Swing Discussion Boards > Rock n Roll

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by 2br02b, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. la morena

    la morena New Member

    Rock and Roll - Different styles?

    My partner and I are trying to learn rock and roll in order to compete in dancesport-allied events. We bought a DVD to try and learn (Kav Kavanagh) but the style he teaches ('authentic 50's jive and r+r') seems very different from the kind we have seen. The latter seems to be more of a kicking action whereas the former involves lots of turns.
    Are there different styles of rock and roll to learn - or is the version on the DVD just a basic introduction before progression to flicks and kicks?
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    You'll probably find the rock and roll is whatever DanceSport says it is. Reality is more complicated. I'll take a crack at this because I've been doing "research" into the origins of West Coast Swing, and a lot of things seem to be connected.
    This kind of dancing goes back to the swing era. Swing was running its course as the most popular kind of music in the country. The years involved are roughly the mid 1930s through about 1950.
    As swing was winding down, "Rhythm and Blues" was becoming more popluar. Country entered into the mix along with white people, and the music became known as rock and roll. This is, of course, a big simplification.
    The terms Lindy, Jitterbug, Jive, among others, were all used to describe the dancing that was done to "swing" music.
    Meanwhile, studios, and most notably Arthur Murray, noted what people were actually dancing, wrote it down, and began teaching it to people as whatever they decided on as a name. Thus we have East Coast Swing, which is supposed to be a studio created, easy form of swing, and West Coast Swing, which has an interesting history, too.
    I have a book published in 1984 that has the philosophy that it's all the same, Hep Cat through Rock and Roller. That is most certainly not the case, but, there are some cool moves in there.
    You just have to accept that none of this is clear cut in the real world. We are after all talking about 70 years of dance history. Rock and Roll as a music industry term is 50 years old now!
    Arthur Murray had a definition of Rock and Roll dancing. I'm sure DanceSport has their definition, too. And, it looks like I'm back where I started.
  3. VRRDA

    VRRDA New Member

    Steve is right. Check the DanceSport rules to find the way the Judges expect you to dance.

    For interest you can take a look at the Rules section in our website, see the link below, to get an idea of the Australian approach.

    In another post, where I was talking about the shortage of Rock’n’Roll vids on the web, I posted the following:

    European competition Rock seems to emphasise lifts to an extreme degree. R’n’R dance in Australia has the American Bandstand look. The more technical dancers are similar to Ballroom Jive dancers but more grounded and with less emphasis on triple steps.

    We acknowledge the influences of Lindy & Swing, Ballroom Jive and Latin styles but require competition dancers to maintain a Rock’n’Roll look.

    The very basic social “Pub Rock” four count basic-step is “Step, Step, Back, Step”.

    Advanced dancers tend to use a basic step of “Back, Step, Tap, Step, Tap, Step” and spice this up with Ball Changes, Kick Steps and Triple Steps.
  4. gclarke

    gclarke New Member

    Ballroom Jive and Rock and Roll

    Morning all - another question

    Having decided that I am definitely going to do my Bronze Medals IDTA, I am trying to get my head round how I'm going to approach things. I'm keeping up my class lessons for social reasons and basically I intend to try and introduce the correct technique as we learn in our private lessons elsewhere, into our class dancing. It will be tough for a while as we will have two sets of routines to live with.

    I have decided to pay more attention to the class stuff where it ties in with with my private lessons for the Bronze and not worry too much about anything else. For example I'm just going to go with the flow in the Social Foxtrot we learn in class and then forget it till we get to Ballroom Foxtrot.

    There is a limit to how much I can go home and work at and something has to give. Here's the crunch. We are learning Rock and Roll SSQQ which I am quite uncomfortable with and it takes a lot of practice for me to just get into it. I don't like it at present and I've tried to keep an open mind till now.

    Now I'm going to be doing Jive for The Ballroom Bronze, I'm asking myself if there is any point me spending too much time on Rock and Roll. I tried to do a bit of internet research on the various rhythm patterns and got very lost in the options and interchangeable titles etc.

