Swing Discussion Boards > Ballroom WCS?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Flyingkamakiri, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. So i've decided to compete with a friend of mine at a ballroom competitions Night club division. We are going to try doing beginning WCS, but I've only done WCs socially and never really for competition. Is there such a thing as Ballroom WCS? I know theres a difference between ballroom salsa and NC salsa, so does the same apply for WCS?
  2. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    I'm guessing you're doing SJSU. I don't think there's such a thing as ballroom WCS. Perhaps WCS danced in a ballroom could be termed ballroom WCS. Hardcore westies rejoice! Your dance has not yet been tainted by the ever-grasping ballroom leviathan. ;)
  3. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Hi TC

    God help us if ballroom gets hold of WCS - look what they did to Tango and Lindy Hop. . . . . . .
  4. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    Hi Albanaich. :)
  5. Tango is not terrible. Lindy hob in ballroom is hard for me to understand o_O

    I hope they don't ding me for screwing around in WCS.
  6. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    It's more of a Ballroom T Rex, being hacked down by the smaller and faster AT, Salsa, Lindy and Westie Vecioloraptors. . . . . never mind the MJ vulure hovering in the sky.
  7. Artemia

    Artemia New Member

    I dunno... I take WCS lessons with Richard Kear every Sunday, and once a month or so he goes on a mini rant (if you can call it a rant) on how you can pick out the ballroom dancers in a WCS class immediately.

    So even if there isn't a Ballroom version of WCS, there's certainly 'Ballroom WCS' ... tainted by us horrible horrible people who learned ballroom before we learned West Coast!

    P.S. If you dance at SJ State and have a means of transportation, check out Starlite and come to Richard's Sunday night WCS classes -- 7pm. He's AMAZING and it'd really help you and your partner practice, there's open dancing after the class.
  8. Silveralsa

    Silveralsa New Member

    LOL, the funny thing is, I first learned WCS with college ballroom/latin dance team... though didn't really didn't on my own until socially later. I didn't notice a different, but then again I was JUST starting to dance. Maybe I could tell now...
  9. utahswestcoastswing

    utahswestcoastswing New Member


    I am aware of ballroom WCS and can easily pick out the styling. The most noticeable difference when I dance with a ballroom WCS dancer is the loss of connection.

    We have a Lindy Hop/WCS crossover community, so our swing scene has had little to no ballroom influence.
  10. I usually went to his tuesday lessons at Premier. I would be nervous if i went to starlite. Also, i really dont like the floor there. I heard they were gonna do expansion on the floor. is that true?

    So what would be the best way to win WCS at a ballroom competition?
  11. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    West Coast Swing is not part of the ballroom curriculum. Thus, there is no such a thing as "ballroom WCS". I think that term only exists because of most ballroom dancers' seeming inability to adapt the technique of a dance they choose to learn that is outside of the ballroom curriculum. Being unable (or unwilling) to make changes to one's dancing when learning a new dance discipline does not give one the permission to integrate a perfectly separate dance into ballroom and call it such. Although unfortunately, it seems it's already been done anyway, with both salsa and WCS:(
  12. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Is it that difficult to adapt one's technique? Some of the top WCS pros have jazz, ballet or ballroom training. And I've seen some fine WCS social dancers who also have that background. I think I've been able to separate the styles for myself as well.

    Usually a good teacher will help the student adapt, but yeah, some students do seem to have difficulty. There's a groundedness to any form of swing. It's a "down" dance and some people seem more comfortable with an "up" style of dance such as ballroom or hustle.
  13. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    I'm not persuaded by this argument - in particular "the ballroom curriculum"? There's only one? really?

    My guesses: in a ballroom competition's Night Club division, WCS is whatever the judges say it is. Any resemblance to the opinions of judges from the contemporary westie scene would shock me to my core.

    Responding somewhat to Artemia, I think there are two separate ideas. Ballroom dancers who take up west coast can be picked out the same way that ballet dancers or jazz dancers who pick up westie can be picked out - I can't really articulate either, just a combination of possibly subtle characteristics to add up to the same story.

    The second notion is of those who learned west coast from instructors who primarily teach ballroom. That usually produces a dance that looks almost, but not entirely, unlike wcs as danced in the circuit. Speaking off the cuff, you get dated movements, an excessive attention paid to precision, and a lack of body dance.
  14. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    First, yes, there IS a ballroom curriculum. There are certain dances that are competed in a ballroom competition internationally (with some variations to the "american" style ballroom that include bolero and mambo). There is an accepted syllabus to those dances and judges need to get certified based on their knowledge of those dances to judge most competitions. So you can buy it or not, but it's not even an argument, it's a fact.

    Second, most ballroom competitions worth anything do NOT have a "Night Club" devision. I've been a serious ballroom competitor for ten years and have never heard of a such a division until you wrote about it above. So, it is really irrelevant what happens in that category when it comes to the ballroom world as a whole. Most people aren't even aware it exists. Whatever the judges are judging in that competition is not WCS. Just because they ignorantly call it that, doesn't mean we should listen to and adopt that name.

