Swing Discussion Boards > Ceroc Teaching

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

  1. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Are you saying that the ones he has listed, are not taught by other teachers, and he teaches entirely different sequences ?
  2. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    I think Flat Shoes you 've pretty well described the attraction of Swing for me!

    When I dance Swing (WCS and Lindy) I'm continually trying to align the dancing with musical emphasis points. As you say you can speed up, slow down, hesitate, improvise to get that pattern matching.

    That is a function of being taught the beginners six and eight beat patterns - you know you've got to get into and out of pattern in specific time frame. At the start you are given specific steps to achieve that and an apparently 'rigid' 6 and 8 beat time frame.

    With experience you realise you don't need the strict steps and rigid time frame - but only with experience.

    You have to acquire the skill of hitting the rhythm and beat with the 'beginners rules' before you can move onto to more complex improvisations.

    In Modern Jive there is little or no attempt to dance in time with the phrasing or melody, only the beat matters. It's 'strict tempo' Swing (which is an oxymoron). I realised it was time to move onto something else in Ceroc when I intuitively started trying to dance 6 or 8 beats, although no one ever mentioned such a thing existed.

    Modern Jive music is 'dumbed down' so you can't hear the phrasing or melody - never play an original track when a cover version is available seems to be the motto.

    To an improvisational dancer it gets boring because a there is nothing in the music you can go for, and secondly, even if you did your partner would not know you were trying to hit a break so would not know what to do when you hit it.

    However, locally we have social dance event at which all the best Ceroc, WCS and Lindy (and even Salsa) dancers go to, they play great music and you get this fantasic 'composite' dance I like to call 'Windy', which is completely different each time depending on the partnership.
  3. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Can you provide specific examples?
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I wonder if you would be surprised how many people dance WCS and don't get this?

    And now it feels like we've come full circle!
    Glad you've got your own name for what you do, unlike my friend who insists he's doing WCS even though it is quite the mix of ECS and WCS. It's very likely that what you are doing in similar to what people were doing in LA before Haile made the rule that you never throw the woman out of the slot.
  5. jophil28

    jophil28 New Member

    Ballroom teachers ( incl.international Latin) who are accredited by Dancesport teach from a syllabus. They are not likely to accomodate a beginner's 'individual needs' because that is not how we do it.
    However B/R and Intl Latin are the highest forms of partner dance, and they are the most difficult genres .They are also the most exciting and the most magical from both a performer's and spectator's POV.
    It is assumed that the student will have sufficient motivation, endurance and dedication to complete the training courses.
    A lot of students do not possess these qualities and they drop 'out and down' to other dance forms which are more suited to lesser skilledd students. WCS, AT and MJ fill that need.
  6. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Are you looking for trouble? Or is this a rather feeble attempt at a joke?
  7. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Nah, just a demonstration of how superior motivation, endurance and dedication are not neccessarily paired with other virtues.

    As one of the people who don't have these qualities i have to say that i have come away from this thread with a vastly improved opinion of MJ. They don't claim that their dancing is the most magical dancing, they just claim that they get beginners up and dancing the whole night and having fun. And from watching the videos i get the impression that they are quite able to back this claim up. And they are happy to concede many might outgrow what they have to offer.

    I think i would like if my dance community was as good in making beginners feel good about their dancing. Despite AT being well suited for lesser skilled dancers the step from taking classes and dancing socially with strangers is huge, and i have seen quite a few enthusiastic beginners give up after spending a year in group classes, taking privates, and still not getting dances. The culture of MJ as described in the postings here, where intermediate dancers see it as their mission to get beginners onto the dancefloor, and enjoying themselves is something many dance communites should strive for.

  8. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    I was just scanning this thread which I've never looked at before and came accross this (which was answered nicely by TT). It reminds me very strongly of the right/left brain learning thread (its got 'quantal shift' in the title if you have not come accross it). It soudns like you are very much a R brain learner - you learn by example and repetition much better than by visual or oral instructoin. Does that ring a bell? In which case it was not the dance you were trying to learn that was necessarily the problem (as also stressed by tangotime) but the method.

