General Dance Discussion > Style versus Technique

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Black Sheep, May 29, 2003.

  1. d nice

    d nice New Member

    I kind of disagree, I think...

    I've found that when you dance with proper technique in a dance form the styling is inherent to it. This does not of course apply to all dances, particularly competitive dances where the style has become abstract and gratuitous and added on to the dance itself.
     
  2. will35

    will35 New Member

    I agree with d nice. Inherent to the form, and inherent in the person's natural way of moving, body type, etc. After a lot of practice, a person finds his/her own style. Like Boriken salsero said, better to try to look like yourself than look like him. But it is a little tough for a teacher to teach you to be natural. That's why simple is almost always diffficult. I just thought of a silly suggestion to teach style. What if the teacher told the student to put his hand or any other body part in an exaggerated position, then told the student to put it on the other end of the spectrum in an equally exaggerated position, and said, "now, the natural position is somehwere between those two, it is up to you to find what is most natural."? I just made that up. Do you like it? But like d nice said, it has nothing to do with competition or show where there are rules.
     
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm, will35. You've made me think. Yes, there are rules in competition, but aren't the best dancers, competitive or otherwise, the ones who find a way to tap into their own personal style, whatever that may be, and let it show? Maybe amplified for competition, but still their own personal style? Hmmm. Still thinking. :?
     
  4. will35

    will35 New Member

    Okay, Pygmalion, but don't take what you're saying too far. That would be denying the difference between good show and good social dance. To me, competitive dancers all look a lot alike. That makes styling easier to teach. "Here, put your arm like this, etc." Social dance is just different.
     
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm. :? Very interesting perspective. what does everybody else think? My jury is still out. :D
     
  6. will35

    will35 New Member

    Of course, I could be wrong. I guess what I am thinking is that I have never heard a ballroom teacher say, "Don't do that turn the way I did it. Make up your own." I assumed the same went for styling.
    If you look at the different ballroom dances, so many things look alike. How much variation can be left after years and years of the same people doing and teaching all the dances? I guess I am still thinking about this one, too.
     
  7. will35

    will35 New Member

    Yes, there are rules in competition, but aren't the best dancers, competitive or otherwise, the ones who find a way to tap into their own personal style, whatever that may be, and let it show?
    -Pygmalion
    There is another way to think of that. Aren't the ones who win all the competitions the ones with the style that naturally fits into what is expected of a ballroom dancer? If some people were to really let their personal style come out, people would say, "That is yucky, not ballroom at all." I bet if you looked at the oldest ballroom footage of a competition you could find, it would look a lot like footage from last week. Some people would argue that real natural style is weeded out. I am not saying that, but I have heard it.
     
  8. MissAlyssa

    MissAlyssa New Member

    The thing about it is, if you dance with your own technique and style and people go "oh that's yucky" you shouldn't care if it comes from the heart (and if you're competing, you aren't breaking the rules)
     
  9. will35

    will35 New Member

    Right, Miss Alyssa, but will you win the competition? This is an interesting topic, and it has very little to do with the original topic. But, I want to say only one more thing without judging anybody. Do you think that a Brazilian who learned to dance the Samba when she was three and has been dancing all her life without any training from English people could go to a contest in England and win the Samba? How often have Cubans who have danced to their "son" all their lives won a Rumba competition? Ne-ver. I repeat, Ne-ver.
    Of course, the question is academic, because both those dances have moved on now in their own countries, and what the English and Americans dance looks a little like an antique version of them. Haven't we seen something like that in every dance we do? The teaching of it is rigid and set in stone, and the dance keeps moving. My suggestion is that maybe style is the same way.
     
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    This is getting to be an interesting topic. Ballroom samba, or mambo, or cha cha, as we know it, was a snapshot in time, and now has moved on and evolved into the highly regimented form we ballroom people know today. Meanwhile, the authentic root dance has moved on, too, quite likely in a totally different direction. So which is now a valid art form? Both? Neither? Hmmm.
     
  11. will35

    will35 New Member

    In France they have an academy of letters, and they control the language with an iron fist. Frenchman cannot even say walkman legally. And the whole country does not even know how to spell because the Academy refuses reform. I saw recently they just recognized the existence of some words that have been in use forever.
    The Academy does not even know how useless it is. People learn to speak because it is natural, not because the Academy.....
    Well, nevermind. I just hope we are not a French Academy of Dance Professionals here.
    Not being judgemental, just thinking aloud.
    You see, it is tough enough to just be a dictionary and keep up with what is happening. A new dictionary comes out every day in English with new words. And about every two or three minutes, some kid on the street invents a new word. Tough to keep up with that.
     
  12. MissAlyssa

    MissAlyssa New Member

    Everything evolves. I don't think an antique version of anything to be any more valid or precious than a new version. Everything has value, it's up to every individual to place their own value on it.


    Getting back to my above post, if I went to a competition and danced my own style and lost I would be happier than if I compromised myself and danced someone elses style and won.
     
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I see where you're going with this, will. Here we are arguing the validity of certain dance "words" or, let's say, innovations. Meanwhile, someone with the proper spirit is out there reinventing the dance. :D Good point. :D
     
  14. MissAlyssa

    MissAlyssa New Member

    I guess what I was getting at was if no one every pushed the boundaries or invented or evolved or changed things or themselves or dancing etc. we would still be stuck in the beginning of time.
     
  15. will35

    will35 New Member

    I'd like to see a competition for that, "The Beginning of Time Dance". That would truly be natural styling. It would look a little unsophisticated. Would some caveman win or would it be Ronald Coleman and Vivien Leigh?
     
  16. smoothdancingirl

    smoothdancingirl New Member

    I think you can teach beginner technique with beginner steps even if your using a sylabus and the students haven't bought more. Keep in mind I said beginner technique. So students shouldn't be learning HT T TH on their first 10 lessons.
    But you can teach a student good posture, how to keep the body over the feet, and how to do basic lead and follow. Technique doesn't have to only mean the students have to learn everything a teacher knows and how to read dance notation out of the dance manuals.
    The goal with beginners should be to give them basic knowledge of patterns, timing (including dancing on time), good posture, very basic footwork (do I use a heel or toe, don't teach foot rise), basic leg actions (down or up, bend or straight, not concentrating on hip action), basic rotation (only about an 1/8 to 1/4), and basic lead and follow (how are they connected and how does the man communicate physically to the lady).
    That's actually a lot when you think about it. I could spend a whole lesson or two on a box step. (that would be boring, but 15 minutes is about right per lesson(introduce a new point every lesson)) Whoever said you shouldn't teach anything but direction or patterns and is selling the dancing that way will produce students that will make you look bad and they won't continue. They are your product. My moto is to teach people how to dance not a dance.
     
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    This sounds very good to me. Teach people to dance so that, even if they stop at the end of this lesson block, they have a clear picture of the patterns, style and technique required for their level.


    Unfortunately, that is not what I've encountered as a student. Instead, I've encountered teachers who withheld technique, waiting until I bought more lessons. Wrong! and obscene, in a way. A good reason why I've moved on to a new studio.


    I wonder what I'll do if (when :D ) I'm ever a dance teacher? Hmm.
     

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