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Author Topic: On Your Own Balance  (Read 12240 times)
Rugby
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« Reply #75 on: July 09, 2009, 12:11:04 AM »

I know of this one guy that has to tell the lady he is dancing with what to do because he tries to dance advanced stuff he saw in videos but doesn't know the leads.  He also tries to teach the ladies out on the floor and is too stupid to notice they are not amused.
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Everyone tries to rush up through the syllabus levles and think once they are at the top they have arrived.  What they don't realize is that by doing this it is like skimming through a book, you may get the gist but you will never understand the story.
elisedance
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« Reply #76 on: July 15, 2009, 07:05:07 AM »

Worked another hour on ballance.  Pro wants me to be totally balanced on each foot for every step.  "Its like walking" he said Shocked Undecided
so I tried walking, and d'you know, its true. 

So when I go backwards is there a slight lilt side to side to establish ballance with each step?
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Some guy
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« Reply #77 on: July 15, 2009, 06:16:52 PM »

So when I go backwards is there a slight lilt side to side to establish ballance with each step?

I don't know if I'd call it "tilt".  I would call it moving our center of gravity over our standing leg.  It should be (hopefully) subconscious, just like moving backwards while [wait for it..........] "walking"!   Cheesy

I don't know if it'll work for you, but before your foot hits the floor on each step going backwards, think to yourself "UNTHINK!".  Actually, you can replace that with any word, but what that'll do is get you to stop overthinking things and distract your brain just long enough to let your body work on it's own.  Leave the mechanics to what your body does best: balance and efficient locomotion.  Your body already knows how to dance.  You just have to let it.

Think about when you walk: you don't try to control the mechanics of it.  You only tell your body, "I want to walk fast, I want to walk slowly, I want to walk forwards, backwards, sideways, I want to walk smooth, I want to walk clunky and thump my feet on the floor".  You don't bother controlling HOW your body does it, you just trust that your body knows how to do it.  When it comes to dance, yes there might be a few things we need to micro manage ("I want to be up higher on my toes, I want to make sure I don't take a toe-lead") but other than that, we have to be very careful what we tell our bodies do to as that effectively throws a wrench in the works.  Hence the reason people sustain injuries while learning to ballroom dance.  After I started dancing I got chronic pains in my feet and ankles.  The doctor told me I had to wear arch supports as I have Plantar fasciitis. I had NEVER had that before.  What's more, I used to press 990-lbs of weight in the gym with my legs.  How on earth can a simple "rise and fall" in Standard dancing cause my feet to sustain permanent injury to my arches?  After recently figuring out the miracle of "walking", no longer do I have to wear arch supports.  I still have long-term injury to my ligaments in my feet due to improper (and inefficient) use of my feet when Standard dancing, but the second I let go of trying to dictate how to move, my body was able to move efficiently (and safely!).     
« Last Edit: July 15, 2009, 06:34:32 PM by Some guy » Logged
TangoDancer
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« Reply #78 on: July 16, 2009, 05:09:59 AM »


So when I go backwards is there a slight lilt side to side to establish ballance with each step?

No. The feet are already positioned properly. If you execute the proper leg swing, and keep the body moving through the middle of the step, you will be perfect.

Leave the mechanics to what your body does best: balance and efficient locomotion.  Your body already knows how to dance.  You just have to let it.

Great truth...after the body has learned some specific basics. Many of us do not know when the right time is to let go.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
Some guy
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« Reply #79 on: July 16, 2009, 01:04:41 PM »

Great truth...after the body has learned some specific basics. Many of us do not know when the right time is to let go.
I agree.  I guess *THAT* is the tricky part about learning to dance?
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elisedance
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« Reply #80 on: October 27, 2009, 08:27:45 AM »

We've been working on posture - and to my surprise this has more effect on balance than just about anything else I have done. 

Turns out that balance more than getting your centre of gravity over your foot - which is all I thought it was.  You can put yourself in the most extraordinary position and satisfy that demand - however, the more dispersed your body is the harder it is to maintain that balance.  Its the 'next level' if you like.  Getting in balance AND being stable.  So what’s that all about?

