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Author Topic: On Time: getting there, staying there  (Read 12799 times)
elisedance
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« on: December 22, 2009, 06:40:01 AM »

If you can't stay on time nothing else matters.

When you watch a dance competition and the couple that are obviously better than anyone else on the floor - and yet do not win (or even come last) its almost always because they are off time.  Its rather tragic really, perfect frame, lovely shapes, beatiful together dancing - all out of the window because their heads pop up when everyone elses are ducking down Wink

To be honest, its been a chronic problem for us (AM and I) and, I think, a major reason for our sometimes spotty results.  One problem is that many songs are dominated by a tune that is not actually on time for the rhythm. 

So the question here is how do you get on time and how do you stay there?  Are there any tricks you know of to keep there - and also to get back on time when you wander off? 
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cornutt
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2009, 09:34:28 AM »

More thoughts on this later, but for now I'll throw out one thing: As a lead, once you have the beat and you know where the 1 is, you have to have the confidence to stick with it.  If some other couple on the floor is off time, you have to convince yourself to ignore them.  This isn't always easy because (1) nobody wants to be the proverbial sore thumb, and if you see another couple dancing on a different beat, there's always the "is it them or is it me" game that goes on in your head, subconsciously, and (2) floorcraft becomes vastly more difficult when you have to allow for a couple that's dancing on a different beat.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen a couple that is dancing on the correct beat allow themselves to be thrown off by a couple that is dancing on the wrong beat.  At our last comp, in a heat where I was dancing with my DW, they played a particularly tricky foxtrot.  I usually like to get going when the music starts, but with this song I had to listen for a few extra bars to make sure I had it.  Once we started dancing, I couldn't help but occasionally notice, out of the corner of my eye, couples who were dancing on a different beat.  But I was sure I had the one, so I stuck to my guns.  We placed first in our group in that heat.  Later, one of the judges told our instructor that we were the only couple on the floor that was on time in that heat.
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QPO
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2009, 02:06:59 AM »

That is a toughy and we have had that problem also, I think the adrenalin that rushes through your body when you compete can take over sometimes. It is good to listen to lots of songs to work out when the right beat is to start. I heard some really interesting pieces of music where no defined beat is obvious I think they give it to the higher level dancers to test their skills.

Unfortunately as the women or the follower you must go with the guy even if they do make the wrong decision, you have to hope they will pick it up. This is one reason we want to have that music set up so we can listen to a song remotely and play lots of different tunes while we practice.

That is always the challenge of a comp as you just don't know what piece of music you will get. Roll Eyes
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elisedance
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2009, 09:49:05 AM »

Agreed Q, that you have to follow regardless else you run the danger of looking like your incompetent Smiley 

However, do any followers attempt to inform their partners that they are off time? 
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QPO
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2009, 09:45:51 PM »

Well I would discuss with it both the coach and partner and see what they say. But I would not do so on the floor unless my partner wanted me to.
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2009, 12:33:45 AM »

More thoughts on this later, but for now I'll throw out one thing: As a lead, once you have the beat and you know where the 1 is, you have to have the confidence to stick with it.  If some other couple on the floor is off time, you have to convince yourself to ignore them.  This isn't always easy because (1) nobody wants to be the proverbial sore thumb, and if you see another couple dancing on a different beat, there's always the "is it them or is it me" game that goes on in your head, subconsciously, and (2) floorcraft becomes vastly more difficult when you have to allow for a couple that's dancing on a different beat.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen a cohisuple that is dancing on the correct beat allow themselves to be thrown off by a couple that is dancing on the wrong beat.  At our last comp, in a heat where I was dancing with my DW, they played a particularly tricky foxtrot.  I usually like to get going when the music starts, but with this song I had to listen for a few extra bars to make sure I had it.  Once we started dancing, I couldn't help but occasionally notice, out of the corner of my eye, couples who were dancing on a different beat.  But I was sure I had the one, so I stuck to my guns.  We placed first in our group in that heat.  Later, one of the judges told our instructor that we were the only couple on the floor that was on time in that heat.

There is a parallel discussion going on in another thread about phrasing. In actuality, the two, though different, are very relative. When one speaks of being on time, the first thing that comes to mind is the beat. Yet, this is only a part of being on time. One can be on time by being; on a specific beat, within a specific timing, in a specific phrase. All of these things denote being on time, and, even, in a competition, the couple that stands out is the couple who can vascillate between the three.
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elisedance
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2009, 05:55:08 AM »

Is vascillate really what you mean?  To me that implies indecision... 

This topic came to mind from the other one (phrasing) but I thought we needed something broader.  Let me ask this then; during a heat where there are, say 12 couples on the floor and the judges look at each for just a few seconds, couldn't it be possible for them to think a couple were off-beat if they glanced at them when they were simply playing with the timing as you describe?   
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cornutt
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2009, 11:22:16 PM »


This topic came to mind from the other one (phrasing) but I thought we needed something broader.  Let me ask this then; during a heat where there are, say 12 couples on the floor and the judges look at each for just a few seconds, couldn't it be possible for them to think a couple were off-beat if they glanced at them when they were simply playing with the timing as you describe?   

That could happen, and that's one reason I try to keep it "straight up" during comps. 
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elisedance
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2009, 03:37:32 AM »

me too.  Though straight up can be off time with DP Tongue
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2009, 07:34:44 PM »

Is vascillate really what you mean?  To me that implies indecision... 

This topic came to mind from the other one (phrasing) but I thought we needed something broader.  Let me ask this then; during a heat where there are, say 12 couples on the floor and the judges look at each for just a few seconds, couldn't it be possible for them to think a couple were off-beat if they glanced at them when they were simply playing with the timing as you describe?   

Absolutely. This could happen. One should be, not only good at it, but careful as to when to do it.
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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.
QPO
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2009, 09:23:19 PM »

one has to be very proficient and confident to do that..
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albanaich
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2010, 03:02:59 PM »

The quickstep is usually danced to 'Swing music' as Swing music is deliberately structured so as to be 'off time' it begs the question - what is the right time? That which the music dictates - or the overall tempo of the music.

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elisedance
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2010, 05:46:45 PM »

I think you are returning to the concept that musicians and dancers approach music differently (one thats come up a couple of times on the forum).  The answer is, it depends on whether you are a dancer or a musician - or both.  I actually don't get the paradox because I both dance and play...
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QPO
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2010, 07:26:34 PM »

it is not the judges who determine if what you are doing is right or wrong? I know they must get trained to a point and also there own interpretation comes into it. My partner and I dance to the music how he interprets it, if we are off we learn for next time. I don't think it is an exact science and open for interpretation
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cornutt
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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2010, 07:52:27 PM »

it is not the judges who determine if what you are doing is right or wrong?

In a comp, yes that's true by definition.  In other venues, it's not so obvious.  When I was a beginner, what was right was defined by what my instructor said.  But I'm far enough along now that I get to have some input to that.  It's an interesting question, because in my own mind, the correct timing is determined in part by my interpretation of the music, but that is inevitably influenced by my experience as a musician.  That doesn't always jibe with my partners, and I sometimes have to adopt a timing that I feel kind of uncomfortable with in order for the dance to work. 
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