Ballroom Dance > Avoiding using visual cues

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by scullystwin42, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    i find that I am still using visual cues over listening to the music, especially in side by side spots in our routines. It's mainly happening in mambo. I've done the routines with my eyes closed, and I continue to practice on my own, but I haven't been able to stop myself from reacting to what my pro is doing when he's in front of me. I did a search but couldn't find anything on this...any other ideas to overcome this?
  2. Mengu

    Mengu Well-Known Member

    Switch to smooth? :play: In smooth, our instructor frequently tries to get my partner to react to me, and read the visual cues. I'm not sure why this is not a desirable thing in mambo, but if it's throwing you off time, more practice with a partner is about the only remedy I've got.
    scullystwin42 likes this.
  3. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Switch to a less attractive pro.
    theAnnelis, ajiboyet, Joe and 3 others like this.
  4. s2k

    s2k Well-Known Member

    Can you be a little more specific? Because I'm not sure what you're describing is a bad thing. Are you watching his feet when you're side by side? Is that what you mean?
    scullystwin42 likes this.
  5. rels77

    rels77 Active Member

    I'm confused as well. I get coaching all the time to pay MORE attention to my pro during rhythm.
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  6. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    LOL. best answer so far.

    Hm, sorry for the confusion. So the side by side part, there are places where I am behind him, and so I'm directly seeing him - and then i react to his movements because it makes me feel like I'm off time, even if i'm not. And then because I'm reacting, it actually makes me slightly behind and looking like i'm rushing to keep up. Is that more clear? The visual is overriding the audio in my brain. It's been a thing that i've been working on, and i had gotten better with it, but we added a new layer of movement to my mambo and now i'm finding i'm watching him too much. If it's just more practice that is needed, then that's it.

    I thought I would throw it out here to see if anyone had the same experience and had overcome it. thanks so far :)
  7. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    Never cared for disconnected dancing. To me, great partner dancing _is_ physically connected dancing. Free spins and disconnections should last no more than a bar or two of music, and the physics that brought about the disconnection should be consistent with the physics prior to and after the connection.

    It's such an irony that in Ballroom, dancers are so anxious to get to the "Open" level to do disconnected dancing, after so many years of refining connected dancing (in syllabus, etc.). I find nothing interesting about the side-by-side stuff in Latin, for instance, when audiences can't even tell who the partners are because they are 10 feet apart. Similarly with Salsa performances with prolonged disconnected "shine" stuff.

    Want synchronized disconnected dancing? Chorus line dancing, Western line dancing, formation dancing, classical ballet/jazz/tap dancing, etc., are so much more interesting. The synchronization doesn't only apply to 2 dancers, but dozens.

    There's nothing more "fun" (and euphoric) than to have a partner tethered at the other end of the partnership, even if it's just a finger-tip connection. Lots of interesting interactions can come from the tethering.

    As for your issues with disconnected dancing... train by taking up line dancing, where one dances to the music and not any partner.
  8. Dancey

    Dancey Member

    Do you dance it in front of a mirror with your pro? I find during group classes for lyrical & jazz, that I don't *think* I'm watching other people while we're dancing, but really I can see everyone in the mirror and I get used to that visual cue. As soon as we go 'off the mirror' and I can't see everyone, I realize how much I was tuning in to what other people were doing. Maybe try dancing it without a mirror to take away that part of it? You'd still have to avoid looking directly at him though o_O
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  9. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    So to clarify, because you're relying on visual cues from your pro, you feel yourself falling behind the music? I've been taught generally that in side by side, you want to go for synchronicity unless you're executing different movements, but I never considered the reaction time between the visual from the leader and the actual execution from the follower. I'm interested to see what others say.
  10. flying_backwards

    flying_backwards Active Member

    I guess that is why they wear a matching colored tie in smooth, to see who goes with who. ;)

    Giggles aside, I think the OP means her steps are in a different rhythm than her pro's steps during the side-by-side, on the same music but with different syncopation. Is that the problem? Because I know how the flock instinct kicks in and overrides even a well-rehearsed sequence. My teacher and I use side-by-side of the same role to instill better rhythm and movement in me because I can visually mimic more precisely than he can describe actions. Just for learning that is. I don't dance off leash.
    scullystwin42 likes this.
  11. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    not really the issue. I think i'm not explaining it well :/ but i appreciate all the feedback so far anyway. I'll think more on how to phrase the question.​
  12. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    Don't know if this is helpful but to get me to stop responding to visual clues, my teacher purposefully did/does very different things with his body at times. Breaks you of it quickly when he's going one way and you need to go another....
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  13. Mengu

