Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Albanaich, Aug 23, 2008.
Albanaich, How goes the quest for those illusive missing triple steps going in your WCS?
Welcome Emma T,
I would dance whatever dance has the nicer group of friends. If we are having fun dancing, who cares which dance it is?
Over here in the US, we don't have Ceroc. So I learned WCS as my first dance. The amazing thing with our network is we totally throw out the tiered system. The pros and the total beginners all join together at the same dances. Even when I was just starting, very advanced dancers would dance with me. It is wonderful how much faster my dance grew being able to dance with such a wide range of dance abilities. I hope you guys are able to create an environment kind of like that over there in the UK.
I only said locally - in Scotland its a tiered system - and it more through the choice of the dancers than anything else.
There are venues where if you are a beginner you would take one look and go back out the door. If you were a beginner you would feel completely out of place, certainly the first time I was informally invited to a 'Redhot and Blue' event I pretty intimidated by the standard of dancing.
In a sense Ceroc itself which has a beginners session and an intemediate session encourages that.
I believe that ceroc at least does try to remove any snobbery between advanced dancers and beginners by stating it's etiquette to dance with everyone, and also encouraging all standards to turn up from the beginning of the evening. Yes, there are places where some dancers don't want to dance with beginners but I never found that in my area.
I found this more of an obstacle in salsa even when when I'd reached a more advanced level. In ceroc/MJ I feel quite happy asking anyone to dance and always did, while in salsa if I asked guys I didn't know to dance I found quite a few tended to frown on this (but in those places I'd never have got to dance if I'd waited for people to ask other than those people I already knew).
The Swing scene (WCS and Lindy) is not snobby, but you do have to know the basic 6 and 8 beating timing before you can dance. . . . and that takes some people months to get a handle on.
With MJ there is no such requirement. In my experience in Salsa the girls so out number the guys that the whole equiette is distorted. It's not a case of the guys being 'unwilling' as them having unlimited choice. You have to make a deliberate choice to dance with a beginner.
Ceroc is great because it is easy, and you have a very small divide between beginner and intermediate - that's not so in other dances.
Kayak - you bascially 'graduate' from Ceroc to WCS. . . .
In Ceroc the more experienced dancers are actively encouraged to dance with the beginners, the same is true of WCS - but there is a definite difference in skill requirement of the dances.
As I said, Ceroc is a 'beginners dance' or an 'introduction to dance' you'd have to do the 'Modern Jive' scene to understand what is going on here.
I did ballroom as a teenager, then American Square Dance, and didn't hit Ceroc till I was in my late 40's, after about 3 months I was asking 'there's got to be more to this - but there wasn't', about that time I discovered WCS and moved on.
Thanks for the background Albanaich,
I was really hoping your quest for the balance between intuitive dancer and accurate footwork was going well? You have been sharing about your struggle to be listening to the music and still have accurate footwork in three of four threads. Regardless of whether a dancer starts with footwork or intuition, we eventually have to grow to have both. So I was just hoping you were finding a better solution that gets you both?
You're right the footwork does come easier with experience. I've just started doing Argentine Tango and I'm noticeably ahead of the class simply on musical and physical ability.
The first class started with some exercises lifting the knees and balancing on alternate legs to music, it appeared as if it was a warm up excercise, but clearly the instructors were trying to spot which of us had good balance and musical timing.
Those us who had done some dancing quickly spotted each other as well
The 3 Tango classes I've had so far have proved a bit of a revelation - I was told AT and Swing go together like bread and butter, and so far I've found that very true.
It's the questions I've asked by the instructors that are interesting - 'What technique did you use to get your feet back after the walkout' - 'I didn't think about it, I just did it' and 'Why did you stop there and hesitate' - 'Well the music sort of tells you to' - 'You're going to be good at this'
I would be doing more Tango, but on Wednesday a girl I know from Ceroc turned up at my WCS class. I've been trying to persuade her to move on from Ceroc for a few months.
Wow - pure dance rush!!! She got into the 6 and 8 beating timing almost immediately, to the point where she was berating herself for coming forward to early (as 99% of beginners do in WCS). She KNEW she was off time.
Better still - we just naturally didn't want to dance with anyone else, she's 25 years younger than me and I tried to move her on to some of the younger guys - but no, she wanted to dance with ME!!! not them.
I'm still on a high
It seems everything is coming right at the same time and I'm going to have to make some choices. I want to do Tango, but I don't want to pass up the chance of getting a serious, steady Swing partner. Finding a good, or rather the 'right' dance partner are is like panning for gold dust.
Maybe I'll get her into Tango once she's settled down to Swing. . . .
I think if I had started the Tango earlier it would have been very frustrating. The music clearly indicates where improvisation, changes of movement, etc are required, and I would have picked up that immediately, but without the Swing experience I would have not been able to sense where my follow was or been able to control my footwork.
I've come to the Tango at exactly the right time I think.
Is it an either / or ? As long as there is no serious schedule clash you could keep both going at the same time.
As an AT addict, you might think I would encourage you to keep doing the AT at all costs. But my experience is , like yours, that good partners you click with are like gold dust. Hell, I fantasise about moving across country just to have a chance to dance regularly with certain ladies . So you'll find just the same issues with the tango ....
Anyway , good luck. It's obviously early days at the moment so I would keep the AT going if you possibly can. Who knows what's round the next corner ?
The horror is there is a 100% schedule clash. . .my tango class is on a Tuesday, but WCS and Practica's are on Mondays and Wednesdays :-(
Ceroc is a dance derived from swing, but standard ceroc does not swing.
