UMASS: trying to learn international

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by UMASSshoesandcostumes, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. UMASSshoesandcostumes

    UMASSshoesandcostumes Active Member

    Nope, we didn't but if we should then that's definitely a good thing to know for next time we do it. We assumed putting it together that if we were in the correct positioning to start the Natural turn then there wasn't an obvious reason why we shouldn't be able to go back into our Natural turn. That's kind of how we felt about it, that it's sort of disrespectful of the dance to just intentionally go out and dance the dance incorrectly. We were really on the fence about even competing it for a while, because while I LOVE I-Tango-- it's my favorite dance-- we weren't going to put a foxtrot on the floor that we weren't doing correctly to the best of our ability. Admittedly it's a little difficult to put an I-Fox routine together on our team because there are few people who know any I-Fox beyond our routine, which is not remotely similar to anything else that we compete, and nobody on our team understands I-Fox well enough to really instruct us on how to put together something different. We weren't upset about our placing-- we got 6th of 6, which we definitely would have deserved had we been competing against people actually dancing International Tango and Foxtrot-- however, we felt like having actually put effort into doing the dance correctly we shouldn't have placed behind someone who did not.
     
  2. UMASSshoesandcostumes

    UMASSshoesandcostumes Active Member

    I really am not trying to sound like that. I really am not. I feel like what I'm trying to say is getting construed a bit incorrectly. Like I said-- we weren't really upset about our placing, we kind of expected to come in last, there were only 6 couples competing and we got 6th and expected that. We did the same thing with Paso later in the day, which we just did for fun and placed 5th out of 5 in-- that I'm not frustrated about in the least because the people we were competing against did actually do Paso. It was just frustrating to see someone who didn't care they were doing it incorrectly do better than we did when we actually did try to put some effort into doing Standard Foxtrot (admittedly we did not put as much effort into it as we intended to, because as I have mentioned before, my partner got VERY sick in the weeks leading up to comp so our best intentions kind of did get half-assed when we ended up having to make up for 3 and a half weeks of lost practice in one 7 hour practice the day before the competition-- considering this we felt like we did well, although, like anybody else, we still have a lot of work to do). In a very real way I'm not disappointed, because you're right we cobbled something together to put it on the floor, but do you understand where I'm coming from? I'm not saying it's all one factor, I'm not even trying to say that it was necessarily the worst thing, all I am saying is that it is frustrating. I would never try to say that we 'know' I-Fox if that's what you mean by saying we 'learned it', we still don't understand all the technique (and there is a lot of it) but we did TRY to put together a legal I-Fox routine at the very least. I definitely understand that there are a lot of other factors, but we would feel wrong putting a dance on the floor that we didn't at least feel like we were trying to do correctly, and are a little frustrated that there are people who get rewarded for doing so.
     
  3. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    Re: International fox, if you want to compete in it regularly, I'd say just learn the standard basic combination first and learn to do it well. That is, feather, reverse turn, feather finish, three step, natural turn. Use impetus, change of direction, and weaves to get back to the basic amalgamation, and so on.
     
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  4. UMASSshoesandcostumes

    UMASSshoesandcostumes Active Member

    Honestly when we have more time we definitely intend to put together the routine that the rest of our team uses and spend some time actually working it, we planned on doing it for this comp but due to extenuating circumstances that didn't happen. The problem is that it is very different from anything else we compete so with my partner being sick we didn't really get a chance to learn it so we needed something similar to something we already knew, at BU we will be competing the routine that the rest of our team uses.
     
  5. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    I do see where you're coming from. I'm just cautioning you not to focus on one factor (the steps) when judges look at many different factors to mark/place couples. The lack of invigilation for non-/out-of-syllabus steps is absolutely frustrating, I agree - but lacking an invigilator, the judges will judge what is on the floor... and they judge results, not efforts.

    Best thing to do, really, is look at the other couple and ask "what were they doing right?" not "what were they doing wrong?" - then apply it to your own dancing.
     
  6. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Did you have a "standard lesson?" or did you work on your "closed work"?
     
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  7. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Ahaha, Larinda, I don't know if you meant to be funny, but I love this. So true :D
     
  8. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    ;) I am not trying to be funny. I am serious.

    Standard is a syllabus, not technique. I wanted to know if she worked on the standard syllabus, or if she worked the technique of the closed work inside her American routine!!
     
