Ballroom Dance > the quantal shift - good to great and fast?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by elisedance, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    I feel very fortunate indeed - first, for being part of this thread from the very beginning and second for the truly amazing insight that I have, and continue to read here (you know who you are ;)).

    The only thing I still can not figure out is why there was also a negative reaction. After all, the best thing about DF is that you don't have to read, let alone agree with, anything or everything.

    I wish I could spend a week just immersing myself in ITM and RB. Switching from work to dance studio (and now limited by opportunity too) is in itself a hurdle. In any case I am not the dancer I was - far from it - just knowing about these possibilities, even without enacting them, makes me forever changed.
  2. waltzguy

    waltzguy Active Member

    Dancepro, and all,

    I have attempted to put this approach into my dancing. I believe it has made a positive difference. I no longer analyze everything to death. I no longer think about bits and pieces. I just do it. Same thing with my DP. We just do it.

    I've done this with my ballroom tango, which I've said was my weakest link. It no longer is the weakest link (I think). Because I understand the character of what I'm trying to achieve, and just do it. Have gotten good feedback from teachers and other on-lookers.

    It seems like the less I think, the more I do.

    Great post dancepro.
  3. dancepro

    dancepro Member

    Thank you waltzguy. I appreciate you giving the idea a go....and I am really happy it worked well for you.

  4. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    ed, if your dancing time is curtailed for the moment, you might use some of that time to explore Feldenkrais and/or Alexander. They will give you more RB experience.
  5. I am interested in the Feldenkrais.... I just wonder how does it helps with dancing.

    Does it make you move with less thinking ?
  6. BeccaDances

    BeccaDances New Member

    I have been reading this thread and it is so interesting! I am trying to understand it but am sort of confused on some points. So I guess i'll explain how I practice and learn and ask for input on whether or not it is the most effective way to practice.... Is it a bad thing for your dancing to never analyze it? I am a very RB type of person and when I dance... I just dance. I mean practice time on my own is one thing, I have to remember what my body did in an earlier lesson and try to recreate it, but when I am dancing with my instructor I really never think. And when I do try to think about it, I seem to mess it up. I guess what I am saying is that I think about it on my own and try to internalize it when I'm practicing by myself and then when I get with my instructor I just dance it and what ever i've practiced and he has told me in past lessons just happens (with all the mess-ups in between ;) ) without all the extra thinking going on.
    So is this kind of what you mean? I love dancing and I want to advance quickly, but I also understand that certain steps of the process cannot be rushed or skipped. Thanks y'all for such great discussion!
  7. dancepro

    dancepro Member

    Welcome BeccaDances to the "right brain" thread and DF. It is always good to have new people join in.

    You will eventually want to use the LB to investigate, study and analyze each of the principles, that are important to the school of thought that you and your teacher follows, for you to keep improving. As I said, if you are at the top of the pyramid, you can look down and should look down to see what needs to be worked on next. You do have to make sure you do not get stuck in the bits and pieces. It does however sound like you are on the right path. What ever system or school of thought your teacher uses, it might be an idea to ask for some exercises that helps you practice basic principles solo. Each school of thought have their own system of priorities for the principles used in dancing. Having exercises will help you also to do some RB practice when you are practicing on your own. It does however sound like you are on the right track, so not to worry. I hope this answers your questions.:) If you do have other questions please go ahead and post them.

  8. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    Search *this thread* (see tab above) for Feldenkrais. I wrote a long description of how it has helped my dancing a while ago.
  9. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    I have a new project - but it might not fly (can't go into it yet)... and my work life may get 10 times more busy but don't know that yet either so right now I am in a limbo of sorts. However, if neither pan out I am going to look into these - it would be a fantastic thing to do while waiting...
  10. DancerGA

    DancerGA New Member

    I don't post often but I have been VERY intrigued by this thread. Thanks elisedance for asking this question.

    As a LB dancer, I have progressed slowly over the past few years---always over analyzing. My teacher often tells me I'm thinking too much. Until now I don't think I really understood what he meant. Now I'm taking in all the excellent advice from the experts on this thread. I'm reading some of the recommended books and trying to put it into practice. I'm seeing some improvement already although it's difficult for me to "let go" of always critiquing myself as I dance. Are there any shortcuts to turning this off?

