Ballroom Dance > Silver Smooth: Differences in Foxtrot and Waltz

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DanceMentor, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    First Question:
    In most syllabi I have seen, the first steps taught in Silver Waltz and Foxtrot are the Open Left Turn and Open Right Turn. Besides timing, what makes the two dances different?

    Second question:
    I always thought of Foxtrot having a flatter swing as compared with Waltz. This is why there are more steps that close the feet in waltz where we sway more to slow down and close the feet, while the feet pass more in foxtrot to there is more continuity and less need to slow down with sway. Why aren't there more steps that close the feet on "3" for Silver American Waltz?
  2. famfam

    famfam Member

    My opinion on the differences between the two, as the figures tend to be the same:

    1.) rise/fall: Waltz has a greater change in height during the process of the steps then Fox does.
    2.) timing: waltz has a flat1,2,3 timing, wheres foxtrot has a S,Q,Q timing. Obviously, this is necessary as the music has a different amount of beats per measure, however I believe that it's particularly important to hold the S appropriately to emphasize this difference.
    3.) Styling: the waltz styling should be (in my opinion) more graceful and flowy, whereas the foxtrot has some room for being a tad bit sharper. Also, the kinds of line you might hit could be different. For example, my teacher teaches that she would do up and over for the arms for promenade and counter promenade runs (flip flops) in waltz, but would open straight to the side in fox. This one is more interpretation of the character of th dance and the music, and would vary from dancer to dancer, and coach to coach.

    Thats how i interpret the differences between the two, ignoring unique figures (grapevines only in fox in my opinion...have seen them in waltz before I think...) As my coach has said, if you turn the music off in a video, you should still be able to tell whether its a waltz or a foxtrot from the movement and styling.
  3. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    Very good and interesting point you make about the difference in the timing between the foxtrot and the waltz. I had never thought before about holding the slow (s) in the foxtrot in order to emphasize the difference between the waltz and the foxtrot-though that makes sense-as you point out.
  4. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    Because that's what sets it apart from Bronze? And the continuity styling of the feet is what makes the jump in level so difficult -- how do you maintain the characteristic rise and fall, swing and sway, and rotation of the waltz, maintaining your balance and your common center with your partner, when the feet do not close? It also forces you to be fully cognizant of the collection and lowering at the end of the 3 if your feet are swinging through instead of closing.
  5. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Correct, not a waltz variation in classic silver styling .Common to both for e.g... Spirals and Spiral turns . Twinkles, Continuity styling, Fallaway Twinkles and Pivots
  6. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    I agree with FamFam and his description of the technique difference, though I'd also append that not only should the slow be dragged out but that the quicks should be "snapped," depending of course on the music.

    As for why the two dances both begin with the same figures, and overlap on more, look at it from a teaching perspective. When I'm trying to help my students transition to the continuity movement, figures that are shared between the two dances make it much easier to teach the foot positions. Then when I'm trying to teach the differences between the two dances, having figures in common that I can differentiate makes it much easier to teach styling. One may or may not use those figures in the future - personally I love open natural in waltz but rarely use it in foxtrot except as a method of achieving promenade, and I love open reverse in foxtrot but almost never use it in waltz - but there are serious benefits to learning them.
  7. famfam

    famfam Member

    Yes, the point of differentiating the slows and quicks apply the other way as well. You help emphasize it by making the slows slower and the quicks quicker, didn't mention that part. I also agree that by having the same figures, it helps to differentiate the two dances since you have the ability to contrast the dances, even with identical footwork. Then you have the different steps for each dance to further differentiate them. My opinion is that they fully become "different" dances only once they get to gold, but I feel in silver you do get to "feel" the difference between the two, and in gold you actually get to make them different, both with steps and character.
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    my silver am ft and waltz are the exact same footwork...and I have found it a challenge in a good way, to make the two different....
  9. smidra86

    smidra86 Active Member

    I definitely agree on this. Larinda once told me actually that when you are in closed hold in foxtrot, the steps should be flat. There shouldn't even look like there is a rise and fall, and even though they are so different, internation and american foxtrot rise and fall should be about the same when in closed hold. Which is what definitely sets it apart from the waltz, which has a great rise always on the penultimate (the before last) step. Although in foxtrot there is a little rise also on the penultimate step but that is usually more when you are in closed hold or doing more "american" steps
  10. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    The reason I asked this is as I watch people at parties doing continuity, which is pretty much the norm, I see very little difference in the two dances. Maybe foxtrot tends to have more grapevines or weaves. Otherwise the technique seems very much "about the same".

    In International, this is not the case at all. There are more apparent differences.

    It seems to me that American Style Waltz should include more figures that involve closing of the feet for more pronounced swing and sway, and also more rotational figures like Natural Spin and Double Reverse. You can still do open work to make it "American", but ignoring these figures seems to me "un-waltz-like". I mean, the students learn a natural turn in waltz (closed ending), and then ditch it in silver, and don't even bother with the Natural Spin, which to me is a way better way to be introduced to pivots than from the Open Right Turn, a much more challenging entry.

    I know maybe I am being a little critical here, but I just don't see the average student learning the figures that would set the dances apart.
  11. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    At parties. You're judging American style by what you see at parties. K. Whatev.

    Is that what makes American style, to you? Open work?

    So, correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that you want American style to be International with open work, kind of like a cross between Standard and Latin.
  12. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    The average student probably doesn't really care much about the technical differences between Silver American FT and Waltz.
  13. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Yes, because I see intermediate international students at parties showing a clearer difference in both step patterns and technique between the two dances.

    That would be one of the leading answer you would get if you asked people.

    So often I'm not sure that American style even knows how to define itself. Why do people teach a basic in bronze foxtrot that is virtually completely ignored once the student reaches silver? Why is the Natural Turn in bronze almost completely forgotten by silver? Why is the basic equivalent of the Feather and 3 step taught in bronze and then rarely used after that?

    Seriously, I'm not sure American style always knows what it is supposed to be. In competition you have a lot of crossovers from international who basically do exactly what you are saying. They take international steps and "americanize" a bit.
  14. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    definitely agree on this. Larinda once told me actually that when you are in closed hold in foxtrot, the steps should be flat

    totally agree on this boat adrift on a glassy lake i once heard

    Jenelle Maranto taught me to step on the two ( or even slightly later) in foxtrot to emphasize the slow it also borrows from the quicks so you can make them look sharper

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