    If you are still interested n learning these you might look for a teacher who teaches by dancing you through it, adding the technical issues as they arise rather than focusing on teaching the technique first.
  9. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Well yes in an ideal world - but in most places you dont get much choice about who you can learn from. And if most BR dancers focus on teaching patterns, then it becomes completely pot luck. If you live in Dorset, you're lucky : if you dont, you're not ;)

    Anyway ... I'll just say I take real exception to the idea that "WCS, AT and MJ .. are more suited to lesser skilled students ". It's got nothing to do with skill, and all to do with preference. Most people dont drop out of BR and go and do one of those other dances. If anything, it's the other way round. Otherwise, why would so many BR couples be from the older generation?

    In reply to Gssh : yes, I agree, MJ (Ceroc) does a fantastic job in getting newbies onto the dance floor and dancing. But as for AT's reputed "snobbishness", I dont see that. At least not in my local community. However, I think maybe that's another discussion : or probably a continuation on another thread :rolleyes:
  10. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    All lot to answer here

    This is what I mean by 'dumbed down' music


    The original


    It great tune to dance to. I try get my partner spinning down the slot 1, 2, 3 times on those long notes, so they can hit the pause at the end with dead stop triple or a rondeau (you get that 'wow we did it' look on her face if it comes out right), if you are an exhibtionist you can also get down on your knees at the right moment.

    You can't hear that at all in the 'dance' version.

    Most modern dance music, like strict tempo ballroom music has been castrated so you can't 'dance' to it. All you've got is beat.

    But then, for about 90% of folks 'the beat' is about all they can hear. Only about 1 in 5 people can move to a beat without training.

    As I've said before, locally, where we have a strong Swing community alongside MJ you get a 'two tier' dance system. In the USA all those dancers whose natural level is MJ will be doing WCS or ECS with a deleterious effect on the WCS dancing.

    In a sense ballroom is actually more similar to MJ than Swing and AT because it requires 'strict tempo' with the dancers doing strict sequences and patterns which cannot be deviated from and which are rigidly fixed to the beat. Perhaps that accounts for the animosity the two groups have for each other.

    For me the apogee of skill in dance is dancing to a track with a changin rhythm/beat. I've always wanted to dance to and 'Sambi Ti Pa' , Black Magic Woman by Santana and 'Love like a Man' by 10 years After - but no one is ever going to play them as dance music because they are so rhythmically complex.

    Samba Ti Pa


    I think you would start off with a rhumba, then WCS, then move into Salsa.

    Black Magic Woman


    WCS then Lindy - that riff at the end screams out for a string of spectacular ariels.

    Love Like a Man



    As for my learning style - I learn by repitition and experimentation. I learn tiny elements prefectly by endless repitition - then I experiment trying to see how I can combine them.

    When I have something perfect - I try to add a little bit more rather than moving on to learning something else. In dance I find it difficult to do a pattern or sequence of rote because my brain wants to know how it fits together. In WCS I sort of 'backwards' learn, learning a pattern roughly then taking it apart to figure out how it works and what I can do with it.
  11. Dave

    Dave New Member

    Hmmm... Got to say, I'm a regular MJ dancer (London), and I've never heard that 'dance mix' version of Mercy played. (My honest opinion: the original is quite dumb enough).

    I'm probably as picky about music as anyone, but I can't help feeling you're putting up a bit of a strawman here.
  12. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    The question you have ask yourself is 'why are dance mixes necessary'.

    The reason I would suggest is that it makes it easier for the dancer to follow the beat, as in 'strict tempo' ballroom music.

    If you need help to pick up the beat (like a crutch), then you aren't that good at dancing. It's one of the reasons I challenge the idea that ballroom dancing is the most technically demanding of dance forms.

    In contrast Tango and Salsa have really complex rhythms and beat patterns and way more challenging to dance to because of that.

