Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by RoyHarper, Apr 8, 2011.
Mmmmmmmm!!! Butt wiggles....
That I like! Spoken like a mathematician or physicist.
100% agreed, nucat78.
I'll admit, that's part of why I'm disappointed that so many of my friends and acquaintances LOVE dancing but have no desire to learn any techniques. (As always, I must emphasize that I acknowledge their right to choose this path, and that they're doing what they enjoy. So please don't think that I'm saying they have any obligation to dance with learned techniques or styles -- or even that people must learn to dance well.)
Many people I know describe their approach to dance as "do whatever." I'll admit that I dislike this phrasing. Why? Because I agree with ssqq and nucat78. I believe that true beauty comes from exercising freedom within a certain structure. Take away this structure and you're left with an incoherent mess.
I liken it to any other form of art -- painting, writing, or music, for example. Each of these art forms rely on certain principles of composition to produce a quality effect. One might bend these rules on occasion, but someone who strives for quality never completely abandons them. Similarly, whether one is dancing freestyle, ballroom, hip hop or swing, there are certain principles that produce a quality dance. Take away those principles, and the results are much less satisfying -- and folks who never learn these principles might never see how much they're missing.
So yeah, people can do whatever floats their boat, as ssqq stressed. That's fine. When people don't think of dance (or any art) as exercising creative freedom within a certain structure though, then they're missing out on a world of beauty and wonder.
Oh, how I agree... :cheers:
All very well said. But many people feel that learning structure for dancing will involve potential failure, rejection and humiliation (not to mention significant time and money investment). That's a lot of discouraging factors.
Count me in. I've been doing ballroom/latin for 6, and Lindy for about 3-4 years, and I can't do a line dance to save my life, or, seriously, most "club" dances including the ones Roy mentioned, the ones that just involve "shaking the booty." In fact, when I first stepped into the dance studio, I had a vague idea that that's what I was going to learn, which would help with my shyness and open up new social venues for me (I wasn't looking for a gf, but I also thought knowing how to dance would come in handy if I met someone outside the studio, and had to go dancing with her)
My problem with both line dances as well as one dance studio I went to a group class series is this: They want you to adhere to a strict sequence, and I am easily distracted. Plus, if I can't get step 2 for some reason, and they are already at step 5, and the whole thing depends on you performing steps 1 thru 10, no way I am getting through the line dance/sequence/whatever. However, put on some music, give me a partner who can follow, and she doesn't have to be the worlds greatest follower either, and I have no problem lead/follow dancing practically until someone turns of the music and shoos us out... I would probably go to a freestyle class to learn how to do it, since what *I* mean by dancing and what 90% of the general population means by dancing don't jive... pun intended
My line dance teacher slowly works through each step. For each step, or sometimes several at a time, she goes to each wall to do the routines. It works well but somehow when I'm learning a new choreography it still seems I can't see her when I'm lost. I like the idea your instructor uses of putting the better students on the outer edges.
Line dance has really helped my ballroom because we learn basics that just aren't covered adequately in most group dance lessons. I think the difference is that in line dance the instructor calls out terms like "rhumba box", grapevine, lockstep, etc. You really get an instinctual feel for what those terms mean. One of the shortcomings of ballroom lessons is that they don't want to spend time on those basic essentials because then people would complain they aren't doing enough of the social part of dancing.
Ballroom people are really amazed at the progress I have made, especially considering my age and lack of dance experience. When I tell them how large of a role line dance is they just don't believe me.
Line dance repeats the same patterns. I eventually learned that when I made mistakes I could wait for the other people to catch up to a point I could continue. Like for instance if I screw up right before a 360 turn I just wait and don't turn until I'm facing the right direction. A good leader uses hand signals so you quickly learn to turn with everyone else.
Perhaps the most embarrassing moments I had early on is when I turned the wrong direction and ended up facing everyone else. That's a big oops but it doesn't happen very often anymore because if the room has mirrors you can almost always follow the hand signals.
I have found that those who like to dance "with no rules" still tend to do certain moves with a high frequency. It's not that they have learned movements and techniques in a classroom, but in effect have their own self imposed restrictions, especially if they are doing moves with a partner.
Don't know if I would call it a self imposed restriction exactly. More like a lack of vocabulary. Most non trained freestyle dancers just don't know many different steps. Sure, you can watch YouTube videos and stuff to teach yourself, but most people don't, or can't.
That's why any kind of structured solo movement or dancing (line dance, jazz, aerobics, Zumba, whatever) is helpful prior to learning partner dance IMO. You're learning the ability to observe and repeat various movements and step patterns. If you walk into a partner dance class without that ability, it's like jumping into the deep end.
Absolutely right, jennyisdancing.
I've found that most freestyle dancers without any training or substantial self-education mostly do the so-called "cracker squirm" or variants thereof. That's one reason why I seldom enjoy freestyle dancing. It doesn't work very well unless I have a partner with some good freestyle dancing chops, or if I'm in a group of reasonably skilled dancers. (One could admittedly dance solo, but I always feel weird if I'm the only person in the group who's doing anything interesting with the moves.)
It's unfortunate that some people tend to think of unfettered freestyle dancing as somehow better, by virtue of being unrestrained. Personally, I don't even think that it's fun -- at least, not without a substantial vocabulary of moves and some sense of artistry and musicality. And yes, I know that others don't feel the same way.
Yeah, personally I would get really bored with just doing the same random shaking all night long, with no other steps or moves. But obviously a lot of people are not bored by it, and thus not motivated to learn structured dancing.
Uh...what is the "cracker squirm"? (And I let this go before but in many contexts "cracker" is a racial slur, so...)
It can indeed be used as a slur, which is why I enclosed it in quotation marks and prefaced it with the phrase "so-called." I'm sure that when people use this term, they're just poking good-natured fun at the white-guy dancing stereotype. I'm certain that no racial slur is intended -- especially since Caucasians themselves frequently poke fun at this particular stereotype. Still, in the absence of a pithier term, I felt it best to preface it with that particular qualifier.
Anyway, I think that Google is the best way to explain the term. I'd post a link, but this forum won't allow a relative newbie like me to do so.
Also known as the "white boy shuffle" it involves moving back and forth from one foot to the other, arms held at waist level. In the movie "Hitch", Will Smith's character demonstrates it to Kevin James's character, explaining that it is the only "safe" dance for a man.
Biting the lower lip is optional.
I can mean the n-word as a joke all I like, that doesn't make it inoffensive. I wouldn't use it at all.
Like I said, that's why I chose to emphasize it as "so-called." It's one of those iffy terms -- nowhere near the same league as the n-word, and one that white folks sometimes use to self-identify themselves in a non-insulting way. Still, you're right; it's probably best avoided when the speaker's intent might not be clear.
There are people of many races who can't dance. Maybe just call them "rhythmically challenged"?
There are people from all races who have not LEARNED how to dance.
I stand corrected.
Separate names with a comma.