  9. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I love how you were too busy to learn a proper international foxtrot, made up some hybrid waltz routine... and then blamed the judges for your result!!

    If you come see me, I will try to help set you up with a better set of syllabus proper routines. Ones that actually work. I will even give your partner a pair of proper shoes. You have lots of excuses as to why things aren't going your way. I will try to help you overcome them... but please don't blame the judges.
     
  10. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    What you seem to believe is simplicity ( Intern. F/trot ) could not be farther from the truth.
    It is, without question ,the most difficult of the "5".
    "We" call it the Pros dance. It takes many yrs to reach perfection ( and, many never do ).
    So.. even with all the American style you know and dance, this does not necessarily translate into the Intern.style. And yes, there are variations that are common to both .

    I kinda applaud your effort, but, you really do need to get some coaching in the Intern. style, if only for clarification in, sometimes, the subtle differences between the 2 styles. Tango is a different animal ,for both styles .

    By the way,basic technique, is basic technique ( talkin Standard /Smooth ) .
     
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  11. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    It was one of those "funny because it's so true" things. I can just picture my standard coach saying something like that while glaring at me (for working so much on my smooth) :D
     
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  12. smidra86

    smidra86 Active Member

    Closed work, I think. Trying to get into frame and finding the right feeling so when we get into closed position in our smooth, we get into that right position right away. He told us that eventually we should start thinking about just working on standard with a standard coach once a week to make that happen a little more seamlessly. We only really talked about it for a few minutes in our lesson so we have something to practice when we are warming up. Otherwise the rest of the lesson was spent cleaning stuff up.

    Larinda is excellent at this. :) She can make an actual dancer out of a person with two left feet and bad posture... I would know, from personal experience. ;-)

    But re: the thread. I think there is a time for standard technique and a time for smooth technique, which is what my original mention about standard in my smooth lesson was about. In smooth when you get into closed hold, some judges prefer to see good standard. When I was at the American Style Congress, someone had asked that question to the smooth panel. One person mentioned that he would like to see smooth and variations on the closed hold, and another said that he wants to see good standard in closed hold.

    Doing I-waltz as an I-fox I don't even think is possible. It is possible, however, in smooth.... I would, Larinda pointed out plenty of times when I was in gold that if it weren't for the music she wouldn't be able to tell that I was doing foxtrot (because my foxtrot looked a little waltz-y). I was watching people compete this weekend and I was watching a bronze standard round and I was almost convinced this one couple was doing bronze american foxtrot for standard, upon closer inspection they were doing the usual bronze american technique that you might be aware some bronzies do, like make a slight hopping every time they step (hard to describe) and were using really poor timing for it, not holding their slows long enough, etc but nonetheless they were still doing I-fox. Did you actually see the couple competing in standard (I assume not since you were competing against them) that you can actually confirm they were doing A-fox for I-fox? Because it is also possible that they claim to be do A-fox in I-fox but in reality they don't really know what A-fox is.
     
  13. UMASSshoesandcostumes

    UMASSshoesandcostumes Active Member

    I'm really not trying to come off as blaming the judges-- like honestly, getting the placing we did wasn't disappointing, it was placing behind someone that didn't even try that was disappointing. I understand how it comes off that way though, but it's really not what I'm trying to say. I think maybe it should have been more phrased as a complaint less against judges but more against couples who compete dances without even trying to learn the dance. Like I said, it really wasn't that we were too busy, it's that he got too sick, best intentions go out the window when your partner is sick in bed for 3 weeks. This was the largest problem, and we definitely weren't as prepared for the competition on the whole as we intended to be. Sorry the whole complaint thing didn't come off exactly how I intended it to.

    I did not see them compete it this time, but I have seen them compete it in the past-- they have a very good A-Fox, but someone did bring up earlier that A-Fox is a lot more similar to I-Fox than I had previously been led to believe, so the one thing that may be true is that they think they're doing A-Fox and turns out everything that they are doing is I-Fox legal with different technique (which they certainly don't do because they don't know anything about I-Fox).

