Swing Discussion Boards > Starting ECS with rock step? Opinions??

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by bclure, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. style

    style Member

    I think starting with a triple to the side is easier. Like when you throw a baseball, you reach back to get some speed going. A triple to the side gets the couple going together so that they are connected and flowing with the music.
  2. Apache

    Apache Member

    In the swing dance community, the lessons that I have taken (California and Pennsylvania) that have been 6 count only (ECS) have always oddly started with a rockstep.

    Frankly the only advantage I could see of starting with the rock-step instead is, at least with newbies if the instructor was teaching triple steps it would be a weight transfer easier to feel then the triples which are often fudged by newer dancers.

    Though I do agree with the sentiment of some of the other dancers here that starting with a rock step may trace back to the Charleston roots. In side by side partner Charleston, like previously mentioned usually starts with a step back.
  3. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    I start with the rock step because its slower than the triples. Whenever I dance with people who start on triples it feels like slamming on the gas in a car. By the same token, when I dance jitterbug (single time swing) I start with the side steps because they're slower than the rock step.

    As for the history, it goes back to lindy hop, which starts with a rock step (or alternatively, a kick wait), which has origins in charleston, which also starts with a rock step.
  4. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    That's a great point. It always felt that way--but you supplied the perfect explanation as to why!
  5. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    learned it initially with the rock-step first... then later took a newcomer class with a teacher who came from another state and she taught it the other way, it seemed less awkward for everyone, although i had to keep reminding myself to start that way
    they were all wedding couples but if they tried to dance with other students at the studio theyd be a little confused.
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I was coaching in A/M studios up till 2003.. the last one I was at, had not "changed" ,the original format ( and it was a competitive school at all the majors )...

    The commencing "rock " step action was purloined, if you will, from the old Be Bop style of the 40s, before Jive was formulated .
  7. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Kick wait?

    There is no rule where to start in an informal dance like Lindy. When in an organized class, it is common to start with a back/rock step on one (for the leader), but when dancing socially, start wherever it feels right. That is, grab the girl, move around together and let it flow into dancing in whatever way that feels natural.

    Of course, that is "advanced" in the sense that a beginner might not have the dance confidence and feeling that is needed to do this. But the point is, at least for Lindy, that there are no rules here, other than that it should fit the dance in a natural way.
  8. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    The kick-wait was the way I was originally taught the lindy whip, though most teachers I've since met teach the rock-step. On the count of 1 the leader kicks back or taps back without weight with the left foot (think count 7 of tandem Charleston), and count two he holds the same position while hooking the follower to come forward.
  9. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Of course! :)

    Interesting teaching that to beginners, as I consider that much more difficult than shifting the weight backwards. Especially when focusing on leading from the body, and not pulling with the arm alone.
  10. chachachacat

    chachachacat Well-Known Member

    In the 80's the AM syllabus started with a triple.
  11. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    First, I must admit that I have not yet read the rest of the thread. So this response is to the opening post.

    DVIDA is ballroom. I am primarily a social dancer who also moves within the ballroom (to paraphrase conservative Christians with their "NOTW", quasi-"former known as Prince"-style car decor emblems, I am in the ballroom world, but I am not of it). Ballroom ECS starts on the two triples and ends with the rock step. The Lindy community (of which I am a part), starts with a rock step.

    Starting with the rock step makes sense to me for two reasons:
    1. Whenever the couple gets lost, it's the rock-step that brings them back home. Therefore, that's what should be the start of a step.
    2. There are at least three different kinds of rock-steps which set up the rest of the move, so it only makes sense that the move starts with the rock-step; eg:
    a. the straight-back rock-step, which sets up an under-arm turn (AKA "inside turn", AKA whatever else you may want to call it).
    b. a round-rock-step that sets up an inside turn in-place.
    c. a round-rock-step-with-linear-impetus that gets the follower to move in a straight line along the "slot" (should one wish to think in slot terms) while turning -- usually done as a free-turn. My Lindy teacher calls it the "what's up?", since the leader holds his hands up in a "what's up?" pose as he shifts to his left as she's turning, to meet her at the other side in standard one-hand open position.

    Because I'm "in the ballroom world but not of it", to me Lindy is the actual dance while DVIDA ECS is the basdardized form. Though there is admittedly the added factor that Lindy Hop is a reconstructed dance. Still, the rock-step sets up the rest of the move, so it is logically the beginning of the move. Otherwise, you would have a wide variety of the same move, all ending in a different kind of rock-step depending only on what move follows. Waltz-Tango-Foxtrot?

    Now, since I'm also a Westie ... . Most WCS dances start with a starter-step, which, however intricate it may be (Oh, do please believe me, they can get very very intricate), starts with a triple-step. OTOH, most Lindies start with jockeying -- that is precisely the term used by Frankie Manning in an instructional tape that my father-in-law had copied for us -- please don't narc on us. Every song starts with an intro. During the intro, we get out on the floor and pick up on where the 1 is and we slow-dance-or-whatever with our partner until the intro finishes and we are solidly at the 1. Now, our Lindy teacher has also given us a routine to use with the intro of a particular song, which is to say that you can apply certain moves to the intro itself.

    The main point is (currently, at least), where's the frickin' 1? In Lindy, you want to start your 8-count moves (the swing-outs) on the 1. In WCS, you also want to start your whips (the 8-count moves) on the 1. In ECS, nobody cares, because with all those 6-count moves, you're only going to sync up on the music's 8-count phrasing every third time.

    OK, let's try it:
    Music: 123456781234567812345678
    ECS: 123456123456123456123456

    'nuff said?

    One of my WCS teachers has us start our two starting-step triples on count 4, so that those two triples end on the end of the 8-count phrase. Once the leader is at that point (ie, at the 1) he has complete control over where he's going to go ever thereafter.

    Compare that to what any ECS leader has to offer. With nothing but 6-count moves. Every third move, he returns to being on-phrase -- if he was fortunate enough to pick a down-beat as the 1; if not, then all bets are off. Without exception.
  12. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    This I find to be an interesting point. In the WCS world (or at least, the one that I'm a part of, which may not be the same as DWise...), the rule of thumb is that you get to the end of the slot and anchor.... In other words, the bailout is to retreat to the end of the pattern, rather than the beginning.

    (Note one: yes, you can reasonably argue that the end of pattern N and the beginning of pattern N+1 are the same place. But if partner needs more time to retreat, you continue anchoring - you repeat the end of the pattern).

    (Note two: you will occasionally find instructors who argue that the anchor is the beginning of the pattern. This doesn't help.)

    What a great term. You'll find support for jockeying (or something that matches that description) in west coast, especially in the context of competitive jack and jills. When I've run into it, the guideline has not been to fill the intro (which might only be one beat long, remember), but rather to get the partnership in sync.

    That has a lot more sense than truth to it - it doesn't actually hold up under scrutiny. But it's a wise simplification.

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