The stylistic mixing of Smooth & Standard -- current trend

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by samina, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Lately, I'm seeing a mixing up of Smooth and Standard styles, in a way I find most unpleasant. I love Smooth and want to see Smooth when I'm watching it. And I love Standard and want to see Standard when I'm watching it. Not Smoothish Standard and not Standardish Smooth.

    Watching OSB Standard pro-am events, I noticed the majority of the most visible pros (i.e., dancing in the semis and finals) wearing Smooth-style coats (no tails). And I was dismayed last night at BADC to see judges rewarding distinctly Standard style dancing in the Smooth event, when there were two couples who were distinctly truer to the style.

    I do not at all enjoy this morphing/blurring between the two styles. What is happening lately, and where does it originate? And...where do we think it's going?

    Would like to hear others' observations on this...
  2. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

    I was also disappointed at BADC to see a couple place in top 3 in silver smooth who did not once open frame in any of the dances I saw.
  3. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Judges are clearly rewarding it. There's some kind of cultural shift taking place, I sense...
  4. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    Marking Standard well in Smooth, especially at syllabus levels, I can kind of see. The quality of movement across the floor in Smooth is dependent upon a good Standard base. Especially in quarters and preliminary rounds, judges only get so much time to look for couples they like. If they see a couple in closed position with the proper footwork and technique in a waltz while another couple is doing a butterfly but wobbling and having strange arm stylings, their mark will probably go to the former.

    Samina, are you referring to the open final or syllabus in particular? By open, I would hope that competitors wouldn't simply put Standard with few embellishments on the floor.
  5. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    That said, Smooth gentlemen used to wear tails and now the trend is suits ... Standard's a bit more set in its ways so the suit trend there surprises me. Would it have anything to do with quick changes between styles?
  6. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Open and pre-champ is where I believe I saw this occurring...I arrived too late to see any syllabus, alas.
  7. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Well, my theory is that the pros saw Giampiero switch to a chic suit jacket with Anna...perhaps donning one themselves enables them to suffer the illusion that they also possess his sense of style. ^-^

    I may be completely wrong on that account, but that's my theory. Also, I suspect suit jackets are less stifling than tails, and I appreciate that they may be more comfortable during long pro-am competitions. But I don't care... you're dancing Standard, wear your d*** tailcoat...at least for the final, for pete's sake. I would NOT be pleased if my partner, pro or otherwise, wore a suit coat in a Standard final at OSB.

    Unless it were GG. :)
  8. Groovology

    Groovology New Member

    I imagine having less time to change is probably precisely why a lot of the leaders were wearing suits rather than tails. They're also a good bit less cumbersome to move in, I think, which could be a factor too.

    In regards to judges marking more Standard-esque routines better in Smooth events, I can see why that would be problematic, but on the other hand, as long as they stay in syllabus for their level, and dance their routines well, it would be a bit unreasonable not to mark them. It's kind of like being that couple in gold standard that dances a routine that's 90% bronze figures: if you do them cleaner and more consistently than people trying flashy stuff, you'll probably get a couple of recalls. I've seen people have success dancing box steps and quarter turns (at least, for early rounds) in the past.

    That said, I wouldn't place a couple dancing a level-inappropriate routine very highly if given the choice. This means dancing at least a few figures in an alternative hold for smooth. The character of the dance becomes more apparent as you progress up the levels, and I think judges should prioritize couples that go that extra mile to express that.
  9. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Was good enough in history until now, though...and they are made to do exactly what they do (or don't do)... Just being devil's advocate. :)

    As I have heard GG himself stress more than once, it's not how you feel that matters, it's looking good, and more looking good. So... "deal with it" is my thought. :)

    And that is, alas, exactly where I'm seeing the muddle happening... amongst open competitors, whether ams or pros. I know I'm not the only one noticing it, and displeased by it. I find it quite surprising.
  10. Mengu

    Mengu Active Member

    This is not a new development, for the past 3-4 years it's pretty much all I've seen at OSB. It may have something to do with the number of times the pros have to get out there on the floor throughout a full day of standard, and that they find it easier or more convenient to skip the tails. Not sure how they justify it though, I don't see the lady pros skipping their dresses, and you can't convince me tail suits are less convenient.

    As for seeing more closed hold in smooth, I've heard judges who are judging open smooth complain they can't tell if they are judging smooth or rhythm. I think balance is key there, between having some choreography that's in ballroom hold, some in the various smooth holds, and some separated.
  11. dancelvr

    dancelvr Well-Known Member

    Having only danced standard bronze syllabus pro/am so far, I can say that we see few, if any, tailsuits on the floor. At the silver level, I've noticed a higher percentage of leads/teachers in tailsuits. The higher the level, the more traditional the garb. My pro wears his smooth suit when we dance for the simple reason that I am his only competative standard student, and he doesn't own a tailsuit...yet. :)
  12. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    This only happens in Pro/am standard. You'll never see the pros wear a suit coat in the Pro Standard event with their pro partners.
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  13. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    I think it's also easier to do good standard than it is to do good smooth. Depending on what the makeup of the judging panel is, if the majority is filled with standard and latin judges rather than smooth judges, you can win more marks by catering to what they like.
  14. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    FTR, as far as the mixing of styles, I don't necessarily mean more closed hold in Smooth, but rather that the open work looks "Standardish", without the Standard dancers softening into the dynamic and energy exchange that is characteristic of Smooth. It's like the Standard dancers aren't learning how to achieve that look and feel in their dancing, and with judges rewarding them, why bother?

    It even strikes me as a kind of slap in the face of Smooth, as if Standard is better or "real" dancing, so one should be grateful that Smooth is receiving this influence from Standard. But I don't see this as a favor to the style, at all.

    Having said that, please let's not turn this into a discussion about which style is harder or easier. These are two different styles, each with their own challenges and merit, and I have hefty respect for both styles of dancers.
  15. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Exactly. It strikes me as very disrespectful to the dedicated pro-am ladies who labor tremendously (and spend exhorbitant amounts of money) to do the style justice. At the level of Open pro-am, pros should extend their ladies similar respect, IMV.
  16. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Tony Dokman.
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    What about him, Joe?
  18. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Uh, he's the guy who started the whole "lounge jacket in Standard competition" business.
  19. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I did not know that. Never heard of him...
  20. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I believe it was at Blackpool. Everyone was aghast--you know how stodgy the Brits can be. Although IIRC he did wear tails for the evening round(s).
    samina likes this.

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