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

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

  1. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    Yep, Rugby's right.
    It's an overstretched change of direction--with almost like a lilt ending.

    One thing though (intentionally or otherwise) the tilt to the L into the Man's RF to the side is a bit exaggerated which makes him step about 25 cms too far to the side that Lorraine needs to take a farther step with the LF--makes it look too obvious, or for this discussion, a possible mistake.

    He seems to do the same thing again around 1:05.





    m
  2. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    yes, exactly. it's quite a distinct style to watch in person, noticeable immediately when you try to duplicate it & don't come anywhere near it, lol. he makes mechanical adjustments that allow the lady to get in under him. i've seen the coach that GJB & i study with do this as well...i love the look of it.
  3. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Put the tailsuit on, and you won't see the swayback. ;)
    When the sway back is the result of the stomach not being held in, I think that is a problem. On the video, this is certainly something notable, but Luca is not competing, so the panel of judges just us DFers. :)
  4. katandmouse

    katandmouse New Member

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. He teaches soft hips yes, but anterior tilt no. You don't need to do that to your spine to get soft hips. In fact they work better without that tilt.

    Here is another diagram http://tinyurl.com/7tvn3b from the book Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology. In that picture you can clearly see the same anterior pelvic tilt you see in Luca when he is standing still waiting for Lorraine (see my posted diagram in another post).

    I'll bring a professional in who is an expert at this sort of thing to be sure he agrees. In any case, it's still important that all of us - teachers and students - understand what is correct from an anatomical point of view so we don't make the mistake of trying to copy and then acquire a deviation or compensation.
  5. G809

    G809 New Member

    I think he is standing that way because he is preparing to dance and has initiated his dance posture.
  6. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Meh...he specifically identifies what sounds like an anterior tilt (slight rotation of the hip down & up the back) in the Dance Bible. I understand it as a tool to be used or not used for specific purpose. In the context of his instruction, it is paired with a slight rotation of the torso up and down the back. It is this combination which gives the appearance of sway in his back.

    We've discussed this a number of times on DF over the last couple years. I agree it's a good idea to know why one would want to do (or not do) such a thing, because it can certainly create distortions rather than solutions. I know that from personal experience, heh. :)
  7. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    Someone told me that Luca had his tailsuits made specifically to cover the curve in his back during his competition career because he knew the judges would look down on it. Now that he's retired, he can freely show it off and I, for one, think his posture AND his dancing is beautiful site to behold. Whatever he's doing, it's certainly working for him:)

    And I agree sam: he definitely teaches that sort of posture in the Dance Bible and so do his students.
  8. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Good to hear, ithink...I was sure I hadn't misunderstood the vid. :)

    It helped me greatly at a time I needed to make a shift in the alignment of my body. Now I align things with a different model, building upon where I have been before, but I am very aware of when my instructors make an adjustment for me which achieves that tilt...am slowly acquiring some discrimination as to when to use, for my own purposes.

    In a recentish lesson with GJB, our coach described it as "thru the lymph nodes", the ones that are in the front sides of the pelvis. Tilting that down nicely opens a space for the partner.

    I look forward to a time when I understand the judicious application of the tool...
  9. katandmouse

    katandmouse New Member


    I understand this teaching and agree with it. Stephen Hannah taught this to me. I call it "letting it all spill out" as I imagine the iliac "bowl" tipping over slightly. I don't equate what Stephen taught me with anterior tilt, however. A healthy pelvis should be this way all the time. Perhaps Luca is going for more. It would be interesting to get a kinesiologist's opinion.
  10. katandmouse

    katandmouse New Member

    Ok, I'll check it out. I have the Bible. Do you know what chapter?
  11. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I would note that the pelvic tilt is not required to allow the lady to take that position; old fashioned forward poise combined with a toned center are enough for that.

    What the pelvic tilt does is provide a few extra inches of separation from the waist down - which is what allows one to see Luca's belt buckle in the video. As Chris pointed out earlier, the extra space is one way of achieving freedom of movement for the legs, though not the only way.
  12. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I believe it's the 1st chapter, K&M...when he's talking about balance and how to align the body to achieve that. I remember distinctly what a mind-blower it was because, as I brought my torso more forward and achieved the soft hip & torso rotations, my body felt such *relief*.

