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Author Topic: "A competetive lady dancer can't just follow, she has to learn the routine"  (Read 2626 times)
elisedance
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ee


« on: June 09, 2011, 06:06:56 PM »

Yes, thats my latest experience - and its an attitude that is actually the norm.  Blew me away - I thought (and obviously influenced very much by whats on PDO) that the whole object for a women was to be a 'responder' (as DSV put it).  That is that routines are just a way to fast track you to competition while free-style lead-follow was the goal for everyone.

Nope.  My mission is to find pro males to take lessons with just following - no routines, no talking about which step comes next.  JUST DANCE DAMN IT!  If I can't follow then we stop and figure out why - but just DON'T ask me to remember what you are leading. Its simply not my job.

Grrrr... somewhere there is a pro who will let me do it my way... Sad Undecided
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samina
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2011, 10:16:21 AM »

who conveyed this to you, elise? it sounds like you were recently told this... by a prospective pro-am pro?
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2011, 01:12:27 PM »

who conveyed this to you, elise? it sounds like you were recently told this... by a prospective pro-am pro?

No by a pro who is an international judge.  Since I have found out that this is really typical: most couples have A routine and a couple of escape moves to get back on it.  Which is why, I guess, DP and I won a heat of 7 couples - where the floor was small (split in half) and they added two other heats - some little kids (can't describe them any other way, as I recall, none were taller than my waiste) and one couple doing open Smooth - I believe we were the only couple that could actually still dance....

Doesn't anyone see this as weird?  Routines are great - we have them too - but shouldn't a championship couple be able to lead/follow every step they dance? 
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samina
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2011, 03:34:20 PM »

i think it's probably good to have a blueprint for what the pair want to dance... and then be in the moment & free to make changes at will, on-the-spot. just because one has a supposed routine, or trends of linked choreo that are preferred, doesn't eliminate lead & follow, correct? i just don't see them as mutually exclusive.

i'm sure that even amongst international judges there are different views on that.

anyone, we've discussed that issue here many times. i prefer the paradigm common on PDO, that lead & follow rules. Smiley
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elisedance
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2011, 03:55:27 PM »

Yup, we've discussed it but obviously the word isn't out!  The routine is, IMO, the leads job and it is important that the follower knows what the lead can lead but not what he will.  I've found formal routines counterproductive for two reasons - first I panic that I am going to forget and second they take my mind off my real job - following the lead.  OTOH dancing open with someone you've never danced with before, and hence do not even know what steps he knows let alone routines is both the most scarey and exhillarating sensation I know.  I've been thinking about this a lot - and decided to try to dance with as many pros (or open ams) as possible to see if I can improve my following skills.  Well, the above comment was generated in response to just such an inquiry... Sad Tongue
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drj
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2011, 08:38:38 PM »

it is important that the follower knows what the lead can lead but not what he will. 

applause! applause!

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ancora imparo
elisedance
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ee


« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2011, 09:05:49 PM »

it is important that the follower knows what the lead can lead but not what he will.

applause! applause!



[[[[thank you, thank you... blush... ]]]]] Cool
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ttd
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2011, 12:04:00 PM »

It seems that this a somewhat common attitude. I have taken lessons at several different places (while visiting, so those wouldn't be teachers I work with on a regular basis), and was always asked "What is your routine?" I have worked out a plan to counter this - I just bring my latest video, show it to them and ask if they have any suggestions for me what to improve. This works better for smooth, since parts out of closed hold are easier to work on without a partner. But even so, I had a standard dancesport series event on one of the videos, and the coach said "Oh, you have a gold routine, I thought you were doing silver" <it was a few years ago>, I replied "No, we were just trying it out to see how we'd do in such event and he just lead what he thought I could follow" and he said "You can't do that, you have to have a routine"
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2011, 12:47:51 PM »

ARGHHH.  I now find it a combination of insulting and an admission of failure.  The former is the assumption women can not do something the men can't do.  The latter is really saying that 'I would not know how to lead you'.

I have found the latter to be more common case and the need for a routine is a way that the man can hide his inability to actually lead a step.  Indeed, my appreciation for my DP has shot up as I've gone through this discovery.  Not that he does not try to tell me to do things at certain points in our 'rouitine' - but I flat out refuse and tell him its his job.  Although that can be frustrating for him at first - I then follow up with 'you don't want me dancing on my own and have you follow do you?'  that usually clinches it Wink  So we really do do lead-follow.  We do have routines as our basic approach to dancesport but if we had to change even in the middle of a step I would be right there.  And on occasion DP has forgotten the routine (usually because of some comp calamity like a collision) - and thats when we actually dance our best - I can't say it looks the best but its sure terrific dancing because he does what he has to do and I follow.

