Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Albanaich, Aug 23, 2008.
Oh, hey, and welcome to DF TA Guy.
I could care less about a different reader's conclusion. I know my skills intimately because I took over 25 years to acquire them, lesson by painful lesson, and they are not subject to your approval. I am a very good teacher because I insist that my students learn the principles of dance... MY "issue" with Ceroc is that it is being taught by untrained "teachers" with no dance skills and therefore they cannot teach what they do not know.
IT grates that they charge about the same amount of money that legitimate ballroom studios charge. Oh well, "Caveat emptor. "
Sure, I agree that MJ is a 'fun' dance and that those folk who learn MJ are "having fun " , but it is the same level of fun as a child banging away at a piano keyboard with his elbows.
That is a misbelief ..there are no "natural dancers" except for those few teenage girls who have no self consciouness, and are fearless, and giggle their way though lessons. These young women learn quickly BY IMITATION and that is how I teach them until they are in third year or fourth year and can absorb intricate verbal instruction .
Agreed, there are folk who have a "natural flair" for dance, but they still need the same training as their more clumsy friends. Training is key,and hard work and practise is what creates a great dancer NOT some "natural gift"... that is the stuff of myths and self delusion.
One of the downsides of training and improvement in technique is the realisation of how BAD you really were when you were "just having fun"...
But if you post them on this forum, they are subjected to discussion, and expected to be respected.
This is another issue; one that is justified, and, unfortunately, not limited to Ceroc. It exists in all genres of partnership dance, and drives us all, who know what we are doing, crazy. However, it has little to do w/ dance, and much to do w/ the human condition. Since we can not erradicate it, the alternative is to try to find a way to better it.
I wouldn't say that b/c, obviously it is legitimate fun to those who do it. We just don't understand it. I am one who often says that knowing the background, music, and technique makes the dance more fun. Though, I can not see how the "Y" Dance (know what that is?) would be fun all of teh time, even I will do it every now and then.
Johphil: I used to teach people how to shoot rifles. I started shooting about same time as I started riding a bicycle. It's easy, second nature, and (its a long time ago) I used to be very good at it.
Most adults take a considerable, if not inordinate, amount of training to be any good with rifles. If you don't learn it young it takes years to get a grip of it.. . . .
However, every so often, maybe be once in a hundred students, you'd get someone who could just pick up the rifle and do it as well as I could - first time, no training.
Although I was a very good shot, I was not a natural. I learned young, when its easy, I don't claim to have any great natural ability.
So it often is with dancers - often girls have taken some lessons in dance as tots and young children - and they carry the balance, timing, and rhythm they learned with them through their whole lives.
Similarly, I've started dancing very late in life, and its come as a big surprise to me that I'm pretty talented at it. Thinking back it probably has a lot to do with being part of boy scout ceremonial colour party, which involved marching in time to music while carrying a (relatively) massive flag that threatened to topple you over at any moment.
We had an RAF - trade trained - drill instructor teaching us, (he had been part of the team that greets foriegn dignitaries etc) He knew his job and taught us stuff like knowing what foot we were on, how to centre our balance, etc. There were hours, days, weeks of practice to get it right so we were fit to appear at national occasions.
So early training in the basic skills of balance, co-ordination and rhythm have a lot to do with dance ability.
Everyone has different abilities, whether they are natural or learnt early, and later on its difficult to add to those basic abilities of balance, rhythm and co-ordination.
When I joined the Army and had to do drill as part of my military training - I was awful. I mentally used to day-dream while everyone else was 100% focused on what they were doing, maintaining concentration on something that was so easy was a nightmare.
Weapons training was the same, it was like trying to learn to ride a bicycle by numbers. It was only when I got to the range and scored 100% straight of that the instructors asked my where the problem was.
A lot of potentially very able dancers are put off by the teaching of technique at the expense basic skills like balance, rhythm and co-ordination.
I travel a lot on business, and part of that is doing any kind of dancing that is locally available - Ballroom, Ceroc, Salsa, Lindy, WCS, Argentine Tango, American Square Dance, Ceildh Dance - whatever.
It's not unusual to be asked to demonstrate a type of dance that people are unfamiliar with, in those circumstances the last person you want as a partner is a highly trained, techncally superb competitive dancer
You want a 'natural dancer' a person who can pick up a different rhythm structure, different footwork, a different style of lead quickly.
And for all its faults, I know quite a few "serious" (*) dancers who still say they love Ceroc/MJ. As you say, it's fun.
