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| | | |-+  "The Body School Approach To Starting Partner Dancing."
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Author Topic: "The Body School Approach To Starting Partner Dancing."  (Read 1542 times)
elisedance
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« on: August 07, 2009, 01:27:49 PM »

On the 'How do you move, swing dances topic' I made a comment (for which, by the way, I take no credit, I'm just learning slowly from the real gurus here):

"Just think, if your first lesson had been to hold each other and move your bodies forward (male) and backwards accross the dance floor.  The second lesson would be to do that stepping with music.  If we learned how to move together and then how to make that easier with ways to improve the connection etc this topic would not exist!"

Basically this topic is also about body-school partner dancing but our object here is: how should we START teaching partner dance?  And I hope DSV and TD will forgive me for starting this - but hopefully the spirit will be appreciated (hey, you have to have desciples too Wink).

So, think back you almost certainly started to learn ballroom with steps.  Move this foot here; then move the other one here and you did feeling like an idiot as your body lagged behind your new feet that felt like they had suddenly attained a life of their very own.  Just look at a newcomer couple in your studio - you will see exactly the same thing.  Well, the point is that it does not HAVE to be like that.  And rather, that it definitely should not.  But how should it be?  What is the correct sequence - I'going to guess that TD has already thought this out and may even have the book in review Cheesy....


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elisedance
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2009, 05:17:37 AM »

Odd that there was no reply to this - I was wondering if maybe the book was on the way Wink
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2009, 04:44:45 AM »

Awaiting word from publisher.   Wink

No apologies necessary, ED. The points are well made, and well supported.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
ZPomeroy
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2010, 12:47:40 AM »

This is a very interesting topic, and is sad that it has been left for dead. I have started teaching beginner couples over the last couple of months and do find it very hard to teach togetherness, so this idea could be a real help to me! So in essence, this idea is that a couple will walk down the floor, trying to keep together as much as possible?

Zac
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 01:55:47 PM »

IMHO, to approach BR from a step lesson is doing it a grave disservice. Yes, the essence is to teach a person how to move across the floor balanced throughout the movement... not the step... not with a partner... just balanced through time and space. If the partner will do the same thing, then to put them together will ultimately be easier....


later.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
cornutt
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2010, 10:39:32 PM »

I don't know... maybe you can start off that way with people who, the moment they walk in the door, already intend to be serious competition dancers.  For the average beginner, I don't think that will work.  Had my first lesson consisted of being told to "move your body forward and back", I would have neither understood what I was being asked to do, nor would I have been capable of doing it.
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elisedance
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2010, 11:24:49 PM »

I don't think TD (or I) would advocate that.  But what if the instruction was to walk accross the room so that your foot hit the ground with each beat?  And then to do the same thing but make a right-angled turn (alternate left and right) every time you heard a bell ring?
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

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TangoDancer
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2010, 02:57:29 PM »

This is correct. I am not advocating the teaching of some surreal, holistic approach to dance on a first lesson. Yet, I am convinced that if BR students were taught from day one to just walk... move... feel, then put that to a rhythm, pattern, style, dance, in general, and the student, in particular, would be better.

This is what I have always called teaching dance from the outside in rather than the inside out. That is, taking one's natural movement and forming that into the dance, rather than forcing a prescribed/predetermined idea onto the dancer without regard for natural movement.

I have had tremendous success in BR and other forms w/ this concept.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
dancingirldancing
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2010, 04:38:21 PM »

This is what I have been working on with DP since he has not dance for a very long time.

I just hold his hand and tell him to stop thinking and then we do waltz basic from one corner of the studio to the other, then we do quickstep basic etc.

It is all so natural.

I think most people including myself try to 'learn' ballroom dancing from 2 bit instructor who insists on telling us that it is 'hard' and then we put ourselves on all sort of unnatural positions THEN we find top coaches in the danceworld and pay them an arm and a leg to tell us to move naturally.

I am telling you DP who just started dancing 2 months ago with once a week lesson is dancing heaps better than a student of a 'bad' chain studio that has 3 lesson a week for a year.

His shoulder is relaxed, his body is leading the movement, his frame is natural and not forced and his core is activated. All by simply dancing.

