Ballroom WCS versus non-Ballroom

DWise1

Well-Known Member
#61
Recently, DW and I finally made it to a day of classes put on by Benji Schwimmer. 3 hours of WCS, and 2 of Night Club Two Step. It was mind-frying, with how much I needed to fight muscle memory.

It was great in terms of theory of how WCS is supposed to work, and NC Two Step felt like a different dance when I switched to the Schwimmer timing.

He called out as problematic things I was specifically taught when I learned WCS (not pointing to me, but calling them out in general).

I'm curious how common is the experience of finding such significant differences between how you first learned, and later classes. Also curious if anyone knows of ballroom people that successfully compete in WCS at straight Swing comps.
I learned WCS from the WCS community. Then I took a WCS class from a ballroom instructor and it was completely different. WCS works with extension and compression and from that the follow moves out to the end the slot for her anchor. In ballroom, we were expected to shove her out there. None of it felt right and when a WCS would play at a ballroom social, all of the followers were in my face rather than anchoring at the end of the slot. And the hilarious moment was when an actual WCS teacher taught at a ballroom party and one of the students asked whether it was a heel lead or a toe lead. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

As for NightClub Two-Step, Benji's father, Buddy Schwimmer, invented that dance. Some try to sell it as "slow, quick, quick", whereas even he says it's "quick-quick-slow."
 
#62
And the hilarious moment was when an actual WCS teacher taught at a ballroom party and one of the students asked whether it was a heel lead or a toe lead. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?
Not entirely sure that's an unreasonable question. I haven't been keeping up, but Michael Kielbasa is apparently teaching body flight, last time I checked Mario Robau was asserting that WCS has no body flight, Skippy Blair was teaching students to lead with their "power point", etc.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#63
last time I checked Mario Robau was asserting that WCS has no body flight
Body Flight
(1) That indescribable feeling of "two" people moving as "one."
.
.
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(4) In West Coast Swing, the "action" that follows the "elastic band" feeling of a properly executed anchor"
Blair 1995 page 7,8
 

kayak

Active Member
#64
Not entirely sure that's an unreasonable question. I haven't been keeping up, but Michael Kielbasa is apparently teaching body flight, last time I checked Mario Robau was asserting that WCS has no body flight, Skippy Blair was teaching students to lead with their "power point", etc.
Yes, he spent a lot of time on body flight at the Colorado Country Classic last summer. Along with several couples teaching the slot as an hourglass and there is quite different look and feel from Mario's style.
 

kayak

Active Member
#65
As for NightClub Two-Step, Benji's father, Buddy Schwimmer, invented that dance. Some try to sell it as "slow, quick, quick", whereas even he says it's "quick-quick-slow."
I am trying not to create too much thread drift, but try switching from QQS to SQQ around 60-70 bpm. Whether the Buddy or Michael versions fit best depends a lot on which beat is emphasized and the switch point is right near 60-70 bpm.
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#68
I've experienced that also. When the slot is ended with a coaster instead of an anchor, the follower is moving forward on the "1". I much prefer the anchor, where a "1" is not a "1" until the leader makes it so.
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#70
Why do you think that happened?
Were they ahead of the beat?
Were they doing back together forward instaed of an "anchor"?
???
My expectation in WCS is that there should always either be tension or compression, and the compression should only be happening in a change of direction. The only time the hold should feel slack, as it were, is in turns, in the shift from tension to compression and back, and closed or shadow positions. My expectations, I don't declare this as what is correct. With a lot of ballroom dancers, I get momentary tension at best, and most of the dance the connection is neutral.

I don't really care what she does with her feet, as long as my expectations of the connection are met. :)
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#71
My expectation in WCS is that there should always either be tension or compression, and the compression should only be happening in a change of direction. The only time the hold should feel slack, as it were, is in turns, in the shift from tension to compression and back, and closed or shadow positions. My expectations, I don't declare this as what is correct. With a lot of ballroom dancers, I get momentary tension at best, and most of the dance the connection is neutral.

I don't really care what she does with her feet, as long as my expectations of the connection are met. :)
I was taught (by a well-regarded WCS teacher) that the connection relaxes on 2 and is reestablished on 4 (for a typical basic where nothing much is happening but her moving down the slot). The lady doesn't need to be dragged through a left-side pass...you set her in motion, then let her go there under her own power, then pick her up again on 4.
 

DWise1

Well-Known Member
#72
I am trying not to create too much thread drift, but try switching from QQS to SQQ around 60-70 bpm. Whether the Buddy or Michael versions fit best depends a lot on which beat is emphasized and the switch point is right near 60-70 bpm.
I had always been taught counting that equates to QQS, and have only encountered SQQ in country. Also, my swing dance training has the best of me so I have to start on the One. And teachers will point out how their counting matches the music, an argument that seems stronger for QQS with most NC2S music. Though if my partner really needs it to be SQQ, then I will use that S on the 8 as a starter step; what we're individually counting off inside our own heads doesn't matter so long as we're together on the floor in real-time.
 

