Ballroom Dance > What should we think?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by macha, Sep 24, 2005.

  1. lynn

    lynn New Member

    i think my american instructor starts on 1 and my int'l starts on 4 - not sure if that's the "common" starting beat.
  2. Indiana_Jay

    Indiana_Jay Active Member

    Our instructor taught us this way:

    Begin with a step to the side (to the left for me, right for my DW) on the downbeat of a measure (count 1).

    On count two, a "rock step" back with the other foot.

    On count three, a finish the "rock step."

    On counts four, four and a half, and one. ("four-and-one") do the "cha-cha-cha" step to the side.

    On count two, begin a rock step, etc.

    This pattern seems to line up with the music, because some instrument is usually accenting two eighth notes on beat four, with an accented downbeat to follow.

    As explained to us, one could begin with the "cha-cha-cha." But doing so would require taking one's first step on beat four, which is not as easy as taking one's first step on the downbeat (especially for musician-types like my DW and me).
  3. saludas

    saludas New Member

    I've heard from many chain studio students that they are taught (wrongly) 1,2, cha ch cha, and then, after signing on to a higher level program, are 'reintroduced' and taught the correct timing, because the chains think that learning anything that does not start on 1 is too hard for a beginner...
  4. lynn

    lynn New Member

    Indiana_Jay, what you're describing is exactly what i was taught in rhythm - but it does feel a bit less syncopated than if i start on 4 (takes some used to, of course)
  5. dTas

    dTas New Member

    i don't care where you start the cha cha as long as you are on beat! :)

    and the beat is one-two-three-four-and (1,2,3,4&) and of course the 4& is the cha-cha
  6. lynn

    lynn New Member

    oh, cool, i didn't know you can just start anywhere!
  7. saludas

    saludas New Member

    The beat is 2, 3, 4 and 1.
  8. macha

    macha New Member

    :roll: Lol, it's funny how threads always gravitate more towards "I know I'm right, it's like this", when nobody is really certain. And if they are, who's going to believe them because theirs is lost in between all the "wrongs"...

    How about I just try to finish the dance on my feet, eh? I'll let you guys quibble about who's ChaChaMaster while I'm out there dancing it- wrong OR right- with an actual instructor who knows what he's doing or other capable dancer (or even my partner, who's as.. "capable"... as I :oops: ), not a printed out danceforums page of posts, LOL.
  9. Indiana_Jay

    Indiana_Jay Active Member

    I agree there's little value in the "I know I'm right" posts. I do, however, think that discussions about differences in the way we've been taught are interesting and valuable.
  10. Medira

    Medira New Member

    The scary thing though, is the fact that they're both right. I like your thinking though, Macha. Just get out there and dance it! :D
  11. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Actually, it depends on what music you are using. So there. :p Some music from the 50s and 60s has a definite 1,2 ChaChaCha to it, while more modern stuff is a more 2,3,4&1 beat.

    If you are doing a prep step (man's part: side step, rock forward, rock back, cha cha cha) it *would* be counted 1,2,3,4&1 and thenyou would continue on with 2,3,4&1. I do believe this is the official NDCA syllabus way of teaching it (IIRC from when I had to study the dern thing).

    The moral of the story: just get on the beat. :)
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Exactly. There's only one "and" and you can hear it clearly. So cha on it. :lol: :lol:
  13. liangjz

    liangjz New Member

    For some of them, it's too hard for the beginner instructors to grasp rather than being to hard for the beginning students. Besides, cha cha DOES begin on the one.

    The reason some studios teach this the wrong way is because it takes too much effort to train their instructors on how to do it the right way. It is clear from my experience that many dance teachers at SOME studios get almost the exact same training as the stereotypical shady used car salesmen. The goal is to look professional, credible, and extract money from the customers. As a side note, I think these studios may also spend a few moments teaching their instructors one or two things about dance before sending them to collect $100/hour for private lessons. Actually, a better analogy would be between chain dance studios and chain fast-food restaurants.

