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Author Topic: Developing Swing  (Read 5347 times)
elisedance
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ee


« on: September 29, 2009, 09:32:37 AM »

Gee, have we had a lot of approaches to this.  Once the dancing is (moderately) in balance, the steps are in place and the fall-and rise are working, if not perfected you really want to add swing - and the biggest swing (and also maybe the most difficult) is in Waltz.

I'm going to stick my neck out for chopping and have a go at at a definition and initial discussion (sorry if its all too narrow) swing is the follow of one side of the body (I focus on the hip) through along the line of dance in a rotating figure where the side of swing is on the outside of the turn.  It permits conservation of energy and is (to me), once you get it you can't imagine doing a rise and fall without it and, as such is really the essence of Waltz. 

Assuming I'm somewhere on track I have a specific question.  Is it legit to set up the swing by an oposite rotation?  thus, from the man's perspective (since we can't really swing without him ;-\ ) in a natural turn the swing is a natural body rotation along the line of dance.  Experimenting, we have found that a small reverse body rotation on the preceding step provides torque and greatly facilitates the swing in the ensuing natural figure.

Following up on this, top couples seem to do this routinely at the beginning of the waltz but is it also OK to do it during?  Or will a judge mark you down for that small opposite rotation?
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2009, 01:28:35 PM »

I think the first thing that needs to be clear here is that, the study of swing could become a lifetime project in itself. Again I have to stress if you want to compete or dance socially well, then do not get too budged down into this subject. If you are studying to write a book about “Swing”, then by all means go full out.

In some language there is no such word as “Swing”. This means that some languages have to use a definition as a way to express the action or explain the action. I have found this to be very helpful when trying to explain the 12 basic directions of swing and the thousands of different fixed points.

Definition as I have always heard it:

1) “A curved movement around a fixed point”

or just

2) “Movement around a fixed point”

The body can’t move without have several swings happening all at the same time. When you talk about swing/s it is important to define what direction/s of swing/s you are trying to create and where the fixed point/s are to be able to have/get a clear picture.

HUGE subject that can be a bit of a challenge to understand but keep it simple for you own sake. 

Dora-Satya Veda
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"As we understand more things, everthing is becoming simpler"

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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2009, 01:42:53 PM »



Its fascinating - but its also a motion that is its own reward.  When it works the rotation, the rise and fall, even the balance seem easier and more natural so I don't think a serious dancer has any option but to try to understand, or at least find a way that works. 

As you've mentioned before, we all swing when we just walk.  To me an integral part of swing (and now much of dancing) involves the transfer of potential to kinetic energy and back again - thermodynamic conservation of energy.  Its like a bicycle going up and down a series of small hills - the energy you gain from teh down slope is used in the up one and though you may almost stop on the next crest you are then full again of potential energy for the next loop.  What I am wondering is if there are ways of conserving the potential energy in addition to the up and down motion - that is by rotation (and that is why I bring this up in the context of swing).

Hope that makes some sort of sense Smiley)
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2009, 01:49:41 PM »

"Rotation" is a form of "Swing" as well.

Agian where is the fixed point? Are you rotating around yourself, your partner or a point in space?
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2009, 02:14:15 PM »

YES!!
I don't find it as confusing - but thats more a reflection of my ignorance than any real inisght Cheesy  I feel that rotation mostly around my own centre - but that centre is moving through space and the rotation occurs in synchrony with my partner's rotation.

But I think your answer is the core of my question.. we can set up a swing by a rotation...

I think its often seen at the beginning of the waltz before a natural turn.  The couple (ankles up) rotate anti-clockwise prior to the first step and use that rotation as the potential energy for the swing. 
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2009, 03:12:24 PM »

I just thought about this a bit more and there is also a rotation about each other - but there is no rotation along the line of dance...
stay tuned for the next news flash Cheesy
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2009, 08:25:07 AM »

I will apologize, now, for the length of the post to follow.  Roll Eyes

I'm going to stick my neck out for chopping and have a go at at a definition and initial discussion (sorry if its all too narrow) swing is the follow of one side of the body (I focus on the hip) through along the line of dance in a rotating figure where the side of swing is on the outside of the turn.  It permits conservation of energy and is (to me), once you get it you can't imagine doing a rise and fall without it and, as such is really the essence of Waltz. 

