General Dance Discussion > "Women Have No Choice But to do the Right Thing"

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Generalist, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    The only thing that will fix resistance to timing changes is practice and experience on the part of the follower. I too struggled with non-standard timing in tango and foxtrot during my early days in those dances. The more time you spend following, the more adaptable you become to deviating from slow-slow-quick-quick (or slow-quick-quick, depending on what you were taught first) and T...A...N-G-O. If you are leading a beginner, I would say to just stick to simple steps that have little or no non-standard timing.

    And for WCS, I actually have a much harder time breaking out of the walk-walk, triple-step, triple-step timing. Lindy timing is very very hard for me to follow. And forget walk-walk-walk-walk... sometimes I just need a verbal lead. Again, simply not enough time spent actually following that dance.
  2. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    We've officially started teaching our students to stop spelling tango and counting "only five steps". We don't even mention "T-A-N-G-O" unless someone asks the question "Why don't you guys spell it?" then we say "Because when we dance tango, we tend to stutter," and demonstrate how five letters don't fit into the promenade twist, the rocking left turn, the chase, etc. The home-growns understand different timing adjustments much more easily than transplants, because we've told them that tango is abstract, even when it's neatly packaged into eight counts, as there are a lot more ways to make change for a dollar than just four quarters.
    nikkitta and Bailamosdance like this.
  3. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I haven't found it to be a big problem. When somebody has been dancing for a few months, you have to explain to them that yes, timing changes are possible. At our studio, this usually comes first in foxtrot, when you start showing them box-rhythm variations on the basic American bronze timing. Once they get their heads wrapped around that, other timing variations don't have the surprise factor anymore. I've found that, for instance, I can mix in certain 8-count patterns in ECS and follows often don't realize that they did an 8-count pattern until I point it out to them.
    IndyLady likes this.
  4. davedove

    davedove Well-Known Member

    I think it's good to have a standard timing when you're first learning a dance. It helps limit the number of things a beginner has to keep track of. However, I do think it's important for the teacher to emphasize that there are other timings that will be taught later.
    danceronice and IndyLady like this.
  5. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    Out of curiosity, how do you teach them to count tango? I think no matter how it was "counted" (spelling, "S-S-Q-Q-S", other), I would have still been attached to the basic timing until I had enough experience to go outside of that.

    I'm an analytical, numbers nerd, so I need basic rules to start with. I can start with timing A (with the caveat that there are other timings, but this is the "basic" one and we're going to start here). Once I have that down, go ahead and show/teach me timing B, C, etc. But if someone had thrown A, B, and C at me all at once with no structure, chances are I wouldn't still be dancing. It worked better for me to learn A and then add on B and C than to have a fuzzy "it might be A it might be B it might be C but be ready for anything I can't really tell you", even if I did have to get over a hump to get to B and C and beyond. YMMV.
    twnkltoz, atk and Loki like this.
  6. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    I'm with Indy on that.
  7. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Yes, I don't remember ever being given the "T...A...N-G-O!' thing, but I remember being introduced to basic timing, not having multiple options flung at me straight from the get-go.
    IndyLady likes this.
  8. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    So, we've touched on West Coast Swing in this thread, and let me say something about that and how it's easier to learn just one basic timing.

    Learning one timing is something that Alma Heaton, again, taught at BYU for decades and included "Western Swing," which was WCS, but before it was taught from the walk walk, had exactly that thought in his books and how he taught - just the one rhythm.

    But... here's the thing. Western Swing and West Coast Swing were recognized as what to learn after Lindy. You were supposed to already know your stuff. So, when you were asked to do things using different timings, it was sort of, OK, I know Single Lindy, Double Lindy, and Triple Lindy, so I can do that. Also, when the 8 count whip was thrown at you as pattern #5, it was not such a big deal, because it was "Lindy Rhythm," a combination of double and triple Lindy/rhythm.
    (I feel a lot more confident in writing about this after seeing Murray students dance at a 1954 Medal Ball that was preserved by kinescoping. And the other stuff comes from dance text books.)

    Now, elsewhere on the spectrum, we have Argentine Tango where (if you've had the right teachers!) you have what is simply called la marca, which is really just "the beat," and you can't be on the wrong foot. You are just on the other foot (unless you insist on leading patterns all the time).

    Crazy, man, crazy.
  9. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    When we teach them their first lesson in tango, we (obviously) cover the forward and curving forward basic with a rhythmic count of SSQQS. We explain that in this situation, one 'slow' equals two beats or counts of music, quicks are one, so that they can dance the basic S, S, Q-Q-S, or 1(2), 3(4), 5-6-7(8), and demonstrate it to music and metronome.

