Swing Discussion Boards > Ceroc Teaching

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Dancelf, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. Dave

    Dave New Member

    And to my mind, this is where the critics of Ceroc ought to give it credit.

    Ignoring the merits or otherwise of MJ as a dance form, Ceroc really does work hard on its teaching methodology. Things like making sure the teacher is easily seen by the students, that their explanations are clear, and that you can hear the explanations may not have much to do with dance expertise, but they make one heck of a difference to the learning experience.

    In addition, the fact that all teachers go through a central training course means that you get a great deal of consistency in quality and approach. I'm not saying Ceroc teachers are of a terribly high standard, but even the worst Ceroc teacher will be much much better than the worst of the MJ independants (or, in my experience, the worst of the Salsa teachers).

    In fact, the "Ceroc = McDonalds" analogy is a very good one. It's not great food, but you know what you're going to get, and you can reasonably confident that a minimum standard will be met. In both cases, the truth is that you could do a lot worse. (Actually, McD seems to have driven out a lot of the really bad British cafes. But I remember that when it came to the UK, the food actually seemed pretty good (and non greasy) compared with most of the local competition).
  2. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    OK, I like your word flipped description. It is probably a little clearer than what I wrote, but the intended idea is the same. Thank God, I took my dance friends advice in choosing my instructors and dance circle. The movement and options that create the rules have always been laid out synonymously for me.

    Still, the basic movements of the dance define the basic patterns that have to be taught don't they? The hundreds of WCS moves all basically come from five basic steps that define the connection. So even if Ceroc claims they don't care about footwork, could the weekly move be successfully led with two different ladies that are on opposite feet? For example, I would think that the basic options for turning a lady when she is on her left foot would still apply and everyone in the class will have to be on their left foot to be aligned for that turn?
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I've seen one of Bottomer's books. Nice work, and I like the way he has a special place for "Argentine Tango" (or whatever he called it as opposed to the other tangos).
    Anyhow, what AT proponents are referring to is that you can only go in a very small set of directions with each step you take: front, back, side. Salas, et al, were not the first people involved with dance to figure this out, but they used this as a basis for analyzing AT itself, as it has been done for decades, and their "nuevo" movement certainly has received a lot of attention!

    Front, back, side, slice, dice, combine in any number of orders. Give them names and you easily end up with 170 "variations".

    Swing dancer Craig Hutchinson calculated that there was some hugh number of variations (billions?) for swing dancing.
    Yeah, he was an engineer.
  4. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    It's many things, Dave. TT makes a good point here....
    Yet, it's even more. I have said before that the probleme is multifold. Over the years, for whatever reason, BR has become "defined" by the prescribed steps/syllabi rather than "described" by them. This has made BR more of a step mimicking activity than a artisitic movement (remember the foot prints on the floor?). Not enough attention was given to the kinesiology of the art/sport. Even the musical aspect was broken into a specific dogma. BR had simply lost the very artistic value that it was created to exhibit.

    With the development of Dancesport, untrained BR dancers were allowed to infuse other movement into BR. not to be belittling, these jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, and other dancers were forever changed the face of BR by beign allowed to compete in BR events, teach in BR studios, and be praised as champions. Perhaps they were/are champions of dance to some degree, but not BR dance as it should have been.

    I am not saying that BR should not be allowed to evolve. Keeping up with the times is important for all of the arts, but not to the fault of losing the essence of that art. Standard is closest in BR to maintaining some degree of BR dance integrity (less the tango, which was never correct to begin with).

    Ever played that game of whispering something to someone, then having it passed along; and, when it returns to you, it's different and all messed up? Teachers teach what they know based on what they were taught (as TT said above). Over time, the integrity of the story was lost. Neither am I saying that all out there today is not good. Plenty is. Just answering the question.
  5. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Steve, thats true of ALL dances... but more to the point.. each " Dance " has variations which we know are named for clarity..so to say a dance is limited, is not really accurate... the very word " variety " in a dance context, should imply that a specific variation ,is derived from a combination of directional positions ( with all the attending techniques ) and also to " vary " from a basic concept.
  6. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Arguably there's only 5 steps - forwards, back, left, right and pivot. Everything else is decoration... But AT is less move-focussed than many other dances, in my view.
  7. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Yes - the Ceroc teaching classes do ensure that there's a minimum standard of teaching. You might not like what's being taught, but at least there's some thought into making it as efficient as possible.

    Whereas many other dance disciplines seem to simply ignore this whole area and let the teachers make up a methodology as they go...

    Yes - in fact, I'd say that most salsa teachers are worse than the average Ceroc teacher, in London at least. Although some are superb of course. Most of the AT teachers in London, however, are above the Ceroc average in my experience, there's only a few real stinkers I know of.
  8. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    There's some debate about this - but for most basic moves, I think it's possible not to worry too much about footwork, most of the time. Basically, feet tend to be mirrorred in Ceroc dancing most of the time, so it usually seems to work out OK.

    (And I appreciate that statement will cause gasps of horror from some quarters :D )
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I think more accurately....6 Directions
  10. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Many other ?.. salsa apart.. which others ?.. (not being familiar with the Ldn scene )
  11. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Tango and WCS - each teacher defines their own "methodology". Or, not.
  12. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Depends upon where you learn...... WCS in the States is already ( and has been for multi yrs ) defined.. T/Arg. is more in flux with the Nuevo styles in the picture .
  13. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Sure, but I'm not talking about the dance, I'm talking about the teaching methodology - and I can only speak for the London scene.
  14. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    Yes, that is true in the my part of the US. Still, there are basic, intermediate and advanced moves that each take different background skills to complete.

    Maybe, it is that the dance chain centers don't pay much attention to my part of the US? However, each teacher in ballroom also determines their own methodology here.

    The most structured is the Lindy scene. They will not let you play until you have taken specific classes.
  15. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Where is " here" ? and what specifically do you mean by M/ology ?... the system ? the style? the format ?.. I taught and coached all over the State for both chains and numerous Indies for multi yrs. in Amer. and Intern. style .

    The major differences were generally "content " and names, but even then ,there were many things the same .
  16. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    TT: I am in the Colorado area. I am not sure what you are asking me about about methodology? Basically, some instructors do the details series classes all the way to classes that try and teach two dances in a hour.
  17. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    So is there just enough slop built in that which foot doesn't matter? If I am doing a salsa and want the lady to turn right, leading her to turn right from her right foot vs her left foot is quite different.

    Kind of along the lines of what you and TT are discussing with AT, I have been taught that there are basically the 5-6 different direction possibilities. Combined with 10-14 turn types and you basically can create any dance.
  18. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    So its more about the amount they teach as opposed to what they teach.

    I use both systems, but for social, normally 2 dances in one hr.. generally split in a 40/20... this is more a " system" than a " method ".. I should also qualify this by saying that my classes are sold on a 5 week rotational basis .( No drop ins )
  19. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Kind of, yeah - most of the time at least.

    Yes - salsa is far more restrictive that way.
  20. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    There is more more than a little bit of irony here since in the beginning the dancers at the Savoy (and other clubs in new York) were highly improvisational and individual and the breakaway was a very important part of the dance. At one point someone started a thread on this pointing at this glimpse of Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy, Shake

    Regarding West Coast Swing, Skippy Blair and GSTDA offer a certificate program for teachers.

    The foot prints came about because Arthur Murray realized (or discovered) that there was a huge unserved population that would buy books (which were pretty much the same size as comic books) to learn to dance. Depending on your econonic status, time, money, and a willingness to go to dance lessons, and pay for them, can be a luxury.

    The current technology is the internet. YouTube anyone?

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