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Author Topic: 'analytical' or 'aware' - which is the best way to learn?  (Read 5314 times)
Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2009, 03:38:37 AM »

how does the LEAD pick up the routine? 

You are asking three questions that are all valid. I would like to answer all three of them, but to keep the posts to a reasonable length I will have split the three questions up. The answer may cross over to one another, but I will try to keep it clear. Also I have to talk about this in the way it was taught to me to teach and do it (the Body School). As this is a very different way of learning and dancing it does take a lot of courage to do if you have danced for years (5+ years) and have not done this way of dancing before.

OK, I have to start from the beginning, the very, very beginning.

When we learn to dance, we learn to walk forward, side ward and backward (these “single step” actions are also called “letters”). When these “single steps” actions are combined and taken in different directions, they are called “steps”, each of these “single step” combinations/”steps” have names, also called “step names” example
“Feather Step”, “Natural Turn”, “Volta” or “Fan” (these combinations are also called “words”). With time, you will learn what the names, of each of the “single step” combinations/”steps” you dance, are called (in other words you will learn to pronounce the “words” that the “letters” has created). 
Now… we come to the point, where the difference between the “doing” learning and the “knowing” learning starts. As this question is about how to become a “doing” dancer and how to learn routines as a “doing” dancer, I will not talk about the “knowing” way of learning routines, here in this post.

OK, next you learn to combine the “words” into sentences. You will learn the possibilities of what step/s can be danced before and/or after each of the steps you are dancing. Please note I said ….Possibilities. Each step (word) has several options/possibilities that can be danced before and/or after it. In the “doing” way of dancing, the student will learn the possibilities of what combinations can be danced and not a set order like routines. This helps the student, to be able to improvise and just go with the flow of the music, the body and the traffic that will happen in any given situation. So what it really comes down to is the “doing” way of dancing is happening moment to moment. The Initiator (man) is in the “now” and responding to the circumstances that are happening around that “now” and initiating what needs to be done to deal with each and every situation. When doing this it is important to not think of why some is going where they are going, what needs to be done, what muscles are to be activated, what the foot work is and so forward. It is done in the same way as when you are driving from point A to B, avoiding an accident or taking a detour with out conscious thought. My teacher would often tell students to just “fall” in the open spaces on the floor. When the body is “falling” across the floor the footwork, leg actions and body actions will happen by themselves if you do not intervene with the process. This action is also used when going shopping and moving a grocery cart. You do mini “falls” across the floor into the space that you want to move towards.
Now to dance a routine you need to create an overall picture/map of where or what directions you want to fall into. Create a map that show the geometric shapes of the step combination that you want to dance. Then draw a map of the curves/rotations that you should be doing in that combination you want to dance. Look at the two maps and see the maps within your mind. Now all you need to do is to “fall” into the directions the maps laid out for each of the step that you want to do. OK, there you have it that is how you start learning routines as a “doing” dancer.

Now, you do need to go back to the stage of where the “words” are put into sentences to get to the “doing” mindset. That will mean you will have to quit the “Judge”, forget pervious perceptions (all that you have learned before) and start from a fresh. You could say “leave you ego at the door” or get a child’s mindset. What ever you want to call it, it is a letting go of history and that can be a challenge and scary. It does take guts and commitment to get into the “doing” mindset if you have never been there before.

I want to wish all the best to all of you, who are willing to give it this way of dancing a go. I promise you will not regret it. If you have more questions don’t hesitate to ask, I will be happy to try and help.

Sorry for the really long post. Embarrassed

Dora-Satya Veda


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« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2009, 11:56:55 AM »

I suspect that this is going to be really off the wall and outside of the stratophere.

When I watch dancers who inspire me dance whether a live performance or on youtube; I can feel my body responding to how they are moving; its as though my body can feel the physical movement (and its quality)

Certainly my musical response is very left brained; more so than I had imagined when I went to a musicality workshop where tango musical structure was explained but as  as soon as I started dancing a completly diferent part of my brain was doing the interpreting to the bit I had been learning with!!! ( and ne'er the thwain shall meet)

When I went from close embrace to milonguero style; I just learned it from watching Alex Krebbs on youtube and a few others and the transition took me two weeks at the most- even if there are a few movements I havnt yet mastered.

So when I teach i always let my people physically feel my movement rather than merely explain it; the transition from being told or explained to observing to doing is full of transition and unobserved misinterpretaion since we cant see what our own bodies are actually doing so we rely on good teachers for giving us feed back.

So I use both understanding and analysis (left brain) and intuition( right brain) and something else [cue: twilight zone music]
But having danced with an Alexander technique teacher I didn't think she understood how AT bodies need to move even though she had far more body awareness than most.

