Ballroom Dance > Ballet Training vs Ballroom Training

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by DanceMentor, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    One thing that is apparent with high level ballet programs is the the highest level dancers are almost always present in the basic technique and warm up classes.Seems this is rarely seen in ballroom. I assume this is because advanced level dancers spend only a small amount of time in group lessons, unless they are teaching the class.
  2. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    But you will often see the high-level ballroom people working on basic technique... plus, it's pretty rare in my experience that the group ballroom lessons are technique focussed. I know the patterns - both parts, actually - and would much prefer to be off on my own working to make them amazing.

    If anyone did offer a true technique class, I'd probably be there. It's part of why I love ballet so much. Every class is about how to make those basics movements simply amazing.
    scullystwin42, Sania and raindance like this.
  3. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    That's pretty much my impression as well. I mean, there's obviously no inherent reason one couldn't have serious technique group classes that focused on the basics. I think we've all seen video of classes in Brooklyn or the like that are pretty much exactly that. But while I'm sure this varies location to location, in my own personal experience, ballroom classes tend to be about teaching steps in a fun, low-pressure environment.

    Which there's nothing wrong with! They certainly serve their purpose. But I think they limit the value of those classes to more experienced dancers from the standpoint of working on their technique. (Versus taking part in them from a social standpoint, which is a perfectly cromulent reason I know people will sometimes jump into a newcomer class.)
    Sania and raindance like this.
  4. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    Eddie Simon starts his pre-Smooth rounds group class with a very ballet-like set of floor exercises, including spirals and chainees across the floor, coordination of arm pathways and upper bodies with increasingly complex combinations, etc. It's been invaluable to me as a Smooth dancer to have that as a resource.
    ajiboyet, Sania, Leanna and 3 others like this.
  5. datitmarsh

    datitmarsh Member

    I live in Calgary and the dance company that I dance with has tech class each week. They have an intermediate class and advanced, and focus on different aspects of the dance. They could spend a whole hour on rumba walks, or on arm styling etc. Its is very popular too.
    Sania and Mr 4 styles like this.
  6. euchoreo

    euchoreo Member

    I've taken very little ballet, but it seems ballroom is not taught nearly as methodically, which caused a lot of difficulties.

    Rumba walks, for example, are often taught either with an information dump or with specific technique "tricks" such as how to time hip tilt.

    Ballet, more often than ballroom, seems to be taught with a coherent plan to take students to a specific goal.
  7. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Ballet has been codified over several hundred years. Ballroom, not so much.
    scullystwin42 likes this.
  8. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    During group ballroom classes that precede parties at a certain studio in my area, "ringers" are scattered throughout the class to "help out" beginners and newbies. These ringers are either very advanced amateurs or they are staff teachers.
  9. euchoreo

    euchoreo Member

    That's been my idea. Instead of waiting a few hundreds years though, I think ballroom group classes, especially regularly attended ones, could adapt to be taught more like ballet.

    I've lost track of the number of times I've watched instructors give material that I know the students won't get. Part of this problem is because dance teachers have many years of dance training in other styles from when they were preteen and/or theyre just teaching class the way they, as pros, would want their teachers to help them.

    To them learning ballroom is very different than for people with no dance background.
  10. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Not necessarily. The average clientele walking into a ballroom studio would not tolerate (nor do they need) endless drills of rumba walks.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
    vit likes this.
  11. flying_backwards

    flying_backwards Active Member

    Larinda is right that new-to-dance walk-ins are not looking for technique drills. But if they go to a ballet class, or if they are training for competition, likely they DO expect technique drills. Let's separate how-to-social-dance from becoming a dancesport athlete. Those overlap where studios earn income from the broader customer base. But we're not talking about common social dancing in this thread, are we?

    Perhaps not because it was codified so long ago but because there have been more generations of master teachers teaching teachers how to teach, observing the result of teaching methods.