Assuming I'm somewhere on track I have a specific question.  Is it legit to set up the swing by an oposite rotation? Following up on this, top couples seem to do this routinely at the beginning of the waltz but is it also OK to do it during?  Or will a judge mark you down for that small opposite rotation?

Oh la la, cherie, ce n'est pas grave. It is not this complicated. To reply, ...simply yes, and no.

Definition as I have always heard it: 1) “A curved movement around a fixed point” or just  2) “Movement around a fixed point”

The body can’t move without have several swings happening all at the same time. When you talk about swing/s it is important to define what direction/s of swing/s you are trying to create and where the fixed point/s are to be able to have/get a clear picture. Dora-Satya Veda

I was going to question this comment until the 2e paragraph. I have never been a proponent of the swing comes from rotation theory. I agree completely that it is from a fixed point rather than around a fixed point. The movment of dance is step-swing-recover. ED is quite right that this is very elusive in waltz b/c there one must reverse the natural order, and dance swing-step-recover. It is the swing that precipitates the glide that results in the rise that necessitates the lower that causes the swing, ...and the sequence repeats.

Its fascinating -  What I am wondering is if there are ways of conserving the potential energy in addition to the up and down motion -

Definitely so. It is the movement within the stillness at the top of the rise. Your analogy of teh bicycle going up and down the hills is a most profound one. Swing in dance is exactly this. Swing is the resulting action of the continued movement following lower. It can be exacted from a standing point to a standing point, that is to say, without rotation.

"Rotation" is a form of "Swing" as well.  Agian where is the fixed point? Are you rotating around yourself, your partner or a point in space?

My coaches taught that what many refer to as swing in rotation is actually more a form of sway; that sway may occur w/i the body and/or w/i the movement. DSV is correct in that sway (w/i rotation), in this manner, could not happen w/o swing, making the rotation (sway) a form of swing.
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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.
elisedance
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ee


« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2009, 08:58:34 AM »

Well there's enough in that post to keep me going for, lets see, six months - or maybe a life time Cheesy  But I am encouraged by your support for the potential/kinetic energy concept.  What I don't know is how you set up swing from a standing point without rotation.  It would seem to me that you would then have to use a different means to reserve the energy before you need it (after all thats what its about - saving energy during a step so that it can be expended later for a rise (or I guess a rotation).  How is that done?  by tipping the body?? 
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catsmeow
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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2009, 09:43:58 PM »

I am in a quandry! Over the past several months some posts have described dancing as easy to learn.  What could be simpler! I move therefore I dance. Let me draw your attention to the above discussion on swing. Where do its intricacies land on this continuum we call learning to dance. Is it so simple to do that we only think it is hard? Or, is it really doggone difficult for anyone anywhere? For me, dancing is easy if I dont try to get better. I used to dance all night but never knew technique. Now I know some technique and cant dance for more than ninety seconds. Is dancing the same as every other athletic endeavour: fun to watch, easy to try, hard to improve but impossible to master ?
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Rugby
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2009, 10:38:21 PM »

If one thinks one has mastered something it is only because they have not realized that learning is like a circle, continuous, repetitive and with no ending.
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elisedance
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ee


« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2009, 10:51:27 PM »

maybe its easy to do but hard to analyze? Roll Eyes
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2009, 11:21:23 PM »

maybe its easy to do but hard to analyze? Roll Eyes

I know I have said this before and I will probably say it many more times. If you are either social dancing or a competitor then it is about dancing and not about taking everything apart.