Ceroc is not a latin dance, although many patterns from latin dances have been incorporated into ceroc moves.
I have never seen a good Ceroc dancer yet. Well not one who understands and dances basic dance principles.
I teach Ballroom and Latin privately to two women who have had 4-5 years of previous Ceroc experience and they have learned NO worthwhile dance skills whatsoever from their YEARS at Modern JIve...
This may take a while just to get their bodies to transfer their weight correctly.
They both dance flat footed, and ahead of the music, and persist in keeping time with some really irritating hand jiggling movements. They have no idea about syncopation and the concept of posture and stance is unknown to them. I have not even begun to teach them how to straighten ther legs in a basic Rumba figure ,that should be a challenge.
Frankly,from what I have seen, Modern Jive, Ceroc or LeRoc looks more like Le Stumble.
I hope that these two ladies do not run out of money before I run out of patience.
Well - there are Ceroc dancers and Ceroc dancers. . . . .
Anyone with any kind of natural dance ability quickly realises the limitations of Ceroc and moves on to something else in 3 to 6 months.
They then pick up technique from Salsa WCS, Argentine Tango, Lindy or Ballroom and (like me) do Ceroc when nothing else is available or when they are travelling.
I think anyone who has been doing Ceroc for 4-5 years and not moved on is going to be pretty much the dregs in terms of dance ability.
I like to think of Ceroc as an 'Introduction to dance' and clearly in the UK, Ceroc sees itself in that way, encouraging people to try different dance forms.
Ceroc is lazy dancing. I've seen perfectly able Ceroc dancers give up on WCS because they had to discipline themselves to dance in 6 and 8 beat time.
Ceroc is a highly simplified dance form that concentrates on teaching lead and follow (which it does supremely well) and the ability to pick up a beat - there's little more than that to it.
You don't 'technically' progress in Ceroc, unless you do other dance forms, you might learn more complicated moves, but there is no serious attempt to
One of the problems for Ceroc dancers is that they are not trained to hold their frame intact and move their weight correctly .Hence, they acquire ways of moving their body over a floor in a way that may feel "natural" to them but invariably is technically poor. These movements become habitually, and enter into what is called "muscle memory".
Oftentimes we get Ceroc people come to us to learn " a little bit of Ballroom " lol.
Then we are faced with remediating these "dancers" . It as often impossible because the concrete has set.
That is why I disagree that MOdern JIve is an acceptable "introduction" to dance. It is the worst introduction that I can imagine... I would rather work with church hall rock and rollers.
MJ ignores most of the principles of dance.. IT steps on the wrong feet, uses soft knees when straight legs are required, encourages heel leads and flat feet where toe leads are called for, upper body weight seems to be over heels and not toes.
All I can see is a clumsy collection of tricks, dips and poses being performed and TAUGHT by untrained , self appointed teachers without any Dancesport or RAD Qualifications.
Frankly, I am appalled that so many MJ students have parted with so much money to learn so little.
I sometimes encourage them to ask for a refund.
I hope that Ceroc passes into oblivion as the same speed at the Hula Hoop and the twist.
That just sounds like you've lost the 'fun' and don't realize it.
Ceroc is a social dance. It's mean't to be fun. It's purpose is not to produce competition winners or technically superb dancers.
It's actually quite sad that you, any dancer in fact, doesn't get the importance of fun in any dance.
Well, I can't comment on the standard of Ceroc in your local area, but a different reader of that might just come to the conclusion your just a bad teacher. Depends on what bias/dance bigotry you have. *shrug*
It always surprizes me the vitriol that Ceroc/MJ generates amongst supposedly 'better' dance genres. So much 'better' in fact, they feel the need to belittle what is a very positive force in dance. Sure, Ceroc/Modern Jive doesn't produce many outstanding dancers, but that is not it's purpose. What it does do is introduce dance to people who otherwise would never have thought of trying it. If you think that is 'bad', then as a dancer, you seriously need to look in the mirror. What you see ain't nice.
It would be a mistake to assume that you don't have fun if your standards are higher. Your fun gets harder to find (ie your partner has to know what's going on), but has bigger payoffs when you do find it.
I've also thought and said that people who are taught to "dance", and seem to have no idea that you are supposed to be connected to the music should ask their instructors for a refund.
>>I hope that Ceroc passes into oblivion as the same speed at the Hula Hoop and the twist<<
And along with the Argentine Tango, WCS, Lindy and everything else improvised and which cannot be fitted into a rigid inflexible frame.
For most 'natural dancers' the fun is in improvisation, playing with rhythm and doing things in different ways.
If you think dancing is about following a rigid routine set out in rulebooks - then you've a lot to learn about dance. That's not to say technique does not have its, but its a means to an end, not end itself.
You've got your rule book which tells what a person must learn to be 'good dancer' I would guarantee any Tango dancer or Lindy Hopper would disagree with you.
I've just posted a message to a teenage girl (a student from outside the UK) who is a gold level ballroom dancer and looking for a partner - I've told her she's wasting her time looking for a boy her own age in ballroom - where the average age locally is about 50.
She's going to find a partner in Tango, Swing or heaven forbid Ceroc - Ballroom is dying on its feet.
I totally agree with you TA guy (I was a Sapper!!!)
Or maybe this is a better example - Ceroc club night, every week Kilmarnock Ayrshire, (pop 45,000) one of at least 4 other weekly Ceroc events in a 50 mile radius. . .
How many people do you get to your Ballroom dances? How often are they?
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