Have you seen a beginner samba class where the teacher tell the students to put the leg out there and the hips over there ? They all look like they are having some sort of fits ?

I often pull a complete beginners to the dance floor and tell him to stop thinking and just feel the beat and the connection. Within one song I managed to get them to actually have fun and dance samba/cha cha or whatever it is.
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2010, 05:59:37 PM »

Yes. Of course, there is very much need for proper instruction; there is so much to know about 'good' dance; proper technique, lead/follow, etc. However, placing these before the movement is like having a horse push a wagon.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
drj
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2010, 07:23:52 AM »

Yes. Of course, there is very much need for proper instruction; there is so much to know about 'good' dance; proper technique, lead/follow, etc. However, placing these before the movement is like having a horse push a wagon.

I didn't want to chime in here because I feel like a broken record: "my teacher does this" gets old, kwim? but my instructor, in early lessons, made me walk with him, feeling his weight changes and my own, feeling direction, connection, etc. This cured me of doing steps Wink which is what I learned in group classes -- steps. He told me up front that it was important that he teach me to move, to dance, not to do steps.

What's important here is that I cooperated. The student has to cooperate in learning. When Cornutt says
Quote
I don't know... maybe you can start off that way with people who, the moment they walk in the door, already intend to be serious competition dancers.  For the average beginner, I don't think that will work.  Had my first lesson consisted of being told to "move your body forward and back", I would have neither understood what I was being asked to do, nor would I have been capable of doing it.
he's mostly right. I didn't know that competition would be a track for me, when I went in for that first private lesson; I was just in it for the joy of it. I may not have understood what I was asked to do, but I did it -- I jumped without a net, so to speak. Occasionally, I have spoken to one or two of my instructor's former students, those who left him because he was not teaching them anything. I find this incredible, but as I learn their personalities better, its clear that they are not the kind of people who can benefit from learning from the inside out. They are people who want a set of rules that will provide a measurable, reproducible result, like a recipe. They want steps.
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ancora imparo
elisedance
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2010, 09:07:52 AM »

I didn't want to chime in here because I feel like a broken record: "my teacher does this" gets old, kwim? but my instructor, in early lessons, made me walk with him, feeling his weight changes and my own, feeling direction, connection, etc. This cured me of doing steps Wink which is what I learned in group classes -- steps. He told me up front that it was important that he teach me to move, to dance, not to do steps.

I would take a little issue here.  Sure learning steps per se is very basic and can be very counter productive.  But there ARE steps to learn the difference is (for me at least) that the lead initiates your step but you complete the step action without any further lead.  This is what constitutes knowing your part for the woman.  To have no steps at all would be to have to be led through every part of the dance.  For example, in a natural turn you wait to feel the lead and then your body executes the steps without any further guidance from the man  (with respect to step) - indeed after that initiation it is the man that is 'following' you.
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If you must leave the house, go build a home...

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TangoDancer
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2010, 03:43:47 AM »

I would also take exception to Cornutt's post. Oh, I understand well what he means. However, I was trained, and have always taught, in this manner. The difference is that I was also told, from the very beginning, that dance is the movement in-between the steps, and when I would inquire about "the steps", I was told that I was doing them w/o knowing it. Irene, my dance mother, said something very interesting to me once. I said to her, "Thank you for teaching me to dance". She replied, "I never taught you anything. I only helped you to realize the dance within the movements".

I loved her, ...profoundly.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
QPO
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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2010, 07:46:03 AM »

that is deep.

I am still a very visual learner, if you show me I can repeat it, rhythm and timing seem to be natural for me in most styles, but if someone were to verbalize something that I was doing wrong but not show me how to fix it, I take long to fix it. Show me and I fix it immediately.



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elisedance
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2010, 10:59:02 AM »

that is deep.

I am still a very visual learner, if you show me I can repeat it, rhythm and timing seem to be natural for me in most styles, but if someone were to verbalize something that I was doing wrong but not show me how to fix it, I take long to fix it. Show me and I fix it immediately.

you do mean 'show' as in 'demonstrate before me' and not 'dance it with me'?
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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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