Ballroom Dance > UMASS: trying to learn international

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

  1. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    wife loves latin more i love rhythm more so we do both LOL
  2. UMASSshoesandcostumes

    UMASSshoesandcostumes Active Member

    Most of it is peer teaching-- our veterans know our routines but not much else about the I-Fox-- the other International dances we're much more well schooled in and we have an actual understanding of how they're structured even if our technique is not always perfect. We do go to a real coach, however we only go once every 2-4 weeks, so it's not consistent, and we don't get to cover all the dances every semester. For example, I've only ever heard of one International Foxtrot coaching-- and even some of the more common dances, for example, Swing, I think there has only ever been one coaching on since the time I joined the team (first semester of last year). We do very well at lower levels, our Newcomer and Bronze International dances go well--- but we don't have I-Fox at Newcomer or Bronze either which helps. We normally cover the other three Standard dances at our coachings at least once throughout the year (so I've done 3 coachings on Quickstep, 4 on I-Waltz and 2 on I-Tango since joining the team), but I-Fox has only been covered once since I've been on the team.

    Latin we do well in, we actually have some very good Latin dancers-- we have a prechamp dancer who does a technique lesson for the team once per week for an hour, we also have an open dancer who helps all the Silver and Gold dancers. We have another dancer who does Open Latin Rhythm who is interested in helping out with Bronze (although that hasn't quite been set up completely yet, but it's in the works).
  3. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    I thought perhaps that was the case for your team.

    Just saying, from experience - painful experience: back before I began training in Intl style, my amateur partner at the time was familiar with it, and he was willing to "tutor" me, so why not learn some and dance it at collegiate comps?

    Well... BAD idea. Really bad idea. But I did not realize until after I received professional instruction just how much misinformation my partner had given me. Re-learning and deleting bad habits *stinks*.

    There are plenty of excellent amateur Standard dancers in the Northeast. Surely one of them is more qualified to teach your team and wouldn't mind making a few bucks.

    And I don't have to tell you this, but "knowing routines" does not equal dancing. Monkey-see monkey-do doesn't cut it in Standard. There is so much that is invisible to the untrained eye that is critical in making it work properly.

    Do the right thing. You will not regret it.
    smidra86 and dlliba10 like this.
  4. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    *blushes* You sure know how to sweet talk a girl, SK.

    Seriously, though, couldn't agree more with everything you said, and that's been said in intervening posts.
    smidra86 likes this.
  5. Titoxd

    Titoxd Member

    I will venture out to say that American Foxtrot is the easiest ballroom dance to learn (at least in the bronze syllabus). On the other hand, International Foxtrot is by far the hardest dance to learn (even in the bronze syllabus). At our school, American Foxtrot is taught the first day of the semester-long, for-credit "Level I" class. We do not even touch International Foxtrot until the middle/end of the third semester. It's THAT hard.

    While you may be able to get away with borrowing patterns from other smooth/standard dances, the technique for the International Foxtrot is entirely different. In particular, Standard Foxtrot requires (at least for the leads) a very deep knowledge of how to perform very subtle leads, and the basic turning motions cannot be borrowed from other dances, simply because every other step requires a heel turn for the follows.

    As for the results... maybe the judges just saw you when you missed that three-step. (I still don't know how you exit a weave into a natural turn without some sort of connecting pattern...) Maybe the judges saw the other couple when they were doing the three patterns that were actually International Foxtrot in their entire American routine. There are too many variables there to speculate. That said, it means that with some instruction in the International Foxtrot, they'll be an easy couple to beat next time...
  6. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    Out of curiosity, where does Silver+ Am Fox fit into the schedule? I just love Silver-Gold-Open Am Fox. Easily my most favorite Smooth dance.

    Completely agree. I'm not a very subtle lead at all (I liken myself to a bulldog in a china store at certain points) and the level of control, subtlety, and precision needed in International Fox, even (and especially) in the syllabus levels, has always been a struggle for me.
  7. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    That was resourceful of you to repurpose the natural/impetus/weave. :)

    They're similar, but as other DFers have pointed out, there are important differences. For example, the waltz weave ends with follower's left foot free, ready to go into a natural. The foxtrot weave ends with follower's right foot free, which is why you need a three step before the natural (I'm kinda curious what timing you used - SQQSQQ? QQQQQQ? - because you're missing a step somewhere ;)).

