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Author Topic: visualization to improve dancing  (Read 2398 times)
elisedance
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ee


« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2011, 01:25:31 PM »


as for visualizing dancing...i do it all the time when i'm at the gym, that's for sure. quickstep & viennese waltz get me through some intense-but-short intervals on the equipment there. Cheesy

I heard two songs at the gym yesterday that were Viennese Waltzs. It took some restraint to not start dancing among the weight machines Smiley.



And why did you stop yourself?  Roll Eyes
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samina
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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2011, 01:29:56 PM »


as for visualizing dancing...i do it all the time when i'm at the gym, that's for sure. quickstep & viennese waltz get me through some intense-but-short intervals on the equipment there. Cheesy

I heard two songs at the gym yesterday that were Viennese Waltzs. It took some restraint to not start dancing among the weight machines Smiley.



i've been caught recently at work... those pesky rumba turns are so irresistible in the narrow hallways & while waiting for the copier.  Cool

but as for the gym & training... when i run i think all the time of quickstep & jive & VW. Just. Can't. Help. It. Cheesy
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elisedance
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« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2011, 01:31:52 PM »

My solution is to only do training on the dance floor.  In which case there is no discord! Cheesy
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GreenEyes26
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« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2011, 01:59:40 PM »


as for visualizing dancing...i do it all the time when i'm at the gym, that's for sure. quickstep & viennese waltz get me through some intense-but-short intervals on the equipment there. Cheesy

I heard two songs at the gym yesterday that were Viennese Waltzs. It took some restraint to not start dancing among the weight machines Smiley.



And why did you stop yourself?  Roll Eyes

I figured it wouldn't be safe :-/
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"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
elisedance
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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2011, 02:03:57 PM »


as for visualizing dancing...i do it all the time when i'm at the gym, that's for sure. quickstep & viennese waltz get me through some intense-but-short intervals on the equipment there. Cheesy

I heard two songs at the gym yesterday that were Viennese Waltzs. It took some restraint to not start dancing among the weight machines Smiley.



And why did you stop yourself?  Roll Eyes

I figured it wouldn't be safe :-/

OK - thats the only answer we accept Grin Tongue
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Some guy
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2011, 02:54:02 PM »

the power of visualization has been extremely underestimated.
Amen!
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Some guy
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« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2011, 02:57:47 PM »

with an act that requires 'muscle memory' I wonder if it would still work (I think you need actual repetition). 
I've come to learn that muscle memory actually inhibits progress.
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Some guy
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« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2011, 03:00:34 PM »

Whenever I listen to music, I visualize myself dancing on the music. Is this what you ask? For example, I can tell it really helps to memorize my routines. My teachers usually insisted to take videos of routines, but I never actually did. But, they were very surprised how well and fast I remember routines. Without music, I probably couldn't remember that fast. Well, dancing is following music, and I don't think one steps and movements can be separated from another. So with music, it makes possible to visualize my routines and in addition to that, it makes me dance more naturally because I already know the flows and connections in my routines. I don't say I memorize them. I just do it in unconscious stage of my mind. Does this make a sense? Roll Eyes
Perfect sense.  I have been using your approach and not only do I get "muscle memory" by never using my muscles, my partner says that my intentions and lead are much clearer. 
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elisedance
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« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2011, 03:03:10 PM »

with an act that requires 'muscle memory' I wonder if it would still work (I think you need actual repetition).  
I've come to learn that muscle memory actually inhibits progress.

Do you really mean to put it that strongly?  I mean if you took someone off the street who had never learned any dancing they could not do championship dancing could they?  Even if you were able to revert them to a tabula rasa child-like state?
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Some guy
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« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2011, 03:38:57 PM »

Do you really mean to put it that strongly?  I mean if you took someone off the street who had never learned any dancing they could not do championship dancing could they?  Even if you were able to revert them to a tabula rasa child-like state?
Before I answer your question, let me explain to you my definition of muscle memory.  Muscle memory, the way I understand, is a stale form of rehearsed and ingrained movement.  I don't see driving a car or typing as acts of muscle memory.  If you see them as muscle memory related actions then you and I are probably on the same page.  Most people in the gym plateau because of this very reason: they perform repetitive actions and form muscle memory instead of approaching each exercise and each repetition as a conscious, fresh, new action.  These new workouts like P90X have gained much popularity: they talk about "confusing" the muscles to start making gains and getting progress back on track.    

I get out of bed every morning.  I just open my eyes, and think, "hmm, I need to get out of this bed".  I don't commit the act to muscle memory.  However, I'm pretty sure if I were videotaped 100 days in a row, the way I get out of bed is going to look very similar from one day to the next.  I don't worry that I won't be able to get out of bed the next day because it's not in my muscle memory.  So every day that I get out of bed feels new and different.  There's nothing about it that feels stale or repetitive.  Same way with the way I walk.  Each step feels fresh.  It never feels stale.  Same goes for driving a car.

