Swing Discussion Boards > Simply Swing!

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by d nice, Aug 7, 2003.

  1. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Okay, here it is... the warm and fuzzy thread to unite all of the Dance-Forums together! ;)

    Our goal is to collaborate and create a simple method to teach swing dancing.

    I would first suggest we decide on what style of swing, or perhaps instead of a single style we discuss the various forms of swing and what similarities they have so we can distill the "essence" of swing dancing into a teachable whole, allowing teachers to make modifications to the material as necessary to the form.

    Anyone want in?
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Should we first discuss the important partner communication details that should be addressed to dancers, or give the students the body movements and feeling of the music through their self?

  3. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    How about I start with a question on common patterns used in Lindy Hop and triple time ECS. :D

    The only one I have seen is both make use of an eight count turn where the leader takes the followers right hand with his left and puts it behind the followers back, changes to putting the follower's hand in his right hand and turns her to the outside. From what I now understand this is sometimes referred to as the "Texas Tommy."
  4. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    How about sub-categorizing?

    :idea: Simply Swing General Discussion
    :idea: Balboa
    :idea: ECS
    :idea: Lindy (Hollywood, Savoy)
    :idea: Shag
    :idea: WCS
    :idea: Other

    Arranged alphabetically . . . users curse down to the ones they are interested in, or click on "last 50 posts" (right SD?) to stay up with the latest. I belong to a home theater forum that has about 40 sub-topics and a guitar forum that has about 30. So, it can be done!

    A lot can be done . . . i.e., taped: lessons, lesson of the week, patterns . . . just takes time, team work and interest, and being man (woman too!) enough to refrain from arguments, accusations, finger-pointing, etc.

    Let's do it! There is so much to learn . . .
  5. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Why don't we talk about partnering concepts first needed for general swing and then move on to body movement.

    From there we can explore a specific style discussing what makes it different and what makes it the same.

    As a moderator we can just keep all of this in this thread, and I can split it out and move things around once we have a topic covered.
  6. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    OK, partnering concepts:

    Generally speaking, could we say that the frame is the central focus? And also, that the frame is a function of the body's movement?.
    As the man moves, he is maintaining a consistency with his frame. The lady starts to feel the change in the frame and, since here frame is also maintaining a level of consistency, her body starts to respond. As a result, the lady is generally a split second slower that the man.
    (I hope this is the direction you were going in d nice, but feel free to guide us)
  7. d nice

    d nice New Member

    That is the direction I was wanting to take.

    Frame is the means by which body movement is relayed.

    Frame is a dynamic use of the torso muscles to control the degree of movement of a person's arms in relation to the movement of the person's body.

    Frame is maintained by the pecs and lats, not the arm muscles. Stiff arms make the frame less reactive not more reactive.

    A drill to explore the natural use of frame.
    Stand a foot further away from a wall than your outstretched arms can reach. Allow your self to fall towards the wall. There are three possible reactions, one that is correct and two that are wrong. Your body will only make each mistake once, and chances are you made them when you were a toddler learning how to walk.

    If you stiffen or lock your arm muscles the impact becomes jarring and uncomfrotable. If you do nothing you will crash head first into the wall. Your body's natural reaction is to start flexing your pecs and lats slowing your body down, protecting your joints and at the same time keeping your head safely away from the wall. This is your frame at work in "the wild" so to speak.
  8. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    d nice,
    Nice picture you painted for me . . . my frame is great in Swing and lead with my center, yet I certainly will keep this in mind in my Waltz. I kinda look like the "guy in movie with the metal frame." Yea, that rigid!"

    Now I have your picture etched in my brain . . . will give it a shot tonight at practice . . . comp coming up in three weeks. Thanks
  9. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Other forms of dance will include slight variants of the pecs and lats relation as they will with the bicep/tricep/deltoid relation some even including use of the traps. Some require the elbows elevated some not elevated but lifted away from the body etc.

    So while in the Swing dances the frame is very "reductionist" other forms of dance will have variance... but they all rely on the pecs and lats at the root. Discovering the differences is half the fun.
  10. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Feel free to add to the frame bit as we go.

    The way I teach is first to teach the dancers how to connect together, so I teach frame. I then teach how frame is used to move and be moved, so body leading and commitment of weight is what I teach next. I then teach rhythm. My idea behind this is that while the rhythm is very important and what usually sets one dance from another, teaching basic partering skills produces more confident and more skilled dancers faster. After rhythm I teach vocabulary.

