Ballroom Dance > To specialize or not to specialize?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by tangoking, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    True, true. I think of Patryk Ploszaj and Anna Kaczmarski, but can't think of any other couples. People like Andrej Skufca & Katarina and Marat Gimaev & Alina excel(led) in Latin and Ballroom respectively after being World Champions in 10-dance and then dropping one style. The desire to be the best in one style can lead you to drop the other(s).

    I dare someone to win both Latin and Ballroom at Worlds, or Blackpool, in the same year. Ha! Then they wouldn't even bother going to the 10-dance Worlds, for the fun of it. Teeheeheehee.

    FTR I don't think it's impossible.
  2. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I do.
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  3. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    :D :D :D
  4. canismajor41

    canismajor41 Active Member

    I do too! Experts said for years that the human body was simply not capable of a 4-minute mile. However, on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute barrier, running the distance in 3:59.4. Barely a year after Bannister’s accomplishment, someone else ran a mile in under 4 minutes. Then some more runners did. Now, it’s almost routine.
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  5. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    It's certainly true that most good stage dancers start with a foundation in ballet. The opposite, however, is not true: It's not at all necessary to do jazz or contemporary if you want to become a good ballet dancer, and in fact "wasting" one's time on those other forms of dance is rather discouraged in some ballet schools.

    I'd suggest this is not an example of diversification being useful. Rather, it's a case of established ballet pedagogy providing the fundamentals of muscular strength and coordination that are not simply provided by the pedagogy common in the other forms of dance. Starting with jazz instruction won't make you a good dancer; starting with ballet will - or at least, may - and once you're a good dancer, picking up the other forms of dance isn't so difficult.

    That can happen in ballroom too. For example, my daughter takes classes at the local Russian school ballroom studio, which has a much stronger latin program than standard program. There are plenty of people there who specialize in latin, and they are strong in latin, and there are people who do both latin and standard, and they are pretty strong in both. There are also a few people who specialize in standard, and they aren't particularly strong. I think the reason is that, at this particular studio, the fundamentals of muscular strength are learned in conjunction with the latin, and not the standard. My daughter is more interested in standard/smooth (since that's what she's seen videos of her parents doing), but I've become convinced that at that studio, she's going to have to do latin as well if she's to become a good dancer.

    However, perhaps unlike the situation with ballet, I don't think that's inherent to latin among the ballroom styles. At other studios, it might be the other way around: you might need to do standard to learn the fundamentals needed to make your latin good. There might even be some studios where you can learn the fundamentals in either, in which case you'd be able to become good in the style or styles you're interested in without studying any other styles.
    Loki likes this.
  6. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I think Joe was saying he does think it's impossible.
    ajiboyet likes this.
  7. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    Well, it was possible in the past. Now? Would be really really difficult, but I wouldn't say impossible necessarily. Maybe it would be more attainable for American style 9-dancers, simply because of the lower sheer numbers of people that need to be beat. National champions in two styles, also more attainable, over world champions.
  8. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member


    agree tho I still don't see that happening anytime soon in American either
  9. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    Well, the Perzhus do consistently final in both categories, right? It's something, at least.
  10. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    but they got jumped in rhythm that is why I don't see it happening
  11. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Correct. Are there even any 10-dancers in either the Ballroom or Latin world championship semis?
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    10 dance is a specialty...the goal isn't to be the best at this 5 and/or the best at the other 5 against those who only dance one 5 and/or then against those others who dance the other 5...the goal is to be the best in 10 against those who dance all is also fair to say that those who dance the best at 5 may not find it easy to win all 10 against 10 dancers what?'s a preference
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  13. 5678dance

    5678dance Active Member

    So, I actually don't think its necessary to learn ballet to be a good tap dancer (I was just playing devil's advocate before)... just like I don't think its necessary to learn latin in order to become a good standard dancer. Plenty of people rise to the top of their fields without ever dipping into another style. But I do think that learning different styles allows you become a better dancer overall, because you are learning to move your body in many different ways (instead of just drilling one way) which makes you more versatile, and can help you be versatile in the one style you choose to focus on.

    Practicing learning how to dance other styles helps you get better at learning how to dance your own style. I know that was a mouth-full but I hope I got my point across :)
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  14. 5678dance

    5678dance Active Member

    I keep coming back to this point, and I'm not sure why. I think I'll use a different analogy than ballet... Personally, I don't like bacon (cue the mob with pitchforks... its true, it's weird, I know. I just don't like it.) If I said I don't like bacon just based on how it looks, you might say to me, "You can't say you don't like it unless you take a bite!!!" This is because there are plenty of foods that look completely unappetizing, but once biting into it, sends one straight to heaven.

    So, I've tried bacon. And I haven't only tried it once. I try it over and over. And every time, I do not like it. Therefore at this point in my life, I think I now have the authority to say with certainty, "I do not like bacon." I have chosen to specialize in other breakfast options instead!
    middy likes this.
  15. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    I guess the main reason there aren't any (many?) top couples that dance two styles, is because you could spend all week in the studio working on both styles, and there will always be a couple who spends that long just working on one. Unless you're spectacularly talented, it's gotta be hard.
    5678dance likes this.
  16. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    LOL! Love it! (And I DO also dance Smooth, just for the record.)
  17. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

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  18. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I did leave out tap in my response for a reason! But again, my main point is that it's not generally considered necessary or even useful to learn other dance styles if your primary style is ballet; most ballet instructors would say it's better to spend the extra time on ballet instead.

    The question then always is, is it better to spend that extra time learning other dance styles, or is it better to spend that extra time on your primary dance style as well.

    I wouldn't. If you don't like bacon based on the smell, or the look, or because you think pigs are unclean, it's your choice - just like if you don't like latin based on the music, or the look, or because you think the clothes are too revealing. Heck, even if you just don't like the sound of the word, that's your choice.
  19. 5678dance

    5678dance Active Member

    I agree........ I do. It very much is up to the person, and they can choose not to eat bacon for whatever reason they want. Even if they never take a bite.
    But sometimes, you don't know what you're missing out on!
  20. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I think that's a very good point. If you do more than one style, you can expect your progress to be slower compared to someone who spends same amount of time as you do on just one style.

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