    I have seen two kinds of teachers, those whose training was only how to dance themselves, versus those who also invested in coaching on how to teach dance. The first kind of teacher learned the motor skills while a small child themselves. Methods used on them produced great results, but as a child they were only superficially aware of the method and some of those methods are simply not appropriate for seniors. For example, the "no pain no gain" concept for kids who heal rapidly translates to "pain ruins gain" for seniors. Those teachers only trained in dance, not teaching, seem to be experimenting on us students, trying a variety of sometimes conflicting approaches. Sometimes they attempt quick-fixes which in the long run are counterproductive.

    The coaches with training how to teach have had these things in common
    (0) long-term plan, not quick fixes. (1) focus on fundamental movement (2) basic figures and a limited number of those, just to employ the fundamental movements. (3) They explain the mechanics of body actions in logical, physically meaningful ways as well as metaphorical visualizations and do not resort to parroting cliche' expressions disconnected from understanding. (4) They provide self-tests for the student to know if they are executing an action correctly. They give the student tools to practice independently. (5) They work on fewer things at a time and can see which one thing will make the most progress first. (6) They never say to just do something without saying how, such as not just saying "keep your balance". Doh. Instead, they give feedback as to what mistake(s) hindered balance, ie locked knees, eyes closed, over-stepping, collapsed posture... It is easier to see what a student is doing wrong than to know how to help them fix it.

    I have not studied ballet and my impressions about that kind of training come mostly from watching t.v. shows! And I admit I tried & failed to do a DIY Ballet for Beginner Adults on YouTube [chagrin]. I did take a few Ballet For Ballroom classes, helpful because the instructor was not only trained in ballet but herself a highly ranked standard dancer. I can still hear in my head her articulate explanations how to try to hold my body! It does seem ballet focuses on balance and strength fundamentals and would benefit ballroom dance, with appropriate adjustments. But ballroom dancesport could also learn from ballet how to train teachers how to teach.
    Sania likes this.
  12. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I dunno. Are we? As the conversation implies competitive dancers already have drills and technique but social dancers don't. Then someone said ballroom studios should have drills like ballet... so I gotta make the leap that they mean social dance studios/groups. Because any group I taught to my competitive/advanced dancers has drills and massive rigors of technique. Only in my social classes do I just gently mist technique through out my teaching.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  13. flying_backwards

    flying_backwards Active Member

    Ah. I took "high level ballroom people" (FancyFeet) and "advanced level dancers" (DanceMentor) in the first 2 posts to mean dancesport competitors but that could have referred to advanced social dancers. I overlooked the "people with no dance background" (euchoreo), although some of my fellow dancesport students had no background prior. Yes, different teaching methods for social students, for sure! I know some great local social teachers who sneak technique into their group classes without calling it that.

    The dancesport-oriented group classes here spend the first 15 to 30 minutes on technique drills. So social dancers who try our class either drop out or accept that. Almost all of us also social dance. More than once I've known a social student try our class simply because that's where the more skilled social dance partners are, only to bail out once they discover it takes work. It's not what everyone wants, and that's ok.
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  14. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    I think ballroom about 90 years? Alex Moore book came out in late 20s?... that's quite a long time lol
  15. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    1920 ain't 1500...
    Bailamosdance and Mr 4 styles like this.
  16. flying_backwards

    flying_backwards Active Member

    Viennese has been around longer, or other forms of waltz, but yes ballroom has a shorter history than ballet. I do not know how much ballet changes but it seems ballroom changes a lot each generation. There are coaches now who were champions a generation ago, yet the way it is danced is so different. When I watch youtube clips of someone like Marcus Hilton MBE he often says that dancing is more athletic now then when he was competing. Yet obviously his coaching is still relevant. Perhaps ballet has evolved to the point where technique is more stable, changing less rapidly? I really do not know. Or perhaps ballet changes also but the ballet teachers have distilled what essentials do not change.
    Requiem likes this.

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