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Author Topic: Developing Swing  (Read 4878 times)
TangoDancer
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« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2009, 01:17:37 AM »

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 believe that you do agree. Your post above (and rewritten here) is what DSV is saying.

" 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."
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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.
Some guy
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« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2009, 03:43:52 AM »

I understand where you're coming from Rugby, but I also seem to understand where DSV is coming from.  For example, my coach once asked me how I got out of bed that morning.  I believe the question was, "what's the first thing you did to get out of bed?".  My answer was, "um... I don't know!".  My coach's response to that was, "what?!  You don't know?!  Then how on earth did you manage to get out of bed?!?!?!??!?!?!".  My coach's point was: the details don't matter.  You got out of bed and made it to the lesson.  If someone can make you "get out of bed" in your feather step, does it really matter how you did it?

Going back to walking as an example, people who don't have the slightest knowledge of anatomy and physics are able to walk quite successfully.  If there was a competition for walking, they would be serious contenders.  

Most dance teachers I've had in the past excelled in teaching information that is fascinating to know, but completely irrelevant for the sake of execution.  Of course, it can be argued that all information can help with execution, but I think DSV's goal is to get you there in this lifetime, as soon as possible, by avoiding this scenic route that takes decades.  Every action in this world can be explained in complex physical equations.  My physics teacher used to joke with us and tell us that the slinky knew more physics than this fresh batch of students he was staring at.  He used to further joke that the average House Fly must know more physics than an aeronautical engineer 'cause the aeronautical engineer goes through years of school to learn the principles of flight, propulsion, etc., before he gets into the average house fly's basic movements of pitching, yawing, climbing, descending, angles of attack, etc.  The fact is that the House Fly's short lifespan would be inadequate for it to go to school to master the intrecacies of flight.  The House Fly actually doesn't need to know any of these equations and laws of physics in order to be one of the most superior flying machines on earth.  Most of us learned to walk before we could even say, "heel lead", or "CBM" (both of which we all do when we walk).  So why should dance be any different?  When it comes to dancing, just like the House Fly, I don't think the average human lifespan is enough to accommodate the scenic analytical approach to learning to dance.  There MUST be a better (faster) way and I think DSV is trying to tell us what it is.  
« Last Edit: October 01, 2009, 04:52:32 AM by Some guy » Logged
elisedance
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« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2009, 04:43:40 AM »

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

I must say I get a bit confused.  We are not just experiencing the art (viewing the picture, eating the cake) we are creating it.  I could not pick up a new instrument and create art - well, not meaningful playing (I might beat it on the floor to make a rhythm!).  In order for me to play my violin and for it to be a pleasure I have to work at the technique for years.  To take this litterally would be to say that there is no difference between a dancer who has studied the art for 10 years than a person that walks off the street.  Besides, what then is all the information on the Body school - all those fascinating details on how to do a swing, take a step etc etc. are they but conversation pieces to analyze an automatic process or are they fundamental laws to make it work and upon which one can build?

Performing dance takes a lot of learning of technique - I concede that many people learn the wrong things, even things that inhibit them from dancing - but there are yet lots and lots of good things to learn before you can partner dance. 
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cornutt
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« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2009, 10:03:58 AM »

Elise, I have to admit that this is where the argument went a bit off the rails for me too.  We learn to walk because there is a strong instinctive component to it -- most toddlers figure it out without any training.  There may be an instinctive component to dancing, but if it exists, it's at a very low level. 

And some years ago, when I was having foot problems, I had a doctor tell me that you'd be surprised how many people have orthopedic problems because they have developed bad walking habits.  I asked him how that happens, and he said he wasn't sure, but he thought that most of the time it was because the person had some kind of injury at some point and began to favor that part of the body, and it became an ingrained behavior.  Subsequently, other injuries result because the non-favored body parts are overstressed.

My own bad walking habits stem from when I ran cross-country in high school.  We were taught a bunch of energy-saving running techniques that mostly involved keeping everything above the waist limp and still.  (We ran with our eyes closed too...  Shocked)  This screwed up my natural contra-body motion, and I've never really gotten it sorted out since.  Several times, with dance instructors, I've had conversations that go like this:

Instructor: Let me see you just walk across the floor.
Me: [walking]
Instructor: No, no.  Just walk.
Me: I am walking.
Instructor: No, just walk like you normally walk.
Me: This is how I normally walk.
Instructor: No, seriously. 
Me: ...

