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

    Before I go into a diatribe about this issue, let's try to see if we
    even concur about some basics of movement.

    Suppose 12 o'clock is FW (forward along wall), 6 is BW (back along
    wall), 7:30 is BDC, 9 is C, 10:30 is DC, etc... You mention that
    you would end count 6 roughly with both feet pointed DC (10:30)
    and this would probably correspond to some (horizontal) location X
    past halfway along the wall. Say you travel some 4 feet on the
    ensuing 123 and end up at location Y on count 3. At what clock
    position (angle) would Y be with respect to X (remember your
    feet are pointed at 10:30)?

    Note that I'm purposely avoiding the use of "LOD" as it isn't
    meaningful due to the changing angles.
  2. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    So it's not random, since you're using your head for exhibitionism. ;-)

    I feel the same way. There is probably more randomness in
    the judging than in your aimless head shifts.

    Advantages of pro-am: am gets (much) more experienced/capable
    pro partner who practices full-time with others.

    Disadvantage: am must (mostly) dance the way the pro dances
    and usually does not get enough customization/adaptation/
    attention, especially if pro has many students or career goals
    conflicting with teaching that am. Unless am is rich, the pro-am
    practice time is very limited.
  3. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Right.... we all are moving horizontally when we dance across the floor. What's the point of your question, because that has nothing to do with alignments, and you assertion for the man to be underturned a whopping 1/4 less than the book alignment.

    Lateral means sideways... out of the sides of your body. That has nothing to do with horizontal.
  4. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    In viennese waltz, the head rotates continuously. With six steps per full rotation, the head will on average rotate through 60 degrees during each step, so it's difficult to associate the head facing with a single direction for each step.

    However, what does happen throughout most of step 5 is that the gentleman's head is stretched against line of dance, even if he is looking more towards the center of the floor by the time the right foot is placed. The head stretch counterbalances the lady as she swings past.

    I don't think this is obvious for most dancers; using the gentleman's head weight to counterbalance the body action is a fairly advanced technique that many dancers never really get to.

    This does not follow. The right foot is placed pointing - not facing - diagonal center on step 5, but the left foot is still pointing roughly against line of dance, with the body in between. The body rotates as the left foot is drawn in, but the right foot does not rotate, so at the point of foot closure for step 6, both feet are facing diagonal center. This leaves room for further rotation of the body as the right foot steps out along the line of dance for the following step 1.

    Viennese waltz is a very different dance from slow waltz, so the same principles do not apply. Here are the world champions from 10 years ago:

    I don't think you'll find any head turns on the lady as long as they are moving in closed dance position, though she has some very nice head changes when they are in shadow position and when they do some stationary shapes at the end.
  5. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    A diatribe is a bitter, forceful verbal attack on another.

    I am not sure why you would feel that VIT would merit one, for a simple & reasonable statement for clarification.


    I am curious (honest) why you don't think LOD is meaningful due to the changing angles, when almost every dance book (well, the ballroom ones anyway) refer to it precisely BECAUSE of the need to describe the angles taken during travel relative to the room.

    Your clock analogy above, requires the assumption of additional parameters, in order for me to understand your question (obviously, speaking only for myself...perhaps others understand it, I don't know):

    1. Presumption of a natural turn, reasonable since at 6, your feet are pointed at 10:30.
    2. What is the direction of step 1 presumed to be? is it towards 10:30, or towards 12:00?
    2. Using your description, are we presuming that 12 o'clock is a constant direction, and not a changing "heading" based on either a) the direction of travel of the dancer, b) the direction of the first step of the dancer. LOD is a constant direction that is typically parallel to the walls of the room (in standard/smooth).

    Taking your sample above, suppose my feet (as gent taking a Natural Turn) may be pointing to DC (your 10:30) at step 6, but step 1 might be taken either towards A) DC (your 10:30), or B) down LOD (your 12:00).

    (or are you saying that the clock has adjusted/reset direction at step 6, and that step [A] will now be heading towards the NEW 12:00, and step will be heading towards the NEW 2:30?)

    Presuming that step 1 is taken DC, then at step 3, my feet will be pointed as "backing DC", but the step 4 can be taken EITHER as "backing DC" (Your 10:30) or "down LOD" (your 12:00).

  6. vit

    vit Active Member

    So, when I'm dancing VW, my path along the room roughly resembles a running track on the stadium. It has 2 straight parts along longer sides of the room, and two half-circles near the corners. If the room is smaller, my path would be an elypse or a circle (depending on dimensions of the room), without straight parts

    Assuming I'm on the straight part of my path along the room, on the beat 6 I'm turned DC in both points x and y (or 10:30 in your notation), because I'm doing complete turns. If I'm on the curved part of the path, I'm turned approximately 45 degree left from the tangent to that curve in both points x and y and I'm making slightly less than 360 degree (natural) turns
  7. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Good. We agree that the end location Y is about 45 degrees from the
    direction of the pointed feet at the start location X. This "wind up"
    or "cocked position" is already "not so obvious" to a lot of dancers.