    The funny thing of course, is that the ones who don't quit eventually wind up working for years and years. This means that they'll eventually be able to say that they've been teaching dance professionally for 10 years while never having learned much of anything about dance.

    Ok... I KNOW have lost touch with the original post topic, so let's keep rolling!

    One of my first instructors, a repeated OSB Championship finalist took her very first ballroom dance lesson with an Arthur Murray's instructor. I had the opportunity to meet this AM instructor not long ago and came to the realization that she is one of these eternal beginners that I've talked about. She goes around touting about how she trained a champion dancer and how many years she's taught, but she herself knows almost nothing about ballroom dancing(she DOES know the chacha basic, though) I have to compliment her on her selling ability though. Despite my jaded opinion of all franchises at the time, she still managed to extract a sizable chunk of money from me before I knew what was happening.

    I've come to feel this way because I've taken lessons from chain and non-chain dance studios, have had 2 partners who were formar chain instructors, am friends with 5 other people who were formerly instructors at various different chains in various different cities, and have talked to many others who've observed similar things.
  14. lynn

    lynn New Member

    eternal beginner? that's an interesting concept....

    a little off topic - now this is making me wonder what makes a good dancer. Clearly if someone's been dancing for ages and is still dabbling in beginnerland, then clearly practice is not the only factor. Good instruction maybe? For the past few weeks, i've been arriving early for my lesson and sat around and see some of the more advanced students. One of the teachers pointed out to me a group of silver level students and told me they've been dancing @ least 7-8 years. I was quite distraught and disappointed to see some of them still struggling with the problems that i have - and i'm a total beginner.

    But speaking of not teaching cha cha correctly because of the instructors' incompetence just really raises the ethical issue - i've actually known one instructor in my studio who...let's say, really shouldn't be teaching - and thank goodness he doesn't have many students. I sure hope he'll gain enough experience before he becomes "in demand" for both his and the students sake.
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    i don't really want to think hard tonight...been practicing too much and am tired and having a glass of wine...but here's a question: if folks aren't goodn enough to know or care that their teacher isn't grade A is it really all that big a deal?...if their goals are social and they're happy? what do you think? I haven't formed an opinion yet b/c it isn't where I'm at...(i.e hyper intense get as good as I can mode)
  16. macha

    macha New Member

    Chain dance- that sounds like McDance or something.
  17. lynn

    lynn New Member

    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    great name! but i think that might've violated some copyright laws!
  18. liangjz

    liangjz New Member

    If they keep coming back to the instructor or group of instructors, then they're clearly getting SOMETHING they want out of it. What irritates me is that I think, for some people, the low-quality instructors are their first and, unfortunately, the last exposure they get to ballroom dancing.
  19. macha

    macha New Member

    That, and who's a group of internet strangers to determine whether they're doing it right or not? They're going signt unseen. They don't even KNOW the people.

    This is "typical hobby gossip". It happens here, in horses with trainers, in sports with other coaches, and so on.

    The best thing to do is just keep your own school's business to yourself if it isn't positive.

    WE are their resumes and portfolios by our actions and the way we dance. A good school knows that if they turn out a sucky bunch of idiots, then that's going to reflect very poorly on themselves. If they turn out people who can make it around the floor until the music stops without killing anyone or injuring themselves, and quite presentably at that, then they've done their job well.

    I don't go around saying someone's studio or teacher aren't making the grade because I don't know them. Even if I did, I don't know enough about it to make that call. If I did, it's still none of my business. It shouldn't be anyone else's, either, unless there are teachers out there (I don't doubt it these days) teaching people in an absolute knat-backwards cultlike fashion so that it looks like their couples are Helen Keller and Ray Charles moshing. :p
  20. Rosa

    Rosa New Member

    Re the great cha-cha debate, this is how I was taught it, and prefer to dance it:

    1 2 3 cha-cha-cha 6 7

    It works for me. But, as they say, "different strokes for different folks"! 8)

    Rosa :)

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