Ballroom Dance > Man's head position in Viennese Waltz

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DanceMentor, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    I don't think the way I turn would be the same way you turn. :)

    There is this common notion that the nose follows the toes, so
    you've pretty much answered your own question.

    It is quite interesting, though, how many varied opinions there
    are about how just the "small" handful of movements in VW
    should be done. There are coaches who believe the right foot
    should be a flat side-step draw, those that like toe-heel, etc.,
    irrespective of what the ISTD books may say. There are those
    that believe in an oval travel around the floor, there are those
    that think a diagonal is better, etc.. There are those that like
    being very still in the upper body, there are those that think
    minor "twitches/pulses" enhance the movement, etc..

    Bottom line, as VIT observes, is that everyone (and every
    partnership) does it a little differently.
  2. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    My translation of your "no rhyme or reason," that's all.

    If it works for you (and your partnership), then that's great.
  3. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    okay...fair warning... technical content follows, written after several vodka martinis.

    How the head is held through a series of figures can make the difference in showing smoothness and calm transition through the three dimensional space that is the dancefloor.

    This is no exception in VW, where the quiet-ness of head-travel will offset the frenetic movement of the feet.
    Done correctly, how the head travels becomes the focal point, so the other frantic stuff going on fades into the background, the net effect (we hope) is that the movement exudes "quiet flow".

    General Guidelines:

    Natural movements--fwd half: the head goes into the turn first, before the body.
    That is to say that the head is turned into the general direction of the turn before the rotation of the body happens--and is held in one general direction for 1.5-1.75 beats of 3 (1st part) and then slowly settles in the remainder of 3 (2nd part).
    Backward half is the reverse (body first, head stays longer).

    Reverse movements--fwd & backward halves: the body goes into the turn first, before the head.
    That is to say that the body goes into the turn while the head is still held in one general direction (for as long as possible).
    Mostly with the same duration as the natural movement.

    It is when we become more advanced, that adjustments are made for a longer first part and shorter second part of each half and blended into the following half.

    The key, in both instances, is to hold the direction of the head and eyes (not quite spotting) in a single direction as long as practical and aesthetic as possible.

    So, for the 1-6 of the NT for example,
    ROUGHLY... before 1, the head already starts rotating towards wall, and by 3 is transitioning from looking slightly over DW against LOD to against LOD. from 3-6, one keeps the head from the point of departure (looking against LOD)as long as possible before turning to looking towards slightly DW off LOD.

    While these guidelines can apply to both lady and gent, the lady's movement tends to be less pronounced (typically the decision of the dancers, more than aesthetics).
    Obviously there's more nuance to it than all this, but it should be enough to get experimenting.

    (santa maria, I hope this all makes sense)... :)

  4. vit

    vit Active Member

    I'm not sure that Mirko Gozzoli (on video at the beginning of the thread) is following these rules :???:
  5. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    aww, cheer up.

    look at these guidelines as starting points for us mere mortals :)

    when you get to become mirko-esque, then you can write new rules for the rest of us... ;)

  6. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, trying to match movements of his head in VW is way easier than trying to match movements of the rest of his body ;)
  7. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Is it possible to also have a PSA instructing people to not take things personally when others take their words literally?
  8. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I teach a very pronounced and deliberate movement for the ladies head. Being in just the right place at the right time is very helpful to the momentum of the partnership. The deal with the ladies head is the amount of her leftward stretch is already so great that her hanges are harder to locate. Where as the man is vertical (and taller) so any changes to him is much more visible. But in reality the ladies head (since it is further out on the circumference) is hugely responsible for the momentum .
  9. Piggles

    Piggles Member

    Apologies for being irritable, hopefully no harm done. ;)

    With the repetition of the VW figures, I find that I tend to tighten up in the second half of the music. My back starts to tense and I show signs of losing my fluidity of movement. So moving my head (while keeping my top line and connection consistent) helps my body stay relaxed and light. In my case (and level), I figure the end justifies the means.
  10. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    okay, you're over my head on this one....
  11. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Moving your head in relation to your body is correct. The frame, neck, and spine are not SET or fixed. They SHOULD move and create different shapes while you move in VW.

    If Partner Dance was questioning the "randomness" of the movement I could understand. But the fact "that you move your head" is not wrong.
  12. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    A little obscure insight that you may find useful or may
    reject outright...

    You mention that on 5, your right foot is pointed roughly
    diagonal center, whereas I mentioned that it should be
    roughly back diagonal center, and I'm assuming this is
    what we both mean to say.

