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Author Topic: Creativity Within the Confines of Your Dance  (Read 1831 times)
GreenEyes26
Mind Workers
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 110



« on: November 16, 2011, 03:52:03 PM »

I started this topic based a post by elisedance:

This question came up on a clasical violin forum that I'm on.  A very experienced violinist expressed the opinion that playing classical music is not a creative art but an interpretative one.  I did not like that at first but I now have to admit it is right.  With the sole exception of cadenzas, you can not change the music you play - only how you play it.  

Ballroom is very similar.  We are mostly under the illusion that the couple can dance creative steps - that is actually very limited.  They dance the same steps everyone else does - indeed I never read that judges are even looking for truly creative material, just dancers who dance the known steps better.  What we discuss on PDO is how each couple achieves this - we don't even have a topic for innovation at all, its just not a factor.

Not that there is anyting wrong with interpretative art - but it is a good idea to know you are doing it.

Therefore, my first question is: What are the ways in which you use creativity within the confines of your dance? It doesn't have to be something you've come up with, but rather, just a way to make a basic more interesting.

I’m going to use the example of jive. Last season, my partner and I took a lesson from a different coach in jive. We did a basic for him: straight up and down, facing each other. He altered our shape by making us twist on the triple-step: one side of the chest to the opposite direction we were moving. This twisting action made us look 3-dimensional and much more interesting – and we were only doing a basic!

From this, I can see how simple twists and extensions can change shapes in Latin. However, it brings me to my second question: I’m a little perplexed about Standard. What kind of technique do you use in Standard to make it more interesting?

Thoughts on technique in Latin, Rhythm, Smooth, New Vogue, etc. are also welcome!
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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
Some guy
Intermediate Silver
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Posts: 1465


« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2011, 10:22:15 AM »

Great topic GE!

The way my coach explained it to me, "technique" as described in the technique book, are just the bars of a jail cell.  However, in this paricular jail cell, the bars are so far apart that an entire couple can dance through them.  However, those who focus on the bars, on the restrictions, on the technique, cannot see all this empty space.  So as important as it is for a teacher to show you where the bars are, it's equally important for them to show you how much free space you have.  If the jail cell analogy isn't cutting it, let's think about a highway.  There are lane markers, the center devider, speed limit signs, on ramps, exit ramps, sign posts, etc.  However, you have so much freedom within all those confines to not have to force yourself to think a certain way.  So much so that no two drivers have to be thinking of the same thing at the same time.   Some drivers don't even have to think about the driving aspect of it!  In fact, the other day I was cut off by a driver on a cell phone.  The nerve!  I had to brake so hard he made me spill my coffee on my newspaper and my donut rolled under the accelerator pedal... but I digress.  

So within the same confines that everyone has, there's plenty of room for individual interpretation and thought.  What your coach taught you in Jive is one way to dance in and out of the bars of the jail cell.  The best teachers usually don't even teach you where the bars are.  They will usually make you dance totally unaware that you end up doing the right footwork, technique, etc.  The more unaware you are, the less anxious you are about doing it "right".      

« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 10:23:56 AM by Some guy » Logged
skipper
Bronze
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Posts: 376


« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 08:14:51 PM »

And how do we move to creativity ??
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Some guy
Intermediate Silver
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Posts: 1465


« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 01:45:53 AM »

I believe the first step is to see what our body creates, without getting in the way.  Then when we have an idea of what we're capable of we'll have more colors in the pallette to choose from.
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skipper
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Posts: 376


« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 11:16:31 PM »

I believe the first step is to see what our body creates, without getting in the way.  Then when we have an idea of what we're capable of we'll have more colors in the pallette to choose from.

I don't understand without getting in the way......help??? This might be on the same train as moving thru the man Huh

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Some guy
Intermediate Silver
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Posts: 1465


« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2012, 11:36:46 AM »

I believe the first step is to see what our body creates, without getting in the way.  Then when we have an idea of what we're capable of we'll have more colors in the pallette to choose from.

