General Dance Discussion > Practice makes perfect thread

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by elisedance, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    We have a great thread on lessons (lessons, what are you working on) but none on practice. Other than that there is no theme - just to talk about what you worked on, where and anything special....

    I'll start off.....

    Last night went to our weekly wednesday practice at a large studio that a couple rent for 2 hours each week and we all pay a small floor fee. Its a fantastic venue as the floor is perfect - full size for comps (except perhaps for missing a corner where the DJ podium is). Also, there are usually no more than 6 or 7 couples so you don't have to worry much about collisions.

    The other nice thing is that the organizers play each many tunes one after the other for each dance style and they have far more standard than latin (great for us). Thus, you can work on one dance, say waltz. for about 20 minutes before shifting to another. We have all been going for months now and are getting to know each other quite well.

    dancing - worked mostly on our recent lesson stuff - fallawayreverse-contracheck-weave in waltz, rhumba cross-running right turn in QS, and improving swing in FT.
     
  2. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    The thread on under-turning in Viennese waltz inspired me to go work on that last night. I did left and right turns, just trying to do them consistently and keep them moving down the floor. Consistency has been a problem for me in VW; it's jerky. I need to be smoother, and keep my rise and fall under better control.
     
  3. and123

    and123 Well-Known Member

    Stay low, keep soft knees, and don't attempt rise and fall. Once you get the jerky-ness under control, then you can add a little more shape. Remember, no sway in reverse turns :cool:
     
  4. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Really? I didn't know that! I'll have to work on that.
     
  5. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    the hard thing for me was getting the feet to go straight down the floor while the body does the turns... Once that clicked suddenly things moved...
     
  6. and123

    and123 Well-Known Member

    For me, mentally keeping the upper body facing or backing wall on "2" whilst the feet do their thing worked wonders. Trying to alter moving different body parts at the same time often results in a brain collision and what I call "lumpy" dancing :rolleyes:. Work on one thing, get it so that it feels natural enough to not to think so much about it, and then add another thing. And there are time when fixing one thing automagically corrects another problem area. LOVE that :cool:
     
  7. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    (my blue)

    what a great word!
    Of course then there's the opposite, the domino-descent, when fixing one thing leads to a cascade of fall-aways, and I'm not talking of the step either!
     
  8. and123

    and123 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I hate when that happens. Tweak your technique, and suddenly you feel like you can't dance for crap anymore.
     
  9. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    Before starting a general practice, I find it's extremely helpful to say what you're working on. Just as lessons are more focused with a specific goal (i.e. "Today we're going to learn contra-checks") practice is far more effective with a specific goal (i.e. "I'm going to make sure I do heel leads and toe releases for all of my smooth dances and toe leads for all of my rhythm dances"). Identifying this to your partner(s) before dancing with them can be quite useful as well. If you're working on patterns, one should always identify them before you and your partner dance so that everyone is working towards the same end. Finally, if it's a supervised practice, tell the teacher before hand so s/he knows what to look for.
     
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Miscellaneous AT things throughout the house, when I remember it an am alone.

    Posture, walking (focusing on lengthening/contracting distance between center and hip), collecting (with the knees!), small embellishments (taps, taps behind) while walking, walking...walking...walking, ochos, walking, ochos, molinetes, walking, ochos, ochos, walking. Various crosses (left behind right, right behind left, left in front of right, right in front of left). Weight shifts. Control of axis.

    Unfortunately I can't actually practice in my heels, b/c we have a "no shoes" policy. So who knows how helpful it really is. But, at least it can't hurt, right?
     
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    this week...coordinating closing fan, using hip and arm styling

    purposeful alignments in various spots...

    smaller 5th pos.
     
  12. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    P: I think this also qualifies for 'you know you are addicted..." in particular the lovely closer - which questions whether the main impact of the effort is to improve dancing or to feed the ever hungry addiction :)

    That said, I'm sure we all do the same thing in our particular ways!
     
  13. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Definitely - even if within 3 minutes you discover something that you have to work on because you can't actually get there!
     
  14. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    Starting the practice session

    We alway start our practice sessions the same way. First a bit of stretching, then some solo extensions around the floor (I love to go full tilt backwards and do a few heel turn/pivots, warms me up and just feels so good).

    After that we take a simple (not full extension) hold and start doing Waltz basic 16s up and down the floor. This simple step sequence is anything but simple to execute together and without loosing ballance. During this phase we develop the frame to our max extension. The nice thing for me is that I can focus on frame leg action and foot placement (bringing together) without the extras involved in following.

    I'd love to hear how others start the practice.
     
  15. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    To an extent, it depends on what we plan to do. For me, it always starts with listening to some music first. If we're going to be doing rhythm, I like to listen to something with a definite beat (e.g., The System on XM) to get my brain into that groove, and help clear out other mental fluff (particularly if I'm going to the studio straight from work). Then, stretching. After that, if it's a rhythm night, we like to start with rumba. If it's a smooth night, we might start with bronze waltz to get the swing-n-sway going. But if we're going to be doing tango, we always plow right into that.
     
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Ha! I never thought about it like that. Some of it...yeah...definitely an addiction feeding thing. I listen to AT music almost all day, almost every day at work...it kills me to not be able to move to it. Gotta get it out of my system somehow.

    But even without the shoes, a lot of it is still beneficial. That my balance is different is a p.i.t.a., but I can still work on using my core, and I can still work on feeling my axis and controlling it, and I can still work on breaking down an ocho into it's component parts and learning to control them.
     
  17. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    ocho? hows that again?
     
  18. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Waddaya mean?
     
  19. elisedance

    elisedance New Member

    I'm uneducated and ignorant in the Ways of The Argentine Tango.

    so whats an ocho, apart from an 'oh' that repeats on you...
     
  20. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Ochos are essentially variations on pivots. Step, pivot, step, pivot, etc. Sort of similar to...fans?...in ballroom tango. (That might just be an am. tango thing, and it might not even be the right name.) They get their name from the imaginary design that would be drawn on the floor as the lady does the.

    You can do forward ochos (step forward, then pivot), or backward ochos (step backward, then pivot). And there's so-called overturned ochos, both back and forward, where the amount of rotation on each pivot is extreme and they actually travel as a result.

    Alternatively, there are (what my teacher calls) crossed-back ochos, where there is no pivot involved, only the crossing of one leg far behind the other when taking the step. They're only ever (IME, AFAIK) done backwards.

    Ochos are one of the most basic (see: most deceptively difficult) AT steps out there. Grossly overused by beginner leaders (not a fault, just a comment), and devilishly tricky to do beautifully.
     

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