I guess my point is that muscle memory to me runs the danger of stagnating a movement.  On the other hand, if I use my mind to create the movement, the muscles will follow and the actions will always feel fresh. 
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 03:41:43 PM by Some guy » Logged
dancingirldancing
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« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2011, 09:45:10 PM »

Some guy ... awesome !

Totally agree with you.
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2011, 01:27:34 AM »

Do you really mean to put it that strongly?  I mean if you took someone off the street who had never learned any dancing they could not do championship dancing could they?  Even if you were able to revert them to a tabula rasa child-like state?
Before I answer your question, let me explain to you my definition of muscle memory.  Muscle memory, the way I understand, is a stale form of rehearsed and ingrained movement.  I don't see driving a car or typing as acts of muscle memory.  If you see them as muscle memory related actions then you and I are probably on the same page.  Most people in the gym plateau because of this very reason: they perform repetitive actions and form muscle memory instead of approaching each exercise and each repetition as a conscious, fresh, new action.  These new workouts like P90X have gained much popularity: they talk about "confusing" the muscles to start making gains and getting progress back on track.     

I get out of bed every morning.  I just open my eyes, and think, "hmm, I need to get out of this bed".  I don't commit the act to muscle memory.  However, I'm pretty sure if I were videotaped 100 days in a row, the way I get out of bed is going to look very similar from one day to the next.  I don't worry that I won't be able to get out of bed the next day because it's not in my muscle memory.  So every day that I get out of bed feels new and different.  There's nothing about it that feels stale or repetitive.  Same way with the way I walk.  Each step feels fresh.  It never feels stale.  Same goes for driving a car.

I guess my point is that muscle memory to me runs the danger of stagnating a movement.  On the other hand, if I use my mind to create the movement, the muscles will follow and the actions will always feel fresh. 


Ah.  The dreaded physiology of 'muscle memory'.

First, there is of course, no such thing.  The only memory muscles really have is fatigue!  But we use the term to describe the retention in the motor system of the mind (cortex, cerebellum even spinal cord and all between) of acts that have been repeated.

The real issue is how complex those acts are.  For example I can train my hand to make a forward sweeping motion every time I hear a ping-pong ball bounce on the table.   That training will speed up my ability to hit the ball when it is served to me.  However, that crude training will not train me to actually aim it over the net and onto my opponent’s end.  For that I have to learn how to make contact with the ball accurately and bounce it at the correct angle over the net.  Now I will be able to keep playing for longer.  However, in order to beat a good player I also have to learn to apply more power – and sweep the ball so that it does not fly off the end of the table.  Also I need to be able to angle that  ball at will.

While my brain functions as the editor deciding which direction and speed my return will take, all of the above become automatic functions – that is they are retained in what we call ‘muscle memory’.

We can take this analogy further.  Most ping-pong players learn to carry out one or two shots fairly reliably.  If they get ‘locked into’ these they may have a hard time learning the plethora of shots necessary to become an expert.  Indeed, in learning to do one shot well using a bad technique they preclude being able to advance to the ace level. 

I think the latter is what you are referring to.   ‘Muscle memory’ is a fundamental aspect of motor learning – but to my mind blaming it for poor dancing is like blaming the stove for poor cooking.  Sure, you can routinely over-cook your vegetables but its hardly the stove’s fault!

What I think you are espousing are the effectiveness of systematic and integrated muscle memory acquisition - and the danger of its misuse or limited application.
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GreenEyes26
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« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2011, 09:21:00 AM »


Ah.  The dreaded physiology of 'muscle memory'.

First, there is of course, no such thing.  The only memory muscles really have is fatigue!  But we use the term to describe the retention in the motor system of the mind (cortex, cerebellum even spinal cord and all between) of acts that have been repeated.

The real issue is how complex those acts are.  For example I can train my hand to make a forward sweeping motion every time I hear a ping-pong ball bounce on the table.   That training will speed up my ability to hit the ball when it is served to me.  However, that crude training will not train me to actually aim it over the net and onto my opponent’s end.  For that I have to learn how to make contact with the ball accurately and bounce it at the correct angle over the net.  Now I will be able to keep playing for longer.  However, in order to beat a good player I also have to learn to apply more power – and sweep the ball so that it does not fly off the end of the table.  Also I need to be able to angle that  ball at will.

While my brain functions as the editor deciding which direction and speed my return will take, all of the above become automatic functions – that is they are retained in what we call ‘muscle memory’.

We can take this analogy further.  Most ping-pong players learn to carry out one or two shots fairly reliably.  If they get ‘locked into’ these they may have a hard time learning the plethora of shots necessary to become an expert.  Indeed, in learning to do one shot well using a bad technique they preclude being able to advance to the ace level. 

I think the latter is what you are referring to.   ‘Muscle memory’ is a fundamental aspect of motor learning – but to my mind blaming it for poor dancing is like blaming the stove for poor cooking.  Sure, you can routinely over-cook your vegetables but its hardly the stove’s fault!