Thinking about it, when you are on your feet you are most balanced AND stable when your body is compact over your feet.  As I understand this, the reason for that is the further a weight is from a pivot point the more leverage it has to throw the object off balance.  Thus, if you can get your core, and here I mean as in an apple core, the centre of your body from the ground to the tip of your head, in as straight a line above your feet - then you will be both balanced and stable.  The dance thought that comes to mind for me is river dancers with their straight body and arms to their sides.  In that position they can hop up and down with amazing speed and balance. 

As ballroom dancers we have to stick our arms out - which, according to this theory, is to reduce our stability.  However, we can still align our bodies - and I am not just surprised but astonished what a difference this makes to my ability to transfer my weight to the next foot and keep it there.
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #81 on: October 28, 2009, 05:24:41 AM »

Very true. Thank God we have 3 such lines to balance over. The trick, IMO, is not being balanced over one of them, but being balanced as we transfer from one to the other.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
elisedance
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« Reply #82 on: October 28, 2009, 06:10:15 AM »

Very true. Thank God we have 3 such lines to balance over. The trick, IMO, is not being balanced over one of them, but being balanced as we transfer from one to the other.
There's another one of your delightful lines that will keep me occupied for days!  But you have to remind us of the 'three lines'

But is a body in motion truly balanced - or just balanced in each direction except one?  Do we call that kinetic balance??

Actually I think I just hit on the obvious and sublime.  A moving body is out of balance in the direction of movement and may (or may not) be in balance in the others... the boy on the unicycle comes to mind.  His lateral balance is perfect - indeed it is greatly facilitated by his forward motion.  But is he in forward-rear 'balance' certainly in that he does not fall but the notion of balance is more than that isn't it?  Or maybe it is not...

Actually I suspect the unicycle analogy is here to stay - isn't it a powerful tool for the notion of balance beyond not falling over...
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cornutt
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« Reply #83 on: October 28, 2009, 10:49:05 PM »


Actually I think I just hit on the obvious and sublime.  A moving body is out of balance in the direction of movement and may (or may not) be in balance in the others...

I don't know if "out of balance" is the phrase I'd use.  I think of it as "dynamic balance", in which the downward pull of gravity is being offset by the forward motion (or whatever direction you happen to be moving in).  In American football, they have a phrase for this: "downhill runner", meaning a runner who uses the pull of gravity to help him move forwards.  Such a runner is very hard to tackle, because if you jump on his back and try to drag him down, you are in effect just helping him run harder. 
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #84 on: October 29, 2009, 01:16:52 AM »

I don't know if "out of balance" is the phrase I'd use.  I think of it as "dynamic balance", in which the downward pull of gravity is being offset by the forward motion (or whatever direction you happen to be moving in).

My teacher didn't allow us to call it "off balance" or "out of balance". He said that as every molecule is always in perfect balance with one another at all times, then there is no such thing as being “off balance” or "out of balance". He said that we might be in a balance that we didn’t want to be in but that should never be called “off balance” or "out of balance". He also said that as you got better your perception of balance would change. You would be able to move further before getting to a point of being in a balance you wouldn’t want to be in.

Quote
In American football, they have a phrase for this: "downhill runner", meaning a runner who uses the pull of gravity to help him move forwards.  Such a runner is very hard to tackle, because if you jump on his back and try to drag him down, you are in effect just helping him run harder.  

I would also agree that we use a similar method when we move. I think the action they in American football call “downhill runner” is what we call “fall” or “falling”. I am not suggesting that we would get tackled (even if it sometimes feels or looks like it) but couples will have a hard time keeping up with a couple that uses this method (falling) of movement.

Dora-Satya Veda
« Last Edit: October 29, 2009, 01:21:05 AM by Dora-Satya Veda » Logged

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elisedance
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« Reply #85 on: October 29, 2009, 05:44:37 AM »

I don't know if "out of balance" is the phrase I'd use.  I think of it as "dynamic balance", in which the downward pull of gravity is being offset by the forward motion (or whatever direction you happen to be moving in).

My teacher didn't allow us to call it "off balance" or "out of balance". He said that as every molecule is always in perfect balance with one another at all times, then there is no such thing as being “off balance” or "out of balance". He said that we might be in a balance that we didn’t want to be in but that should never be called “off balance” or "out of balance". He also said that as you got better your perception of balance would change. You would be able to move further before getting to a point of being in a balance you wouldn’t want to be in.