    There is complicated non-latin music to dance to, but no DJ is going to play it because the normal dancer would be completely baffled when faced with something like 'Samba Ti Pa' or 'Love like a Man'
  13. Dave

    Dave New Member

    What makes you think they're necessary? Up until about 20 years ago, the music world managed pretty well without them.

    To be blunt, the main motivation for remixes seems to be squeezing every last drop of potential money out of a successful song.

    And in the particular case of 'dance' remixes: You really think they're being made for partner dancers? They're being made for people who are dancing in clubs, generally under the influence of large amounts of alcohol, if nothing stronger, who do want a very constant beat (they don't even want the beat to change between songs, in general).

    So I'm really not sure why you're laying the blame for them on modern jive.

    In fact, the two remixes I'd really consider as Modern Jive remixes are the Touch and Go remix of Tango in Harlem (which was allegedly created for MJ), and the version of Kylie's "Better the Devil you Know" with Adam Garcia (which wasn't created for MJ, but is probably more popular with MJ dancers than with anyone else). Both of which are kind of the opposite of your characterization of a dance-mix: they've taken a track and made it more challenging and rhymically complex.

    I'm pretty sure I've danced to Samba Ti Pa at some point or other in a late night blues room. I bet CJ would play it if you asked him.
  14. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    I'm not laying it on modern jive - the point, which you reinforced with your comments about club dancing, is that poor dancers need a heavy beat to keep time.

    Which is fine, but it does get boring for those of us who want to do something with the music,
  15. Dave

    Dave New Member

    If you don't intend to lay it on Modern Jive, perhaps your previous post:

    was unwise? As I've already said, it is certainly inaccurate, at least as far as the music played in London is concerned.
  16. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    Modern Jive is what it is.

    As I said in another post I was recently englightened by a MJ DJ telling me that he started the evening with the slow blues type music because it was 'easy to dance to' for the beginners while the fast, heavy beat club music was used 'to get people up on the floor dancing' and for the better dancers.

    It's actually the other way round - but clearly he did not appreciate that.

    Modern Jive isn't the issue - its the ability of Modern Jive dancers to 'hear' the music, which is, as you have alluded to in other posts, very limited.
  17. Dave

    Dave New Member

    It's kind of silly to read too much into what's said by the one guy there who's paid not to dance. There are some completely clueless MJ DJs around, but in my experience this is more a "DJ" problem than a "MJ" problem. Unfortunately, there seems to be a shortage of DJs in most areas of dance; that's the only way I can explain how there are so many that are so bad, and yet so convinced that they know what they're talking about. (The worst offenders are also usually convinced that they don't need any dance experience to know what works for dancers).

    In which post have I alluded that? Actually, I think the better MJ dancers have a pretty good ability to hear the music; OK they're not up with the WCS swing pros, but then not many are. Where pretty much everyone falls down in MJ is an ability to translate what they hear into their dancing(*).

    But to repeat myself for the 3rd time: In my experience, your assertion that it is routine to dumb down music for MJ dancers is incorrect. I find it more than a little disingenuous for you to imply that it is the "norm" for DJs to play a remix of Mercy rather than the original, when I have never heard the remix played, and the original version is notorious for being one of the most overplayed MJ tracks of 2008.
  18. Albanaich

    Albanaich New Member

    I think this is a case of local experience. . . . .

    I'm not interested in arguing with you - 99% of what you've posted is spot on.

    There are some completely clueless MJ DJs around, but in my experience this is more a "DJ" problem than a "MJ" problem. Unfortunately, there seems to be a shortage of DJs in most areas of dance; that's the only way I can explain how there are so many that are so bad, and yet so convinced that they know what they're talking about. (The worst offenders are also usually convinced that they don't need any dance experience to know what works for dancers)

    I didn't say it was an MJ problem. . . . .

    Or more importantly, you and I have won a major battle here - lets not screw it up by fighting with each other :)
  19. spot

    spot New Member

  20. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    hey dont bring that one up again it p***ed me off enough the first time! :rolleyes:

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