    When they're familiar with that, we explain that the rhythm won't always be the same SSQQS any more than you will ALWAYS make change for a dollar with only four quarters. The first figures we teach them are all eight-counts, most of them sticking with SSQQS, but then we get into QQSQQS (and other) figures, and explain that though the rhythm changes, there are still eight counts if they remember S=2, Q=1, and the sum is 8 holy so what, I'm mathing, just like my summer school teacher said I would someday. We have different ways of explaining it, and it also depends on the audience, etc. It's worked well for us so far, but if it didn't, we'd change it until it did.

    So no, we don't throw a ton of timing variations on our students all at once, and I hope I didn't give that impression. Often when I'm typing here, I have other factors distracting me and basically making themselves nuisances, so I can't focus on clarity or brevity as much as I'd like to. Today's one of those days, and it's been a long one. Migraine city, in fact.
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Please forgive me if it seems like I'm beating a dead horse here, but I just came across this post dated 1999 and I wanted to get it into the Forum somewhere. And something related came up in this thread.

    You might recognize the name at the end of the post. He said, "They're waltzers" after asking Dean Collins about how the Murrays did when they took lessons from Dean in 1940 or so.

    I did the whole 9 Yards with Arthur Murray in the 50's when there were over 450 Studios Worldwide. I
    went through the training program & worked My way up to An eventual Owner. I therefore know all the Ins & Outs. Arthur Murray put Ballroom Dancing on the Map. Most everything You see Today is a Reasonable Facsimile of the Original AM System. He wrote the Book! Fred Astaire, Veloz & Yolanda & many others that followed were Spin-offs of AM & many of those lived off of AM's Overflow. His Medal System & 'Louise Taylor' Junioring Manual were Cornerstones that have been copied but ever duplicated. Many (If not All) Independent Teachers & Studios follow the Guidelines that AM created.
    It is often the case that people like to knock the Giant especially when they don't have all the facts. AM was the Giant who may of created by accident some Monsters but the Joy He brought to so Many
    is Priceless.
    Kenny Wetzel!topic/ 3/19/99
  11. Hedwaite

    Hedwaite Well-Known Member

    I don't knock the religion, just the false prophets thereof.
  12. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    +1,000 Loki Points for that one, HW.
    (And I'm not a chain hater per se.)
  13. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Is this thread about teaching leaders or the influence of AM on modern ballroom and swing dancing?
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    to answer your question, it has veered...hopefully it will veer back
  15. RainbowConnection

    RainbowConnection New Member

    Man. I gotta start taking some dance classes. This stuff is really interesting (if kind of confusing sometimes LOL!!)
    Sania likes this.
  16. Generalist

    Generalist Active Member

    I discovered one way to not allow follows to do the wrong thing. It's a limited example but perhaps some leads will find it useful.

    It happened during a WCS group workshop. I got rotated to a lady that had no business in the class because it's an intermediate workshop (given by a nationally famous dancer).

    We were doing a variation of the sugar push. I stepped back, we compressed, and then she went to the end of her slot like she was supposed to. Like too many newbies she started walking towards me as soon as she got to the end of the slot. I just stood still while she took at least two steps. She was forced to stop and did so right in my face.

    She said that we can't complete the pattern if I don't move. I said I can't move until she gives me an anchor step. She looked rather annoyed but did anchor the next time, and then I completed the pattern. I have found this an effective way to get ladies to anchor properly. Unfortunately too many leads in that same lesson just compensated for her mistakes so she deluded herself into thinking everything was fine.

    The moral of the story is that all too often good leads accommodate the mistakes of follows, hence the myth that only leads make mistakes.
  17. stash

    stash Well-Known Member

    Hmmm... Not saying I don't know how to anchor (cuz I do) but if I was the follower in this situation I would be PO'ed. Sure she was in the wrong, but then again you weren't the instructor giving the workshop, therefore, IMHO, correcting her in this way was totally out of line. Two wrongs don't make a right...

    Fixes like that, and in that manner, should be made by her instructor, and her instructor alone (or that of the workshop...)
  18. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I think I would be annoyed at the tone/manner in which the correction was made. I will admit I have corrected things that leads were doing wrong in a group if it was making a step impossible or unreasonably difficult and I knew what the fix was, but I always tried to be as delicate as possible, framing it as "I think it might need to be done this way - can we try that?" so they don't feel like I'm talking down to them. Then respond positively when they try my "suggestion" and it works. Underhanded and fake, yes, but it allows them to save face and gets the problem fixed without creating any hard feelings.
    stash and danceronice like this.
  19. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Well-Known Member

    If DW forgot to anchor and I did what you did, it would be a very unpleasant ride home.
    stash, danceronice and IndyLady like this.
  20. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    There's a gentleman (and I use the term loosely) in one of our group classes that "corrects" like that. He's partnerless, and normally any single guy would be fought over by the ladies without a partner... but no one wants to dance with him. To convince them to do it, the ladies are rotated in 10 minute shifts - or he dances with the instructor or her desginated helper.

    I know that he means well, and geniuinely wants to help, but it comes across as incredibly rude and insulting.
    danceronice likes this.

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