Closed syllabus vs. open in Standard

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by mxmx, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Not that I've been able to find.

    And what I had been told when I was coming up through the levels was that Open Bronze meant that your routines were mostly Bronze, but that you had some Silver content in it (but no Gold or out-of-syllabus material). Yet other people have been told differently, and I've definitely seen Open Bronze with Gold and post-Syllabus steps danced in it, with no one getting invigilated for it.
     
  2. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    They are a ton of fun, Janathome. I actually don't want to compete above my level though, hoping that my year out of country will take one particular dancer above my level so he won't keep beating me. ;)

    But your'e right, there are definitely no am/am couples above bronze in our region. I think my parents are closest, and they're only competing intermediate (or maybe advanced this time, but definitely not full bronze yet) bronze.

    Heck though, young region, first FA studio is around 2 yrs old, so very few silver competitors at all.
     
  3. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Laura: I assume you are talking about pro/am (I did read back in the thread) in which case have you ever seen any couple get invigilated for any step in pro/am? I never have. The simple reason is if you look at the rules - permitted steps are for any major dance organization or any other set of rules - in other words there is no way that an adjudicator could spot an illegal step since one could always say it was legal in your studio.

    This does rather raise the questino as to whether there really is such a thing as syllabus in pro/am at all. How can you have syllabus dancing if there is no agreement on what constitutes the syllabus? Its really all open at different, (and very arbitrary) experience levels.
     
  4. reb

    reb Active Member

    needs careful framing of discussion

    Closed Bronze (Syllabus) - I've seen this invigilated, and the several member organizations syllabus' can be handled, although it would be easier if . . .

    Open Bronze - I think the issues are centered in these 'open' categories
     
  5. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Yes to both questions. I've seen people invigilated for Smooth, Standard, and Latin, in Bronze and Silver for all these styles. I've not watched much Syllabus Rhythm, so I can't speak to that.

    That's really not true for Standard or Latin. The vast majority of the people use ISTD, with a very few using IDTA or DVIDA. When I was taking Standard at a Fred Astaire studio many years ago, they even used ISTD. The "any published syllabus" thing more applies to Smooth and Rhythm, but even then I have seen people invigilated.
     
  6. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Interesting laura. I've seen people corrected/penalizzed? at our comps for going beyond syllabus in proam, but it's studio comps, so there's only one syllabus (weell, about three right now, due to advanced and social bronze, and the fact that there's an old syllabus some people still dance a bit of). I figured like others that at the open comps, that any syllabus really let pretty much anything go. I stand corrected. Good to know, too. ;)
     
  7. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    That is interesting and its nice to hear of some examples. Can you remember which comps that was in? Also, you do think this common or was this just the rare case? All the competitions that I have attended have no defined rule base for envigilation.

    I wrote: This does rather raise the question as to whether there really is such a thing as syllabus in pro/am at all. How can you have syllabus dancing if there is no agreement on what constitutes the syllabus? Its really all open at different, (and very arbitrary) experience levels.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'the vast majority of the people'. There is no pro/am organization so there are no established rules. As you may recall, in my opinion, we really do need such an organization or structure (by whatever means) if pro/am is to be taken seriously as a dancesport in its own right.
     
  8. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Well, I've been competing for 10 years now, so it's not like I've kept track! But I remember at one point a woman I know dancing Smooth in some comp in California told me she got invigilated in Silver Smooth. And other things besides, over the years. It's not like I can sit here and enumerate them, though!

    I kind of haven't really paid close attention. As I was coming up through the Syllabus levels, I just worried about my own routines so I wouldn't get invigilated. I have some friends who judge, and who run comps, so I hear things from time to time of people being warned that their material was out-of-category. Usually a warning to the teacher is all it takes.

    Oh, by the way, one of my past teachers once competed in a Pro Basics Standard competition (i.e., Closed Syllabus, dancing with his usual Professional partner). He got boxed in a corner and danced out-of-syllabus (he says the step he led in that situation was an automatic reflex reaction) -- and got caught :) I'm not sure what the penalty was, but it was noticed!

