General Dance Discussion > Ballroom Dancing vs. The Martial Arts

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Spitfire, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Here's a topic I started on Dancescape and DanceTalk some time ago that I've decided to bring over here:

    In addition to dancing does anyone here either actively train and practice in the martial arts or done so in the past? Mentor, I know you have.

    I took classes in Tae Kwon Do briefly some years back and while this is different from dancing I did find one similarity in learning each of these and that is the emphasis on technique, timing and focus. Each time I took a lesson or class in one it reminded me of the other in this respect. That's my perception anyway.
  2. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    While they have similar priorites, it might be interesting to take a look at the similarites. When I think of Tae Kwon Do, the priorites are:
    1. Conditioning
    2. Speed
    3. Technique
    4. Knowledge of Patterns (Forms)
    5. Balance
    When I think of Ballroom Dancing, priorities would include:
    1. Technique
    2. Knowledge of Patterns (Routines)
    3. Appearance
    4. Balance
    ...just my initial thoughts.
  3. salsarhythms

    salsarhythms New Member

    I have been practicing Aikido for 12 years now, and there is no question
    in my mind that dancing and Martial Arts are extremely similar.

    Think about it.

    Both are simply forms of expression.
  4. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Hmmm, while it makes sense to me in some respects, I've never really heard of martial arts as being a form of expression before. I can see where the choice of one style vs. another is quite similar to the choice between dance styles in so far as that all have particular focuses and differences of emphasis, etc., but all are still about bodily control, movement, and mastery. But I get the feeling that you meant something more then this... Could you please expand?

    Also, it seems to me that aikido, maybe along with judo, are particularly well suited to dancing given their emphasis on balance and flow between two bodies...
  5. salsarhythms

    salsarhythms New Member

    Hey SD,

    I will definitely expand on my point.

    First of all, you are 100% on target regarding Aikido, balance
    and flow of both the "attacker" and yourself, must be in some
    cases flawless.

    Personally, I was attracted to Aikido because of it's fluidness
    and the real power within it comes from a lot of sources that
    ultimately you control.

    But, to answer your question regarding a form of expression.

    All Martial Arts are forms of expression. Expression of religion,
    of Ki (chi) which is your life force. All of these are expressed
    by the physical moves demonstrated.

    You see, the physical moves and the physical performances,
    which at times appear to be at the level of miraculous, are
    really expressions of the deeper inner strength of man. Each
    form regardless of style has so much meaning behind it, that
    I am sometimes amazed how people take these for granted.

    Of course the problem lies in the fact that many instructors
    are saying that kata's (forms) are no longer needed. Thank
    god for the fact that many still do practice them.

    But basically when you look at a kata being demonstrated, every
    movement means something, and every movement expresses something
    that goes a lot deeper than the physical act itself. Thereby
    expressing religion, life force, and other esoteric principles.
  6. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Hey salsarhythms,

    Thanks for the elaboration!

    I guess part of why I wasn’t entirely catching your drift is that while I have some training in shotokan karate, and took a little aikido years ago, most of my training is in krav maga, which – as a military combat style (vs. a martial art) – doesn’t have some of the same elements you are referring too.
  7. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    I've met quite a few people in dancing who have a background in the martial arts; one of the instructors at my studio is a black belt in the Korean arts.

    Dancing attracts people with many diverse backgrounds.
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I also see a similarity between dance and Tae Kwon Do. Particularly when you get to the more advanced forms, there is a real emphasis on speed versus silence. In my mind, this is very similar to the sharp and seemingly abrupt movements followed by followed by stillness (or silence) that you see in more advanced dancers.
  9. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    One of the newer instructors at my studio is a black belt in Ju Jitsu along with her boy friend who usually attends the dances. They did a professional WCS routine in which she flipped him in dramatic fashion and this was no swing type of move. 8)
  10. Taita

    Taita New Member

    My 2 cents....

    Having studied both Martial Arts and ballroom dancing, a few observations...

    Both have the concept of a 'connection' with another. In one, it is a partner, in another it is an opponent.

    Both have technique and patterns (kata, forms, syllabus, etc...)

    Both aim for fluidity of movement and thought.

    It should also be noted that the world's greatest martial artist, Bruce Lee, was also a Cha-Cha champion.
  11. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Nice to "see" you agai Taita :D Any chance you can provide some more info on Bruce's cha-cha?
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hi Taita! :D

    The point you make about connection is a good one. I never looked at it that way, but you're absolutely right. I can't count how many hours I've spent in class, learning to find and use the pressure points on an opponent. That is one of the connections! :idea: I just never saw it that way before.

    And that is a totally cool bit of info about Bruce Lee. You learn some great stuff in these forums. :D
  13. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    I didn't know that Bruce Lee was a dancer. :eek:
  14. dancersdreamland

    dancersdreamland New Member

    For a very short period of my life, I spend some time in a cardio kickboxing class and I have taken about a year of ballroom dance lessons...not really sure if that makes me qualified to jump into this discussion, but I just wanted to add my opinion:

    I think dance and martial arts have several similarities and can definately draw upon one another's strengths:

    Strength - both mental and physical
    Energy behind/with the movement
    Respect for the artform and it's instructors
    Respect for competitors/oponent
    An awareness of oneself and his/her surronding and partner/oponent

    I also think both dance and martial arts are well choreographed. It is my understanding that in martial arts there are certain moves used for "blocking" or "attacking" just like there are certain combinations paired together for dancing.

    I think dancers can benefit from martial arts and vice versa.
  15. Taita

    Taita New Member

    Bruce Lee and dance

    Hi Guys!

    It's certainly glad to know I am welcome. :D To add some more insight before I drop back into lurk mode....

    Bruce Lee started dancing when he was about 14 years old. His favorite dance was Cha-Cha. As you can imagine, he became very good at it. I understand that at one point, he carried a card listing over 100 cha-cha patterns! :shock: Eventually, he became the Hong Kong cha-cha champion before coming to America. I also understand that one of his first jobs in the US was as a..... dance instructor! In those days, he would also attend social dances on occassion. It was at these events that he would sometimes give an impromptu kung-fu demonstration during intermissions. People then started to ask him about his kung-fu. The rest, is history.....


    back to lurk mode....
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Re: Bruce Lee and dance

    You certainly are welcome. One thing I've noticed about you, Taita, is that you may not post all that often, but when you do, you always have some unique insight, or experience, or knowledge to share. I, for one, am really glad you're here. :D :D

  17. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the follow up Taita! :D ...great info.

    Anyone else curious though, about why the same guy who went on to do what he did with kung fu needed a card for his cha cha?
  18. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Exactly the very first thought that popped into my head. Did he look at "the card" just before he went out to dance, or did he look while dancing? Hmmmmmm. Maybe he could not remember his patterns? Now we know why he gave up dancing? But isn't there a lot of memory work in Kung Fu?

    I've done both TKD and Ju Jitsu . . way back in college and while stationed overseas. But 'boxing' also can be included in this! Imagine the footwork training involved in boxing and dancing. No wonder I can syncopate so well!

    I no longer do any of the three, but have settled into cardio kickboxing and looking into Tai Chi.
  19. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    That was really interesting Taita :D

    What is up with that card thing though :?: :tongue:
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I'll bet he carried around a list of stuff to practice. That's what I do, (not that I'm in Bruce Lee's league in any way :lol: ) although mine's in a notebook, not on index cards. Then, when I'm practicing, I just go down the list as reminders of what moves I need to work. Maybe that's it? :? *shrug*

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