If I gave you a slice of cake…..you wouldn’t say nice flour, butter, milk, egg and spices…would you??? Wouldn’t you say nice cake?

If you watch a painting….. you wouldn’t say nice canvas, great quality paint and beautiful brushstrokes, would you? You would compliment the picture as a whole.

The point is to do….to dance.

If you were to write a book you might want to analyze things a little more into details. If you really want to dance great and get some of the big insights into great dancing, then learn with a child’s mind.

Stop dissecting the flower and expect it to look beautiful when you put the pieces in the vase.

DSV
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"As we understand more things, everthing is becoming simpler"

Edward Teller
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2009, 12:39:09 AM »

What I don't know is how you set up swing from a standing point without rotation.  It would seem to me that you would then have to use a different means to reserve the energy before you need it (after all thats what its about - saving energy during a step so that it can be expended later for a rise (or I guess a rotation). 

Though, I suppose there is some minute degree of rotation, note a pro couple prepping to dance a slow fox at comp. The intent is to begin w/ a feather. They poise themselves, and the lead rises to begin on beat 8 from the rise in order to be in full 'swing' by the 1 or 1ere step of the feather. The swing is precipitated/preceded by the rise; not a rotation.
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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.
TangoDancer
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« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2009, 12:40:56 AM »

I know I have said this before and I will probably say it many more times. If you are either social dancing or a competitor then it is about dancing and not about taking everything apart.

If I gave you a slice of cake…..you wouldn’t say nice flour, butter, milk, egg and spices…would you??? Wouldn’t you say nice cake?

If you watch a painting….. you wouldn’t say nice canvas, great quality paint and beautiful brushstrokes, would you? You would compliment the picture as a whole.

The point is to do….to dance.

If you were to write a book you might want to analyze things a little more into details. If you really want to dance great and get some of the big insights into great dancing, then learn with a child’s mind.

Stop dissecting the flower and expect it to look beautiful when you put the pieces in the vase.

DSV

Needs to be iterated and reposted.... verbatim.... again.
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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.
Rugby
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2009, 12:45:33 AM »

I agree and yet not with this analogy.  It depends on who the analogy is being given to and why they are looking at the parts and how it effects them to do so.  I understand that we can't get to the point where we lose the forest for the trees but the difference between becoming good and being mediocre is the understanding of what makes something good compared to mediocre.  If we never look at the parts we won't understand how to create the whole but then if we focus too much on just the parts we may never get to the point to finally appreciate and benefit from the whole and why it was created.  I think we need some of both and how much depends on how skilled you wish to become and why you are partaking in the first place.

I am an artist and I don't look at paintings and pictures the way the average person does.  I look at the frame and how it is used to compliment or dramatize the picture.  I look at how the artist used the brush strokes to create something or how they use the pencil shading in different strengths and intensity to create texture, light, darkness and depth.  The more educated I become my pictures go from stick figures to life like images.  It's only by understanding the parts that I can create the whole and appreciate the work behind that creation.  But, the reason I put the parts together is to enjoy the whole and let others enjoy it as well, and cannot get to the point where I sweat the details so much I am never happy with the picutre, regardless.

I was a manager of a large bakery for well over a decade and if I was oblivious of the ingrediants and how they were combined it would effect the turn out of my product and my income.  My cake may taste like sawdust rather than a treat.  The more educated the baker or a chef the greater the skills to create a meal or desert that is sought out rather than just tolerated.  Of course too the more educated the client the more they will seek out and appreciate the greater skilled baker.
 
If I was a social dancer or a partaker of deserts but not a baker, or like to go to an art gallery but not care if I could paint then I don't care how it was created, just that I could enjoy what was created.  As a competitive dancer, baker and artist I know the quality and understanding of the parts makes a difference to the quality of the whole.  Of course though, as I mentioned above, it is important that once those parts are together it is time now to not worry about them but enjoy the whole.  If not, then what was the purpose for creating it.
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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.
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