Routines vs lead and follow in closed syllabus


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I know this has been asked before, but I wanted to get a fresh new set of answers as it seems to me that more and more are doing routines in closed syllabus. This is not to discuss the merits of each, but just gathering info about who has routines, who has lead and follow and who has "groupings" that you know but that you don't know the order of.


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My pro basically dances routines in both...I knew all the closed rhythm routines when I was dancing it regularly, but pretty much dumped them all (and he changed them) after I started dancing in the end, I was pretty much dancing lead/follow while he led a routine.

With closed smooth, I have never made an effort to learn routines (though, like rhythm, he basically led them.) That may change now that I'm dancing smooth more regularly, but I'm actually hoping not. Smooth, to me, requires me to be so much more in tune with my partner than rhythm that I think focusing on a routine would take away from that. At least until we start dancing open.


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Just for reference:

And personally, Bronze through Gold in Latin and Rhythm, I had a set routine for each dance but knew full well that I was either A. going to run into floorcraft issues so that I would need to lead and follow or B. completely forget sequences (at one point I literally had about 28 different routines running through my head) so I would end up making things up. Smooth and Standard, definitely more groupings than set choreography since floor sizes differ, heats are larger or smaller, etc. Now that I'm focusing on Open Smooth and Rhythm, I have nine routines, each made up of varying sizes of groupings and each of which I tend to stick to very closely; nevertheless, still led and followed, and instead of putting something else in, I'll either pause and let the other couple pass or repeat the grouping we just did if there are floorcraft issues.

EDIT: Just noticed the "closed syllabus" part of the thread title. Please ignore second half of last paragraph about Open if it doesn't interest you. Apologies.


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Pro has routines for closed syllabus students except for jive where he does lead and follow. Interestingly enough, he suggested doing lead and follow for a second set of open single dances with me (in addition to my normal open routines) for this year for a new challenge!


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For smooth, I usually have a couple of wall pieces, and the rest is improvised. I never used to bother planning anything for rhythm, but one of the instructors has gotten me into choosing sets of steps: "I'll do A, B, C, and D in some order, depending on whatever." We practice before the comp and decide which steps are working best, and choose a few to make a set.


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i have routines in all 4 styles in bronze and silver for my students. everyone learns and uses the same routine that competes as well. i only vary indiviual routines when it comes to open work.

Larinda McRaven

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For syllabus smooth and standard:
I insist that my pro-am students learn groupings. I don't dictate the order, they are free to assemble them in whatever order they see fit. That requires them to learn responsibility for floor craft, but without having the burden to assemble patterns piece by piece in the "heat of the battle".

Each amalgamation roughly fits a short wall. Put two of them together and you have a long wall.


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I've never NOT had routines, and I'm not sure I've ever had a competition (discounting small locals or uncontested heats) where floor traffic hasn't modifications.


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Each amalgamation roughly fits a short wall. Put two of them together and you have a long wall.
I like that strategy because it means you can start on a short wall. Sometimes, you can avoid traffic jams and have a big hunk of floor to yourself that way, because so many people only have routines that must start on a long wall.


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I used to be of the opinion that my partner should be able to follow what's happening - and she can follow when socially dancing so why not at competitions? My coach told me that maybe she could follow just fine, but she wouldn't be dancing 100%, as she would if she knew what were coming, and that could be significant.

I like the idea of groupings in Standard, because, as Larinda says, it gives control of floorcraft. In latin, I think it's easier to twist things and follow the routine around people, because even in traveling dances you stop in place for a while.


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We have full routines for gold standard, 4 or 6 walls in each dance. Also have some small floor and large floor alterations. I feel sticking to a routine allows us to look and feel better rehearsed, and dance with greater confidence. We know and practice lead and follow, but through adjustments of direction and step size for floor craft, I don't have to deviate all that often unless the floor is really crowded. At times when I absolutely have to go off script, I tend to stick with more basic (bronzish) figures until I can get back to some part of my regular routine. Personally, I don't want to think about which step or which grouping I'm going to lead next. If I know the whole thing by heart, it's one less thing I have to worry about on the floor, and I can concentrate on more important things, like wiping the glazed look off my face and smiling.


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Even in bronze, I've always had routines. That said, I can be flakey as heck, so it's always behooved my partners to be able to follow when (not if), I go off the routine. On the pro-am side of things, my instructor's attitude was always, "that's fine, just so long as you actually lead it". Except in paso. She was ... less than amused when I blanked and went off script in that. :D


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We have full routines for standard, with plans for how to expand or shrink for floor size. Traffic adjustments or leader blanking are dealt with on the fly.

Miss Silly

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When i did a pro-am comp in closed syllabus American style, we freestyled everything. I've now switched to amateur and International and for closed syllabus we're preparing routines (we're starting competing in we're novice/pre-bonze haha).


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I did 100% lead/follow for a while. Unfortunately, something about the way my partner and I practice, it's just easier for us to work on technique within a routine. So when we decided to suck less at Standard, we got routines, and we complete them... ok, we try to compete them. Half the time we forget them and end up doing little chunks of them.

IMO, routines and lead/follow are not mutually exclusive. If you're not doing lead/follow in your routines, you're not doing them right.

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