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Author Topic: Partner dance or Pantomime?  (Read 1203 times)
elisedance
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« on: March 28, 2011, 02:25:08 AM »

OK, lets get real!

I was corresponding with Greeneyes and my reply included this phrase.  My main point, really a debate position I guess, was (and this has come up recently in other contexts - notably smooth lead-follow) that as far as ballroom goes routines are a sham and the ultimate goal is to dance lead-follow all the time.  In a routine you basically give up lead-follow and enact a pre-ordained sequence.  IMO (and this is obviously a central tennet of body school) a ballroom dance couple should seek a state where neither of them really know what is going to happen next.  Both the lead and the follow dance by instinct.  

[A pantomime is based on an ancient greek theatrical form: "the art or technique of conveying emotions, actions, feelings, etc., by gestures without speech" and became a comic stage production in England with very exaggerated expressions and slapstick themes mostly for the entertainment of children.]
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 02:36:33 AM by elisedance » Logged

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samina
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 09:39:56 AM »

It's my understanding that even the lead-and-follow masters use "hidden choreography", sequences that the couple have practiced which the leader can initiate with certain cues. So a performance can be a string of these bits & pieces, with various connectors.

But my thought is... even if a known sequence is being followed, even if that sequence were to continue for the duration of a performance or competition... there could still be 100% lead & follow going on. Because a sequence is only that, just a framework. It doesn't describe the *dancing* that can & will hopefully occur within that framework. The leader can dance a simple sequence so many different ways, with different timing, musicality, and shaping. The pair can create something unique to that moment, with that music, in relation to the energy that's on the floor and in that audience at that moment... and that requires true lead & follow to achieve. True?
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Some guy
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 02:45:52 PM »

My main point, really a debate position I guess, was (and this has come up recently in other contexts - notably smooth lead-follow) that as far as ballroom goes routines are a sham and the ultimate goal is to dance lead-follow all the time.  
I concur. 
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drj
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2011, 08:17:08 PM »

It's my understanding that even the lead-and-follow masters use "hidden choreography", sequences that the couple have practiced which the leader can initiate with certain cues. So a performance can be a string of these bits & pieces, with various connectors.

This. And I never know what the connectors will be. Keeps it interesting.  Cheesy

Quote
But my thought is... even if a known sequence is being followed, even if that sequence were to continue for the duration of a performance or competition... there could still be 100% lead & follow going on. Because a sequence is only that, just a framework. It doesn't describe the *dancing* that can & will hopefully occur within that framework. The leader can dance a simple sequence so many different ways, with different timing, musicality, and shaping. The pair can create something unique to that moment, with that music, in relation to the energy that's on the floor and in that audience at that moment... and that requires true lead & follow to achieve. True?

True, and beautifully said.
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ancora imparo
elisedance
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2011, 09:27:18 PM »

But my thought is... even if a known sequence is being followed, even if that sequence were to continue for the duration of a performance or competition... there could still be 100% lead & follow going on. Because a sequence is only that, just a framework. It doesn't describe the *dancing* that can & will hopefully occur within that framework. The leader can dance a simple sequence so many different ways, with different timing, musicality, and shaping. The pair can create something unique to that moment, with that music, in relation to the energy that's on the floor and in that audience at that moment... and that requires true lead & follow to achieve. True?

I agree, this is a great point: but I hold that this is actually intermediate between rote routine dancing (where each step is proscribed - and I do know couples that dance this way.  They deal with snags by having many fixed entries back into the identical routine.  The only time it really breaks down is when the floor is so crowded you can't do a routine at all.  But wht you are describing is really where I am at - there is a routine but you do lead follow through it.  However, I see that as a stage to the nirvanah of being able to dance without any preset.  Any lead with this skill could instantly do open routines with a follow with the matching skill.  I suppose really its a continuum between the rote dancers and the nirvanah lead-follow ones.  My goal is to get as close as possible to the latter.
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Some guy
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2011, 01:33:59 AM »

Me too!  Cool
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samina
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2011, 07:58:01 AM »

I have done that, performing in front of an audience with a pro lead I didn't know with zero familiarity with any of his cues, favorite patterns, connectors, etc. I think I did this a couple times with the same man on two different occasions, Waltz and Tango. I liked the experience very much. The feeling of having pulled it off without falling apart was a good one! Smiley

But as for two dancers competing, I suspect that familiar patterns form the basis for their dancing most of the time, and that there's some wisdom in that, especially for training purposes and just to have a direction out of the gate. Then that can all be forgotten and the pair can get down to dancing.
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elisedance
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2011, 10:31:44 AM »

I have done that, performing in front of an audience with a pro lead I didn't know with zero familiarity with any of his cues, favorite patterns, connectors, etc. I think I did this a couple times with the same man on two different occasions, Waltz and Tango. I liked the experience very much. The feeling of having pulled it off without falling apart was a good one! Smiley

But as for two dancers competing, I suspect that familiar patterns form the basis for their dancing most of the time, and that there's some wisdom in that, especially for training purposes and just to have a direction out of the gate. Then that can all be forgotten and the pair can get down to dancing.

Oh, I agree it is the best way to get out competing.  However, its not the end for me - although I think it is for many.  How many pros work with or without proscribed routines?  I suspect most have them and only a handful go out with 'wonder whats for dinner' in their minds - and still win...
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

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samina
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2011, 11:28:46 AM »

my impression is that you are spot-on. Smiley
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elisedance
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2011, 11:57:18 AM »

Cool
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skipper
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2011, 08:42:11 PM »

Even in side by side smooth work although it is in open positions there is a lead / follow...
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elisedance
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2011, 09:34:42 PM »

Even in side by side smooth work although it is in open positions there is a lead / follow...

do you mean there is or there should be?  surely many couples dance with only a very limited lead-follow - that is, just the one to keep on time with each other. 
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cornutt
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2011, 07:53:36 PM »

Even in side by side smooth work although it is in open positions there is a lead / follow...

do you mean there is or there should be? 

Darn right there is, even in open work.  For example, take the face-to-face, back-to-back.  I often lead this at a Friday night social.  The convention (at least at our studio) is that you do this down the center of the floor.  There are a couple of variations of it that I can and will lead, but more importantly, you never know when you start one of these things how many iterations you're going to be able to get in.  At any moment, you may have to cut it off in order to avoid someone who has wandered into the center of the floor.  If I can't lead where to cut it off, I'm in serious trouble.   Shocked
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phoenix13
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2013, 01:18:36 PM »

Just to play devil's advocate,here, who says that lead/follow is the essence of dancing?
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elisedance
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2013, 02:06:47 PM »

XXXXXXXX!!!!!!!!!-------- I DO -------!!!!!!!!!XXXXXXXX
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