    I hope to be a much better dancer because of this and I'm so appreciative of the advice. Thanks so much and Happy Dancing to all.
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    ironically, i find that it is easier for me to let go of all of the technical noise, if I have done the technical practice ... then I trust my body when it is time to really shine...not sure that I am an authority on anything ....but simply IME
  12. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Its one way F - and I think the way most people learn but there really is another route to the same (actually its a lot better) end. And I think most dancers when they reach a certain level also have to that too - its simply too complicated and mentally taxing to learn every step and nuance by heart before you dance it.
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I suppose that depends upon how thorough one thinks they have to be before letting go...obviously perfection can't be the goal...but just letting go without the requisite attention to deal just = sloppy dancing...just my completely aware that there are many perfectly valid perspectives...but that is mine
  14. Some guy

    Some guy New Member

    In my experience in attempting to share the idea behind RB dancing, it seems that a lot of people are afraid of what Fascination mentioned as "sloppy dancing". A lot of folks I've come into contact with equate RB dancing to the lack of technical knowledge and technique. They also believe that technical knowledge needs to be attained completely (or as close to it as possible) before stepping back and trying to create the "whole picture" with the RB.

    It's actually quite the opposite.

    Switching from LB to RB dancing has been the biggest revelation to me since way back when I realized that bees need to be avoided at all costs and storks don't deliver babies.

    Another way to look at it:
    Assume I take up art classes. My "coach" tells me to draw two circles, then draw a box on top of them, and then another smaller box on top of the one I just drew. He goes on to tell me how important it is that the circumference of the circles have to be equal distance from the center, how important it is to have the small box on top of the big box, how it is imperative that the circles be next to each other with a certain amount of distance between them, etc. etc. Then he shows me a profile picture of a Ferrari (again, with the car analogies. What's with Dancepro and me and cars?!). My LB sees the picture of the Ferrari but proceeds to take it apart: my LB looks at the lightweight Aluminum alloy wheels with the low-profile high performance Pirelli radial tires and says, "there! I see the two circles the coach made me draw". Then my LB looks at the shapely, shiny, smooth body work and says, "there, I see the big box he made me draw"... and then finally my LB looks at the sharply slanting angular windshield, roof, etc., and goes, "and there's that small box he made me draw on top of the big box!". So there I am happilly drawing two circles and two boxes (because my coach told me to) and wondering why on earth my picture doesn't look quite as good as the one my coach showed me. Surely he didn't miss anything in his description of a Ferrari did he?!

    Then I change my approach and decide to use the RB to draw: it looks at the Ferrari, turns to my LB, points at the two circles and two boxes my LB is showing off proudly, laughs hysterically at it, and then proceeds to show the LB what a Ferrari is supposed to look like. After the LB suffers enough humiliation, it gives in and starts to take notes on how to draw a Ferrari. The resulting picture is 100 times more detailed, colorful, and closer to the actual than the LB could ever come up with by itself.

    I believe the same could be said about singing: I'm sure most people can accurately sing a song or hum a tune, putting in all the nuances such as major, minor, tempo, sharps, flats, quavers, crotchets, the works! Thing is, most people have no technical knowledge of what they just hummed or sang. Most people will have no idea what key they were even singing in. That's not to say that the person humming or singing shouldn't have been comfortable doing so due to their lack of technical prowess, nor does it mean that his singing/humming lacked technique.

    The RB has become just as big a part of my dancing as my coach has. It's almost like one can't do without the other. I wish I could explain it better.
  15. Some guy

    Some guy New Member

    I think most people also seem to think that RB dancing is somehow easy to do. I'm hoping it becomes easier, provided I gather all the tools and knowledge required to properly execute RB dancing. Turning off the "Judge" is the toughest thing I've ever had to do. Still struggling with it. It devastated my last practice so much so that I've affectionately named mine, "Judge Dredd!". When I was LB dancing, it felt like my brain muscle was doing mini "reps" at the gym. There were gaps in it's usage, and hence, lots of little frequent breaks it took in between. Unfortunately, all those little gaps showed up in my dancing like the stick figure drawing of the Ferrari. After practice, thanks to the numerous "reps" my LB was doing, my brain was "pumped" and it was impossible to fall asleep no matter how tired my body was. RB dancing is like picking up a weight, contracting the muscle half way, and holding it for a minute and a half. It's not as exhausting to pick up the weight half-way, but sustaining it there for a full minute and half kills it. My brain is quite exhausted afterwards and right now it's mentally draining to dance. Hard to explain, but on a more positive note, I've never had better sleep in my life after a good bout of practice.
  16. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    I couldn't. As my grandmother used to put it, I "couldn't carry a tune in a bucket." As well as no voice, I had a terrible ear, couldn't tell even which note was higher than the other unless they were almost an octave apart.