    I loved this version of Rock and Roll - very different to what we do

    If we did that I would be very comfortable with it as a social thing separate to the Bronze but I can't work out the rhythm. Tried counting the Slows and Quicks unsuccessfully. Looks slow compared to jive though.

    I've managed to waffle on at great length again but what I wanted to ask is:
    What exactly is Ballroom Rock and Roll?
    How different will I find it from Jive as in the IDTA Bronze?

    That may be more of a question for the UK people here. I'm not sure how different thing might be elsewhere.
  5. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    It really depends on what you're looking to get out of your dancing. It seems like you'll be primarily dancing with Dave, so you have the opportunity to pick your dances. Jive is very different from the video you saw. It's alot faster. You can easily find an example of it on youtube.

    I have never done Rock and Roll as I'm in the US, but your video example reminds me of a bouncy West Coast Swing.
  6. gclarke

    gclarke New Member

    I think my aim at the moment is not to overload myself with stuff I can't use unless it's something I particularly enjoy doing. It's not Dave's favorite dance either.:)

    I have no conception of what Rock and Roll actually is apart from as we do it in class, which I don't like, and old Elvis movies (and now I'm showing my age). I liked what I saw in that video but it's nothing like we do in class which is faster danced to something like Runaround Sue.

    When people say Ballroom Rock and Roll, are they just using it as another name for the Jive?
  7. synchronicity

    synchronicity New Member

    The dance studios in the part of Europe I used to live in taught social rock and roll as basically this: Step, Step, Rock-Step (done to the SSQQ timing you described). Is that what you're learning?

    If so, that's what Americans call Single-Step Swing.

    And if that's the case, the short answer is that yes, it is a dance that does build up some of the skills that you'll need to be comfortable later with the Jive. Even though the look is completely different, you'll see that the Jive figures are taken from a pool of 'swing/jitterbug/lindy-type' movements, and figures from all those dances in the family have certain things in common.

    If you're doing something like a "Lady's Turn" or "underarm turn" in the Rock and Roll, for example, it's not that different from the Change of Places in Jive.

    [PS: this is different from European competitive Rock and Roll, of course, which is an acrobatic / aerial dance]
  8. gclarke

    gclarke New Member

    Thanks Synchronicity

    That makes a lot of sense.

    We basically have a QQ away from each other then the SS being change of place various turns etc.. So far the only change of pace has been a check on a turn which changes to all Q. I feel so clumsy doing this dance. In theory it should be way easier than the Samba for instance.

    Maybe I should persevere with it or I guess I may struggle with the Jive.:( Ah well, doing things we don't feel like doing is supposed to be character building!
  9. gary718

    gary718 New Member

    I agree, it seems that you are being taught what we would call single time swing. I believe the video you posted is triple time swing. It's a little difficult to see the count because he is just changing weight without moving his feet a lot. The count would be 1 2 3&4 5&6 or 1&2 3&4 5 6 depending on who teaches it. Basically you just replace the slows in the single time swing with triple steps.
  10. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    the rock step

    This is what makes it a single-time swing pattern. Jive is basically a triple-time swing, in that the SS gets replaced with quick-a-quick quick-a-quick - two little chasses, apart-close-apart, taking the same amount of overall time as the SS would have.

    There's a lot of difference in styling, but the basic concept is compatible and socially you could blur the difference, switch between single and triple time during the dance, etc.
  11. gclarke

    gclarke New Member

    Thanks all.

    Would you say the Rock and Roll as such is easier than the Jive? I wonder if he's teaching us that way because he's found Jive too much for previous classes of beginners?

    Everything else we do seems pretty much around the Bronze Syllabus with an odd bit of silver or gold thrown in.
  12. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    If it's like what the previous posters have said being single time swing, then it's much easier to learn than Jive. Single time swing is what is taught to people dancing for the very first time to be used in the social setting.
  13. jekyblue

    jekyblue New Member

    If Rock and Roll is indeed what I know as single-step swing, then I do think they are teaching it because it's perceived as easier than Jive. The steps aren't easier, but Jive is fast enough that beginners get frustrated with trying to do the steps at speed. I've seen someone try to teach Jive to a group of (adult) beginners and they sort of got the steps but everything came apart as soon as the music came on.