    Previously I had aligned everything more traditionally as taught to dancers and in Pilates, with the pelvis slightly tipped and trying to have a straight back. But with that one viewing, my alignment felt so much more at ease and "organic". Also, *immediately*, my neck ceased needing to be regularly cracked (by myself). Although as I've said I align myself now using a different model when dancing, I still generally maintain that soft rotation in hips and torso when at ease. I remain grateful for his having shared that paradigm, because I have never encountered it anywhere else.
  13. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl New Member

    I think part of the key is that his lower back position is not fixed; the amount of curve varies depending on what he is doing. It's probably a lot less likely to cause problems if it's used dynamically, rather than holding it.

    I know what you mean about posterior tilt, kam. I had the habit of holding my pelvis in a posterior tilt (from growing up pre-J. Lo and trying futilely to hide the junk in my trunk :p). Dancing has corrected that and I have much less back pain than I used to.
  14. katandmouse

    katandmouse New Member

    I think it is extremely important for anyone reading this dialog to understand what is good or even ok for one person's body may not be good for another. Perhaps you have a slight posterior tilt. This then would be very good advice for you. For someone who already has anterior tilt or even perfect neutral position (which is tilted too), the advice might not be so good.
  15. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    She did what as was lead, which was not really a heel turn. If she had closed her feet, he would not have been able to make that lateral movement once past her, or at least she would not have been able to join him in it. In some ways the action of the first step is like a heel turn, but the trajectory after that is not one intended to close her feet. It's higher and more braced in that first step than I would personally lead a change of direction, but that is an entirely plausible suggestion.

    If I recall, there's only one actual heel turn in the whole sequence, right at the beginning.
  16. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    Nor should it be, since he's leading a change of direction there at 0:48, which does not involve any foot closure.

    Her step is smaller than is perhaps typical for the lady in the change of direction, which may be why it looks to some like a missed heel turn. His is larger. Tying this back into the original subject of the thread, I think that is because of the extra distance between their legs from the pelvic tilt. In the second step of the change of direction, where the man has to get around the lady, any distance between them must be made up by a larger man's step.
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    yes, this should be a given with dance. there are very few things i've come across in ballroom that can be confidently universalized. it seems everything is debatable, lots of different preferences out there.
  18. katandmouse

    katandmouse New Member

    I found what you are talking about I think. In the chapter where he describes the rotary actions, he demonstrates going into anterior tilt and then to posterior tilt. Through these exercises he is teaching articulation of the joints in order to maintain vertical weight fall and not lose balance. When you watch the team demonstrate these principles in their dancing, you do not see it to the extreme that he or they demonstrated. It is much more subtle, but there.

    I'm referring to something entirely different. Luca most definitely has a swayback. This is not a posture he assumes for dancing, and that is even more clear if you look at him from the side in the Bible when he is just standing there.

    So the misunderstanding here is that I'm referring to his everyday posture, you're referring to the way he is moving. That extra swayback you see in his movement, is only "extra" because he has more tilt than the average person to begin with.

    Therefore this extra swayback is not something the average person should try to achieve. They'd be forcing something out of their bodies that their bodies are not designed for because their tilt isn't as extreme as his is by nature.

    I say, don't imitate the swayback, but do imitate the articulation.


    Does that make more sense?
  19. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    The 48 second figure is just a change of direction. What Lorraine probably feels there is a bit of rise, but the sharp left sway immediately causes the weight change before the feet come all the way together, and then she probably feels the strong rotation which causes her right foot to go back instead of forward. This sharp directional change, which is initiated on the first step, nullifies the possibility of a heel turn. It's deceptive because we see the real action happen between 2 and 3, but it really started on 1, which is why she never closed her feet on 2. That's my take anyway.
  20. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    k-n-m, your description makes perfect sense, and I think it's great advice to not try to achieve what we visually see, because often what we visually see is present in a person for a reason, like the one you mentioned with Luca (the fact that he already has a postural misalignment--and it's no insult to call it that, it is what it is, and we all have our misalignments!).

    I have a tendency to have an arched lower back and get yelled at all the time by my coach for it.

    As for Luca doing things different from most, I say more power to him! I personally do not like the look, and though he is obviously one of the best ballroom dancers in the world, I do not find his style more compelling than those with a more traditional look or posture. When I watch him dance it's very enjoyable, however, not nearly as much so to me as some others. Hence, I try to avoid having the arched back.

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