Swing Discussion Boards > Ballroom WCS?

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

  1. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Well-Known Member

    I think a lot of the WCS to ballroom comparisons are really peaches to casabas (no offense to casabas), that is social WCS to competitive ballroom. On the other hand, social ballroom is generally a lot less developed than social WCS. So perhaps the best comparison would be between competitive WCS and competitive ballroom? :)
  2. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Well-Known Member

    Ithink, you make it sound easy. :razz: When I took WCS classes, the instructor had to keep smacking me down firmly, but gently, for having a ballroom-like frame when doing things like whips. I tried but never really managed to stop. I think if I had succeeded, it would have had a negative effect on my ballroom. Then again, I'd been dancing standard (and nothing else) for just a year. Soon after, I decided that I had little enough time to study standard, let alone learn WCS properly, and keep the two straight. It's too bad. I love to watch WCS, adore the music, plus it's my birthright as a Californian. :(
    Why not ballroom? Switching leader and follower isn't difficult. In a way, hijacking would be easier because the hold wouldn't have to be switched. Also, I think there's already a bit of blending of "leader" and "follower" in ballroom. It seems to me it would just be a matter of pushing the dial a little further so the lady is now selecting the initial timings and directions. :)

    I think this is improvised to the music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGCFUusmB_4&fmt=18. Would you know of any other ballroom examples of spontaneous musical intepretation, especially on the competition floor?
  3. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I was gonna say something similar...

    The fact that a great portion of the WCS scene is social dancing (even the competitive WCS scene--J&J is basically social dancing with judges) makes comparisons a little more apples and oranges.
  4. Silveralsa

    Silveralsa New Member

    Well, while there's the J&J at the comps, there's also the routines. Done from pros such as Jordan & Tatiana, Ben & Melina, Michael & Jennifer, etc... In a way, I think it's harder. You have to be good at routines AND improv...
  5. RenOrsino

    RenOrsino Member

    In my experience, one major difference between "ballroom" WCS and social WCS dancers comes in the steps of the sugar push. The ballroom dancers I've known learn the sugar push as: step-step, tap-step, triple step. The vernacular dancers learn step-step, triple-step, triple-step.

    I can't say for the rest of the WCS world, but that's how it was in the scene I learned, taught and danced in.
  6. w88dm4n

    w88dm4n New Member

    I have a unique perspective.

    The local Arthur Murray studio first taught me some WCS. I later found a local 'baby pro' in the WCS world to teach me. After three months of doing ballroom & WCS in parallel, I dropped ballroom completely. I now dance WCS socially at least 3 times per week. If not, I get a little antsy.

    The AM people definitely had a syllabus, and their own technique. Coaches from around the US would come in and were pretty consistent, so I'm pretty sure they think they have a particular dance. I'm sure some franchisees are more slavish to the AM syllabus than others. Rumor has it, they're moving the syllabus to be more like the rest of the world, but we'll see.

    So, here are the differences I can glean. Bear in mind, that this is only the AM 'bronze' syllabus for WCS. I was gone before hitting Ag, and I hope they had more connection & technique there. Looking back, the syllabus was just fine. Every pattern, except for a really bad one, from AM went straight to the social world, though I had to change the feel. The real difference is on the emphasis, the styling, and the focus on AM competitions instead of social applications.

    AM taught technique and it was different. The AM version had a very heavy connection. I mean, dancing with a more experienced, tiny, instructor who had danced since she could walk was work, and dancing more than an hour would be a problem [I was in great shape at the time]. So, in a whip, I would need to compensate for their filling of the connection on the 3&. In the bronze technique, several specific aspects that most WCS pros seem to put in early were missing: rolling though the feet, turns in general, easy pattern add-ons, invitations, play in general, and a few other miscellaneus things. The focus was on rote patterns instead of connection. Lead/follow was more, again, pattern based. Leading a follow through something she'd never experienced before was a really risky idea, due to that focus on rote patterns, though an instructor would be fine. The silver dancers in the studio that really had not done much WCS, but could follow well would really style the dance crazy, as other posters have mentioned. That was not really discouraged, which seems a little surprising. The push (no pun intended) seemed to be toward a showcase, not a classic routine. The spontaneity and creativity of a jack & jill were never focused.

    Since I've been in the WCS world and have invited a few of the silver dancers out. The contrast between them and the better novice WCS dancers is pretty strong. Arms randomly fly out, anchors are odd, and there is little elasticity in the connection. Any random hip catch, or play in general is always a challenge. It is fun,and I enjoy it. I have danced all night with a good novice follows without any real problem. With the heavier AM connection, it would be a problem.

    Looking back, there was a general lack of knowledge about the dance. These people were in the ballroom world and did the best they could. The street dance nature of WCS does not translate well to the formalism of a syllabus.

    From what I've heard, the WCS technique taught by AM is fairly similar to the WCS danced in the 1980s. Food for thought.

  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Not quite.

    For the record (vinyl records!)...
    Western Swing was the predecessor of West Coast Swing.