Going through this thinking has actually made me pale a bit on dancesport itself - I'm sorry if I sound a bit like one of our dearly departed (er not dead, just off forum) but is it dancing if you do the same steps all the time - isn't that pantomime?

I may have to ban myself....  now that would be a new twist !!!

 
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cdnsalsanut
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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2011, 12:19:29 PM »

This is an interesting subject ee, thank you.

I find I come out on both sides of the fence. It's helpful if the woman knows the routine, however, she has to be able to simply follow if, as you say, we go off the reservation for whatever reason and need to work our way to a safe corner.

That being said, I used the same 4 routines (or sets) in tai chi for 17 years and never got tired of them. It became a moving meditation. Now that being said, once I learned the routines I rarely had a teacher critique it, I simply did them with friends in the park every morning at 6am as a way to stay fit through strentching and strengthening and as a moving meditation. One of the sets was Gi Gong so it was a cleansing 20 minute breathing exercise as well, as is all tai chi.

So dancing offers constant correction through ongoing lessons and the opportunity to take a particular set of figures to the realm of beauty, which is what happens if you continue to work on certain figures or dances for years. I like the idea that now we have learned our basic open routines, we can continue to work from this base for years. Yes the routines will change, figures will be added and subtracted, but essentially we now have a core which we will work on and improve and polish and refine until we have something that...well, hopefully looks beautiful. But I'm not a natural so I know it's going to take me a long time to achieve this. A lifetime, if my body cooperates.

Personally I love social dancing but none of my partners are interested, except for my salsa partner. I tink social dancing helps one remember and practice those figures not int he rouitnes, but useful and practical and worth knowing and practicing regularly.
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2011, 03:44:02 PM »

There are several male teachers that will do that kind of dancing. I can mention at least a handful that dance that way and some of you may have to ask if they will "freestyle" with you. They are still in a minority but they are around. 

DSV
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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2011, 03:46:37 PM »

Doesn't anyone see this as weird?  Routines are great - we have them too - but shouldn't a championship couple be able to lead/follow every step they dance? 

Yes, absolutely you should be able to respond to the actions created if you are to call yourself a championship couple.

DSV
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2011, 06:02:24 PM »

Doesn't anyone see this as weird?  Routines are great - we have them too - but shouldn't a championship couple be able to lead/follow every step they dance? 

Yes, absolutely you should be able to respond to the actions created if you are to call yourself a championship couple.

DSV

Then if we agree DSV - shouldn't competitions be designed in such a way that only such dancers can win?  For example, they could add a 'fixed program' where the couples are given the possible steps before hand (a list of steps for each dance) and are expected to dance them in any sequence requested.  For this each lead would be given a different sequence of (obviously logical) steps from the list immediately before going on the floor.  I realize it would be possible to cheat by some sort of contact code (hand squeezes and such) but any couple relying on that would likely be unable to dance them anyway. 

If not that then how about making the floor different shapes - put in a couple of large objects that the couples have to avoid - its very hard to do a routine if you do can not assume the shape of the floor. 
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QPO
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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2011, 07:51:04 PM »

Doesn't anyone see this as weird?  Routines are great - we have them too - but shouldn't a championship couple be able to lead/follow every step they dance? 

Yes, absolutely you should be able to respond to the actions created if you are to call yourself a championship couple.

DSV

I agree with this and aspire to get to this level. I am not always a good listener and I don't think my partner is always gives clear messages. but we are both better than we were 12 months ago. but I certainly aspire to be a much better listener.
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cornutt
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« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2011, 11:33:55 PM »

Ah, a subject near and dear to my heart.  I hereby make the following confession: you know that social dancer who has a dismissive attitude towards competitive couples who never dance with anyone but each other, and never dance anything but set routines?  Yeah, that's me.  I am that guy.  I am not proud of this, but neither am I particularly perturbed by it.  Here's the thing: dancesport has its roots in social ballroom dancing.  If you take it too far away from its roots, it's no longer ballroom dancing -- it's something else.  Now, it's not realistic to expect open-level couples to freestyle all of their dancing; it would indeed put them at a competitive disadvantage with the way that dancesport is judged today, and in some styles, particularly smooth, the style would lose something if all choreo was banned.  However, I find myself increasingly these days being supremely unimpressed with any number of high-ranked couples who literally cannot dance themselves out of the corner, or avoid contact with another couple on a 125'x100' floor with only six couples dancing.  Fer chrissakes, how much room do you need?  At our studio, on Friday night we routinely put 25+ couples on a floor of about a fourth of that area.

I'm afraid the only real solution is that a major change of attitude has to take place among judges, and I don't see that happening anytime soon.  However I do humbly make one suggestion: for finals at least, assign couples to randomly-chosen starting locations on the floor.  This will force couples to have at least a little flexibility since they cannot be guaranteed of starting at the beginning of a long wall.  There also needs to be more variation in music.
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