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Author Topic: He did, she did - the jobs topic  (Read 947 times)
elisedance
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« on: September 08, 2010, 05:13:20 AM »

I just noticed that we don't have a topic on this - dancing by division of labour.

I think when we start learning we mostly want to make sure we move at the same time in approximately the same direction, so its trying to do the same thing at the same time.  Well, to some extent ballroom is always like that, at least overall the image is of two people doing the same thing at teh same time and voila they get round the room in perfect synchrony!

If there is one illusion that is bigger in ballroom than any other, this has to be it.  Effective partner dancing actually requires a rearkable division of labour.  The reason for this is are twofold: first, only one person can be in the driver's seat (at a time) and second, you actually don't do ANYTHING at precisely the same time.  Not even the bow.  This follows from the first statement - if one person is driving (the initiator as DSV likes to put it), the other is reacting or responding.

This becomes even more interesting when you dissect a bit of dancing (I hate to say routine or step since, as SG pointed out not long ago, there really are no steps in dancing, only movements; steps are only a convenient stage towards learning how to move) the initiator (the man in ballroom) decides on a movement; the woman waits until that movement - its direction and 'expression' (a collective word for all the other parts of the movement such as shape, sway etc) - has been effectively communicated and then she makes her movement. 

Within this framework of dance there is the famous 'conversation' for the woman is not totally passive, she does not only respond - the initation of the step will cause her to make her own movement that the man listens to and provides additional input, the conversation is active.  However, while there are some simillarities, the messages that the woman sends out are in their nature rather different from those the man stated. 

I know that I am restating things that are elsewhere on PDO - this division of labour and the conversations within it are integral parts of all styles of dancing but even more so (as I understand it) of the Body School where the conversation of dance is really what its about.

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ZPomeroy
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2010, 05:50:02 AM »

Do you mind if i just clarify something from your post? you mentioned that the initiator was the man for ballroom, yet as i see it, both the man and the lady have considerable control over the movement, and the initiation of movements. From a man's perspective i do a considerable amount of following. Whenever my weight is moving backwards, the lady is in control. Moving into lines, the lady is in control. Yet i do not like to think of it as control, i do not like to think of it as a driver either. I prefer to think of it as passing the energy to my partner.

Lets take for example the 1 - 3 of a natural turn: the man first initiates the momentum, but at the 3 passes the energy to the lady so that she can create the swing for the next movement(s). Another example is running finishes from promenade: the man is in control until he rises up onto his left foot, where he transfers his energy to the lady so that she can finish the movement, then as the man goes up onto his right foot the transfer happens again so that the energy resides within him. If one person does not continue the use of this energy then it disappears and movement becomes very hard to create. Also it is my opinion that this is how a smooth connection and smooth partnership movement is created, through the continuous transfer of energy between the partnership, and if you like the transfer between passive and active dancing

That's the way i see it anyway Wink

Zac
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elisedance
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2010, 11:17:32 AM »

Do you mind if i just clarify something from your post? you mentioned that the initiator was the man for ballroom, yet as i see it, both the man and the lady have considerable control over the movement, and the initiation of movements. From a man's perspective i do a considerable amount of following. Whenever my weight is moving backwards, the lady is in control. Moving into lines, the lady is in control. Yet i do not like to think of it as control, i do not like to think of it as a driver either. I prefer to think of it as passing the energy to my partner.

Lets take for example the 1 - 3 of a natural turn: the man first initiates the momentum, but at the 3 passes the energy to the lady so that she can create the swing for the next movement(s). Another example is running finishes from promenade: the man is in control until he rises up onto his left foot, where he transfers his energy to the lady so that she can finish the movement, then as the man goes up onto his right foot the transfer happens again so that the energy resides within him. If one person does not continue the use of this energy then it disappears and movement becomes very hard to create. Also it is my opinion that this is how a smooth connection and smooth partnership movement is created, through the continuous transfer of energy between the partnership, and if you like the transfer between passive and active dancing

That's the way i see it anyway Wink

Zac
Thats what I meant by 'initiate'.
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ZPomeroy
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2010, 05:36:12 PM »

Sorry Elise, i must have just read it the wrong way...

Zac
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elisedance
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2010, 09:33:10 PM »

Its OK , I must have written it the wrong way Cheesy
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elisedance
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2010, 05:17:53 AM »

[So here's a bit more>  I wrote this in response to EM's comment on a competition topic (forgot which one!)  but realized it fit better here.]