    I mean that the vast majority of the teachers out there teaching International Style Syllabus in the USA use the ISTD Syllabus for Standard and Latin. In all my years, I've never met any teacher who used anything different. The ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) is probably the most widely used ballroom dance syllabus in the competitive world (or at least the English-speaking parts of it). There are others: IDTA (International Dance Teachers Association) and DVIDA (Dance Vision something-or-other) have their own syllabi for Standard and Latin, but they are by no means as widely used. I've seen the IDTA syllabus book, and with the exception of a very very few figures, it's pretty much identical to ISTD. DVIDA is a little different, or at least was going that way, but that whole system is still under revision and I know people gave a lot of feedback back to the people making the DVIDA syllabus that it should just be the same as the ISTD. Really, ISTD is the standard for Standard (and Latin). Truly, syllabus definitions for Standard and Latin aren't a problem.

    The situation with Smooth and Rhythm is much more complicated, though, since it isn't the case that one organization's syllabus has become the de facto Standard. The US-ISTD has a syllabus, DVIDA has one, as do Arthur Murray, Fred Astaire, and who knows who else (I'm guessing the Terpsichore Society has one too?). I know that Chairmen of Judges and Invigilators at comps have a sort of "theme" for each Smooth level, but not having ever done much Smooth I couldn't tell you exactly what it is, other than that people can't pass their feet in Bronze Smooth, and too much side-by-side work in Silver is considered a violation. As far as Rhythm goes, the people I know who invigilate comps tend to hold Rhythm to similar steps from the same levels in Latin, but I don't know how widespread that is.
     
  9. MrBroadway

    MrBroadway New Member

    At some FA comps, I've heard the emcee actually issue a blanket-reminder to all competitors to stay in-category, and some heats where the expected-winner got docked one-or-more placements because of being "invigilated" (?! LOL! funny word!!), and (in 15 years of dancing) I've even seen a few (rare) uncontested heats where the one couple placed second. But then again, FA comps are judging on specific FA-defined syllabi.

    I've never noticed such at other comps, but that doesn't mean that dancers aren't being invigilated - that just means that I haven't noticed it or heard about it.

    Re "open levels" (pro/am): I agree with Laura & swan: the categories of open-Bronze/Silver/Gold allow the (for example) Bronze dancer the opportunity to try an open routine against other Bronze-level dancers without running into competition from the higher-level dancers in the "open-open" single-dances. Yes, that *does* make it like a proficiency-level of open, as suggested by swan. It is a way to add a "preliminary/intermediate/final" -type of differentiation to the open single-dances in a manner similar to the closed levels - just a matter of semantics, instead of calling them beginner/intermediate/advanced opens.

    Good question - but IMO the judging of closed heats seems to be not so much on specific syllabi but on good technique: it's better to do a simple pattern well (even basics!) than to do a complicated pattern poorly; and a complicated pattern done well will be judged better than a simple pattern done well. Subjectively, it feels right to me, and it matches what I see - but it doesn't answer the question of what can/should be danced (ie., the syllabus, or technique?) for particular levels.

    Ooh! Well-put!! That subjectively "feels right".

    NOTE: at Nevada Star Ball, the DVIDA syllabus had it's own Closed Syllabus Scholarships (Smooth & Rhythm, 3-dance), besides the Closed Smooth 4-dance Scholarships and the Closed Rhythm 5-dance Scholarships.
     
  10. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Invigilated was a new word to me in July at the FADS chicago nationals. :)

    Course, off topic, but worst is when emcee has to remind proam couples what dance it is, or that mambo should be on 2, etc. :)
     
  11. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Obviously, some invigilation does occur in pro/am, though I think from the above discussion that it is very rare. For me the important issue is that it is far less frequent in pro/am than in amateur competition. One might argue that the reason is that they are pros, after all, and have the knowledge to avoid going out of syllabus. From my own experience this is definitely not the case - I think I have seen out-of-syllabus steps in every pro/am competition that I have been to.

    Also, there is no automatic promotion in pro/am - couples can, and do, stay at the same level for years so that they become virtually unbeatable. One an argue (and it was the attitude I took) that that means they get left behind by those that compete, improve and move on. However, it still means that promising and deserving competitors do not get the chance to excell at a level prior to promoting, unlike, again, in amateur competitions.

    The point is that pro/am - which I happen to think both could and should be a serious dancesport event - lacks structure and, as a result, partially deserves a certain lack of respect by the other dancesport styles. At the highest levels the competition can be as talented, trained and serious as in any other forms but, frankly, at the syllabus levels there is a need for a lot of cleaning house.

    Of cousre, this assumes that competitors really want pro/am to be a competetive dancesport event. Now that is a totally different issue that warrants debate on its own since there is a large group (and valid, I am not making any judgement here) of dancers for whom the opportunity to be on the competition floor is an end in itself.