Core Strength and axis seem to be more prevalent in ballet dancers and I would say there is a psychological element to this ( ie some sense of self-confidence goes along way if it manifests physically)
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2009, 12:34:34 PM »

I suspect that this is going to be really off the wall and outside of the stratophere.

When I watch dancers who inspire me dance whether a live performance or on youtube; I can feel my body responding to how they are moving; its as though my body can feel the physical movement (and its quality)

Same here Grin. It almost feels like being within that other person’s body, and sensing what they are doing, letting your body get the impulses that would be needed to execute the seen actions.

Quote
When I went from close embrace to milonguero style; I just learned it from watching Alex Krebbs on youtube and a few others and the transition took me two weeks at the most- even if there are a few movements I havnt yet mastered.

That sounds like what my partner would do. He would watch our teacher dance and within a short time was totally able to do what he had seen.
After he had that down, he would then add his own interpretations to the steps.

Quote
So I use both understanding and analysis (left brain) and intuition( right brain) and something else [cue: twilight zone music]

I also use both part of my mind. I think of the analyzing side (observer) of me be more of an observer and commentator than the executor. If the observation and then comments that are coming from the analyzer (observer) is worth listening to and changing, I will then go back see the change/s in my mind (“doing” part of me) and then execute it again with the observer just observing everything. It does sometimes feel like something else is involved but I don’t know what it is (cue: twilight zone music). What ever that is, I just let it be as it always seems to make everything better. I normally totally ignore what the observer has to say about that third ingredient.

Dora-Satya Veda
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2009, 01:39:00 PM »

Do you do it by watching another lead?

Watching dancing can ruin your chance of ever learning to dance well, if you don’t understand how to “watch” dancing. Your ego (judge) will have perceptions of what it “thinks” is being done to execute the actions seen. Most often these perceptions are totally wrong to what is really done. You can only really know what is going on within a great dancer when you are a great dancer yourself. Well, what do you then do if you are not a great dancer now but want to be a great dancer tomorrow?
Many things can be observed from the outside and be copied, that is however not what great dancers do. Dancers that does get good, do watch better couples, but not in the normal way that most people understand the word to “watch”.

My teacher used to call it “stepping in”. You watch and “step into” the person to sense what that person is doing, feeling and sensing. You observe the sensation and expressions that happens to the body as you “watch” and/or are “within”, without any judgment of what is done. It is a way of watching to “be” and “do”, not watching to “analyze” and “know”. When you do this, there is a clear sense of knowingness that can’t really be explained with words; at least I am not able to explain it with words. This knowingness makes you  “be” a great dancer and do what great dancers “do”, most often with no knowledge of what body parts is doing, when and how.

One can’t see with the naked eye, the brain firing through the nervous system, the information of the actions that needs to be done to dance well. Because we can’t see it with the naked eye and can’t feel somebody else’s brain firing that information, doesn’t mean we can’t learn to do the same. We can in essence only observe the end result (outside view) of actions done within. The only way to get the actions into the body, which is really done within, is to experience the similar circumstances. Many of the circumstances used in dancing, can be related back to everyday life and is therefore innately understood. It is also possible to get this knowingness of “be” and “doing” by being “still” and sensing what it is that is done and then copy that by “doing” it free of ego and judgment.

Some dancers do this kind of watching without ever being told how to do “watch”. They do it out of instinct, intuition or for some other reason. We call these dancers for “natural talents”. It used to be that only these kinds of dancers were making it to the very top. Things have changed today and many reach high levels with analyzing. IMHO they do however never make to the very top until they are able to let go of the “trying to know everything” and become free of the “judge” stopping them.

There are three words, that my teacher said was the most powerful words he had ever learned and that made him one of the best dancers the world have ever seen. He said that if you could say these words without searching for an answer you would become a great dancer.
Those three words are:

I    DON'T    KNOW !!!!!!

I know I have gone a little deep here. Sorry.... Embarrassed

Blame Elise…she asked the question Wink

Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2009, 01:48:41 PM »


But you don't answer the other question: how does the LEAD pick up the routine?  Do you do it by watching another lead? Or being back led (odd term) by a follow?

Yes, unless you are doing the choreo yourself (an adventure that I have not undertaken yet), it has to start with watching someone else doing it.  Once I've watched it a few times, I try to walk through it with the person who is doing the choreo, getting my vectors down.   Cheesy  The next thing is doing it with a partner and adding in the connection and balance aspects. 

That's one place where I sometimes get hung up.  If there is some step where I can't figure out how to execute on time, or in such a way that I lead it properly and also leave myself in the right "vector" for the next step, then I basically have two options (assuming this occurs at some later time when the person who did the choreo isn't available): (1) ask my instructor to interpret, or (2) study the video frame-by-frame until I think I understand all the motion and balance concepts.  It's split about 50-50 for me as to which approach will be more successful on a given problem. 