    (I've also seen a group of teenage beginners learning Jive and it seemed to take about 5 minutes before they all had it down. Ah to have the confidence of youth again.)

    Locally, triple-step or East Coast swing is a popular social dance and lots of folks here are comfortable with it. But when the music speeds up, many of them will switch to single-step swing because it doesn't require quite so much energy, though you can still do all the same patterns as in triple-step.

    I grew up with swing-style music so I feel comfortable with many versions of swing, but a lot of beginners seem to have trouble catching the rhythm of the swing dances. Once they 'feel' it, they start to enjoy the dance. A lot of them seem to 'feel' it a bit more easily when doing single-step.
  14. gclarke

    gclarke New Member

    Sigh I may feel 16 in my head but that extra 40 years is taking it's toll.

    We dance to stuff like Runaround Sue and that's plenty fast enough for me:)

    No actually it's not the speed I have trouble with, I just can't seem to relate to those 2 slow steps. I always feel like I should be doing something else with my feet.
  15. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    You can always replace that Single step with a triple step if you're too bored. Think of the triple step as a chasse.

    If you consider that song too fast, I suggest you put off Jive for now.
  16. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    if this helps, just remember the "slow" = 2 beats of music. Very often dance teachers will say "quick" or "slow" without explaining that each of those words refers to a specific number of beats. "Slow" typically refers to 2 beats, "quick" usually means 1 beat. Verbally, you could substitute "uh-oh" or "oh no" for "slow" to remind yourself of the two beats.

    If you feel like you should be doing something more with your feet, I agree with the above suggestions to substitute a shuffle (triple step) for each slow. Runaround Sue is a pretty slow song for single step swing IMO, but teachers tend to use slower songs for classes. The single step swing is better suited to much faster songs. Dance to a fast song like "Rock This Town" and you will see how it works. Good luck and have fun. :D
  17. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    Swing dances are awesome for social dancing outside of studios. Most places you will get to dance don't have a big floor or enough space for even a reasonable Foxtrot. Think about most banquets and weddings and their entire dance space is about the size of the corners your class keeps getting stuck in :)

    A swing dance gets a lot of people on a small floor all having fun. If you will be out dancing for a whole evening, single time swing is super handy for not wearing out.

    I find tango to complete opposite. Except at a ballroom dance or studio, I never find a chance to dance a tango.
  18. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    But tango is the one where backing out of the corner you ended up in is actually a named figure.

    Not that this helps without tango music.
  19. gclarke

    gclarke New Member

    Not bored just not getting it. I'm not sure whether it's the speed or what. I think the speed comes into it only because I'm having to concentrate really hard to keep time and then I forget the steps. Crazy!

    Putting off the Jive is not really an option. When he decides to do it in class I either do it or sit down and sulk:mad: I never let anything beat me so I'll go with the flow if the Rock and Roll is a stepping stone to the Jive.

    Lol I tried that and that WAS too fast, but only on the QQ. The SS was good.

    I could try the triple step/shuffle but that probably means I need my brain in gear more and then there's Dave to consider.

    I suppose I will just keep at it. I must have a Jive DVD somewhere. Maybe I will have a sneak preview and see how that feels:)

    Thanks for your input everyone.
  20. bjp22tango

    bjp22tango Active Member

    A lot of beginners have a problem with the QQ in single time swing at speed, because they think they have to throw their entire body weight back and forth on each quick. "Rock Step" really is misnamed. There is no rock involved. You put enough weight on the back step to take your forward foot off the floor and then you replace the front foot, either in the same place, or somewhere else if the leader is leading you to move into a turn of some sort.

    So you are only putting partial weight on the back foot and then pushing out of it for the next quick.

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