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Author Topic: Body contact and personal space  (Read 1066 times)
phoenix13
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« on: June 15, 2013, 08:24:23 AM »

I placed this topic in beginner, social and syllabus because most of the advanced dancers I know say that this is a no-brainer for them.  But, for newer dancers, this is by no means a no brainer, a lot of the time.

How do you feel about body contact?  Meaning (if you ballroom dance or dance bachata, etc.) do you dance in body contact at social dances? With strangers?  Only with friends?  Only with your partner?  How do you feel about it?   A necessary evil?  No big deal?   No way,no how?

Do you think that cultural norms around personal space have anything to do with how you feel about this?  Or is dance a culture all to itself?
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Dona nobis pacem.
cha
Intermediate Bronze

Posts: 42


« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013, 01:18:30 PM »

What a great topic, Phoenix13!   I dance smooth and rhythm, and body contact in those styles doesn't bother me at all.  I've danced bachata - and enjoy it - but haven't found that the body contact is more than the American dances - at least in the contexts that I've danced it.

But Argentine tango - that's a whole other ballgame.  The exposure I've had to AT indicates that a great deal of upper body closeness is required - more than is comfortable for me UNLESS I have a regular dance partner (a whole other topic enchilada).   And in the AT situations I've been in, most of the leaders don't want to hold the follower closely either, which seems to make it harder to accomplish the dance.
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phoenix13
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2013, 01:35:15 PM »

Thanks, cha!   Smiley

I think that you're right.  AT is a world all its own.

When it comes to other dances, even though I've been dancing a long time, I am still a little careful about body contact. You never really know what your partner is comfortable with,so you have to feel your way... No pun intended. lol.  

At this point, I generally try to follow the lead of the lead, if I don't know him.  Newer leads will usually go with an open hold,which is fine. But,if the gentleman invites me into body contact, I go.

Especially in social dancing, there can be a weird moment or two while you figure it out.  (Think foxtrot mixer! lol)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 01:55:38 PM by phoenix13 » Logged

Dona nobis pacem.
elisedance
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ee


« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2013, 02:48:05 PM »

eventually the you can start to crave the body contact - no not for that reason Wink Wink butbecause it gives you such a direct input into what the core of the lead is doing - the faster you can sense speed change and direction the easier following becomes.

The next stage is to not need it at all!  Eventually you just feel it, amazing as it sounds no body contact is requried.  I only do standard seriously so I always have body input but great latin dancers can follow highly complex dances without any physical contact at all....

I don't know much about AT but from what I've seen its very much about the coalescing of bodies.  I think its a big factor for those that come to really love it. 

Perhaps its not the ideal dance for you cha... (nor me either).
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millitiz
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Posts: 220


« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2013, 10:34:02 AM »

The funny thing is, I actually don't really like to have body contact if I don't know you well enough...or maybe it is not done well? I don't know. I do have a personal bubble thingy off the floor.

I much prefer lighter connection - too much energy is like screaming to me.
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phoenix13
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2013, 10:45:57 AM »

eventually the you can start to crave the body contact - no not for that reason Wink Wink butbecause it gives you such a direct input into what the core of the lead is doing - the faster you can sense speed change and direction the easier following becomes.

The next stage is to not need it at all!  Eventually you just feel it, amazing as it sounds no body contact is requried.  I only do standard seriously so I always have body input but great latin dancers can follow highly complex dances without any physical contact at all....

I don't know much about AT but from what I've seen its very much about the coalescing of bodies.  I think its a big factor for those that come to really love it. 

Perhaps its not the ideal dance for you cha... (nor me either).

There are several different options, when it comes to AT hold. From what I understand, not all of them are intimately connected.
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Dona nobis pacem.
phoenix13
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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2013, 10:47:18 AM »

The funny thing is, I actually don't really like to have body contact if I don't know you well enough...or maybe it is not done well? I don't know. I do have a personal bubble thingy off the floor.

I much prefer lighter connection - too much energy is like screaming to me.


Yes.  I agree to both.  I'm not a fan of walking directly into body contact with a stranger.
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Dona nobis pacem.
elisedance
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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2013, 02:02:27 PM »

I'm an instant glommer or not glommer, guage it depending on what the lead wants.  Of course it assumes I feel comfortable with the guy.... Shocked Roll Eyes
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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...
phoenix13
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2013, 03:02:24 AM »

Exactly. You have to feel comfortable.  I often wonder what dance teachers do about that.  Surely they have students that they dislike and/or are less comfortable with than others.
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Dona nobis pacem.
elisedance
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 01:43:39 PM »

Exactly. You have to feel comfortable.  I often wonder what dance teachers do about that.  Surely they have students that they dislike and/or are less comfortable with than others.

I have talked to a couple.  Basically they respect the distance until the person is comfortable.  If its a more advanced dancer they typically move right in - but the same-sex aspect can be an issue too. 
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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...
Rugby
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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2014, 02:28:34 PM »

I have a friend who is a dance teacher.  She never had her couples dance in contact so that nobody will feel uncomfortable by touching in what she considered an inappropriate way.  She was taught that the man and woman should not have their bodies touch at all, especially below the waist.  The problem is that for some it will work but I noticed that the men, in their attempts to lead the lady, would use their right arm like a vice grip which resulted in the lady being pulled in to the man.  They kept no contact below but her boobs were basically crushed into him.  On the other hand I would notice the ladies lean in and do a death grip on the man to try and feel where he was going.  Again this would result in the ladies chest against the man.  So, in the attempt to not have any inappropriate contact they ended up with really inappropriate contact but also not being able to dance properly.  I would say at least 3/4 of the couples ended up like this.  She has now changed her mind and realized that it would be better to teach body contact.  In the last month she says her students are happier, can dance much easier and have found that the body contact is an advantage. 
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Everyone tries to rush up through the syllabus levles and think once they are at the top they have arrived.  What they don't realize is that by doing this it is like skimming through a book, you may get the gist but you will never understand the story.
elisedance
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2014, 11:12:56 AM »

Shocked  and think of all the dancers she ruined.
I hope she gave them their money back.... Tongue
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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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