    This relates to the overall body position and how you
    intend to achieve the "revolving" travel (on 123). In
    Latin/Rhythm dancing, pretty much every experienced
    dancer understands and uses the technique of "wind
    up" to achieve easy rotations/turns/spins. This entails
    leaving some body part(s) "behind" so the ensuing
    action is easily achieved. In Smooth/Standard, the
    "same" kind of thing should be going on, except these
    wind ups often occur with the body/spine tilted.

    If by 5, one's right foot is already pointed diagonal center,
    then by 6, one's left foot is likely almost LOD. This
    position negates any ability to use the body naturally
    to get around, making the revolution forced and rough,
    with the body getting there early in a rush (as well as
    rushing the partner).

    If by 5, one's right foot is more or less back
    diagonal center and by 6 both feet are roughly pointing
    center, then there is lots of body "wind up" that can
    be used for the 123. The body would be tilted sideways
    somewhat (opposite LOD) on 6. The head plays nicely
    in this action.

    Something to think about. It was the major eye-opener
    for me when I started doing VW.
  13. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    The one moves in latin is exactly opposite of the way one moves in standard. They are not the same. One has another body in its space, the other is solo with space available on all sides. One travels, the other is stationary.

    5 of the natural for the man is pointing DC. There is no need to underturn in order to conserve a body part.
  14. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    What you originally describe as no rhyme or reason is probably
    not really what you are doing. You are "experimenting" with
    better movement by using your head (and perhaps other parts)
    to balance and counter-balance better.

    A lot of dancers do fine in VW the first or second time around
    the floor and then peter out because they use too much force
    and momentum and are too rigid. This is just my general
    observation not having to do with anyone specifically, especially
    since I don't know anyone.

    BTW, my original questions to you were partly out of curiosity
    and partly to get some thoughts running. For instance, the
    answers to how your head movement is viewed by your
    partner could have been:

    1) I don't think it affects him
    2) We don't discuss such things
    3) He'll just have to deal with it
    4) He compensates nicely
    5) He really likes it for variety
    6) He really likes it for technical reasons
    7) etc..
  15. vit

    vit Active Member

    Don't agree with this part. Pointing right foot DC on 5, while body is turned aprox. to the center feels completely natural. At 6 left foot is closed to the right and both feet and body are turned aprox. DC

    However, it's different for the partner on 5 (or for man at 2) where left foot is turned aprox. to the wall at the beginning and there is some additional rotation of the left foot while the right one is closing on 6 (3)

    From my remembering, it's also described this way in the books and I see no reason to change this
  16. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Ah! But in which direction are you traveling (horizontally across
  17. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    "Horizontal" is parallel to the ground.... it is not an alignment term or a directional term. It is not a term that applies to anything here, unless you are talking about the lack of rise and fall? Even then the shoulders are not "horizontal" since there is sway on the natural turn. Or on a broader application "horizontal" applies to every dance because we travel along the floor.

    What are you really asking... ? Pick a better word than horizontal... because that really doesn't mean anything here.
  18. vit

    vit Active Member

    I'm also not sure (like Larinda) about your question; my answer would be that these alignments are for usual situation when the couple is dancing along LOD (which of course isn't exactly straight line in most parts of the room, because dimensions of the room are limited)
  19. Piggles

    Piggles Member

    Ahhhh! I get it. I made a bad assumption that it was clear I was turning my head during natural turn...Doh! "And when you assume..." :oops: My head-turning is only done within the context of natural body movement, however whether I do it on a corner or half way down floor is completely random. If there are spectators at the corner of the floor watching us, I'll change my head position from L-R-L (as the figure rotates) to try and maintain eye contact with them. But I'd do the same if I had fans half way down the long wall too (it's just eye contact is much shorter then). That's what I meant by random... ;)

    The judging thing is also interesting. I've taken coaching with a few of my judges and their preferences (to some extent) mirror the rules when they competed. My coaches who competed, say, 20+ years ago seem to prefer my head left more often than not, however coaching from those who competed, say, 10 years ago like the head movement to R. I should say that I haven't received coaching in VW from any of my judges. But my first two walls of open Slow Waltz were reviewed, and not only did opinions differ between the two camps, but opinions changed in the course of a year. So... I try to do what feels best/most natural for me/us on the floor, and hope my judges like the end result.

    I dance pro/am with no real plans to look for an amateur partner (based on personal circumstances and location). My teacher likes how light I feel in VW when I let my head move with my body and would like me to do it more often. I hold back a little for two reasons: 1. I like to keep the movement as an accent later on when I need a break; 2. I'm not altogether sure of how different judges feel about the movement yet.
  20. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Horizontal, as in a horizontal plane parallel to the floor. IOW,
    as viewed from a ceiling camera to watch billiard balls move on
    a (horizontal) pool table for their paths of travel. The same
    view used for descriptions of alignments in the dance texts.

    Could also be called lateral travel or movement.

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