Ballroom Dance > Where should I place my hands?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by ronalds, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I agree pretty much with everything bia said--I've danced Standard in closed hold with total strangers and been more comfortable than doing hustle with a basic two-hand hold (and therefore more than a foot more space between us) with a guy I found skeevy.
  2. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    Ronalds, did you notice this new thread: I am confident that you are not a guy like this. But this is a good illustration for the advice that you're being given here. You're operating in an environment where women may be dealing with guys like this one. Obviously, you don't want to be taken for someone like that, so erring on the side of caution is a good idea. That thread is also a good illustration of the fact that not every woman is going to speak up when she feels uncomfortable (unfortunately), so you can't just go with "he put his hands there and she didn't complain" as a justification for any particular behavior.
    dbk and wooh like this.
  3. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    And what gifts would those be? A cheap feel?
    dbk, danceronice and Bailamosdance like this.
  4. rain_dog

    rain_dog Active Member

    Presumably there's a spot where if you put your hand just so, she'll go home with you after the dance.

    This has never actually been confirmed, but the dance community is full of dreamers.
    dbk, ronalds, Groovology and 2 others like this.
  5. freeageless

    freeageless Active Member

    No, maybe some positive interest in him from his dance partner-but maybe not.
  6. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    So there's several things to think about here. One is that many people have found over the ages that there are only certain hand and body positions that work well for communicating the lead and interacting with the partner's responses. That's why we only have a handful of customary frames and handholds. There are a lot of other contact points that are used in various points during certain steps, but those are transient -- they are momentary accommodations to the need to communicate certain things at certain points within a step. A good example is the lead touching the follow's stomach with his hand, as a way of indicating that she is to rock back and remain facing the same direction at a point where she would normally be expected to turn, e.g., the "fake whip" in WCS. You only use that hold because at that moment you are beside/behind the partner, and you only keep that hold as long as necessary to communicate the lead. You certainly would not use that in a normal closed hold.

    (You may see a variety of unusual holds in show routines -- but those routines are choreographed, and at the moment where that is happening, more then likely both partners are dancing from memory and there is no lead/follow interaction happening. That doesn't work in social dancing.)

    The second thing is that partner dancing, when done properly, is pretty darn intimate already. Smooth/standard body-contact position is about as far as far as you can go in public without breaking laws, and it takes a pretty good amount of trust on the parts of both partners to do that well. (Which is why you don't just jump into body contact with a partner you don't know, unless she has told you specifically that she's OK with it.) There should not be any need for special tricks to create that aura -- if the dance is done well, and the partners are willing, it will happen.
  7. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    The guys I've danced with who've then expressed an interest beyond dance have done it by...talking to me after we danced (always a good general rule with me anyway; I can't hear a word a person says clearly when the music's on) and asking to go for coffee, lunch, etc. Their dance holds didn't vary in any significant way from anyone else I've danced with's.
    frotes, wooh and bia like this.
  8. Silmarwen

    Silmarwen Member

    I agree with everyone who has emphasized the importance of paying attention to what style you are dancing and where you are dancing. I've allowed -and been totally ok with- much more "intimate" holds and hand locations when dancing salsa/bachata at a club. But the very same thing would creep me out in a latin or rhythm dance (even cha cha/rumba) at a studio. Smooth/standard I guess I'm technically making a lot of body contact, but its completely a part of the dance, so I hardly even notice it.

    The biggest thing for me is not to be forced anywhere in a frame. I recall one particularly unpleasant dance where I spent most of it pushing against my partner trying to keep ANY distance between us... (before I had enough confidence to end a dance). It also varies widely who I am comfortable dancing intimately with, some total strangers I'm cool with, some make me nervous. (although as a general rule I find I am significantly less inclined to dance closely with someone who forgets to bathe or declines to wear deodorant... :p)

    Similar question, genders reversed - There is a cha cha/rumba step that I see danced fairly regularly in which the girl will "stop herself" by placing her hand on the leads chest. (Sorry, I don't know its name :oops: ) It can be danced with a different hand, but that is by far the most common.

    Is that playing with the line of appropriate for social dancing to dance with that arm/hand styling? I could see it argued that if the guy leads it, he is ok with it, but I'm not entirely sure if the hand-on-chest is a part of the traditional step (and the other arm a variation) or if hand-on-chest is the variation, its just very popular here...
  9. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    I couldn't resst any longer! Think of it as a guide where NOT to put you hands! LOL!