As for the back leading: I don't find it an effective teaching technique for me.  The problem is, the more experienced I get, the more I have an immediate reflex-level reaction to being back-led.  It feels to me like a balance upset and I instinctively try to "correct" it.   Shocked  If there's something where I'm just not getting the feel of it, what works for me is to switch roles and have my instructor lead me properly through it.  By feeling the reaction, I can "feel" what the lead is feeling even though I'm not leading it.  (And I don't claim to be a great follow, but I do know the basic concepts.) 
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2009, 02:13:07 PM »

Or being back led (odd term) by a follow?

Some does call it “back leading”. My teacher called it “tempting”. The lady would “tempt” or “entice” the man to go wherever she want him to go.

This can be a great way of getting a sense of what an action or step should feel like. It is used by many top teachers/coaches. They will dance with you to find out what you are doing. They will then get in the driver seat and “take you for a ride”. The first time it may just be that “a great ride”. When it is done the second time +, one should then sense what the teacher is making you do. Then copy that until it can becomes part of who your are and part of your being.

I do use this little maneuver when I dance, both when I teach and when dancing with my partner.

Just a little warning here…..it can be a very powerful tool. If it is used for transferring senses that you got into you own dancing then it is great. DO NOT use it to find the failing of your partner.

Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2009, 03:11:41 PM »

My teacher used to call it “stepping in”. You watch and “step into” the person to sense what that person is doing, feeling and sensing. You observe the sensation and expressions that happens to the body as you “watch” and/or are “within”, without any judgment of what is done. It is a way of watching to “be” and “do”, not watching to “analyze” and “know”. When you do this, there is a clear sense of knowingness that can’t really be explained with words; at least I am not able to explain it with words. This knowingness makes you  “be” a great dancer and do what great dancers “do”, most often with no knowledge of what body parts is doing, when and how.

This is what I started doing!  I have been "stepping in" each time I watch a video.  I can actually feel my muscles twitch when I "step in".  I've actually worked up a sweat sitting in an airconditioned room watching... or rather, "stepping in" to a video.  After doing that, it's quite amazing how I feel like I already have the muscle memory without ever having left my chair!  Afterwards, when I hit the ballroom floor it feels like I'm just performing something I've rehearsed countless times before.  It makes going to the dance studio a very exciting and positive experience. 
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2009, 03:30:43 PM »

This is what I started doing!  I have been "stepping in" each time I watch a video.  I can actually feel my muscles twitch when I "step in".  I've actually worked up a sweat sitting in an airconditioned room watching... or rather, "stepping in" to a video.  After doing that, it's quite amazing how I feel like I already have the muscle memory without ever having left my chair!  Afterwards, when I hit the ballroom floor it feels like I'm just performing something I've rehearsed countless times before.  It makes going to the dance studio a very exciting and positive experience. 


Well done Sg. You have got it Hurreyyyy.  Wink Grin

They (some crazy scientists Wink Tongue Smiley) have actually tested athletes on whether they were able to practice sitting in a chair or laying down or if the did have to get out there and do it. They used electrodes to test the theory. It turned out, they had the same pulse in the muscles and brain activity in the same area whether the athletes was doing it full out or in rest situation only using their mind to do it. 

How do you think I have developed cuts without ever going to a gym?Huh Wink  Tongue Grin I simply do power workouts Cool (like sunbathing). Don't tell anybody, please. Lips sealed Wink  Don't want the gyms to go out of business.  Grin

You have done it countless time when doing it that way....you have found the fast track. Well done Wink Smiley

Dora-Satya Veda
« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 03:33:07 PM by Dora-Satya Veda » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2009, 05:37:00 AM »

Do you do it by watching another lead?

Watching dancing can ruin your chance of ever learning to dance well, if you don’t understand how to “watch” dancing. Your ego (judge) will have perceptions of what it “thinks” is being done to execute the actions seen. Most often these perceptions are totally wrong to what is really done. You can only really know what is going on within a great dancer when you are a great dancer yourself. Well, what do you then do if you are not a great dancer now but want to be a great dancer tomorrow?
Many things can be observed from the outside and be copied, that is however not what great dancers do. Dancers that does get good, do watch better couples, but not in the normal way that most people understand the word to “watch”.

My teacher used to call it “stepping in”. You watch and “step into” the person to sense what that person is doing, feeling and sensing. You observe the sensation and expressions that happens to the body as you “watch” and/or are “within”, without any judgment of what is done. It is a way of watching to “be” and “do”, not watching to “analyze” and “know”. When you do this, there is a clear sense of knowingness that can’t really be explained with words; at least I am not able to explain it with words. This knowingness makes you  “be” a great dancer and do what great dancers “do”, most often with no knowledge of what body parts is doing, when and how.