What I think you are espousing are the effectiveness of systematic and integrated muscle memory acquisition - and the danger of its misuse or limited application.


How do you know all this?
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"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
elisedance
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ee


« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2011, 11:14:03 AM »


Ah.  The dreaded physiology of 'muscle memory'.

First, there is of course, no such thing.  The only memory muscles really have is fatigue!  But we use the term to describe the retention in the motor system of the mind (cortex, cerebellum even spinal cord and all between) of acts that have been repeated.

The real issue is how complex those acts are.  For example I can train my hand to make a forward sweeping motion every time I hear a ping-pong ball bounce on the table.   That training will speed up my ability to hit the ball when it is served to me.  However, that crude training will not train me to actually aim it over the net and onto my opponent’s end.  For that I have to learn how to make contact with the ball accurately and bounce it at the correct angle over the net.  Now I will be able to keep playing for longer.  However, in order to beat a good player I also have to learn to apply more power – and sweep the ball so that it does not fly off the end of the table.  Also I need to be able to angle that  ball at will.

While my brain functions as the editor deciding which direction and speed my return will take, all of the above become automatic functions – that is they are retained in what we call ‘muscle memory’.

We can take this analogy further.  Most ping-pong players learn to carry out one or two shots fairly reliably.  If they get ‘locked into’ these they may have a hard time learning the plethora of shots necessary to become an expert.  Indeed, in learning to do one shot well using a bad technique they preclude being able to advance to the ace level. 

I think the latter is what you are referring to.   ‘Muscle memory’ is a fundamental aspect of motor learning – but to my mind blaming it for poor dancing is like blaming the stove for poor cooking.  Sure, you can routinely over-cook your vegetables but its hardly the stove’s fault!

What I think you are espousing are the effectiveness of systematic and integrated muscle memory acquisition - and the danger of its misuse or limited application.


How do you know all this?

I eat a good breakfast Roll Eyes Grin
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Some guy
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« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2011, 11:40:24 AM »

I think we're kind of, sort of, on the same page.  Muscle memory, or any form of memory, seems limiting to me.  If I know how to produce a desired effect, my muscles will oblige, as long as I have freed up my body enough and unblocked it.    

It's interesting you bring ping-pong as an example because that was the one game I was taught to do with absolutely no technique and no prior knowledge of the game.  I had never seen it before my father showed me how to play.  He just told me to put the ball where he can't hit it.  I played with him about another 10 days in total.  He beat me every game but the gap in the scores got shorter and shorter.  Fast forward 12 years and I saw the ping pong table in the college.  Two of my friends, one who was a regional champion in China and another regional champion from India decided they wanted to show me how it's done.  So I took on one of them at a time.  I beat both of them with a few points lead.  They said it was because they were "rusty".  We played for hours on end and there wasn't even one game they could beat me at.  They'd sometimes use a new trick and get a head start but either they'd tell me what trick they used and how to counter it, or I'd figure it out.  I'm not saying I'm good at it because even today I couldn't tell you how to even hold the paddle ('cause I was never taught how to) and I never committed it to muscle memory.  The first time they spun the ball in all sorts of ways I was wondering why it bounced off my raquet in a totally different direction I intended it to do.  They were nice enough to explain to me that the ball was spinning and I had figure out which way it was spinning and use it to my advantage.  They were able to gain about 3 to 5 points with it and then I would be able to successfully deal with it. Then they told me something they never should have.  They told me that the service is the best way to score points and the harder my serve was, the harder it will be for them to return.  I decided to try something that felt like it would be hard to return.  Later, they both took turns watching me intently and figured out that I was putting a top spin on the ball with immense power. I took the word "hard" literally.  It was pretty impossible for them to counter that serve. Sometimes they would get it on the table, but they would set it up for me for an easy take down on the next shot.  Then they decided to use my weapon against me, except that their version would never land on the table.  They tried increasing power and the ball would bounce only on their side.  Then they tried increasing the top spin only to find that the ball immediately flies under the table (!).  To this day, they haven't been able to figure out how I put that much power and top spin on a ball and get it to bounce on both sides of the table.  The other thing they couldn't figure out is how I could do it in any direction on the table.  They couldn't even get it to land on the diagonal.  So they stopped trying to copy me.  I couldn't help them either because I don't know to do it.      

I visit the Indian friend at least once a year.  He has a ping pong table at home (no surprises there).  So he always challenges me, and always loses.  He has never once beaten me in a game mainly because of my serve (which he affectionately termed, the "dominator"... or was it "destroyer"?... I can't remember).  

So the question remains, what good is muscle memory?  If I know how to do something, why commit it to muscle memory?  Isn't it better to just hone in the intention in your mind and make your body more responsive to your mind?  The learning for me, in ballroom dancing, has been learning how to free up my body enough to let the mind control it.  I understand there's a wee bit of muscle memory involved in that the body, just like when it first learns to ride a bike, is a little bit wobbly in carrying out the intentions of the mind, but once the mind gains more control of the body, we don't have to worry about it anymore.   
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