Techniques across international and American styles

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Jongleur9418, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Jongleur9418

    Jongleur9418 Member

    I recently went to a new instructor to improve my technics in Bronze American ballroom dances. To my surprise, he introduced me into international style. We started with Waltz. While attracted by the smoothness and elegancy of the international Waltz, I don't know if its technics will automatically improved my American Waltz, or I have to integrate them in some way. And how?
  2. Leon Theou

    Leon Theou Active Member

    First off, nothing will automatically improve your dancing. You have to practice, and practice correctly. That said, Standard will improve your dancing when in closed hold, as well as developing the mechanics of rise and fall, swing, CBM, etc. Regardless of level, you will be in closed hold for part of your Smooth. Once you start dancing continuity figures (where you pass your feet at the end of each measure rather than closing them), some of the technical bits of Smooth and Standard will start to diverge more, but having exposure to some Standard technique is still beneficial regardless.
  3. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    Where the figures are the same, as with the natural and reverse turns in American bronze and in international style, the technique is also the same.
  4. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    smooth and standard are much closer together technique wise than rhythm and latin are
  5. Jongleur9418

    Jongleur9418 Member

    Thanks, folks! Very helpful tips! This is exactly my question: how to make requests to and discuss with my instructor for the integration instead of just learning more standard dances.
  6. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    Certain International figures give you a good grounding in technique applicable across the board, Standard or Smooth. A Natural Turn in Waltz gets you used to rise, fall, swing, and sway, Feather and Three in Slow Foxtrot gets your spine moving across the floor, etc.
    Jongleur9418 likes this.
  7. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Why not learn international style?
  8. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    coz American smooth is more fun...eventually:D
    smidra86, danceronice and jiwinco like this.
  9. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    I had a coach who put me through the same process. I was skeptical at first but I must admit it made an enormous difference in both my understanding of smooth and my placements.
    Jongleur9418 likes this.
  10. Jongleur9418

    Jongleur9418 Member

    I planned but this is a different issue.
  11. Jongleur9418

    Jongleur9418 Member

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts!
  12. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    J, at bronze level, technique training is invaluable. I would look at these lessons not as different from American style, but as pure dance coaching. Someone telling you how to place your weight, your posture, etc, transcends any specific technique.

    One way for you to understand your American thru this is to (for instance) ask your teacher to do basic left and right turns (called natural and reverse in international standard) with you. You can see it as part of your American but you will get the technique training that is much more important than the 'steps'.
    Jongleur9418 likes this.
  13. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    While it's probably particularly beneficial at the bronze level, I don't think the benefits ever really go away. My smooth-competing pro has taken coaching sessions in standard in the last year. They'll never compete in that style themselves, but she and her partner feel that it's time well spent and has helped their smooth dancing.
    Jongleur9418 likes this.
  14. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Just make sure your instructor understands and respects that your goal is Smooth, not Standard.

    Right now, you are in Bronze, and there is practically no distinction. Unless you are quickly rising up the ranks (like, looking at Gold/Open next year because of prior dance experience) you should be starting with "Standard" technique... because it's actually "Smooth and Standard" technique. You need to apply it to your Smooth before you can even think of applying actual Smooth technique.

    I don't think there is any need for "integration". A forward step is a forward step, turning is turning. You just need to make sure you are practicing effectively and consciously, no matter what step you're doing. I can't think of anything in Standard technique that does not apply to Smooth as well.
    dlliba10 and Jongleur9418 like this.
  15. legato

    legato Member

    i take lessons in both standard and smooth, and agree with most of the other posts...and would also mention that one of the elements across all smooth dances is moving from open positions and figures to closed (in frame)position figures - to do that beautifully and be able go into a correct frame in closed positions will be one of the many benefits of studying standard for as long as you choose to to so...:)
    Sania likes this.
  16. Jongleur9418

    Jongleur9418 Member

    A valuable point! Thank you, dbk!

    Thank you all for the posts!
    dbk likes this.
  17. Sania

    Sania Active Member

    In standard, because you stay in closed position, you can focus on

    1) getting the correct frame, posture, and connection and getting that into your muscle memory
    2) footwork and movement across the floor

    without the distraction of opening and closing up with your partner. Then, when you go back to smooth, the posture, connection, movement, etc, will be more automatic.

    One of my early coaches was a pro smooth finalist. When my then-partner and I started working with him, the very first thing he did was have us focus on standard as a training tool.
    Jongleur9418 likes this.
  18. sbrnsmith

    sbrnsmith Active Member

    I have been doing Smooth, but Pro just started me on Standard. I am really liking it and a lot of technique now is making sense to me. I'm excited
    fascination likes this.
  19. TwoRightFeet

    TwoRightFeet Active Member

    Learning Smooth can be of great benefit to those wishing to learn or improve their Standard, as there are many technical similarities between the two styles, particularly concerning the closed-hold figures.
  20. smidra86

    smidra86 Active Member

    My coach has been doing standard technique with me non stop. It has improved my own balance, my following skills (in smooth I used to like to lead myself, bad habit) and has greatly improved my closed and open work for smooth because the techniques are applicable in many different ways. There is a good reason why the last few pro american smooth champions were also former 10 dancers.
    Sania and Mr 4 styles like this.

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