Ballroom Dance > The stylistic mixing of Smooth & Standard -- current trend

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

  1. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I was going to say, NP wears his tailsuit to dance Standard, but he only has two of us, usually, in Bronze and Silver. (And he gripes, somewhat joking, somewhat serious, about how it's not all that comfortable.) I can see where if he had multiple students dancing all day, he'd prefer something more comfortable.

    I can also see where if someone just doesn't find them flattering, they'd want to wear another style of jacket that suits them better. Plus it's not like womens' dresses are static styles--there's the cupcake gown fad, there's hem heights, styles of floats...I'm really not liking the trend I'm seeing with some Standard designs where there are cutouts or more skin showing. Not that I like it in Smooth, either, but I can grudgingly see the justification, but it would be nice if we kept ONE style where the options weren't "more skin showing than anyone but a very lithe twenty-year-old should reveal" and "dowdy." Women get some variation, give the men a break.
  2. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    Thanks for naming names. Without some visuals, I was having a hard time figuring out whether samina and Larinda were looking for things I also thought intrinsic to American style, or whether they were simply looking for styles that I didn't necessarily agree with.

    After watching a few videos from this couple, I agree with samina: they leave me cold. I can be specific in my critiques. The gentleman's arm lines, and to a lesser extent the lady's, look artificial, as if he were doing what a choreographer told him to do rather than allowing the arms to move as a natural extension of the body, though he seems to have improved over the past three years. Leg movements when separated often seem to include a forward extension of a straight unweighted leg before beginning the weight transfer, as if it were ballet, rather than a more natural movement from foot to foot appropriate to ballroom where both legs straighten or flex together. In general, the connection when separated seems weak - instead of being completely aware of each others' bodies at all times, it seems like they've each memorized their own part of the choreography, and he looks like he's just watching her so he can be in the right place the next time they need to touch, rather than to ensure they're dancing together at all times even when separated.

    The one thing I do differ with samina on is this: I think these errors would be just as problematic in standard as they are in smooth. To me, it looks more like latin influence than standard influence, but perhaps the latin aficionados will say it's not that either.

    Selection of videos here for those that want to follow the conversaion:
  3. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    For what it's worth, I find the opposite: tails are better ventilated and thus cooler and less stifling when dancing. The problem with tails is that there isn't really a good way to sit down in them - you can let them drag on the floor, or you can drape them over something in a way that looks silly.
  4. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    But how do you make the distinction? Should a couple dancing closed Smooth look any different than a couple dancing Standard (other than any costuming or choreographic differences)?

    But is a tailsuit necessarily any heavier than a lounge suit?
  5. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I'd be curious to hear judges and coaches speak to this. My guess is there will be different views on this, based on pedagogical background and preference. For my part, I wouldn't want to see a radical style departure -- I would prefer to see a closed hold in the context of the style. How that would or wouldn't be different between the styles would be interesting to hear about from those who teach and judge. My sense is that it lies more with the man and how he stylistically sets and manages the "frame".
  6. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    Start by thinking of "frame" as "embrace" and the fluidity and connection of good Smooth can follow from there. Requires a lot of interior work, mind and body both. Different mindset, different physical result: Smooth rather than Standard-with-apart-work.

    I do realize I'm in a serious minority here. <sigh> <headwall>
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    the two men with whom I have danced have had heavy tail suits and considerably lighter weighted short jackets
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I would hope that folks in standard would be thinking of it as embrace and as fluid as well...I would hope
  9. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    That applies to Standard as well, no? Which is why I put "frame" in quotes, as I know there are dancers that seem to think of it as something static.
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    it seems to me that many smooth dancers utilize their ballet training and it is reflected in their dancing...I see that in many of them...I also think that, in terms of expressiveness pros are no more immune than the rest of us in having to bring their own personalities to the floor and some of them are sedate...

    having said all of that...I am not taking a position in any of this...because I don't think it is neccessary to do so....I look at couples from event to event through a variety of lenses...some couples inspire me more than others for a variety of reasons....some I admire in one way or another but don't care for in one way or another.....shrug....
  11. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    essentially no if the figure is derived from standard

    totally agree ,for me an overly balletic smooth routine is uninspiring. i want to see partner dancing. i will agree with a previous poster that Tomas and JT had it all for me too

    really no one in the top six now has it all for me But i still like slawek and marzena
  12. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    The figure is one thing, but the style is something else. For example, I can image the man placing his right hand slightly differently on the woman's back, giving a more relaxed line - something small can translate into a subtle overall difference. Even the way he places his hand could convey or translate to a different look.

    I'd like to hear Larinda's thought on this...whether she appreciates slight differences in Smooth closed hold.
  13. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    Why can't you sit down in a tailsuit? Is there some reason you can't sit on the tails themselves? Guess I never really thought about it. (Ladies sit on their fancy skirts all the time...)
  14. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Most of us simply remove their coats after a round.
  15. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    slawek does this perhaps you missed it. what i would like him to start doing is moving his head poistion in fox and waltz occasionally to something more internal and romantic toward marzena but old habits die hard i bet
    jump'n'jive likes this.
  16. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    they crease and we HATE that LOL
  17. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    First thing.. one has to go back to origins of todays" Smooth ".

    It was "born " primarily, out of the Calif. " Slicker " style, still seen today .A free form of motion, with constant " travel " .

    And, ALL the Intern.styles, are based upon other dances that, were in vogue during their conception,each adapted to suit .

    We ( dancers ) essentially do not have anything, that is not a Hybrid, and dance evolution ( and Ive been thru most of it in modern era ) tend to rely upon, HOW current top profs perform, and take our cues from them . .

    Are there intrinsic stylistic differences between the 2 styles? .. there certainly should be.. " Separation " is an obvious difference ,and the variety thats available in each, does not always translate to the other .
    but.. sometimes things start to " morph " .

    I was teaching " Gold " ( as they called it ) in the chain schools, back when, and the divide, was as wide as the Gr. Canyon in the steps that were permitted. That, of course has long been changed .( same for Latin and Rhythm ) .

    So, as much as we see likeness, the "differences" are sometimes subjective, at best .
  18. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I have sat down in my tails before, and when I find it necessary to do so I just gather the tails up and set them in my lap so I'm not sitting on them.

    When I take the coat off I prefer to hang them up on a hanger, but if one is not available I can use the back of a chair, while I flip the tails over the shoulders so they aren't dragging on the floor.
  19. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Yes, I did miss that. I saw that they seemed most comfortable when they were in closed hold, but that they danced closed like Standard dancers.
  20. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    The structure is there in Smooth for a reason. A frame is a frame is a frame. If you place your hand differently on the back, it doesn't send signals as efficiently as it could in the proper Standard hold. Even when we're taught shadow position, it's a Standard frame with the right hand slightly adjusted to avoid grabbing, um, unintended body parts. Attempts to deviate from that norm, unless done very, very well, would probably be seen as sloppy technique.

    In taking lessons from both Slawek and Marzena, I've come to see how they used their Latin and Standard background to come to bear on Smooth, and I actually think it works very well within Smooth, which I more and more am coming to consider my primary style. Slawek's carriage, attentiveness to Marzena, and rounded arm stylings and action exemplify the leader's role well, and Marzena's passion and intensity help elevate their emotional profile and made their shows at BADC truly spectacular for me. I sat in the front row and heard all of the little vocal tics and saw the connections working fluidly in and out of closed and open. They sell it, and they sell it well. I personally have no problem calling them well-deserving champions.
    smidra86 likes this.

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