Swing Discussion Boards > A beginners question on frame

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Vamos, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. jazz_as

    jazz_as New Member

    yes...I used to dance salsa but the style didn't suit me. I guess I'm too prude for this sexy latinostyle :-(. Also I never really learnt to like the music so I never listened to it at home and I feel I need it in order to get really good at dancing to it so I changed for Lindy instead :) There is a guy I take classes with who did salsa before aswell and we try to do a combo when we've done the Lindy turns we know. sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.

    oh and I'm from sthlm by the way Vamos
  2. Vamos

    Vamos New Member

    completely off topic but did you go to the hot salsa weekend at Nymble on KTH?
  3. jazz_as

    jazz_as New Member

    Well I couldn't attend the workshops 'cause I had to work that weekend but I went to the shows and club. It was so much fun to see the Vazques and I so much loved Tamambo&Anias performance... That music was so cool!!

    OK back to topic. I read these notes to followers some months ago. They are very general but gives you some reminders..maybe they'll be of use to someone.
  4. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Having done both Lindy and WCS regularly for a number of years I find in practice the lead is much the same in both, in WCS the lead is lighter, but that's because its generally a slower dance - the principles are the same.

    In my experience it takes an hour or two for a Lindy or WCS dancer to transition across to the other - the dance is the same, the styling different.

    There's a lot more WCS material out there than Lindy!!!

    This is from a British perspective where 'Swing' as a dance form (Lindy - WCS) is seperate from Ballroom. In the USA WCS is much more closely linked to the Ballroom community and its style is apparently influenced by that.

    A lot, the WCS dancers in the UK that I've encountered have come to WCS from Lindy or Modern Jive.
  5. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Dansant - its important your partner is told not to 'crank' because if he doesn't injure you, he will injure someone else.

    A hard grip is another common error in beginners related to 'cranking', if the lead has a light grip the follower can easily disengage if something goes wrong.

    It's possible - and maybe your partner should learn this - and good practice to lead most Lindy move with 2 finger grip.

    A firm lead does not mean a tight grip or forced movements - its about strong, decisive commands.

    A loud shouting voice is not the same as a commanding voice.

    Jazz - you interpreted me correctly, hold back until the till the time is right. Then you will get the tension, as I said, moving forward early is the commonest fault in dancers who have come from a non-Swing background.
  6. jazz_as

    jazz_as New Member

    Yes Dansant please tell him...
    It is really uncomfortable to spin/turn if the leader holds on to your hand. Try practising this with him and you don't have to tell him off just say thay YOU want to practice your teqnichue. Practice rotating your fingers steadily around his fingers while spinning (you can do it without lindy-steps first) without loosing contact and try to end up in the same hand position you started out with

    Hm..next social is after christmas but I'll try to practise on my own

    So Albanaich I read your thread about 'having to teach'. How's it going besides this very informative thread?
  7. dansant

    dansant New Member

    thanks for the tips

    I'll get him to practise with me at home. I was thinking also if it would have the same negative effect on the spin if I spin too far away from the lead?
  8. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    The swing dance board has been pretty quiet for a while. So it is fun to have an active thread going on :)

    I've taken a turning class series that was really good even as a leader who doesn't have to do nearly the number of turns the ladies do. You can probably just ask the studios near you for turning technique classes. There are probably 10-12 different kinds of turns in the combined ballroom/swing/CW couples dance world. There are probably three that are more important to swing. So I would recommend asking if the class will have chaine', pivot and platform spins in it? A good video is "Big Head Men and Gommer Feet" if you don't find the right class near you.
  9. d nice

    d nice New Member

    The follower in Lindy hop does not use an "anchor." The follower continues down the path created by the leader until her momentum is arrested. This creates the same leveraged position that a good anchor step in WCS produces, but it is not an anchor step.

    The dances are similar in a lot of ways but there are some very serious and subtle differences. Using terminology of one dance to refer to things in the other is not always going to work.

    In regards to the original question, your resistance to your leader should always match your leader as your default. As you become more experienced you will learn how much variation you can bring to this without disrupting the lead. When you leader has your back on &4 in a swing out your upper body should be pitched forward in an athletic manner (hips pulled back, knees flexed, weight on the balls of the feet). Your momentum should still be traveling in the original direction (what is now backwards) but your body should be prepped to change directions as your leader steps through on 5 in the direction he wants you to travel.

    The primary mistake most new followers make here is either to not allow their weight and body to continue traveling in the original direction until a new one has been established which forces them to jump the gun, or they lean back with their upper body, weight on the heels, shoulders over hips, making them heavier and much harder to move.

    The latter sounds like your issue, keep proper posture and most of your problems will start to sort themselves out (your frame at this point is negligble in your interaction with your leader, his hand on your body is all that is necessary to change your direction).

    The second question regarding turns... A follower does not precisely turn herself so much as allows the momentum the leader generates to turn her and she "simply" continues with the speed and direction. The reality is yes she will be maintaining the same speed and direction on her own, but it is best thought of as something created by the leader rather than the follower "turning herself."

    A leader should never use his arm to turn his follower, but should lead it with movement of his body (rotation of his shoulder/hips/ or stepping of the body depending onthe type of turn). This should generate all the momentum needed, the arm becomes the refining mechanism, providing follow through and a constant means of feedback between the partners. Your arm should stay mostly in front of you (you should be able to see your wrist and elbow without having to turn your head), your frame should be firm but pliant.

    The most likely problem is that you are either turning improperly (turning too fast or too slow in relation to what your leader is leading), your arm is too stiff or your frame to soft (arm and frame are not the same), or your leader is using his arm to generate the momentum and control the turn rather than his body.