    I'd add that your sequence leaves out the feather and three step, which in my opinion, characterize the dance (I've seen a lot of couples who really should know better but are running around the floor with only quicks).

    For next time, stick to feather, reverse/feather finish, three step, natural. Just four basic, characteristic figures. They'll serve you well on the practice floor. And they'll serve you well on the comp floor all the way up through open.
    0:00-0:19, then add on the back half of the full natural (SSS), and repeat. Go beat that couple next time you see them. ;)
  8. UMASSshoesandcostumes

    UMASSshoesandcostumes Active Member

    We used SQQ (Natural Turn) SQQ (Open Impetus) and then SQQQQQQS (Weave), then repeated, did we maybe add an extra step in there? We had a video, like I said, on youtube-- Andy Wong is the guy who makes them, and normally they are pretty reliable-- so we used the same footwork and timing that he did. I think maybe that extra slow on the end maybe isn't supposed to be there?
  9. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    Mini-hijack - does anyone know the source of those Mirko and Alessia videos (outside of YouTube)? Are they from an instructional or demo DVD somewhere?
  10. Titoxd

    Titoxd Member

    Typically, it gets done at the end of the second semester, or the start of the third. It depends on how that particular generation of students is progressing. We try to make sure that they have continuity styling down in Waltz before moving on to silver Foxtrot.
    dlliba10 likes this.
  11. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    Generally in standard, figures are described with one extra step appended at the very end. The Gray Book description of the weave is SQQQQQQS. In practice, because you're fully lowered at the end of the 6th Q, that's the end of the figure. The S (follower's right foot back) is the beginning of the next figure, e.g., reverse turn, hover telemark, [removed]*. That's why you can't go from the weave directly into a natural turn.

    That aside, I don't like his videos. For example, the footwork actually danced in partnership is inconsistent with the footwork verbalized later on. Overall, I don't think the videos are demonstration quality.

    *I was going to say three step, but that's digging even deeper into that mess. ;)

    Additional reading:
    dlliba10 likes this.
  12. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    He's okay if you already have a working knowledge of the syllabus and can tell when he's erring or not demonstrating something well. I think he lists the Continuous Reverse Wave as Gold, which I was super excited about until I checked the ISTD syllabus and realized it wasn't there. He's said as much in comments on the videos, where the "syllabus levels" are just the names of the classes he teaches at his studio in Canada -- they don't actually necessarily correspond to the ISTD syllabus. Tread lightly and invest in the Gray Book if you'd like to continue on with Standard. One of the best investments I've ever made.
    Terpsichorean Clod likes this.
  13. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    It's gold in IDTA and DVIDA. :D
  14. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    ....... Sounds like I've got some converting to do.
    Terpsichorean Clod likes this.
  15. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    An American foxtrot figure that is also in the International syllabus has identical technique in American and International. For example, the back half of an American style open left turn is the same figure as the International style feather finish, and both have identical technique.

    The front half of an American style open left turn is different from the International style reverse turn not because the technique is different, but because the figures are different - the International style figure has a heel turn for the lady that the American style figure does not. But to tell the truth, at collegiate syllabus competitions, some of the heel turns are sufficiently sloppy that it might still be difficult to tell the difference between someone doing the American style open left turn adequately and someone doing the International style reverse turn sloppily.
  16. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    My team is the same way (and we're in the same area).;)

    Be careful assuming you're stronger in something - in our area the Smooth and Rhythm floor just isn't as competitive as the Standard and Latin floor, so it's easier to do well. That's changing (at least for Smooth), but remember that you're being marked against other couples, not against an absolute.
  17. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    DVD - "La Base"
    raindance likes this.
  18. Soulmate61

    Soulmate61 Active Member

    Finding yourself on the wrong foot can probably be remedied by adding an extra homemade step.

    There are pitfalls when an Englishman learns French language, or Frenchman learns English, or Chinese learns Japanese, or Japanese learns Chinese. There are many words which look identical in both languages which have meanings and nuances subtly or seriously different. Assuming what look alike are the same can result in misunderstanding giving offence.

    "Happy Birthday" in 3/4 time is suitable for international waltz, but also possible to recycle "Happy Birthday" in 4/4 time. However at the same tempo this will end up as the weirdest international foxtrot if waltz figures are substituted with the nearest foxtrot equivalent, losing the original spirit and flow of choreography so well designed for 3/4 waltz.

    Was this a case like language translation backfiring because it substituted word for word while wholly losing the spirit? The same word, the same step, has different values in different context.

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