DWise1

Well-Known Member
#73
Not entirely sure that's an unreasonable question. I haven't been keeping up, but Michael Kielbasa is apparently teaching body flight, last time I checked Mario Robau was asserting that WCS has no body flight, Skippy Blair was teaching students to lead with their "power point", etc.
It wasn't an unreasonable question because the student was speaking from a ballroom perspective. It is just from a WCS perspective that it didn't make any sense. We had a similar question arise today in salsa class where one woman asked which way her head needed to be turned during the move. The teacher, understanding that she was asking that from a ballroom perspective, answered that it doesn't matter in salsa except as a matter of styling.
 

kayak

Active Member
#74
I had always been taught counting that equates to QQS, and have only encountered SQQ in country. Also, my swing dance training has the best of me so I have to start on the One. And teachers will point out how their counting matches the music, an argument that seems stronger for QQS with most NC2S music. Though if my partner really needs it to be SQQ, then I will use that S on the 8 as a starter step; what we're individually counting off inside our own heads doesn't matter so long as we're together on the floor in real-time.
My understanding is Michael Kiehm from San Diego introduced the SQQ for the basic reasoning I am describing. The CW community grabbed it because the slow country ballads place emphasis on the down beat rather than the up beat.

We can let those two Southern California dynasties figure out who invented what and why :) As long as the two partners are synced to emphasize the same parts of the music, it will end up looking beautiful.
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#75
I was taught (by a well-regarded WCS teacher) that the connection relaxes on 2 and is reestablished on 4 (for a typical basic where nothing much is happening but her moving down the slot). The lady doesn't need to be dragged through a left-side pass...you set her in motion, then let her go there under her own power, then pick her up again on 4.
I'm certainly not suggesting dragging. Tension is not the same as dragging, it is a connection. And even on a left side pass, executed correctly, the follower will run into her arm, and the tension will turn her. :) I get too much "relaxed" and not enough tension with ballroom dancers.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#76
I'm certainly not suggesting dragging. Tension is not the same as dragging, it is a connection. And even on a left side pass, executed correctly, the follower will run into her arm, and the tension will turn her. :) I get too much "relaxed" and not enough tension with ballroom dancers.
Definitely agree that ballroom dancers tend to not have the right amount of connection. Either there's nothing there or they're too tense. Personally, I don't like using the word "tension" at all. The muscles shouldn't be tense, just engaged (which I'm sure you know, but it's a matter of semantics). Therefore, I prefer to talk about engagement or connection. There should be different amounts of connection and compression on 2 and 3 than there is on 1. If you still have the same amount of "tension" or connection on 2 and 3 as you had on 1, you're basically pulling her all the way through...which I equate to dragging.
 
#77
I was taught (by a well-regarded WCS teacher) that the connection relaxes on 2 and is reestablished on 4 (for a typical basic where nothing much is happening but her moving down the slot). The lady doesn't need to be dragged through a left-side pass...you set her in motion, then let her go there under her own power, then pick her up again on 4.
Yup; you'll get a bunch of those. As I recall, another school of thought emphasized 1, but not 4. And of course there are still a few old school instructors who think that the leader should actually be... leading.

Teaching lead follow is an inexact science.

ps: the terminology I've stolen is extension vs compression. You'll may here "leverage" used as a synonym for extension. For those who prefer visualizations, extensions are your V leads, which is what westie uses most of the time. Compressions are your A leads.
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#78
Definitely agree that ballroom dancers tend to not have the right amount of connection. Either there's nothing there or they're too tense. Personally, I don't like using the word "tension" at all. The muscles shouldn't be tense, just engaged (which I'm sure you know, but it's a matter of semantics). Therefore, I prefer to talk about engagement or connection. There should be different amounts of connection and compression on 2 and 3 than there is on 1. If you still have the same amount of "tension" or connection on 2 and 3 as you had on 1, you're basically pulling her all the way through...which I equate to dragging.
I'm certainly not talking about tense muscles. I'm talking basic physics. By tension, I mean I feel a little pull, and by compression, a little push.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#79
I'm certainly not talking about tense muscles. I'm talking basic physics. By tension, I mean I feel a little pull, and by compression, a little push.
I know what you mean, which is why I said "I'm sure you know." It is a matter of semantics, but I don't like to use that word because beginners misconstrue it.
 

kayak

Active Member
#80
Is there anything else that would influence how you danced it?



Do you have any examples of this?
The thing I like about NC2S is that it is a lot like Waltz. The faster tempos demand we step on the beat while the slower tempos demand we step through the beat. So I tend to dance something like "Lady In Red" much more upright and on the beat without much body shaping. On the other hand, "Go Rest High Upon That Mountain" does place the big drawn out pieces of the music on the first beat, but he also bridges some measures with the slows. So it is more important to match when the extensions occur rather than the actual beat. Body shaping really helps do that.
 

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