    In my opinion, a solution to this would be to make closed syllabus strictly invigilated with a set of defined rules, equivalent to those in amateur. 'Open bronze' could then be exactly that - a catagory without these rules where any couple could compete (the original meaning of open is without entry restriction not without dance rules). This woudl then satisfy both the serious aspect of the dancesport - strict rules, promotion - and recognition for excellence - and also the participation/performance aspect in the 'open' catagory.

    Trouble is that such ideas will not and can not be explored unless pro/amers themselves take the initiative of making them happen.
     
  12. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    I hate to say it elise, but I think a lot of pro/am competitors are apathetic about it. But not jsut the group you've pointed out, where competing at all is an end in itself (which is certainly a valid choice if that's just what you're looking for). I think there's another group though, a lot of whom I suspect are on this forum (or atleast, users on this forum had this attitude when they were competing pro/am, and now have moved on to amateur), is that there is a problem with the syllabus, but that it can't really be helped, and instead it's a necessary evil until they get good enough (or find right person to dance with, or whatever) to do amateur competition. But yo'ure right, there is a problem, at least tomy point of view, andd as long as these two attitudes seem to cover a large portion (most?) competitors, it's not going to change, becuase the competitors themselves won't push for a change.

    Of course, this is coming from my vast 9 and a half months of lessons and one whole pro/am comp (and closed franchise comp, not even open ndca or anything ;) )
     
  13. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Well, I think you've got it a lot better than many who have competed for tens of years. The really interesting issue for me - and the reason I come back to this over and over - is that there is a fairly large group of very serious pro/am competitors at the highest level. Having tried it myself (a bit prematurely, I must admit) I realize that pro/am at that level - where you go out and compete against other amateurs partnered with some of the best pros in the business - could really be a sensational and serious dancesport. The trouble is that it is this set, the top flight ones, that need to get together to formalize the sport. Some of them are interested but obviously many are not and I still do not understand why- a more rigorous set-up would, surely, only elevate thier achievement more.

    There are also lots of forces against such a formalization - not least commercial interests for some pros and competitions, but usually such things can be overcome by a determined and organized leadership which could point out the advantages to all. I doubt strongly it will ever happen though.
     
  14. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    I suspect you're right. I can only dream about competing at thatlevel of proam myself. And I do. :) Course, it's one of those things where while I can agree there's aproblem, I can't for life of me come up with any workable solution for it
     
  15. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    elise, tell me more about your ideas for formalization... what might that include?
     
  16. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Rules for what? Which Amateur rules do you want to see applied to Pro/Am? In USA Dance, the only rules and policies for Amateur Syllabus events that are different from Pro/Am Syllabus events are the very precise and restrictive dress code rules, and the fact that Amateurs have proficiency point rules (earn a certain number of points and you have to move up to the next level) and Pro/Am students do not. It's not like there's some defined Amateur Syllabus for Smooth & Rhythm sitting around, and it's not like every single Amateur Syllabus event is strictly invigilated -- especially since it's basically the same people Chairing and judging the Amateur comps and the Pro/Am comps.

    Perhaps things are different in Canada, but I'm curious to know what defined rules you think the Amateur Syllabus events have that the Pro/Am Syllabus ones don't. Then I will be able to understand what it is you want applied to Pro/Ams.
     
  17. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Workable solution for what? I don't understand what is thought to be broken. Is it that Syllabus events are not always consistently and vigorously invigilated? That's as much as a problem in Amateur events as it is in Pro/Am, and obviously it would be nice if it were fixed for both. Or is the problem that Pro/Am isn't taken seriously as dancesport? If that's the problem, Syllabus invigilation (or lack thereof) is not what causes this perception.
     
  18. NielsenE

    NielsenE Active Member

    I received an invigilation warning at the last pro-am comp I was in, so yes it does happen. I had "merged" two figures (First two bars of one figure are identical to last two bars of the preceding figure... didn't dance those two bars twice...)
     
  19. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Heh, NeilsenE, exactly what you and I were talking about a couple months ago, and something my pro actually congratulated me on (or maybe it was my buddy teacher, can't remember). I'll have to keept hat in mind.
     
  20. vcolfari

    vcolfari Member

    Coming back to this thread...does the NDCA have explicit rules about the differences between open bronze, silver, and gold?
     

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