    We have just (within the last week) obtained a standard syllabus book which we intend to start using, we kind of quickly looked up the technique for I-Fox so we had an idea of what we were supposed to be doing, but the problem was, like I said, we did lack practice time. I just want to reiterate that we really were not frustrated with how we did on any count except for the fact that we actually did try to do legal I-Fox and placed behind a couple who did not even try. Overall, in fact, we thought we did fairly well for our first competition together, especially having lost three weeks of practice time. Admittedly with Standard, not only is the technique hard, but it's hard to learn from our team because, while our Latin tends to be relatively good, we tend to be much stronger in Smooth than in Standard (our team is a little bit interesting, I feel like most teams specialize in some way, but we teach everything from the beginning, and encourage everybody to continue to compete all four sections as long as they can, some individuals specialize anyway, but most tend not to unless they place out of Silver, and once they reach Gold they will try to start specializing. However, as a team, while we have some nice standard routines, there are few people who actually succeed in Standard).
     
  14. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Erm, are you sure you were doing your weave right? I'm working it out in my head, but it seems to me that TC is right: that you'd be on the wrong foot to go straight into a natural turn after a weave from PP in foxtrot. I certainly welcome correction on this, but I think this may be a place where trying to covert a waltz amalgamation bit you.

    I'm also curious: did you do your natural turns like you would for waltz, or did you do foxtrot natural turns? There's a fair bit of difference between the two beyond their timing.
     
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  15. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    As Dliba said, bent knee vs. straight knee is one issue but not all.
    • Rhythm danced on all straight knees (it has some but it also uses bent knee actions).
    • Tango danced all stacatto; American tango interposes lagatto movements.
    • Foxtrot danced too waltz-like. This is a big issue in bronze where people tend to dance a walking step and a box instead of two crush walks and then "up and over."
    • Bolero danced like international rumba (no rise and fall, no contrabody).
    • Styling. The Latin/rhythm dances especially have a different attitude. I don't expect to see this in bronze but I certainly expect to see it in gold. When I first saw dliba dance this was what drew my attention to him and his partner.
    • Using the tempo. Even dancers trained in American style often practice to international music (largely because American music takes more work to find) and often have trouble adjusting to the speed. I see countless rumbas that look rushed or cha chas and swings that look soporific as the dancers try desperately to hold back. Then there's mambo.
    These are all understandable problems and collegiate dancers who haven't been trained in American style should be commended for getting up and trying these dances with little more than a ten minute adaptation lesson right before they get on the floor. I'm glad they're trying something new, but it would behoove the teams to invest a little bit more in exposing their dancers to new options. There are good ways to do it. UPenn doesn't offer competitive American lessons any more (sigh) but still teaches American style at their social lessons. The UW Madison teams (yes, plural) teach international style during the school year but continue lessons over the summer sessions during which they teach American style. This allows dancers to at least be exposed to the correct style without sacrificing international training.
     
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  16. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    Sooo this is "peer teaching"? :confused:
    Oh please please please do not pass on incorrect info and bad examples to newbies. If no one has been officially trained in Standard or Latin, they should not be trying to teach their teammates. I feel for your situation if your professional coach is not covering these dances, but your team is headed down a dangerous path if the only instruction they get on certain dances is what has been handed down by veterans who were not well trained.

    Perhaps gather the couples truly interested in learning one of the deficient styles, pool your cash, and bring in a real coach to start you off correctly.
     
  17. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    hhahahahaaa .. wait until you do rhythm!!!!
     
  18. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member


    but but but... a veteran dancer told me that Jive was just Swing with a broomstick up your backside o_O
     
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  19. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    its going the other way that seems impossible for so many Latin dancers converting to rhythm:D

    oh and no flexed knees in rhumba walks makes me want to puke!:confused:
     
  20. smidra86

    smidra86 Active Member

    I once was just joking around that we might do 9-dance at nationals and we were getting ready for a qualifier and for fun started trying to convert our open latin routines into prechamp rhythm routines. Use the same cha with rhythm technique (I would like to add that we both know and understand rhythm technique, especially after the AM style congress where the rhythm people were so focused on good rhythm technique not being "bad latin"). Then our rumba made into a bolero, with a fusion of some of our waltz etc. Then a slowed down jive for swing. We didn't need mambo for prechamp, and then we were just going to do bronze am rumba for rumba. Of course we didn't do it, because we were just having fun trying to convert the routines and also I just didn't feel comfortable going out there and pretending like I'm doing rhythm when I know deep down in my heart I'm a latin and smooth girl.

    It was quite a sight to behold, though.
     
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