General Dance Discussion > Help a Fighter Dance

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by igorawryo, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. igorawryo

    igorawryo New Member

    So first and foremost im a wrestler and a fighter. I have ZERO dance knowledge. So even being on this website is new grounds for me.

    One of my closest friends is a dancer. I was recently fooling around and throwing her using fighting moves (obviously i wasnt slamming her) I would just modify some fighting moves by throwing her and then on her way down controlling the throw so that she lands nicely.

    Anyways, the point is I had alot of fun and im getting into dancing. I want to learn some more dance lifts and throws or whatever so I was wondering if somebody could help me with the following points:

    - Id like to know where i can go to learn lifts and stuff step by step.

    - Being a fighter im strong but id like to do more dance focused work outs that will help me on lifting her and other things.

    - Safety tips and other suggestions

    Thanks ahead of time.
  2. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Where are you located?
  3. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    First, welcome to Dance Forum!

    Second, thank you for your interest in learning these tricks safely. A lot of "dancers" have tried to teach themselves aerial patterns (terminology: "aerial" refers to any step in which one partner is not supporting their own weight, and may include dips, lifts, jumps, and drops) with the usual result being injury.

    I have a small background in martial arts, but one of the two styles I studied was aikido, a style that puts a great deal of emphasis on safely controlled falls, particularly in training. When someone begins aikido, the first thing they begin learning is how to take falls, via drills in break falls, rolls, and eventually "flips" or a sort. They work on these safety reactions for a long time before they start learning the techniques that require them because they must be able to absorb the technique safely before applying it to other people. In the mean time, they practice other connection exercises such as avoidance techniques, breaks from simple holds, and the fundamentals of ki connection; while these techniques have varying effectiveness, they lay the foundation for the fully-effective combat techniques that a student will learn once he or she is able to practice them safely with a partner.

    The same applies to learning to dance with any sort of trick. No responsible dance teacher will start you with aerial patterns. Instead they will work with you on basic patterns and connections in order to develop your skills so that you will eventually be able to learn aerial patterns. Some aerial patterns can be learned after only a few lessons (a simple dip, for example, or a side lean) while thers take months or years to build up to (i.e. a fish, floatee, or Eiffel Tower). How long depends on how much you practice, whether you're training for social dancing, competition, or performance, and so on.

    As for the technique, the most important thing to remember about aerial patterns is that the leader does not lift the follower. The follower lifts herself while the leader assists her and watches for her safety. Aerials are not about muscle power but about synchronicity (hence why partnering skills must be developed). They are risky, however - I've seen people break bones and the only dance-related death I'm aware of came from a botched aerial where a leader dropped a follower on her head - and so should only be attempted with a trained, experienced teacher who can act as a spotter. Let me emphasize that again: NEVER ATTEMPT A LIFT WITHOUT AN EXPERIENCED TEACHER ACTING AS A SPOTTER.

    If you want to work on aerials, you must locate a teacher. Call area dance studios and ask about their teachers' experience with aerials. Good teachers will know many of them and can execute them as leader or follower. The teacher will probably have a dance background outside partner dancing, probably in ballet.

    Even after you have learned aerials, remember that most aerials are not suitable for a social floor. Even if you can execute them safely, they are a danger to people around you. I've seen people get kicked in the head after walking right into the legs or dancers who they weren't expecting to go airborne. After ten years of social dancing I have seen exactly one couple using aerials responsibly on a social floor. Aerials are a risk to the people around you and should only be used in performances or competitions.

    Finally, I highly recommend Bob Thomas's excellent article on learning and using aerials:
  4. igorawryo

    igorawryo New Member

    Larinda: Im in miami.


    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

    I think you've pretty much hit every point i was asking about. When it comes to throwing I have every skill nececerry.

    You see i am currently a 1st degree black belt in Judo, A purple belt in both kung fu and shuai jiao, and I won the state championship in wrestling for Florida. (and ive always wanted to try aikido) However, there is no martial arts knowledge required to know that there is a difference between throwing and areals.

    Therefore, i came here for a more educated mind and i got it. Thanks. I will find a dance teacher who can supervise me and teach me the basics before i go into anything that could be dangerous.
  5. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    If you're anywhere near Ft Walton Beach, some of the best Theatre Arts (which use a lot of lifts) dancers in world work out of the Fred Astaire studio there, Eric/Georgia and Jesse/Kimalee.
  6. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    I also have shodan rank in judo (BTW I sure don't think this equates to 'every skill necessary' when it comes to throwing), and dance experience perhaps roughly equivalent to what I had in my nikyu days in judo. From that standpoint, I think you're quite wise here:

    My advice: learn the things that the teacher says are certainly safe. Get comfortable, go slowly, be patient, don't assume your judo directly translates to dancing skill (however tempting that may seem, and at times it will seem tempting), and practice. Also, learn how dancers react to situations, in contrast to martial artists -- IME there's a huge difference.
  7. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Well-Known Member

    Some skills translate well from Martial arts to dance. Others do not.

    I have found leg and ankle strength is very helpful. Also, the discipline to practice is helpful.

    My own experience has shown me some other areas that do not translate well. From my Shaolin and Tai Chi experience, I expected my partners to react to a light touch. While this is true of many experience dancers, most beginning followers need a heaver lead. So I have learned to be heaver with beginners. And many group lessons and socials will have many beginners. Even today, my instructor will tell me to be lighter. Then when I am lighter with DW, she tells me my lead was too light.

    Also, in many martial arts practice, the leg goes somewhere before the body, in order not to over commit and stay nimble to move back again. In dance, you will need to move the whole frame forward to let the follower get moving out of your way.

    I found some of the differences frustrating at first, as to learn new habits. Over time, I learned additional useful habits.
  8. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    This is mostly similar to my own experience. +1 especially for "discipline to practice". The point about moving one's whole body also resonates with me.

    Umm, for a judo player -- do NOT adjust to be even more forceful than usual. Turn the dial waaaay down. Women on the judo mat don't want to be treated like fragile flowers. Ladies on the dance floor don't want to be manhandled. Also, be cautious indeed during underarm turns and other movements where the lady's arm is extended away from her body -- your partners often will have no instincts whatsoever to protect their own shoulders and elbows. You might see dance teachers execute and teach quick turns and arm twisting movements -- IME one must ask exactly what the ingredients are that make them safe.
  9. RickRS

    RickRS Member

    Florida's L-shaped and, unfortunately for igorawryo, Fort Walton and Miami are on opposite end of that L. 640 miles apart.

    But instructors teaching Theatrical Art and ballroom Cabaret dance spring to mind as suggestions for igorawryo, having seen Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian do those fantastic lifts.
  10. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Doh, missed the miami line, just saw the florida state championships. :) THanks Rick.

    I believe the Lenoirs are based closer to Miami. Don't remember for sure where they are, but have memories of southern Florida. Not sure if either of them are currently teaching though.
  11. igorawryo

    igorawryo New Member

    Thanks for all the help everybody. Im currently looking for an instructor to help.

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