    We of course don't have to do it this way... I've just found that this produces the best results, it is the same method I used when training fighters for Mixed Martial Arts bouts, and how I was trained to teach CQC in the Marines... obviousely with some modifications (like not killing your partner... tends to make it harder to get someone to dance with). :roll:
  11. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    d nice,
    I work a lot on the importance of "the frame," and why we don't break frame, etc.
    Next - the importance of proper hand-connections (no thumbs on top of the follower's hand; no tight connections.
    Next the old "rubber band in-the-hands" thing to teach them the stretch of WCS, yet still not braking frame.
    Next centering, or "flashlighting" . . . for body leading . . .
    Next anchoring and commitment to weight . . . and insuring both the lead and follow do a solid anchor for now (no toe tapping); insure that the follower d/n "coaster step" into ct 1 before that ct is given.

    And we haven't even arrived at a starter step, patterns, turns, etc.

    I'm new at teaching WCS . . . anything wrong here? Is this where you are heading??? I want to follow "your" lead here . . .
  12. diff e.q.

    diff e.q. New Member

    I don't really think thumbs are so bad. The most effective hand position I've found is with my fingers tucked in the followers palm, which naturually leads to my thumb being on top of her hand.

    If one works to keep thumbs off you wind up with either a strictly finger connection or thumbs rigid in the air, neither lends itself to an effective hand connection.

    Special note needs to made to keeping elbows down and arms with that "wade in the water" feeling.

    One drill for centering I like is to take both the followers hands in one hand (so her arms and shoulders form a triangle) and lead her around like that demonstrating how the triangle "should" always be isoscles but the hands can move up and down, in and out in relation to the body, but not side to side.
  13. d nice

    d nice New Member

    I generally don't mention hands this early unless I see something I feel needs to be nipped in the bud. There is nothing wrong with the thumb on the back of the hand... as long as no undo pressure is being applied through it. Keeping the thumb relaxed is the more important than where it is placed as long as the fingers of the leader are in the followers palm and her fingers make a strong arch/hook.

    I tend to put this a bit later to be honest... I start touching on this when vocabulary is introduced, where they can start getting used to feeling it as they execute moves.

    I skip this almost all together (actually I introduce when I start teaching about the various styles of WCS). I know it is the vogue these days in WCS but it isn't part of the original dance, and I find that a lot of followers will think so much on flashlighting that they never actually follow, instead turning their own body to constantly face the leader, rather than letting his connection and body movement cause chanegs in her orientation through the frame. If you teach flashlighting, I'd highly suggest pressing the point home that it is the frame that creates this effect and use a drill or two demonstrating this.

    Yeah, getting the idea that the anchor step is intended to create that elastic feeling which allows the follower to be brought forward easily, is important.

  14. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    d nice,
    Thanks for the tips. I'll give them a try, as I'm still trying to put a mental lesson plan together . . . before finalizing anything.

    I can definitely understand introducing some of the things, which I mentioned, down the road . . . I do want to avoid information overload for a new student.

    When do you start a brand new student on things like starter steps, L and R side passes, pushes, etc.?

    I've spent 3 weeks on one student that had "no left" feet, muchless, two left feet. Absolutely, no rhythm, but his wife does and she has caught on quickly, so he wants to learn . . . this has been the toughest obstacle to get over so far! Any tips on this???
  15. diff e.q.

    diff e.q. New Member

    one of the questions that we keep revisiting is when to introduce what. we keep searching for that perfect balance of introducing technique, teaching vocabulary, and still keeping things fun yet challenging, moving but not overwhelming.

    Once our students get into the intermediate range it is much easier, but it still feels like a brand new experiment with every beginning class we teach.
  16. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    I'd also stress the importance of communicating the importance of dancing with your partner. All of the technical aspects of this aside, without this conceptual basis something will always be missing....
  17. diff e.q.

    diff e.q. New Member

    that is a good point.
  18. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you!

    I've found that its very easy for people to get caught up in the execution and even learning at the expense of remembering what makes partner dancing so special...the partner!

    Of course partnering skills are clearly, and by deffinition, about partnering, but I see a huge difference--all the way up and down the spectrum--in the dancing of those who see partnering as a technical skill and those who see it as the foundation of their dancing.
  19. d nice

    d nice New Member

    I emphasize dancing with your partner from day one. It is why I teach frame first... and why everything is always about relational positioning and body leads.

    More than just teaching the proper technique, I teach the why of the way. It is all about your partner.

Share This Page