    Writing in the "Arthur Murray Silver Dance Notebook", Lauré Haile, who first described "Western Swing", listed the following songs/records as "Good Swing or Fox Trot Records":[28][29]
    "A String of Pearls" by Glenn Miller ((1942[30])) "Let's Dance" by Ray Anthony ((Columbia L-258)(1951)[31]) "Be-Bop's Spoken Here" by Les Brown Columbia 38499 (4/14/49)[32] "Also Good Swing - but unusual Chorus "AABA":"
    "One Mint Julep", Buddy Morrow, Victor 20-4869 (June/July 1952)[33] "Dry Bones", Tommy Dorsey, Victor 20-3523 (1949?)[34] West Coast Swing (still known as Western Swing at that time) is the basis for the dancing in the rehearsal scene in “Hot Rod Gang” (1958).[7][8] Music is supplied by rockabilly musician Gene Vincent’s “Dance to the Bop”. [9] The song alternates between very slow sections and those with the rapid pace and high energy of rockabilly.

    Western Swing was documented in the 1971 edition of the "Encyclopedia of Social Dance", listing the "Coaster Step" (with a forward step as the last step of the 2nd triple) rather than the Anchor Step. The one song was listed for this dance was "Comin' On" by Bill Black's Combo (1964[38] Hi #2072).[39]

    You could call "Comin On" blues, but note that Bill Black was one of the original guys who played with Elvis when Elvis was a nobody, and that now we are in NY rather than the LA area.

    I'm currently on the trail of a couple of "Western Swing" articles dated 1960 that may have additional "songs danced to" information. No doubt that I will share!
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I have one from 1958 from which I used to teach ( Bronze and Silver ) as to their "own " technique.. technique can sometimes be very universal.. style ?.. thats a different matter
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    The musical interpretation of a 2 bar sequence can vary, and it comes down to preference.

    BR.., 2 single time walks,, a double time, followed by a triple time.( Rhythm count ..8 beats .. 2 bars)

    Current vogue... 2 single time walks and 2 triple time sequences..

    ( Rhythm count.. 8 beats still 2 bars ) how we arrange the standard bar is a matter of personal choice.. do each of those work ? yes.. do they reflect what is being played ?

    One must consider the music to which one is dancing .., as all music is not written exactly the same.
  10. It looks like the topic i wrote on was pretty controversial. However, this insight was incredibly useful in shaping my views of dance. I originally asked the question because when i decided to practice WCS with a partner and compete with her, she asked if i knew any "ballroomy" WCS moves. I stated i had no idea what she was talking about and that i only knew plain WCS. Afterwards the question got me thinking about WCS and how versatile it was. Maybe there WAS a WCS more suited for a ballroom crowd. Hence this topic.
  11. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    I don't know what "ballroom WCS" is either, but I do know that WCS uses some moves that are more typically seen in ballroom, such as (I think they're called?) ballroom pivots - the move where you and your partner connect at the hip and turn together.
  12. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    I've heard the term "ballroomy WCS" used derisively by the WCS crowd, just as some salsa people refer to "ballroom salsa." It's not a different dance or even extensively different styling but means a different approach to the dance that emphasizes memorization of patterns and amalgamations rather than feeling the music. I ignore such insults; any competent ballroom dancer knows you need to feel the music in waltz just as much as in swing.
  13. Apache

    Apache Member

    If you think that is bad you should hear Lindy Hoppers rip on "The Swing".
  14. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    Oh, I have. I ignore them. East coast swing isn't supposed to be lindy hop. "Ballroom WCS" is still WCS, even if the approach is different.
  15. w88dm4n

    w88dm4n New Member

    "Ballroomy" WCS

    I'll second the derision in the tone of the WCS crowd on the 'ballroomy' types.

    Another dimension of this is how many steps/moves are imported to WCS from various dances. If you watch a few youtube videos, it is not hard to find various bits of ballroom finding their way into WCS.

    Here are some bits that aren't "pure" WCS moves I've spontaneously weaved into WCS on the social floor: back spot turn, ochos, reverse ochos, open out, cross body lead, one-footed spin, outside partner position, and a grapevine or two. Also, so much of the popular arm stuff seems like a direct import from merengue.

  16. jophil28

    jophil28 New Member

    Perhaps the WCS crowd might like to study and adopt the principles of dance before they snigger at Ballroom.

    WCS dancers commonly ignore accepted principles. Their turns looks heavy, and ungainly. The common practise of men spinning women overhaed as fast as possible as if they were grinding coffee is appaling. It is clumsy and pretentious .Women who are trained properly (ballet or ballroom) can spin themselves, thank you.
    Maybe you could learn some valuable technique from "Ballroomers" if you stopped to look past your "personal style"..
  17. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    I don't get your post. Are you saying WCS women can't spin on their own?! Because having seriously competed in both ballroom and west coast, I am pretty sure WCS women are much better spinners than ballroom women (considering after 10 years of seriously competing in ballroom and 4 years of WCS I still cannot spin as well as some westie girls), with maybe the exception of chanee turns that ballroomers do pretty well. And if you are talking about fingerspins when you mention the "coffee-grinder" spins, well, I am not sure any ballroom women know how to do ten-twenty spins on one foot the way westies do, time them to music, shape them any way they can, etc., especially without that "appalling" male assistance.

    Your post makes me quite certain you're not very well informed on this topic.
  18. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    No need to resort to ad hominems...and BTW, they're chainé turns.
  19. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Please don't confuse ad hominem with insults.

    Insult: You support [absurd position], therefore you are a moron.

    Ad hominem: You are a moron, therefore [position you support] is absurd.

    The world really needs a Bob the Angry Flower cartoon for this.
  20. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I don't see where Ithink insulted jophil28.

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