If I pay attention, I can sense contra-body motion in my walk, but it doesn't have any obvious synchronism to the pace of the walking.  If I let my arms swing, they do, but not in simple time with my legs -- there's a pattern, but it's a complicated one.  I compare it to the three-body problem in orbital mechanics; you can have three planets that appearing to be orbiting nicely, and then all of a sudden one of them goes flying out an an angle for no obvious reason.  To go back to Some Guy's analogy, there are a lot of us who can't (yet) get on the expressway because we have to invent and perfect the wheel first.
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Some guy
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« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2009, 10:30:55 AM »

I understand now, Cornutt.  Smiley
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2009, 02:49:25 PM »

" 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."


He used to further joke that the average House Fly must know more physics than an aeronautical engineer 'cause the aeronautical engineer goes through years of school to learn the principles of flight, propulsion, etc., before he gets into the average house fly's basic movements of pitching, yawing, climbing, descending, angles of attack, etc.  The fact is that the House Fly's short lifespan would be inadequate for it to go to school to master the intrecacies of flight.  The House Fly actually doesn't need to know any of these equations and laws of physics in order to be one of the most superior flying machines on earth.  Most of us learned to walk before we could even say, "heel lead", or "CBM" (both of which we all do when we walk).  So why should dance be any different?  When it comes to dancing, just like the House Fly, I don't think the average human lifespan is enough to accommodate the scenic analytical approach to learning to dance.  There MUST be a better (faster) way and I think DSV is trying to tell us what it is. 

Thank you SG and TD for supporting me and help me make my point more clear.

I have been teaching for a little while. I have been teaching all styles and all level. I have found on thing to be true for all styles and all levels. They all have one or more of three basic goals, no matter what country, level or style they dance.

1) Create a “WOW” experience for self.

2) Create a “WOW” experience for the person they are dancing with.

3) Create a “WOW” experience for the onlookers (audience, coach/es, teacher/s, judge/s, family…. plus)

So to make this an overall goal, they basically want a “WOW”.

I have over the years taken in many students that have danced for years, even decades and never experienced a real “WOW”. They are often able to get a “WOW” when they let go and let it happen or as we sometimes say “play like a child”. When they then experience a “WOW” they are amazed that dancing could feel so wonderful. They had basically danced for a long time and they never even realized what real dancing could and should feel like. That to me is a shame….I would almost call it a crime.

My teacher said that you should have at least one “WOW” a week otherwise why were you spending all this time, effort and money doing it. My partner and I would consider it to be a good day if we experienced all three “WOW’s”.

One should think that everybody want this “wow” to happen as soon as possible and as often as possible. I find it amazing how many people fight for their limitation. I know that everybody is their own path and that “free will” helps you choose your path. I just find it a shame that some people spend all their time, effort and money and never experience a real “WOW”. I do however have to say this if you want to fight for your limitations then by all means go for it. I will not stop you. There will always be people out there that want to change and there will always be teachers out there willing to help students experience the real “WOW”

DSV
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Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2009, 03:17:57 PM »

I must say I get a bit confused.  We are not just experiencing the art (viewing the picture, eating the cake) we are creating it.  I could not pick up a new instrument and create art - well, not meaningful playing (I might beat it on the floor to make a rhythm!).  In order for me to play my violin and for it to be a pleasure I have to work at the technique for years.  To take this litterally would be to say that there is no difference between a dancer who has studied the art for 10 years than a person that walks off the street.  Besides, what then is all the information on the Body school - all those fascinating details on how to do a swing, take a step etc etc. are they but conversation pieces to analyze an automatic process or are they fundamental laws to make it work and upon which one can build?

Performing dance takes a lot of learning of technique - I concede that many people learn the wrong things, even things that inhibit them from dancing - but there are yet lots and lots of good things to learn before you can partner dance. 

I am not saying that you shouldn’t learn technique. I do think you should. Let me try to explain it a little different.

Let’s say you have a toolbox (a red Craftsman).  Wink

You are given a tool by your teacher. You learn to use the tools and when you have learned how, what and when to use the tool. After you know how, what and when, you put the tool in the toolbox. Little by little the toolbox is getting filled with more and more tools.

Let’s just take a hammer as an example. You learn to hammer in a nail. It might not be good or efficient in the beginning but you get the nail in the wood. You work a little on learning to get a little more efficient and precise. Over a very short amount of time you no longer analyze how, what and when you it is you need a hammer to get the job done.

Now comes the Friday night party or the competition and what do you do with the toolbox? You bring it on the floor busy looking for tools every time something feels not quit right. What I am saying is leave the toolbox off the floor. Go out there and enjoy, feel the pleasure and just do. I agree there is a time to analyze and take everything apart and then there is a time to just dance. Most people spend so much time taking apart that they don’t get to the enjoyment, pleasure and doing.

Let me explain another aspect that I was also trying to get across.

