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Author Topic: Learning routines?  (Read 4784 times)
elisedance
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« on: April 11, 2009, 08:30:51 PM »

Since I have recently started doing pro-am with a new pro I'm going to start this board off with this question that springs from our pre-forum group:

What is the best way to learn a dance routine?  Elsewhere I suppose we will discuss whether we should have routines at all but lets suppose that they are necessary what is the best sequence to get there?

I (as a follower - but I suppose its the same for the leaders) was originally taught to learn where to put my feet for each named step in the routine so that I would know where to go and my partner could dance with me.  We would then work on technique - adding the nessesary elements for any steps that I had not learned earlier.  Gradually the routine would take shape until we could both dance it from beginning to end.

Now its different.  I admit that part of this is because I have familiarity with what a routine is and with a number of steps.  However, with a new pro there are more new steps than old ones and even the old ones that are there are done differently so my prior knowledge is of limited value.

I'm going to throw this open now and add my way of learning anon... so how do you all learn your routines?
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2009, 09:05:11 PM »


I believe there is a vast difference between a gentleman learning the routine and the lady learning the routine.

As for the Gentleman learning a routine there are different ways to go about it.
 
1) Have the step written down with step names and timing. It is best to write the steps down in a long line with commas between the steps and the timing right underneath each of the steps. This makes it easy to scan over the routine quickly, when trying to remember it. If the routine is phrased it might be a good idea to put 4 bars of steps on each line. Again this will make it easy to scan over and for other teachers to look over if you need help with the routine.

2) Re-write the routine a couple of times at least. Writing causes thinking and thinking creates a memory file for the things written down.

3) Create a map. This will help the navigational sense. You will be able to see where each step goes and get a mental image of where everything is related to the room and to each other.

4) Dance it again and again. It is important that you start at different point in the routine and thereby at different part of the room. This can be very helpful in competitions when the corners are busy and you can’t seem to find an open space.

I believe there is a little difference between standard, latin and show routines on when learing routines for the lady. If you are doing side by side work in latin or for shows, you will need to learn the steps. I do however believe this is very different for standard. I personally believe the lady should only learn the very first routine (Bronze routine), from then on she should never learn another routine except for show routines. Let's just face it the man calls the steps all kinds of fancy names but in reality he only goes forward, backward or a combination there of. If the lady learns a routine the couple is restricted to dance just the routine every time. Many times when under stress and in competitions things come up and changes must/will happen. With the lady only focusing on the forward, backward or combination there of, the man have the freedom to do what he needs to do to get out of trouble.

Just my 2 cents worth

Dora-Satya Veda 
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cornutt
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2009, 07:20:55 PM »

For me, a routine starts as a series of vectors: "You're in this position, and this orientation, and you're moving in this direction."  Timing comes next, then perfecting the steps and the other details of the routine.  Connection gets worked in during all of this.

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SwingWaltz
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2009, 10:30:31 PM »

LoL Vectors, projectile movement, trigonometry, and some integral calculus to work out the area we'll cover!  Wink Are you a mathematician?

I don't really try to remember our routine step by step. I like to think it as a combination of groups of steps and figures! And in between those figures, I just throw in some basics such as chasses, locks, natural turns etc. I know where I want a particular figure to be, and I work around the floor to get there. Chances are, if you stick to a set routine on the competition floor, a lot of the time you'll be waiting on the spot for people to move.

Also, when we practice, we try to make our "routine" as dynamic and versitle as possible. Say if we normally go into the corner for a step, I might decide to change the direction and go into the centre. I do this once every now and then without verbally telling my partner, I try my best to lead and she tries her best to follow. This way, when suddent change is required on the competition floor, we still look like we're in absolute control of everything.

As my girl, she likes to just follow, and I happily let her!  Smiley

I think at the end of the day, it's not about the routine. It's about the dancing! I've partnered a girl whom I've only dance socially with before, we don't have a routine. Yet, she won her event as student!
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elisedance
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2009, 10:39:36 PM »

LoL Vectors, projectile movement, trigonometry, and some integral calculus to work out the area we'll cover!  Wink Are you a mathematician?
close, he's an engineer... which fits even better, mathematicians would have written gibberish that none of us would understand...

