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Author Topic: Are good dancers born or made?  (Read 5131 times)
elisedance
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« on: August 30, 2012, 04:53:49 AM »

There is a quote by Fred Astaire (apparently authentic) that I saw on FB that goes:
“Some people seem to think that good dancers are born, but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained.”

I found that a bit startling - but maybe its true.  I think DSV commented once that untalented students go further than the talented ones (please correct me if I got that wrong).  I think one gets the opposite impression simply because its easy to ascribe good dancing to some inborn trait, especially when you aren't there to see all the hard work!

Thoughts?
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Some guy
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 01:01:43 PM »

Just in my experience, I haven't met a good ballroom dancer who wasn't trained.  Grant it, most of their training consisted of taking their bodies and mind back to the time they were 7yrs old. So I wonder if others know of born dancers.
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ttd
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2012, 01:25:39 PM »

I think it's both. If you look at pro events anywhere in US, you'd notice that most of them have the same body type - light and slender. The exceptions tend to place at the bottom of the pack. I remember watching pro-am juniors 2-3 of years ago. There were two girls in their late teens doing open smooth with their teachers. One was small and slender, the other one was more substantially built (not fat, mind you, just tall, big-boned and muscular). And you could see how the bigger girl maxed out on some aspects of smooth - someone I was with commented how the laws of physics won't let her spin much faster, and the smaller girl still had room to improve. So having the right body definitely helps, because not having to fight your natural build makes things easier. Having better motor skills and being able to pick them up faster than average also helps. So, if you take someone who has the right body type and picks up motor skills with ease and someone who doesn't have either of these qualities, and both work equally hard, I think the person with the right body and better motor skills aptitude would advance further. Just my 2 c.
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elisedance
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2012, 02:14:35 PM »

I think body type works both ways - small and light may favor you in swing and tango but you are out performed by tall and strong (perhaps not big) in rhumba and foxtrot...

But my question was more with the question of dance talent.  'Talented' people tend to do very well at the beginning but also can hit a brick wall when learning becomes hard - whereas 'able' people see it as a continual series of challenges, hence no particular brick wall (though they can of course max out too).

I suppose the super-talented, super driven should 'win' but I think that creature is very rare indeed...
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ttd
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2012, 03:15:16 PM »

Define talent as it applies to dance, then.
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elisedance
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2012, 06:10:23 PM »

I guess the same as it applies to anything: 'people who are intrinsically able to do something with minimal training'.  Does that work? 
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ttd
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2012, 10:58:08 PM »

I guess the same as it applies to anything: 'people who are intrinsically able to do something with minimal training'.  Does that work? 


I don't think such a thing - being able to be good at anything with minimal training - exists anywhere. My definition is 'people who have natural predisposition to absorb skills in <pick your field> faster than average'. Then those people, if they also work very, very hard, will advance further than people who work equally hard, but don't have that natural predisposition.
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elisedance
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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2012, 02:56:33 AM »

I guess the same as it applies to anything: 'people who are intrinsically able to do something with minimal training'.  Does that work? 


I don't think such a thing - being able to be good at anything with minimal training - exists anywhere. My definition is 'people who have natural predisposition to absorb skills in <pick your field> faster than average'. Then those people, if they also work very, very hard, will advance further than people who work equally hard, but don't have that natural predisposition.

I'm sorry but whats the difference between your definition and mine?
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ttd
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2012, 09:36:54 AM »

I guess the same as it applies to anything: 'people who are intrinsically able to do something with minimal training'.  Does that work? 


I don't think such a thing - being able to be good at anything with minimal training - exists anywhere. My definition is 'people who have natural predisposition to absorb skills in <pick your field> faster than average'. Then those people, if they also work very, very hard, will advance further than people who work equally hard, but don't have that natural predisposition.

I'm sorry but whats the difference between your definition and mine?

The difference is 'minimal training'. Your definition implies that they have to spend very little time to get really good. I don't believe it is so. I believe that all people still need a lot of time and effort to get really, really good at something. If you stop short in your efforts, you won't reach your potential. So that innate ability translates into higher potential.

Think back to a beginning class. You have a large enough group of people, and they're being shown something very basic, like a box step in american rumba. Beginning people usually have a problem with the concept of switching weight on every step, even when you close your feet (they put their feet together, and then step out with the foot they just stepped with). After the first 15 minutes you'd have people who can reproduce the footwork with 100% accuracy, you'd have people who get it right most of the time, but still make the beginner's mistake, and you'd have people who still struggle with the idea. I believe that the first group are the ones who have the potential to get really good, provided they put in the required effort. The 2nd group is where most people belong - people in it may surpass some people in the first group, but they won't become better than the part of the first group which applied same amount of effort. The 3rd group - they're the ones who usually fall behind in a class and drop out, because by the time they get the idea, everyone has moved on.
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drj
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2012, 06:06:39 AM »

What is a good dancer?
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ancora imparo
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2012, 06:21:19 AM »

What is a good dancer?


this is the million dollar question, as it means different things to different people.
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drj
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2012, 03:15:18 PM »

TTD's and Elise's definitions of talent feel very different to me. TTD's idea of 'people who have natural predisposition to absorb skills in <pick your field> faster than average' implies that talented people learn faster; Elise's 'people who are intrinsically able to do something with minimal training' does not speak to an individual's ability to *learn*, but to *do*.

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ancora imparo
elisedance
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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2012, 07:12:20 PM »

I think you're over analyzing ... 'minimal training' means learning - so someone that learns things faster is common to both. 
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2012, 09:26:22 AM »

You are right Elise. I have several times stated that talented dancers often don’t make it as far as none-talented dancers. This is not only in my experience but several of my teachers stated the same.

There have been many great dancers over the years that were not tall and slender. I would say that the reason the tall and slender is making it to the top today is because of what society (the dance world) are judging as being the look of a top dancer. I think that the social consciousness of the outside world has made its way into the dance scene.

 There is no physical reason why one body type cannot become as great a dancer as another body type.  It is important to understand your body type and sell/promote the asset of that body type. Many people don’t understand what to do to make their body type come out looking great. This means they often go out there doing what doesn’t fit their body type thereby not looking the best they can.

Great dancers find out what works for their body type and personality. Once you understand your body type and personality then you have a change to become a great dancer.

 So I would say that great dancers are taught.

You are not born with the knowledge of what looks good for you to do. The problem is that not many teachers are taught to teach and tailor make the lessons to fit the student in every form. They basically teach what they were taught with no consideration of whether that matches the student’s body type or personality.  Lessons are often taught in a cookie cutter format. Shame but true.

I suggest find out what suits you in both look and personality and you have the formula to great success.

DSV
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elisedance
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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2012, 02:22:16 AM »

Thanks DSV - that gives must of us a lot of hope Cheesy

Actually, its interesting to look back at the lives of those you knew at school who were talented and those who were very good but determined.  Which have fared better with respect to achievement (not necessarily happiness of course).  In my case its almost invariably the latter - I say almost because the truly talented sometimes do float to the top but I think they are more likely to burn out.
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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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