Quote
In American football, they have a phrase for this: "downhill runner", meaning a runner who uses the pull of gravity to help him move forwards.  Such a runner is very hard to tackle, because if you jump on his back and try to drag him down, you are in effect just helping him run harder. 

I would also agree that we use a similar method when we move. I think the action they in American football call “downhill runner” is what we call “fall” or “falling”. I am not suggesting that we would get tackled (even if it sometimes feels or looks like it) but couples will have a hard time keeping up with a couple that uses this method (falling) of movement.

Dora-Satya Veda


[This post is relevant to balance and also to the falling topic so I have taken the liberty of copying it over there too - we'll just have to live with the two related discussions - perhaps we can stay on the balance aspect here?] 
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #86 on: October 29, 2009, 03:57:12 PM »

Well, the only time you are in balance as most people see it is when you are in a "static balance" (not moving). Dancing is about moving to music (as far as I know) and when you move you have "progressive balance". To create movement the most efficient way you need to "fall" and learn to deal with "progressive balance".

I think it is pretty much the same discussion as the chicken and egg idea.

DSV
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« Reply #87 on: February 04, 2010, 06:43:37 AM »

The was posted by Tangodancer  and I thought it was a very important point.

I have struggled with this thinking I was not low enough, people tell me my legs are too straight. Very good advice...


Quote
I have found the secret to balance to simply be to always dance in the middle; the middle of our feet, the middle of our bodies, the middle of our strides, the middle of our partnerships, and, yes, the middle of the measures (this last one only applying to smooth/standard, of course). To better understand this, consider walking across the floor, and you suddenly trip... stumble. You look back, and there is nothing there.   Shocked  Right? We all do it.  Huh  The reason was that, for whatever reason, your step/stride/weight transfer was too short for the body to find the middle. It passed middle, and you fell off balance.

Re the bending of the knees, or more precisely, the straightening of the legs, please do not over-correct this. One of the biggest errors in dance is not straightening the legs, or dancing on perpetually bent knees. Properly straightening the legs is very important. One should think of the knees as shock absorbers... as on a car. Straighten the leg, or land onto a straightened leg, and feel how the knees absorb the movement/weight. The movement/weight soften into the knees. They do not bend... they relax.
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Peaches
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« Reply #88 on: February 05, 2010, 12:41:40 AM »

OK, so I know this is the advanced ballroom thread...where I obviously have no business being.

And I know this thread (yes, I did read it) is moving in a different direction than where my mind has gone.  Probably at least partially on account of the different styles between us...ballroom vs. AT.

But to get back to the OP, can you describe what exercises your teacher had you do?  What did you find helped you find your balance?  And the same question to others here...what, besides pure repetition, which hasn't helped me much at all, has been effective in improving your balance? 

I ask because independent balance, particularly with pivoting motions (180 degrees, 180+), is something that I continue to struggle with.  I am absolutely sure I don't push or pull on my partner, but I do need that contact there for steadying myself.  It doesn't have to be much, but I cannot be purely independent, and that is my goal.  Various exercises (place heel fully when stepping onto that foot, stop, lift heel and pivot, use other foot as a "training wheel," use adductors to steady and balance and power turn, turn into the floor, complete turn and place heel fully before moving, slow stepping and moving)...seem to have gotten me somewhere, but certainly not far.

If the mods would prefer this be another thread elsewhere, I fully understand.  Please move as desired.
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elisedance
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« Reply #89 on: February 05, 2010, 05:20:17 AM »

OK, so I know this is the advanced ballroom thread...where I obviously have no business being.
Nonsense - you are very welcome here - and this post is right on topic Wink

......
But to get back to the OP, can you describe what exercises your teacher had you do?  What did you find helped you find your balance?  And the same question to others here...what, besides pure repetition, which hasn't helped me much at all, has been effective in improving your balance? 

The critical thing is to transfer your body with the step and not to step first and then transfer.

My coach had me do the following - its basically a waltz box but who cares right?
Stand upright facing a mirror.  Move your body (held vertically) to the right and place your right foot under it.  Now drag the left foot next to the right. Do the same thing going forward, left and then back to your starting point. 

You should be out of ballance only momentarily as your body is in motion - never when you are bringing the trailing foot in.  By working on this by myself I learned how to maintain my own ballance - it felt weird at first and I never thought I could apply it to dance - but it does transfer and it makes life much easier for my partner.
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

The limit of your love is also the limit of your art...
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