Quote
I don't really try to remember our routine step by step. I like to think it as a combination of groups of steps and figures! And in between those figures, I just throw in some basics such as chasses, locks, natural turns etc. I know where I want a particular figure to be, and I work around the floor to get there. Chances are, if you stick to a set routine on the competition floor, a lot of the time you'll be waiting on the spot for people to move.
Great advice - If you are a good lead you can actually amuse yourself by making the above dancers stand still for embarassngly long periods by doing lines infront of them....

Quote
Also, when we practice, we try to make our "routine" as dynamic and versitle as possible. Say if we normally go into the corner for a step, I might decide to change the direction and go into the centre. I do this once every now and then without verbally telling my partner, I try my best to lead and she tries her best to follow. This way, when suddent change is required on the competition floor, we still look like we're in absolute control of everything.
Even better advice - as you imply, a routine is a starting point to competetive danceing, not the end in itself.  what it does is give you a bunch of finely executed tools to use as best you can - but both partners have to be adept at breaking the routine into usable pieces...
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2009, 10:57:32 PM »

Most of the top dancers that I know, can’t remember routines. They may have sections they dance but not a set routine. They dance what the feel is right at that moment. They are totally in "the now".

My partner had sections of short sides. For a longer floor he would just add the sections together that he liked and dance them. Sometime he would get ideas by watching other couples at a competition and then dance those steps.

This is how one of my friends says it...“we get inspired and then feel a need to express that inspiration in the now”.

Dora-Satya Veda
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Edward Teller
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2009, 04:53:24 AM »

Socially, we learn pre-defined sequences, and a lot of that has helped me and DP memorise routines.
For the frist 5-10 times that we dance a routine, he rememebrs it (he has a great memory...) and I just follow, and then I start to remember what comes next. By the time I've danced it 15 or so times, it's stuck.
In some of the closed dances (waltz, quickstep) I tend to just follow DP, as he is a good leader and I have no trouble, but in Latin some of his leads can be a little ambiguous (or I just anticipate...*slaps hand*) so I remember sections of a routine.
For the upcoming comp we have a definite Waltz routine and little mini-routines in Cha Cha that we can string together. The rest is New Vogue, which is basically the pre-defined sequence dancing I spoke of earlier, just a lot more advanced.
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emeralddancer
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2009, 11:10:19 AM »

I am not being taught routines at all. I am being taught to totally follow. Which is good.

hat is interesting though, is I can always pick out when he is doing the same set pattern over and over again. Cracks me up.

Me I follow (as best i can) and do what the music tells me to do. (well of course and my partner Wink)
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cornutt
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2009, 04:08:07 PM »

close, he's an engineer...

 Grin

Of course, I forget to mention the last and most important part... doing it a quadrazillion times over until the mechanics are all committed to muscle memory, and the conscious mind is freed up for higher-level thoughts.  Only at that point does it really become a dance. 

And I actually agree with Dora as far as comp routines -- what I learn is a collection of short sequences that I can string together in different ways as needed.  I only learn set routines for exhibitions.
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2009, 05:06:32 PM »


Of course, I forget to mention the last and most important part... doing it a quadrazillion times over until the mechanics are all committed to muscle memory, and the conscious mind is freed up for higher-level thoughts.  Only at that point does it really become a dance. 


Why does it need to take a quadrazillion times?Huh??

Just wondering Huh Huh

Dora-Satya Veda
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2009, 08:52:32 PM »

I agree D: two or three seems to work pretty well Smiley
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2009, 10:25:56 PM »

I agree D: two or three seems to work pretty well Smiley

That is about the same as what I would say Smiley

Dora-Satya Veda
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Edward Teller
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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2009, 10:53:48 PM »

As a follower, I really don't try to learn them. Since we've done them enough times, I get used to things happening in a certain order. But as soon as I do, we change something up (on purpose). Even when we did a showcase, the routine we wrote down was more for his benefit. Moreover, since we did it in different places, we had to modify things to fit the room, and if I relied on memorization instead of following, that would not be possible.
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cornutt
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« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2009, 10:58:49 PM »

Why does it need to take a quadrazillion times?Huh??


It takes me a quadrazillion times.   Roll Eyes
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QPO
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2009, 10:59:38 PM »

I have a friend who is a level 4/5 dancer and she does the same thing...she does not learn the routine, but I am not that confident to do that yet....I look forward to it
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