Ballroom Dance > Sticking to What You Know

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DanceMentor, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I know many here have taken dance lessons for many years. I think sometimes it is easy to think in terms of always needing another lesson, so then someone can tell you what you need to do next. But can that be somewhat of a trap?

    You've heard about posture, footwork, choreography, and so much more. And you've heard many of the same things many times. Does there come a point where you really need to make some decisions about what you know, and what dancing means to you?

    Obviously, you still need people to look at your dancing and give feedback sometimes, but are there limits that people often create for themselves? What have you done to decide what you know and go with it?

    I was inspired to write this after watching Bryan and Carmen's retirement dance where they quote Benny Tolmeyer, talk about knowing "pure Latin dance" and proceed to end where they likely started, the basic Rumba.

  2. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    sky is the limit...
  3. Meagan

    Meagan Active Member

    This doesn't really answer the question - but this is one of my favorite all time videos! (I have a soft spot for retirement dances and this one is just amazing)
  4. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    we all retire, we all age, we all stop dancing. but then it just takes another form, the love is always there. I hope.
  5. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    DanceMentor, can you elaborate? I'm not sure I understand your original post.
  6. SwayWithMe

    SwayWithMe Well-Known Member

    I'm not 100% sure that I understand the question either, but here goes...

    There is always going to be more to learn, and deciding how much of that to pursue depends on one's dance goals, surely? It's not as much about escaping the "trap" of more lessons as about what one is looking to get out of dancing.

    I know some people who've been dancing for years and years who take a couple of intermediate series group classes a week and dance socially every once in a while. I know others who take a couple of privates a week and do the occasional showcase routine. Some people attend every beginner group in existence, but don't dance much outside that. They're all happy.

    Competitive dancing by its very nature requires ongoing training. Coach told me that if I ever find myself dancing with a pro who's not still paying for his own training, then I need to find a new pro.
    chomsky likes this.
  7. SwayWithMe

    SwayWithMe Well-Known Member

    I'd agree for myself, and hope as much for those with whom I dance socially, but even this might not apply to everyone. I recently met a lovely but frail elderly woman who's been going to the senior center dance every week for 30 years. Is she really going to benefit from feedback?
  8. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Yes it can. At some point a dancer and/or a partnership needs to take charge of their own dancing.

    I think a student always needs to take responsibility for understanding and practicing what a teacher is teaching; however, there is a point where a student needs to take control of the direction and path of their dancing.

    If they are lucky, they have teachers who understand this and start transitioning their students to make more choices about their dancing when they are ready for it. First they must have a good enough understanding of the information and have a good amount of the fundamentals under control and in body memory.

    I think this is especially difficult in pro-am, where a pro may have to switch from the role of being a "teacher" to being a coach and partner. Instead of constantly taking the authoritative teaching role, they must start spending more time in the role of giving feedback and guidance. It's not an easy thing to do always, it means a change in the dynamic of the relationship between the student and pro.

    I was lucky, I had coaches who understood and began to underscore the need for me to transition out of being just a "student". They stopped taking the authoritative role as much and allowed me to step up to take more responsibility.
    Gorme and SwayWithMe like this.
  9. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    I'm stealing this.
  10. randomaeiou

    randomaeiou Member

    This doesn't just apply to dancing, it applies to all aspects of life really. Some people listen to what they are told, and strive to reproduce, to interpret, to please the authorities/coaches/"masters", as best as they can. However, they will forever be limited to the extent of imagination and/or knowledge of the people doing the telling/teaching. They are the Samsung Galaxy S's to the IPhone 3s of the world, the Windows 3.1 to MacOS.

    Others hear what is said, think it through, internalize, analyze and synthesize the information, and come up with something new - a perspective, an idea, a direction, an evolution. This happens rarely, but almost all the world champions in ballroom (and latin), when you ask the high level (<12) pros, have brought something to ballroom that was uniquely their own (at the time, and then widely copied, mimicked and propagated afterwards by those who lacked the imagination to come up with it before).

    Darwin, Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Magellan, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin + Larry Page, Sean Parker, John Nash, and the list goes on and on (these are just off the top of my head). They challenged the existing paradigms in their own way, each and every one of them - they changed the world. Many/most of the past ballroom/latin champions have had a similar magnitude of impact on the nature/evolution of competitive ballroom.

    Let's put it this way - can you see the limits of your coach's knowledge? Or, more importantly, if you're trying to make your mark, can you see the limits of technique at the highest levels of dancesport at the moment, and have logical ways to push past these limits? (I can't, on either count, not that I'm particularly keen to try.)

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