    Thus, I repeat: there is no such thing as "ballroom WCS". There is WCS and there is ballroom dancers trying to dance WCS with incorrect technique. But let's just call it what it is: WCS danced with poor/incorrect technique.

    Jenny: apparently it IS that difficult to adopt one's technique, especially when one isn't interested in adopting it. I find that is the case with most ballroomers who are simply looking to dabble... Believe me, I am a huge exception of a very serious ballroom competitor who actually *wants* to beat any semblance of ballroom technique out of my WCS:) I actually believe that they are unique and should be danced uniquely, *gasp*!
  15. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Hmm. Given that the testimony presented indicates that these circumstances include a night club division, which is not familiar to you, are you sure it's not possible that these unfamiliar circumstances also include a ballroom curriculum that's not familiar to you? That somebody might be using something other than the One True International Standard?

    Your understanding of the ballroom world you know is so complete that it gives you perfect insight into all ballroom worlds outside of your experience? Excepting, of course, the bits you have never heard of, which is forgivable.

    I tend to find that the world includes more variation than I expect, rather than less.

    Two data points: (1) Laure and Skippy both came out of Arthur Murray. (2) The Arthur Murray franchise was marketing a revised West Coast Swing syllabus, and distributing prepared materials to the franchisees that ordered them (as I recall, the video materials featured Bob Long and Cynthia Dostel).

    I do not, of course, assert that WCS must be included in The Ballroom Curriculum simply because a commercial franchise decided to sell it. I expect to hold the opinion that this is evidence that there is a ballroom curriculum that includes WCS, and that there exists at least one dance that may be understood to be "ballroom west coast swing" until presented with a well argued case that this is not so.

    It's too bad that tangotime hasn't joined this discussion; one of his histories would fit well here.
  16. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    Oh, well, yeah it's true, I am not familiar with Arthur Murray world of "ballroom", mostly because most serious ballroom competitors won't set foot inside that world... They just consider it a big racket, ballroom dancing taught by instructors who learned what they are teaching two weeks prior and charging way too much for it... While it does cater to the masses (and dupes them into paying way too much for subpar instruction), I wouldn't consider that world part of legitimate, training-focused ballroom world.

    So I guess "that" ballroom world can have "ballroom WCS", my mistake. Then again, a cha-cha danced in that world isn't really much of a cha-cha either, so I guess "ballroom WCS" fits in quite well there.
  17. Artemia

    Artemia New Member

    Starlite isn't my primary studio, I only go there for his lessons. They have kicked Standard out on Sunday nights in favor of Salsa, so the main ballroom is taken up by that. We're in one of the side rooms, they call it the "Club" and the floor there is much better than in the other two rooms. It's actually smoothed down so you can't feel the grooves in the floor thanks to the newness of the place.

    I have no idea if they're expanding, there were rumors back when I was chatting with people during the Standard dancing but now I don't talk to anyone other than the WCS dancers there. I would say that it's still worth coming to, nerves aside, because Richard is such an amazing teacher. (Plus with the open dancing following, it'd give you and your partner a chance to practice.) (That and I'm there, and how EVER could you pass up a chance to dance with me!?) :p
  18. Artemia

    Artemia New Member

    Oh and to add: Someone said something really interesting to me on Sunday, so I wanted to share it with you guys:

    I was joking around about how Richard talks about the contrast between ballroom dancers and WCS dancers and the guy I was dancing with told me "Ballroom dancers either make the very best or the absolute worst WCS dancers, nowhere in between."

    So, take heart! If you feel like you can hold your own, you've only got the top to reach from there! :D
  19. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Well, along that line, really no one will learn any dance fully if they're just dabbling, I suppose. But again, this goes back to the teaching.

    If you're "just dabbling" in WCS but your lessons are with excellent WCS instructors, then the little bit that you do learn should have good quality. It won't be a complete representation of the dance, but you'll have a little of the right flavor, assuming you really try to carry out what you've been taught. On the other hand, if by "dabbling" you mean learning a bunch of patterns from instructors who don't really know WCS technique, that's another story.
  20. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    Around here, the collegiate and more casual USA Dance competitions have a "Nightclub Division". It's just a name to separate it from the ballroom events. It's held more for fun on the side, though there can be pretty good turnout in numbers and in skill (from people with actual experience in the respective dance communities). There's a bit of participation from people who are only watching the ballroom events.

    On the social side, there is the (independent) DVIDA syllabus for west coast swing. The DVIDA American syllabus includes 17 dances:
    4 Smooth dances - waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz
    8 Rhythm dances - cha cha, rumba, east coast swing, bolero, mambo, merengue, samba, and west coast swing
    5 Nightclub dances - nightclub 2-step, salsa, hustle, Argentine tango, Lindy Hop

    WCS syllabus: Bronze, Silver, Gold

    These 17 dances are often taught by teachers who have gone through this ballroom training program: http://teachballroomdancing.com/classes/16months.html

    I agree with Ithink that there isn't really ballroom WCS. There's regular WCS and there's diluted WCS for social ballroom studio consumption.

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