I don't understand without getting in the way......help??? This might be on the same train as moving thru the man Huh

I meant that more in an individual sense.  Nothing to do with the partner.  If you let go of control over every single movement in your body, just create a structure that is free enough to do what it's capable of doing, you might be quite amazed as to what it's capable of doing.  Once you get a sense of what your body is capable of, then I believe you can start being creative.  Otherwise, whatever you create will be based on severely limited knowledge of what you think your body is capable of.
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skipper
Bronze
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Posts: 376


« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 09:24:26 PM »

Do you do this by yourself??  As a a lady, it's hard to understand how to play by yourself. Most especially as a pro-am dancer, I want to 'please' the teacher --at times it is focus on the base, others the arms --and when I create, it's never quite right.
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Some guy
Intermediate Silver
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Posts: 1465


« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2012, 05:17:14 AM »

Do you do this by yourself??  As a a lady, it's hard to understand how to play by yourself. Most especially as a pro-am dancer, I want to 'please' the teacher --at times it is focus on the base, others the arms --and when I create, it's never quite right.
It's hard to choose whether to play or just relax and see what happens.  I think it's best to just see what happens first, get an idea of what you're capable of, then play with it.  Trying to please others is a recipe for failure.  Just do what you want to do, get educated, do what you want to do, get more educated, do what you want to do... ad infinitum.      During that education what you want to do will change, but never in the process should you do what others want you to do.  You should always do what you want to do.  The Tao says, "learn it all, then forget it all.  Learn the way, then find your own way". 
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samina
Silver
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Posts: 1584



« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2012, 09:51:01 AM »

Do you do this by yourself??  As a a lady, it's hard to understand how to play by yourself. Most especially as a pro-am dancer, I want to 'please' the teacher --at times it is focus on the base, others the arms --and when I create, it's never quite right.
what comes to mind for me along these lines are a few things my former instructor said more than once:

"what do you want your dance to *be*?"

and

"the more you give, the more i have something to work with."

so, there's something that comes from you regarding your energy, your direction, yours salesmanship, your sensation...and then it is "handed off" or exchanged with your partner, who can contribute something of his to the mix. and so you co-create that way...

i find it's the technique and the capability of the body that ultimately starts giving the ability to let go while still looking good, and in that space you can "give" something of yourself to start off that co-creation process. the technique and physical capability are the underpinnings, and are inherently limiting while they are weak. IME.

i know dancers who love to perform and have fun with their dancing and who express themselves freely & enthusiastically, but who don't look good doing it. i think technique has its role to play, to learn how to express oneself while still looking good...to be practiced and drilled until those fundamentals are unconsciously performed. and then those jail bars become like flexible supports...even like wings. Smiley

just IMH and limited E.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 09:54:54 AM by samina » Logged
Some guy
Intermediate Silver
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Posts: 1465


« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2012, 01:43:56 PM »

Love it Samina!

...to be practiced and drilled until those fundamentals are unconsciously performed. and then those jail bars become like flexible supports...even like wings. Smiley
Or you get to a stage where the free space between the jail bars are all you ever see.   Others looking from the outside see the bars (technique) but you are not focussing on it.  You're too busy waltzing around all that free space. 
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samina
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 08:53:25 AM »

...to be practiced and drilled until those fundamentals are unconsciously performed. and then those jail bars become like flexible supports...even like wings. Smiley
Or you get to a stage where the free space between the jail bars are all you ever see.   Others looking from the outside see the bars (technique) but you are not focussing on it.  You're too busy waltzing around all that free space. 
yup -- another way of saying, what used to be an issue ceases to become an issue. Smiley

technique isn't a dirty word in my dance vocabulary...it continues to liberate my body and in fact helps me become more fully embodied every day, which gives me more freedom and pleasure in movement than i've known for a long time. that "free space", as you call it, has been coming increasingly into my view & experience these past few years because of my deepened, unjudgmental relationship with those so-called limiting "bars".

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Dora-Satya Veda
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Posts: 6871


« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2012, 03:57:07 PM »

Trying to please others is a recipe for failure. 

I totally agree!!!

DSV
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"As we understand more things, everthing is becoming simpler"

Edward Teller
phoenix13
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Posts: 3359



« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2013, 06:26:33 AM »

...to be practiced and drilled until those fundamentals are unconsciously performed. and then those jail bars become like flexible supports...even like wings. Smiley
Or you get to a stage where the free space between the jail bars are all you ever see.   Others looking from the outside see the bars (technique) but you are not focussing on it.  You're too busy waltzing around all that free space.  
yup -- another way of saying, what used to be an issue ceases to become an issue. Smiley

technique isn't a dirty word in my dance vocabulary...it continues to liberate my body and in fact helps me become more fully embodied every day, which gives me more freedom and pleasure in movement than i've known for a long time. that "free space", as you call it, has been coming increasingly into my view & experience these past few years because of my deepened, unjudgmental relationship with those so-called limiting "bars".




Very interesting topic.  This really strikes a chord with me, in terms of one of the underlying reasons I started to dance, in the first place -- to gain freedom.
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Dona nobis pacem.
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