I will only describe this will just be in very few details.
When you build a house you start with getting an idea of what the house should look like. Then you have drawing (blueprints) made. Then the excavation happens. Then it is time for the foundation, then walls, windows, doors. Now it will be time for the plumbing, electrical and other installation. Then they start little by little to finish the house.

What I often see is, student want to get to the interior design before the walls are even build. You actually don’t need to get to the interior design to have a nice house.
Start simple and do it little by little. Have the idea of the finished product but work on one thing at a time. It doesn’t need to be perfect the first house that you build. Start with straws, move to sticks and then later get to the brick. It is better to get a house build then spending years building nothing. You will be building many, many house (metaphor for levels of dance) in the time of dancing. There was times where I would build a new house everyday and every time the house was a little better then the house before. So don’t get help back because you can’t do it until it is perfect.

Sometime we learn more by doing and finding out what doesn’t work. The body is a marvel at finding out what works when you allow it to do what it does best.

I hope this makes it a little clearer.

Sorry for the long post.

DSV


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

Edward Teller
elisedance
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« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2009, 03:49:43 PM »

Oh, I agree entirely with this - its just the way you put it initially (and I think R felt the same) that made it sound as if one can achieve excellence in dance without study.  I find that the more I study the bigger my Wows get because the more I can do at all three levels. 

I would also agree that we should be happy with ourselves at whatever stage of learning we are at.  I think I made the same point when I took the plunge and posted my video on utube.  What I saw was not great dancing, not at all, but it was great for me at my level of learning and at the stage I was at with my partner.  thus, I am happy to share it, interior and exterior design elements missing but still feeling as if my hovel is my castle Wink

And by the way, I get the three Wows every week - my own happens almost every time I dance, my parntner (bless him) expresses the joy of dancing with me and for the audience one I make sure I dance somewhere where the critique is not too stiff Cheesy

ee
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SwingWaltz
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« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2009, 03:56:45 PM »

So much to learn!  Cheesy
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cornutt
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« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2009, 04:54:55 PM »

Aha, DSV, thanks for those last two posts -- I have a much better idea of where you're coming from now.  I have a lot to say about this, but I don't have time to do it justice right now.  Maybe tonight, but it may take me a couple of days to come up with the right words.  And I want to make sure I get it right because, reading these two posts just now, I suddenly have a much better idea of what you have been trying to tell us.  Also, I think it deserves a thread of its own, because it is much more a psychological aspect than it is a technique matter. 
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dancing1
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« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2009, 08:21:31 PM »

Since the examining of technique subject seem to have been thoroughly dissected,  Wink when we talk about swing, don't we have to talk about the different types of swing?  If we are trying to create a pendulumic swing, (Waltz) how does rotation work? Wouldn't rotation create another type of swing?
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Rugby
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« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2009, 09:31:54 PM »

Since the examining of technique subject seem to have been thoroughly dissected,  Wink when we talk about swing, don't we have to talk about the different types of swing?  If we are trying to create a pendulumic swing, (Waltz) how does rotation work? Wouldn't rotation create another type of swing?

Good point, I agree it would.  Swing is such an open word for interpretation.  It's like when I say red.  What red is to me is not what red is to each and every person here.  Whichred is really red and does that not mean that there can be many variations of swing and all can be viable?

Okay, okay, I'm a poo disturber but I have to make my time studying Philosophy at university pay off.  Besides, my heros are Spock and Socrates so I can't help it.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2009, 09:37:34 PM by Rugby » Logged

You have to fight through a lot of crap before you find your way up out of the toilet. Sometimes I think I have a good hold on the rim then I slip back in.  Each time I don't sink quite as deep though. - Rugby
Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2009, 09:57:53 PM »

Besides, my heros are Spock and Socrates so I can't help it.

So, you must have some Scandinavian blood in you. Scandinavians are so logic and unemotional it is actually at time really funny.

Hey D1, good to see you here!
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Rugby
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« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2009, 10:55:24 PM »

I'm a two-edged sword.  On one hand I am very logical and unemotional (it was a survival mechanism when growing up, if you don't feel you can't be hurt) and on the other I can be an emotional fool, especially for animals, underdogs and those that can't defend themselves.
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You have to fight through a lot of crap before you find your way up out of the toilet. Sometimes I think I have a good hold on the rim then I slip back in.  Each time I don't sink quite as deep though. - Rugby
Dora-Satya Veda
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« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2009, 11:03:55 PM »

I'm a two-edged sword.  On one hand I am very logical and unemotional (it was a survival mechanism when growing up, if you don't feel you can't be hurt) and on the other I can be an emotional fool, especially for animals, underdogs and those that can't defend themselves.

So you are telling me you are a mix between a Vulcan and a Betazoid? How interesting!! That must give so conflicts at times!
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"As we understand more things, everthing is becoming simpler"

Edward Teller
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