Ballroom Dance > Problems as couple learning dance

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Jongleur9418, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. Jongleur9418

    Jongleur9418 Member

    Hi, folks, many thanks from “she,” the poor beaten wife! I joked when I encouraged my husband to start this thread, “Post it and you will have the whole world standing behind you!” :rofl:

    Now, into serious business! There are so many valuable pieces of advice above that I am going to put them together as my practice list. I may come here from time to time to ask detailed questions about my practice to pursue further feedback.

    Meanwhile, I have one issue to clarify and to invite more advice on:

    As some pointed out, I do have ego related issues, such as dancing for admiration or self-centered ambitions and expectations, etc., though I have adjusted a lot along the learning process (at least being more realistic). The frustration in dealing with the partnership, however, is not derived from my attitude or goal, rather, it results from our day to day practice, of which the most crucial issue is timing in partnership.

    We know there are some threads on this forum discussing this particular problem. I bring it up here because it is related to the topic – problems as a couple learning dance. After two years dancing together, I have become more frustrated and impatient struggling between the music I hear and the lead I feel. Sometimes I try to help but the resistance he feels would screw up the whole dance, or even whole evening. The instructors always tame me, “You follow only the leader, period!” I understand that! But, while my husband keeps working very hard on the issue, I need more skills to cope with it, especially in most open positions in American dances (chase in Cha Cha, for example). Psychologically, I also need to overcome my own embarrassment on a social dance floor. I much prefer we dance basic patterns as long as we dance to the music. I also care very much about my husband’s feelings, (this time he encouraged me to bring this up here) given how hard he is trying.

    He can hear the music just fine when practicing by himself, but with a partner he is really inconsistent depending on his emotional state. Sometimes he can do very well for a whole evening. Other times he has a hard time getting anything right in the timing. It seems to have to do with his emotional reaction to the room and the other people dancing.

    We have tried a lot of ways, and it has seemed to be getting better many times, but the problem is still there. Here comes an expectation issue – once it gets right, I expect that it will stay that way thereafter, but it doesn’t. :(
    FishyOne likes this.
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    dance to his timing....that is his job...when he gets better it will be on time...when dancing with him, make your only job be to try to feel what he is saying in his timing...if he is late, let him be late...if he asks about it, you can suggest he take a private on how to work on this
    FishyOne and Jongleur9418 like this.
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    let me add that I would never cast the first stone
    FishyOne, billman and Jongleur9418 like this.
  4. Jongleur9418

    Jongleur9418 Member

    Great responses, Fascination! I like both your posts, though I will still be frustrated from time to time. ;)
    FishyOne likes this.
  5. atk

    atk Active Member

    If you find yourself frustrated that you are not attaining a particular goal, it would seem reasonable to change the goal. Fascination's alternative of learning to focus on his timing and ignore the music is a good alternative. If you find yourself drifting onto the music, refocus on your goal of following your partner's Timing. When your partner drifts from The music, it can become an opportunity to refine your following abilities instead of a reason to be frustrated.
    FishyOne and Jongleur9418 like this.
  6. Jongleur9418

    Jongleur9418 Member

    Good point! I actually just tried this "alternative" tonight, and felt very good -- Being more concentrated on his timing instead of struggling between the two, I felt some nuances from his movement that I never felt before. A couple of times I quickly adjusted my steps to his timing when he drifted from the music. I believe what you said here that it can become an opportunity to refine my following abilities.

    Thank you so much!
    FishyOne, latingal and billman like this.
  7. vit

    vit Active Member

    Disparity in learning speed is normal. This is one well known graph in salsa world.
    Not any different in ballroom

  8. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I've heard from a world finalist that men hear the timing of the music differently from women - I believe the exact quote was, "men hear music slower than women". It's unfortunately, but women have to ignore what they hear and just follow, at least until they get used to what the men are hearing instead of what they are hearing.
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  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I firmly believe this
    FishyOne and Mr 4 styles like this.

    JANATHOME Well-Known Member

    Interesting I always heard the music slower than my husband but also agree the women must ignore what they hear and follow the lead.
  11. vit

    vit Active Member

    Hard to say. There are many things in dance world you can't find any serious/valuable research about, including even most basic things like simple walking etc

    From my experiences dancing salsa socially with big number of girls, a part of them coming from competitive or social ballroom, part of them from other dance genres, other only salsa dancers, it's hard for me to confirm that kind of difference between man and women. However, there are big differences in perception and interpretation of the rhythm among girls overall - although most of social salsa dancers in my venue can hear the rhythm and dance to the rhythm (unlike majority of social ballroom dancers in my venue that can't - especially latin), feeling can be very different. Some of them feel so good like they are a part of the music and we match perfectly, some of them feel like they are not dancing to the music at all, although if you watch their steps, you can't see anything wrong, and the rest of them are somewhere in between ...

    I personally like to be slightly ahead of the rhythm compared to the girl I'm dancing with, so she has enough time to react to my leading and be in the rhythm, because in social dancing, things are not choreographed like in competitive/performance dancing. Heavier/older the follower, this "phase difference" generally needs to be higher
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  12. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    I concur but will expand.... I hear a note LONGER than my wife she hears slow I hear SSSSSSSSLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW and dance a figure within the allowed range of these two beats.. I like to use the music to guide my timing within a measure.. so there is a wax and wane to the timing a bit esp in foxtrot standard or American

    I took her years to feel this subtle variance but it makes the dancing feel COOOOLLLL
    FishyOne and Jongleur9418 like this.
  13. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    she just says I dance retarded

    thats a good thing...right.....??
  14. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    "Retarded" is a synonym for "slower", I believe.
  15. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    why yes it is

    I was jesting
  16. Jongleur9418

    Jongleur9418 Member

    From the wife-OP:

    Wow, learning music for dance sounds another big field, to which I have very little touch. My husband said that he always ran into female dancers counting out for him while dancing. He felt very annoying, but didn't know how to cope. I am glad that I at least never did that to him and any one I danced with. But, still in my mind I thought I was the one hearing the music right. :oops:
    FishyOne likes this.
  17. Ailuene

    Ailuene Active Member

    I wonder if this is specific to dancing. I know that I don't have a problem playing in an orchestra with playing along at the same tempo as others, but change the scenario to partner dancing and it suddenly seems a lot harder! :confused: But I guess that's part of the challenge of being a follow. :p
  18. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    that's natural...but not always true:eek::cool:
  19. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Warren, that´s a common place for all those who are dancing. Nothing new. It´s simply the principle of leading and following. So what do you want to share, intrinsically?
  20. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I think, as vit alludes to, that it has to do with lead/follow. Presumably the lead takes a fractional amount of time to be transmitted, so if the man is dancing on the beat, the lady must be dancing slightly behind. By the time the lead is transmitted to the lady, the lady senses it as slightly behind - "slower" - than what she hears, even if the man is dancing on the beat.

    Whatever the mechanism, the upshot is the same: the lady must wait for the lead, rather than dancing to her own time.
    Gorme, FishyOne, SwayWithMe and 3 others like this.

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