    As too non-Lindy Hop classes one can take to improve how you turn, Balboa classes are excellent and the skills transfer over pretty much directly. If you are looking for solo movement classes, try Jazz... but understand that spotting does not in anyway improve your ability to turn in linidy hop, provides the wrong aesthetic, and in the end hampers your ability, but how to stay on your axis, using the floor for energy, staying grounded, maintaining the rate of rotation, direction, and speed in which you traverse the floor.
  10. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Good points - my major fault in WCS is not doing a triple step anchor. . . . ..in Lindy I end up trying to linearise it.

    The most difficult part I find is the posture, Lindy posture seems much more natural to me than the upright WCS posture, which I have to work on all the time.

    I was using WCS because there is so much more material available, especially in terms of comparing good and bad technique.

    Locally we get a lot of Salsa dancers (which the posters appear to be) coming across to try Lindy and WCS, and coming forward early is an almost universal problem.

    You start to lead and they are already of the mark ahead of the beat. . . .it reminds of transferring from the trigger pressure on a target rifle to a military weapon.

    I've rarely encountered problems with followers being too heavy. The best dancers to spin are Highland trained dancers - but there are not to many of them in the USA or Sweden. . . .Ballet dancers spin well too, but they have this strange habit (it must be part of the training) of twisting their shoulders when the anchor or change direction. Highland dancers keep their frame square.
  11. Vamos

    Vamos New Member

    Thanks d nice

    I'm sorry if I'm being thick when asking this.... can I control how heavy I gett here, except for carrying my own weight and balance, or is it complitly up to the lead?
  12. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    I knew Dnice would be along with his usual good advice soon enough :)

    I guess I would expect a lot more WCS videos. In my part of the western US, the Lindy world is very small compared with WCS. I dance enough Lindy to get by, but true Lindy dancers will always pick me out as a Westie.

    Albanaich, good luck on nailing down that triple step anchor. Do you end up on the wrong foot, do a quick shuffle or hold a count?
  13. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    I tend to hang on one foot and do something fancy with the other one.

    Unlike most people I'm comfortable holding my wieght on one leg - I can do arabesque's - so it gives me a lot of opportunity to anchor in different ways, which I think looks good but which my WCS teacher deprecates.

    In Europe generally Lindy is dominant, with Modern Jive dominant in the the English speaking world outside the USA - WCS, is however seen as the most 'technically demanding' with the better dancers moving into it from Lindy and MJ as their dancing skills improve.

    There is a complete seperation between Swing and Ballroom, Swing and Salsa using the 'Ceroc' structure of teaching and Ballroom and Latin following the traditional pattern
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Just guessing that this may be the pertinent information...
  15. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    in ballroom there is no excuse for being heavy - you have to maintain your own ballance. Isn't that true in WCS as well?
  16. jazz_as

    jazz_as New Member

    Vamos I think that what you mean with being heavy here is if you can control your momentum by stoping before tension is built up between you and the leader (I think you've heard enough about carrying your own weight and it seems like you allready do?). As I understand d nice and the rest the answer is no. It is up to the lead to decide when to stop the movement and if you mirror his arm movements/tension/pressure he can control at what time and at what distance you are to stop. If you have a lot of momentum it is because he wans you to.
  17. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Elise - Well yes and no, unlike Ballroom Swing dancers have to maintain and vary tension and compression. The dance works because its pulsed.

    In ballroom the effect is achieved by changing the speed of the steps 'Quick Quick Slow' etc

    While dancers are responsible for thier own balance but the amount of pressure - tension is constantly varying in the throughout the dance.

    I've posted these before. . . .


    The first is 'classical' WCS and the changes of tension and pulse (and its origins in Lindy Hop) are clearly identifiable (its a class demonstration)


    The second is performance WCS, which in the USA has is being influenced by ballroom and other forms unrelated to Swing.

    It seems that there is a difference in style in WCS on opposite sides of the Atlantic, in Europe Lindy Hop is much more popular than WCS and many dancers come to WCS from Lindy, so WCS in Europe still retains its links with the original form.

    In the USA WCS appears to have become more formalised and influenced by Ballroom.

    The thread is essentially about non-Swing dancers adapting their style to Swing (the posters started dancing with Salsa) and how to control the variation in tension and compression.

    It's a VERY difficult thing to explain on paper - you know when its right because it feels right, but essentially the Lindy dancers need to achieve the pulsed effect of the first video rather than the unaccented second.
  18. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    I don't think 'tension' is equivalent to 'heavy'. In latin dancing there is often a tension, as you describe in WCS but that is definitely not a heavyness as I would use the term. The latter is a person that stops you moving, drains energy, the former (tension) is like a charged spring from which you recover stored energy.

    The storing and discharge of energy is an integral part of ballroom - indeed I would presume of any dance. For example I can transfer my weight back into my foot during a heel turn and become heavy - my partner has to work to get me out after the turn. However, I can add shaping to my heel turn - creating tension - but recover that stored energy in the ensuing step and make his job easier.
  19. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Yes exactly, its the same in Swing, you are controlling the momentum, but the movement is faster and the changes in direction more abrupt with definite pauses as the tension - compression is used to redirect momentum.

    If the follower does not permit the tension to build (and its a much, much stronger tension in Lindy than Ballroom) and moves off early there is no tension to hold the momentum and she becomes 'heavy'.

    Ballroom and other dances starting with swing generally react much more quickly to the lead and move of before the correct amount of tension has built.

    If you've every moved from light trigger pressure target rifle to heavy military weapon you'll get the idea exactly!!!
  20. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    So my original point does hold - there is no excuse for being heavy in WCS either....

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