    So I took singing lessons, with someone who specialized in getting non-singers to sing. It was only after a lot of LB technical information about how to use my diaphragm, throat, tongue, and breath and many, many drills for ear training and consciously associating the sound with the note on the page and understanding the intervals between notes that I could begin reliably to reproduce a sound I heard.

    I think there may be people who are similar with respect to dancing, who need the LB structure to build in the skills the RB needs to call upon to make anything meaningful. That's why I think the balance of LB and RB training needs to be individualized for each person and that the ideal balance changes at different stages of progress.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think the entire argument has no real's like asking which half of the apple is best to eat first....and while I in no way mean to equate all RB functions with being sloppy...I am sure I didn't say that...I think there are lots of folks who do misuse the concept and then are surprised that it wasn't enough...integrating a holistic approach is always best...whether or not one starts on the left and moves right or visa versa...we all come with different strengths... to suggest that the order in which we embrace something has to proceed from one direction or another to work is, to my mind, a bit silly...and that isn't addressing anyone here in particular...for my own path, I am so right brained that I HAVE to focus on left...I would never suggest that it is the miriacle antidote for all person's dancing woes...I can see how something nearly the opposite of that would be best for many a fine dancer...shrug
  18. To me:

    Left brain approach is knowing what to do but right brain approach is feeling what I want to do.

    My long time standard teacher/coach (not the one in prior discussion) understands this and he wil show me how a routine 'feels' when it is danced.

    So we will just dance a routine a couple of times without breaking down the steps.

    After I get the feel of the routine then he breaks it up for me in broader details.

    We then dance it again a few more time with more surety as I am now more aware of the steps as well as the feeling of it.

    He then nitpick on every smallest details to make sure I do every step with proper accentuation/line/timings.

    We then dance the routine again with a lot of confidence and being able to show more characteristic of the dance.

    The whole point is the from the first time we dance a routine, he make sure that I understand the feeling of movement he wants me to create.

    I find that this is the best way for me to learn.

    Of course, I am still practicing my basics like my waltz walks for hours daily but I never could replicate the quality of movement lets say even the natural turn when I am practising by myself then when I am dancing with him. I just fly !

    Mostly because when I am practising by myself I am breaking the movement in too much details (engineers) but also because I am not thinking in dancing mode. I am thinking in practising mode.

    Borrowing from the car example, one can keep on practising drawing the perfect circle but does not mean he/she will automatically be able to draw the Ferrari.

    Have you ever seen a painting that is so neat and detailed that it amazes you but never invoke any emotions from within you ?

    Art is never a sum of perfection. It is often a sum of flawed expression.`
  19. katandmouse

    katandmouse New Member

    The problem is we're taught as dancers that we have to do things a certain way, so we don't trust our ability to just do it, and we don't give ourselves permission.

    I recommend doing some "quiet exercises" off the floor to first learn how to turn off the left brain interferences. Ralston in "Zen Body-Being" has some good suggestions. So does Green in "Inner Game of Music." You can practice these exercises by just sitting outside doing nothing, (I gave some suggestions in previous posts) or you can do them with another activity that you are not so invested in. That's important. You give yourself more permission that way. Once you're able to find that quiet and understand it, then you will be able to better access that quiet space on the dance floor.
  20. Some guy

    Some guy New Member

    Sorry Fascination, I didn't mean to imply that you said that. Like I said in my post, it's people that I have come into contact with, as in face-to-face contact with, that have shown a very strong conviction of the fact that the RB approach leads to sloppy dancing. I was merely borrowing your word. Should have phrased it better. My bad!

    I agree with the holistic approach. To me, the LB to RB shift worked, but it's almost like a deadly secret I have to keep to myself due to the rather extreme reactions I have gotten with merely suggesting an alternative approach to learning. I wasn't trying to say that it will work for everybody accross the board. Just that I'm surprised that so few people are willing to even give it a chance: I'm referring to people I personally know, face-to-face. :)

    Also, even 'though you weren't addressing anyone in particular, just to clarify I was mainly speaking for myself except when it came to the singing part. It has been my experience that it seems to come naturally to a lot of people I know. These same people have no idea about the first thing about technical aspects of music. However, I do realize that it doesn't come naturally to all.

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