    Mengu Well-Known Member

    Some years ago, when I was in a hip hop class (yeah I know... standard guy in hip hop class... you can laugh), watching people did usually mess me up. I liked being in a front corner where I could stare at nothing and had no clear sight to anyone, and danced in my own little world. If I was able to just focus on my mental image, I could put more "dance" into the "routine". Otherwise it does feel like a game of catch up. We process what's already in our minds, faster and more efficiently, than trying to copy what we see. But that requires more confidence, which requires more practice...

    Once it's in your body, and you can do it all without conscious thought, then I think you can pay attention to your partner without timing issues, try to match up nuances, rather than steps, and be sensitive to *how* he dances through the one, and read whether he is about to attack a fiery two, or a chill two, depending on what he feels from the music.
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  14. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    hey @Mengu thanks for the response! I like the way you put it, made me think. Perhaps it is just confidence level... we have been polishing the body movement, so that it's bigger, more continuous, and there are more body isolations, but before that, i didn't have this issue...I'm less confident in the additional movement we've added, and that ccould be contributing. i mean, everything boils down to "more practice" in the end, but at least i'm a little closer to knowing the end goal when i practice this. thanks everyone!
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  15. I agree with Mengu about confidence level in the routine. Also, I get distracted trying to match. I'm not sure if it could be that, as well. I have a fast Cha Cha side-by-side and if I watch the Pro (either out of the corner of the eye or in the mirror) to match specific movements then I am behind because the delays in my brain from "watching and matching" take longer to process than the music allows. I am also interested to see others' suggestions, as I have struggled as well. Here's what we've tried so far:

    * Establish that "My job is to stay on time. He is responsible for "synchronicity."" This only kind of works for me because his arm and body shaping movements are sharper than mine, which is what I want to emulate and am trying to match, so I want to watch his. I think we've agreed that he needs to "match" the level of what I can achieve for now, that way there isn't anything interesting to distract me during the dance. (We also work on these movements/shapings separately as well, but it's hard to put it all together fast, stay on time, "match" , etc.)
    * I have specific places to focus (read: stare) that help me avoid being aware of his motion. For example, head snap and focus sharp right at far side of room with this move. Tilt head and look diagonally left up, etc. It's a little stilted looking, but the choreography does help me think about something else and be less aware of my periphery vision.
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  16. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    oh, @Dance Redeemer , this helps too! 'watching and matching' is messing me up, you stated it better than me. Ok, i will take this feedback and try to apply it.
  17. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    Scullystwin. Were you a soloist first. Such as ballet tap jazz etc. coz a lot of them become "beat robots " and have to learn to let go of this. The mrs had this problem You are doing a visual follow. Yes it's a thing and it's what you are supposed to do. If you anticipate or try to crush the beat it will look disconnected and robotic Hope this helps
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  18. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    once you master the side by side stuff the synchronicity will come. This requires three times extra work in my experience

    Also he has made it a little harder by not putting you in front. Theoretically he is faster and more technically precise He could match you easier than the other way around
  19. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member

    The side by side work is the hardest. I practice with pro in the mirror. Ok, we are doing the same steps, but it doesn't look the same. The nuances of his movements are so much greater than I can produce. So, he breaks each step into multiple counts which we practice really, really slowly until I can somewhat get it to look reasonable. Each little body move gets its own count.

    I do look at him for visual clues, which looks connected, or so I am told, so it worked out ok. Also, he does put me slightly in front if we are executing side by side identical moves. Then I do my thing, and he really follows me. Yay!!

    I too have found that gaining more confidence allows me to produce a better product so I don't have to be as worried about the visual cues. I rely on them to get started with the side by side action, but that's it.

    Really I think it does boil down to confidence and control. Knowing where your body needs to be on each count helps eliminate a huge reliance on the visual.
  20. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Well-Known Member

    thanks all, this is really helping. I did have a coaching on mambo today, and made sure doing the side by side part that i focused on something else so as not to watch my pro. the confidence will come with more practice. it was an excellent coaching as well, i was really pleased with it.

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