As a woman, it is CRITICAL that you don't have to think (that is think as in 'what is my step?' or 'what do I have to do next?') AT ALL when you dance.  Your objective in learning should be to dance totally in response to your partner's body.  My DP used to stop and tell me to take a wider step here or not to forget to go this direction etc etc - and I used to try to do those things.  Recently our dynamic has changed totally and I understand the term 'responder'.  I don't want to know what step he is doing and I don't even want to know whats wrong with it.  What I want is for him to move his body so that my innate (some natural some learned) responding skills will make my body do what he is initiating.  Thats it.

I think I'm not only understanding 'body school' but actually doing it. 
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Lioness
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2010, 06:02:31 AM »

I understand that, ee. Old coach used to quiz me about the elements of the step we were doing "Which angle are you meant to be at", etc.
I never knew. It's not my job to think about that; it's my job to follow my man perfectly.

I've found that a lot of the problems in our dancing have been fixed by changing either DP's lead, or the way in which I instinctively respond to his lead.
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elisedance
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2010, 09:49:08 AM »

I understand that, ee. Old coach used to quiz me about the elements of the step we were doing "Which angle are you meant to be at", etc.
I never knew. It's not my job to think about that; it's my job to follow my man perfectly.

I've found that a lot of the problems in our dancing have been fixed by changing either DP's lead, or the way in which I instinctively respond to his lead.
This has totally transformed dancing for me - its really made dancesport and social dancing the same.  I just hope I can keep it up all the time on the comp floor for I admit that the tempation to revert to 'now I must do this' is strong and in some parts of the routine, in particular the oldest, established ones, its still the norm.
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Rugby
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2010, 09:55:01 PM »

When I am out on the comp floor I am very aware of our routine but more importantly I have to be able to quickly follow my DP no matter where he goes.  This means if he changes direction, timing, or how he wants to dance the step I have to be able to follow this seamlessly, or at least as seamless as I can be, and not just go into the routine.  Of course I still have to move and provide my own energy and (insert Zac's thought of energy here) and be able to be at the right spot at the right time so he can do his thing.  I always say if he takes care of his part he doesn't have to worry about mine. 
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2010, 03:48:02 AM »

I am not there yet. But something that I aspire to. I know what the timing is meant to be and have yet to be able to adjust it effortlessly. Sometimes it is better than others. Undecided
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elisedance
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2010, 04:46:03 AM »

The whole jobs strategy empowers both dancers - you no longer have to do something wondering if your partern is also doing it.  When we get stuck on somethingn my most common comment is 'thats not my job' and interestingly, this never bothers DP - seems he has a pretty strong opinions about what are his jobs too...
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dlgodud
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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2010, 01:27:14 PM »

As far as I know, there are two different kinds of leads in latin. My previous teacher taught me that I should be able to move my body, and not just wait until a leader try to move. The reason he wanted me to do it was because if a follower just waited a leader to lead, it limits a follower doing her own thing. My new teacher is totally the opposite, so now I am learning how to wait. And, it is actually not easy for me to adjust to the new way of following. The word that I hear the most from my teacher is 'Lean on me!','I don't feel your body weight', 'Wait',etc.etc.etc.....And, one point in the last lesson, I actually felt I wanted to stop dancing because I really felt that I did not have a freedom of my body. Hopefully, it goes away and I could adjust the new way soon.

 I don't know pretty much about standard, but my new standard teacher requests that I actually don't initiate myself, and just wait until he initiates his move. But, he also stresses out that follower should aware what she is doing.
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elisedance
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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2010, 01:29:28 PM »

We have a rule - if DP doesn't lead it, I don't do it.  However, once he leads I do it fast.  Thus, the timing of dance is quite different from the follower than for the lead - which is why DSV used to stress that 'the man is your music'.  It takes a lot of faith to dance like that but it is SO worth it.
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2010, 11:38:11 PM »

Interstingly V has helped a soical medalist in her routine and he has had to learn to lead her through it well and clealy. I dont know the routine so when he did it with me there were spots that I could not follow, so he had to change his lead to be clearer. which has been a positive learning curve for him and for me.
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elisedance
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2010, 06:10:44 AM »

Interstingly V has helped a soical medalist in her routine and he has had to learn to lead her through it well and clealy. I dont know the routine so when he did it with me there were spots that I could not follow, so he had to change his lead to be clearer. which has been a positive learning curve for him and for me.
Lets hear it for dancing with others...
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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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