    Also as the middle of the small of the back is what was taught 50 years ago,
    for social dancing.
    freeageless likes this.
  10. vit

    vit Active Member

    Can't remember any figure form int. latin basic syllabus (bronze-gold) where lady needs assistance in form of stopping or supporting her balance. However, in higher levels, those figures can be danced that way to be more attractive to see and to dance. One of usual figures outside basic syllabus in cha cha is for instance leading a lady from new york to lunge check; after than, she will usually do a spin and can use a hand to help stopping herself in front of the partner. However, she must be perfectly able to stop herself without the hand, so force applied to partner's chest with that hand is low
  11. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I personally would not have a problem with it. My partner might have a problem with it, depending on how warm it's been in the room... :oops: But I can see that some guys might be startled, at least, if a partner that they don't know did that. For that reason, it might be best not to do it with a partner that you don't know.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think it takes a while to even feel comfortable with that...when I was first learning alemana in bronze, my pro mentioned the option of hand on chest coming out of that....I was still new to him and um...was horrified at the not ready for that I am much more comfortable with him, I can't exactly remember how to do that in a way that seem natural and nonchalant, plus it would probably be a surprise to him since it has been so I don't do it even now...despite the fact that there are lots of times in open smooth when I am touching his chest...and I would positively never dream of doing it at a social with anyone other than my spouse
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I have also seen it on sliding doors and like it...though I would never in a million years do it without a conversation...guess I'm a prude
  14. vit

    vit Active Member

    Yes, these things are common in compettitive latin - also when leading open hip twist etc. You can also come really close to your partner with body or face, within several centimeters when leading those figures. Most girls that were training lating don't have any problem dancing it that way with me on some social salsa event although they are not much over half of my age on average, if we have an opportunity to dance on something like cha cha or rumba music - they did it that way about a 10.000+ times before with their partners ... so it's common to do these things with total stranger, even if from other country ... however, it's always a matter of chemistry, with some people I wouldn't be comfortable to come not nearly as close ... But I've never seen leading alemana/hip twist/sliding doors etc this way by social ballroom dancers, simply because they are not able to do it that way, because an amount of leading/following skills is needed for that, to avoid a collision with the partner, so the distance between them is usually much bigger
  15. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    It makes it look more dramatic and like you're dancing stronger. Less a balance check than a 'push.' NP is trying to teach me that in bronze ECS, and the problem is not so much it's an intimate touch, but that it's asking me to do something new with my arms and therefore my motor-coordination skills immediately fall apart. (Don't ask me to think about my upper body AND lower body at the same time. I have only so many neurons, it seems, and they can't handle that...)
  16. vit

    vit Active Member

    You would be surprised what some girls on salsa can do really great although they never danced it before - just because they are not thinking at all when they are dancing. When I'm dancing with beginners, usually the first task is to switch off their mind, so we can dance
  17. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Join the club... :rolleyes:
  18. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    The problem comes in that I have to do it RIGHT. Social salsa dancers don't have to worry about objective judges noticing that the minute you do something complex with your arms, you forget how to triple step...and of course I've been doing it one way for a long, long time...curse you muscle memory definitely comes into play.
  19. vit

    vit Active Member

    Yeah ... way of teaching in latin was always (at least in my case) somehow step-oriented. You have to put everything else (arms, body movement) on the top of the steps. So you have to learn now I have to put my hand on his chest at step 3 for instance.
    Putting the hand on the chest of the partner or wherever should be just a natural reaction of the lady, if I'm for instance leading her to do alemana in close proximity instead of doing it half meter away from me. So many girls in salsa will do it, if I'm leading some similar turn that way - they don't have to learn that in the class and they don't have to think about that, so they don't forget to do steps
    Also, judges are not counting your steps, they are mostly watching your overall presentation. They probably won't notice that you missed to do the triple step, but they will notice a discontinuity in your movement, because you frozen for a moment when thinking where and when to put the hand etc. Ok, at lower levels, it's different - there isn't much presentation to see anyway, so they will be checking the steps I suppose ...
  20. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    It's not a matter of steps ("figures" is a more accurate term anyway), it's technique. You completely miss a basic, there's something wrong with how you're using your legs and feet. Judges (those that are good, anyway) are watching for the USE of the feet, not what steps they're doing (that's the invigilators' job and you have to REALLY provoke them at bronze.) Flat-foot stuff in swing, your technique is bad, if that's the ten seconds the judge is looking at you, unless you're lucky and they're distracted by your upper body (easier to pull off if you happen to draw a Latin panel in Standard, who can miss dubious knees and ankles if you shape big enough) they know your technique is bad. There are no "natural" reactions in dance done properly, except in the physics action/reaction sense. Pushing off the partner done wrong means your core is wrong which means your base is wrong, which means your feet are wrong. The hand has to match the stretch through the body and action/reaction of weight.

    I'm sure club salsa is different, but then the end object of it's different, too, IME.
    JudeMorrigan likes this.

Share This Page