(*) Serious in non-MJ terms. I'm talking about professional performance dancers, people who have competed at the top level at the Blackpool dance festival and won international competitions.
The proper way to effect/acheive/control/move these things is the technique. I believe what you are describing as basic skills are, in actuality, basic traits. A skill is a perfected trait. One of the things that I show often in tech classes is that, though we have been walking since infancy, most persons do not do it correctly.
Now, in defense of your post, doing it technically correct isn't necessary for most...only for serious dancers wanting to attain a higher level of expertise than social...at which the basic traits that you speak of are quite sufficent.
How you walk is dependent on the length of your leg, its relationship to the lenght of your body, the lenght of femur to the tibia, whether you are feet are supanated or protonated, your sense of balance, the width of your hips and shoulders and your eyesight.
There is no correct way to walk, there can't be, our bodies are too structurally different.
An example. My youngest daughter went to ballet classes with a friend when she was about 15 and watched them struggling to get up on pointe using absolutely the correct technique and training. Her reaction 'what's the big deal, anyone can do that'
The laughed and threw her a pair of shoes 'if you think its so easy - you try it'
She got up on pointe without difficult - not because she had any technique, but because of her very high arch, supinated feet and good balance.
What is techniquely correct for you in dance is unlikely to be technically correct for me because of simple physiological differences. . . .
None of my ceroc lessons have been painful. As my skills and interest in dance have increased, I have sought further education from more advanced dancers in different styles. None of those lessons have been painful.
They say a bully turns round to bully others. Your classes were painful for you as a student, now you are a teacher...
Quite likely you have better dance technique than I do. But I go dancing several times a week and have women queuing to dance with me. What would I gain from your classes?
Maybe I haven't found the "legitimate" ballroom studios in my research. But in my area of Sydney, ceroc classes are much better value than any of the ballroom classes I have found advertised.
I agree ... we don't have Ceroc, but none of my lessons have been painful. Life is too short to not be having fun during our recreation time.
To add more detail about 'the correct way to walk' one would think that formal instep marching is the quickest way to move soldiers at speed.
That's a civilians perception - the reality is in fast marches over distance everyone breaks step and walks in their own style because generally it makes more efficient use of their body structure and is less exhausting.
In dance the key feature that defines how you move is whether the foot is protonated or supinated and whether you have a strong arch.
The question that must arise when teaching techique is 'is the technique suitable to that body type, or do we adapt the physique to suit the technique or the techique to suit the physiology.
The ballet community are clearly aware that different technique and training is required to match different physiologies. . . .
Does that mean they keep their body centres in rank and file, and do what they want with their feet?
That's been my approach to dance for a while. I think about leading my partner's centre (and let her take responsibility for her feet), and I follow with my centre (and move my feet however seems appropriate considering where I'm going and what the music is suggesting and where I intend to go).
And I think I have the freedom to do that because I dance ceroc/MJ. I don't have to hit any particular rhythm with my feet, so I can relax and just move to the music.
So my technique won't get me a ballroom gold (or bronze)?...I am SO disappointed (not).
They don't even bother with rank and file . . . ..
is ceroc swing?? no way not never no how!!!!!!!
it lacks energy, pulse, and that certain thing that defines swing.....
err, whatever it is!!!
Hi major, can you define that certain thing ! Would be interesting..
lol!!! was it count basie who said "if you dont know what swing is, you never will"
just remembered the actual quote, out of interest, "if you need to ask what swing is, youll never know" always liked this quote.............
Belated welcome to DF.
That concerns the music, but what is missing with the dancing, the 8-count pattern perhaps? Feel free, I´m no ceroc dancer, at all. I only dance a little bit of Lindy and Hustle, and well years ago, indeed, I learned Jive, which actually must be quite close to Ceroc.
whilst not wishing go down the "knocking one form of dance because i dont do it route" the only ceroc ive seen danced looked like an excersise in doing random moves, mainly with the arms, pretzle variations etc et, basket whips,
etc etc with little or no footwork, little or no sense of musicality, it just didnt look like anything i could ever be inspired by. maybe i just happen to have only seen bad ceroc dancers, and obviously each to his own. main thing is your dancing, whatever you are doing, i try most things, foxtrot, waltx, lindy, jump jive, bal, charleston, but ceroc just aint my bag!!! no disrespect intended to ceroc dancers in any way.....
Sounds just like our "Cowboy Swing".
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