One can’t see with the naked eye, the brain firing through the nervous system, the information of the actions that needs to be done to dance well. Because we can’t see it with the naked eye and can’t feel somebody else’s brain firing that information, doesn’t mean we can’t learn to do the same. We can in essence only observe the end result (outside view) of actions done within. The only way to get the actions into the body, which is really done within, is to experience the similar circumstances. Many of the circumstances used in dancing, can be related back to everyday life and is therefore innately understood. It is also possible to get this knowingness of “be” and “doing” by being “still” and sensing what it is that is done and then copy that by “doing” it free of ego and judgment.

Some dancers do this kind of watching without ever being told how to do “watch”. They do it out of instinct, intuition or for some other reason. We call these dancers for “natural talents”. It used to be that only these kinds of dancers were making it to the very top. Things have changed today and many reach high levels with analyzing. IMHO they do however never make to the very top until they are able to let go of the “trying to know everything” and become free of the “judge” stopping them.

There are three words, that my teacher said was the most powerful words he had ever learned and that made him one of the best dancers the world have ever seen. He said that if you could say these words without searching for an answer you would become a great dancer.

I think this comes close to Gnosis:

the Biblical "Be Still & Know" or the Buddhist "Direct Transmission"

who am I to say; empty vessels make most noise  Embarrassed
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”We need a witness to our lives.  There's a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything.  The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. "
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« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2009, 06:02:50 AM »

Everyone is entitled to an opinion and if you don't agree with one, that is fine also but it should be disputed on facts and evidence......comments regarding perceived attitudes are not helpful to a discussion.
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« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2009, 06:20:26 AM »

Everyone is entitled to an opinion and if you don't agree with one, that is fine also but it should be disputed on facts and evidence......comments regarding perceived attitudes are not helpful to a discussion.

But what if I disagree with you? when I teach I am always up against "Perceived attitudes" and I have to check out what the person is thinking. "I cant do this" is one example which I have myself and others have it too, but if I can demosntrate that there is a posssibility of doing the thing they think they cannot do, and if it is helpful to offer encouragement in place of resignment then that is constuctive.

sorry just playing devils advocaat here.
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”We need a witness to our lives.  There's a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything.  The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. "
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« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2009, 06:46:12 AM »



Nothing wrong with being a devils advocaat....it all adds to the discussion.


Everyone is entitled to an opinion and if you don't agree with one, that is fine also but it should be disputed on facts and evidence......comments regarding perceived attitudes are not helpful to a discussion.

But what if I disagree with you? when I teach I am always up against "Perceived attitudes" and I have to check out what the person is thinking. "I cant do this" is one example which I have myself and others have it too, but if I can demosntrate that there is a posssibility of doing the thing they think they cannot do, and if it is helpful to offer encouragement in place of resignment then that is constuctive.

sorry just playing devils advocaat here.
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« Reply #42 on: May 10, 2009, 08:55:31 PM »

This keeps coming up in my lessons lately. We are trying to get me to the point when I can follow completely random stuff I might not necessarily have done before. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. What I've noticed today was that for me the connection breaks down on some types of movements (it got better and now we can isolate where it gets lost and specifically work on those parts), and until I get it back, my following abilities are reduced.

On RB vs. LB subject - the take here is that you need LB to learn the technique (i.e. how to do a heel turn), but following has to be entirely RB.
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« Reply #43 on: May 10, 2009, 10:12:09 PM »

Istn' that the best though?  When pro leads something totally new and you folllow - mine quite often slips into his pro routine and I find myself on a Journey To The Other Side Wink  It suits right now though - we have gone back to basic technique for the last 8 lessons (and who knows how many more - I love it) and its totally changing my dancint to the point I think where the step is a red herring really, its only the techniqjue that really counts, if you have that - I mean if you really have it then the lead could do a mazurka and you would still follow.
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« Reply #44 on: May 11, 2009, 09:29:54 AM »

Istn' that the best though?  When pro leads something totally new and you folllow - mine quite often slips into his pro routine and I find myself on a Journey To The Other Side Wink  It suits right now though - we have gone back to basic technique for the last 8 lessons (and who knows how many more - I love it) and its totally changing my dancint to the point I think where the step is a red herring really, its only the techniqjue that really counts, if you have that - I mean if you really have it then the lead could do a mazurka and you would still follow.

whats that book you told me to read by dan somebody: ever dance teacher should read it. then hit the students with it when they dont practice!
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”We need a witness to our lives.  There's a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything.  The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. "
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