    Hence, you'd wonder why I think pointing the feet roughly toward
    Center at X is reasonable/desirable. Many years ago, I had a
    coach suggest that the Naturals in VW should be danced as a
    diamond/diagonal/line rather than oval/ellipse/curve. This was a
    revelation to me, as I never considered this option, as it
    was an "outside the box" idea that obviously some people believe
    in (I don't think it was an original idea). I don't even know
    how much overall value that coach/instructor attributed to the
    diamond-shaped LOD beyond what he pointed out then, that
    the straight paths traveled was the shortest and most direct,
    making a couple appear to travel faster then they are in a
    competition (with least effort).

    Over the years, I've considered the merits/demerits of the diamond
    verses that of the oval, and believe the diamond really makes
    things easier. In an oval, the couple must keep re-adjusting to the
    changing tangent, possibly creating more inter-partner force/friction
    than necessary, as the partners get confused on each revolution
    as to where the end position Y should be because of curvature.
    In a diagonal line, the end position is simply on the line of travel
    and the feet pointing-direction is always the same (until reaching
    the mid-point of the next wall). It's not unusual to see couples
    dancing themselves into the corner of the room and have to do
    oddball things to get out (no Spin Turn in VW). A line (directly
    to desired destination) also reduces the need to do in-flight

    In practice, something in-between would probably work well.
    So, in light of the desire to travel diagonally to the middle
    of the next wall, the pointing of feet roughly toward Center
    makes sense.
  8. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, I said that in point x, which you defined as being on count 6, my feet are pointing 45 deg left from direction (tangent) in which I'm moving (or let's say the center of the gravity of the couple is moving), and at position y at count 6 of the next bar my feet are also 45 degree left from direction in which I'm moving at that moment (in point y), which is not the same thing as you wrote in quoted sentence

    The next step (on 1) will be along the line I'm moving, so it's about 45 degree right of the direction my feet are pointing to on count 6

    However, this is off-topic
  9. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Can we get back on topic please. Head positions.

    If you want to start a new thread with revelations and assertions of tangents and coordinates then by all means do so.
  10. vit

    vit Active Member

    I'm aware that it went off topic, so I didn't comment the rest of his post, but just wanted to make more clear my previous post
  11. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I understand.
  12. Piggles

    Piggles Member

    True enough - I totally agree. I simply brought it up because it seems there's been a recent (recent for me?) trend in VW for the lady to occassionally look R on natural turn. And whether judges like it may depend on how recently they were still competitors. I don't *know* if that's the case; I'm just postulating...

    Unfortunately I can't access your link right now, but will do so later this evening.
  13. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Shaping to pp on natural turns would be a result of the man leading a promenade shape.

    There are other shapes that she make (stretches ia perhaps a better word) throughout the reverse and the naturals that help keep the swing and momentum heading in the correct direction... and when done well they produce the look of no movement... but there are lots of movements and shapes and stretches that are going on. Without them the partnership would appear flat and the top would look small. Even if we can't see Lorraine doing them... she is. And that is the beauty, she is doing them but we don't notice.
  14. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Looked it up prior to using...

    Definition of DIATRIBE
    1 archaic : a prolonged discourse
    2 : a bitter and abusive speech or piece of writing
    3 : ironic or satirical criticism

    Shooting for usage #1.
  15. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    It's all related.

    One can't use the head effectively if one isn't clear on where one is
    headed. (pun intended) A lot of dancers get dizzy or exhausted
    in VW because their head position/usage is not consistent with
    the travel and rotation they are doing or need to do.
  16. vit

    vit Active Member

    I suppose main problem with getting dizzy, at least at beginner level, is not connected with usage of the head, but because people are dancing VW trying to rotate around the partner, and it's not what this dance is about. A feeling of moving sideways along LOD during the dance should be dominant (at least I was taught that way). Assisting balance with the head is much more advanced stuff
  17. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Dizzy is a neurolgical response to a stimulated sensory hair cells in the ultricle. When these hairs are triggered and move they send a signal to the brain that says "we are moving". WHen they move in unexpected ways they send a "distress signal" to the brain that says "UH-Oh.. We don't know which way the body is going...Sit Down....SIT DOWN NOW" The "sit down" command is interpreted by the brain as "dizzy".

    After repeating the offending movements continually over time your brian learns to ignore the "distress signal".

    This is why ballet dancers insist that spotting will cure dizziness. It will be because they repeated it enough times to trick their brains out of freaking out, but not because their head is in some special place at a special time. I learned to not get dizzy because I have shaped my head into turns for the past 20 years. Spotting makes me dizzy because my brain is not accustomed to it as much and the "distress signal" gets through to my brain.

    It has nothing to do with putting your head in the right place. It has everything to do with learning to accept the feeling and turn off the response to the distress signal.

    Head position is directly related to freeing up momentum to rotate and swing. It is not about dizziness.
  18. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    yes, this is correct.
  19. Piggles

    Piggles Member

    Neat-o! I didn't know that. I always wondered why some people got dizzy when spotting and others did not. I'd heard different pro's present various reasons, but Larinda's definately makes the most sense. :p
  20. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I would agree with that. None of those stretches amount to looking to the right on naturals, though.

    I agree it doesn't have to do with head position per se. I don't think it's just a matter of getting used to it, though. As one learns to dance ballroom better, one learns to dance more smoothly, and the more smoothly one dances, the less the otoliths move around, and the less chance they have to cause dizziness.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the subtle shaping you mention helps in this respect by making the movement smoother.

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