Swayback....is it really a bad thing?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by SwingWaltz, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. SwingWaltz

    SwingWaltz New Member

    Watch this video....Luca, 2 times world champion in ballroom. So I'm taking that what ever he does, it can't be wrong!

    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=jiVu6XyF2Mc

    From my point of view, he has a massive swayback. So many people say that swayback should be avoided as much as possible. But look at Luca!

    So the questions is, is having a swayback really as bad as people think?
  2. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Ultimately dancing runs into the limits of physics and human strength, and there are choices to be made. Each choice has it's own implications.

    Project your weight forward of your foot and it's easier to have contact and a long lower back at the same time, but it takes extreme foot strength to move slowly and evenly though all phases of the step action - at a certain point it becomes impossible.

    Carry your weight further back, more balanced over your foot, and you are able to move arbitrarily slowly though all phases of the step, but you will either often end up without contact, or arch your back to achieve it.
  3. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    As a former world champion and coach of world champions once told me, the world champions are not perfect - there just doesn't happen to be anyone else better at the moment.

    Come to think of it, the person who told me that coached Luca when Luca was world champion, too.

    Assuming that the world champions "can't be wrong" is a very dangerous assumption.
  4. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    P.S. I think it's interesting to pause that video on the outside partner step at the end of the first feather. It really shows how good a dancer Lorraine is!
  5. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl New Member

    It seems to me to be part of the way he uses his back much more flexibly than most men. The amount of curve in his lower back varied depending on his movement. It was greatest when he was moving backwards, when it appeared to me he was using a "sitting" movement (I was once advised to "sit" when going backwards and "kneel" when going forwards). Personally, I found overtucking my hips (a pre-dance habit) a hindrance to good dancing and found I moved better if kept the front of my hips more open even if it did create a bit more curve in my lower back.
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Yes it can.... total perfection is virtually non existent. I,ve seen just about every Champ. from way back, and can recall " mistakes " for want of a better term, with pretty much all , at one time or another . ( mainly technical, but it does happen )
    There is a vid. on site somewhere, with a world class couple, and his foot position in his DR spin, would not pass an Assoc. exam .

    Reminds me of what one of my coaches told me many yrs ago, when I asked who generally wins at the higher levels.. his response " the one that makes the fewest mistakes ! "....


    What you seem to be commenting upon, is " Style " . If you lined up each Champ. from the past 60 yrs ( most unbeaten ) they pretty much would show an evolution of style change.. so.. were they wrong ?... of course not.. style in many cases , is opinion .. you either like it or you dont. Techniques do change, mostly for the better, and with that, sometimes a paradigm shift in execution .

    The " Latin " , gives a much more defined e.g of the above .
  7. katandmouse

    katandmouse New Member

    First of all, what defines "wrong"? If you have a set of rules and if Luca breaks one of those, is that wrong? Yes, if you define it to be so. But I would say that if there is a rule that says that Luca is doing it wrong, then that rule shouldn't be there in the first place. Luca's dancing is exquisite and exquisite dancing is everyone's goal. There is only one rule governing exquisite dancing and that is that it is exquisite. He does not do it wrong then.

    As for the swayback, I'm not sure you can even say that is something he is doing. My guess is it's probably something he was born with. As long as it doesn't get in the way of exquisite dancing, why complain about it. Because someone said it's wrong? That doesn't make sense. I'd say to that teacher or that judge, "You read your rulebook. I'm going to go watch Luca dance."

    My first dance teacher told me I should have a flat back. He took my hips and put them in posterior tilt and told me I had to stand and walk like that all the time, when I walked to my car, when I shopped, when I cleaned house. How could I expect to do that on the dance floor if it wasn't a habit, he said. Good student that I am, I did just what he said. Within a year and a half, it led to a pelvic girdle collapse and severely ruptured disc. I've spent the last 3 years in therapy and live with a permanent injury because he wanted to take the curve out of my back. I know now what he was after, but he clearly didn't.

    So, careful. Dance teachers in this country are not required to know anatomy and biomechanics. They can, unknowingly, lead you astray. This is not to say that getting some of that sway out is a bad thing. It's just how one goes about it that is my concern.
  8. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    spectacular reach and floor contact - but look at the non-heel turns :eek:
  9. SwingWaltz

    SwingWaltz New Member

    Yep...agree with you guys and I wasn't implying that Luca is perfect.
    I was trying to say that a lot of people has said to me that I should avoid swayback as much as possible because it is dead WRONG and wrecks the over all look and posture! So I was just trying to say that maybe it's not as wrong as people think.
  10. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    And I think you are right on - still its not something one would encourage ;). Was his back the same when he was at his peak or is it possible its got worse?
  11. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Right, wrong, perfect, imperfect, whatever... consider the context of the Foxchatrot. Playful and cheeky, having fun, not trying to win the orld Championships. I think they are allowed to indulge in their idosyncrasies.
  12. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    It looks to me in that video that Luca has some extra weight in his belly, and that gives him a little extra "swayback" appearance.
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Look at him in profile right where he first starts going backwards out of the reverse turn - the projection there is not at belly level but has moved higher, and you can see it reflected in the back.

    If you listen to one of Luca's lectures, he has a somewhat different theory of how the body works in an activity such as dancing than most other teachers do. The good thing is that his dancing and his explanation are compatible - the real problem would be if a teacher says things that conflict with how they actually dance.
  14. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I'm just saying that the gut enhances the swayback appearance due to the extra covexity.
  15. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Look at the frame that I'm looking at and you'll see that there isn't a "gut".
  16. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    huh?
  17. katandmouse

    katandmouse New Member

    He always wore a jacket, so if it was that way, it was a secret. I showed a non-dancer friend of mine this video and he said Luca has a pot belly. It's really his back and lordosis that is causing that. If I were Luca, I'd check in with a professional and have this looked at. This condition can lead to lower back problems. It's a much easier problem to correct than what I had to do. If you want to learn more, research "anterior pelvic tilt" and "lordosis."

    I really hope Luca wannabes don't begin thinking the swayback is desirable because it appears to lend to his flexibility and then try to copy this. This is a postural deviancy inherent in Luca's body. Those in the know would even tell you this condition could most definitely effect your dancing - in a NEGATIVE way.
  18. katandmouse

    katandmouse New Member

    You were all talking about his gut when I was writing my other post. See that above. The curve of the spine and the forward hip tilt causes the gut to protrude.

    For your research:
    http://www.hesfit.com/men/comment/losing-your-gut-anterior-pelvic-tilt/
  19. katandmouse

    katandmouse New Member

    It's actually just the reverse.
  20. YanaA

    YanaA New Member

    Before he danced differently, I think. Now he found what works for him. All the good dancers try different things and choose whatever is best for their anatomy and looks the best for their body built. I've heard that his ribcage is naturally much more forward that most people, that his ribs stick out. Thats how he is built and that what works for him. Nothing wrong with that.

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