. Formal ballroom training is much more controlled environment and various deviations from the style get quickly penalized by adjudicators on the competitions ...

    Anyway, dancing on some bigger salsa congress parties, I usually meet some ex ballroom dancers (not hard to recognize) and - feeling when dancing with them (at least those which names and results I found later on dancesportinfo.net) was quite similar no matter the country, which wasn't the case with girls dancing only salsa ... we are both immediately 10-20 year back in our lives, with the same feeling as we were a couple dancing on the competition, for those several minutes ...
    chomsky likes this.
  8. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I have twice had the experience of being the first person ever to dance with a pro-am follow other than her instructor. In both cases, it was an interesting and unusual experience. They were both fairly experienced pro-ammers and had obvious talent, but I could also tell that she and her instructor had between them developed a very idiomatic style of connection that was far different from conventional practice in some respects. In both cases I was able to adjust to it well enough to do some basic social dancing, and I think if I had had just a bit more time with those partners, we could have made rapid progress.

    Well, with social dancing, depending on the venue, you may encounter dancers who have little or no formal training, and depending on how often they dance and how insular their usual dance scene is, they can be very messed up. In my experience, it's not as much of a problem with club dancers as it is with people who attend things like town socials and charity balls. The latter often don't dance very often, never take lessons, and seldom dance with anyone other than their SO.
    chomsky likes this.
  9. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    Good point. My former instructor had a student who was, shall we say, dependent on him to move her around. And he did. Dancing with him immediately after he had danced with her definitely made me feel like I was being flung around, which I neither wanted nor needed. He had to readjust to my lighter and more responsive dancing.
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    that is one of the things I really enjoy is that I can often sense, particularly in rhythm and latin, that my pro is used to having to do a lot of the turning for people...I think I now have him realizing that most of that is not neccessary...I won't say never because I can specifically name a few spots that don't go well without a bit of help
  11. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, this happens at higher levels of all genres as well. In many figures, one partner helps another to execute a move faster or they are using some common balance. Using common balance is actually integral part of the WCS from the beginning, while it's not the case in ballroom, where people learn to execute all basic figures on their own first, without support of the partner (that's at least how it is in my area)

    The difference is that when both partners are good, they can move fast on their own, but can be faster with help of a partner. They both have a good balance, but can use partner's balance as well. If one partner is much better (like pro-am), then he has to do most of that job (moving the weaker part of the couple around and taking care of his/her balance and common balance ...)
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
    chomsky likes this.
  12. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    There's also the danger, though, of going too far in the other direction. I'll admit that I am sometimes too dependent for my own good upon my partner for my own balance, to the point where executing the choreography solo feels very difficult, or at the least strange. And she admits that she relies on my lead pretty heavily too, to the point where sometimes when she dances solo, she doesn't know whether to turn left or right without me.
    chomsky likes this.
  13. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Hmmm.... my pro never "moves me around" and I am not allowed to use him for balance. I would say that most of the good pros out there expect the same from their students.
    samina, dancelvr, chomsky and 2 others like this.
  14. dancelvr

    dancelvr Well-Known Member


    I'd have to say.....ditto. My DP expects me to fulfill my responsibilities as a follow. As a result, for the most part, I'm becoming a 'light' follow...not hanging on him, or forcing him to drag me around. He wants me to be responsible for my own balance, rotation, and the creation and filling of 'space'. This is a priority for me as well.
  15. vit

    vit Active Member

    Yeah ... generally, when dancing with a partner that isn't at the same level (quite frequent in social dancing), there are two options. First is trying to move him/her around, but this option usually isn't working well, because it affects her balance and usually makes her resisting and moving even less. So my approach is trying to compensate for the lack of movement or lack of precision of her movements by moving myself more or adjusting to the way she moves. This usually works much better - her balance improves, she is more relaxed and able to move more freely, so she has a feeling that her dancing is better than really is, but eventually it actually becomes better
    chomsky likes this.

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