Swing Discussion Boards > Technique and Tact

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by MAJ28, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. MAJ28

    MAJ28 New Member

    Hi all, (do I get the newb post pig award yet?)

    Now that I’m getting slightly more proficient I have a few more basic technique and tact questions, if you experts would be so kind:
    • What is the name of the move in which you put the arm of your partner behind their head and then slide your arms down each others?
    • How do you end the above move, as far as footwork is concerned?
    • If you dancing to a slower tune in closed position, where do you face your head?
    • Is it considered to tacky to end a spin with another spin?
    • How low do you dip your partner at the end of a song?
    • Unrelated – Do you think it’s a cheap move to try to score some digits during or after the end of a dance?
    • Do you ever turn down dances at socials? I don’t, but I think I might start – if I can find a polite-sounding way to do it.
    • Do you think it’s impolite for me to make technique critiques to the less-experienced partners I have? I do it in a very polite respectful way, but I’m not sure how they are taking it – it seems to be alright.
    • The toughest question of all – What new moves can I experiment with, so far I know basic spins/turns, see #1 above, cuddle, basic dip (and variations), and I think that’s about it. I know basic cha cha and basic closed position. I don’t know how to begin a turn/spin from closed position for example.
    • Do you guys ever feel like you’re doing the same monotonous moves? I’m getting kind of shy about dancing now, because I like any uniqueness because I don’t know really enough moves to make for an interesting dance.
    PS – I’m freaking dying to test out my new shoes! I’m doing some leg exercises to my dips seem less like I’m straining.

    Also, I did try to read the post for newbies, but I didn't want to through the whole list and search for them all - old links are broke.
  2. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    • The move where you put the arm of your partner behind their head and then slide your arms down each others.

      Seriously. A lot of stuff doesn't have names you just say what is it you're doing.

      However you want. It depends on if you're doing ECS or Lindy or WCS. Want to do a spin or a triple or a tap step...do it. It's swing, the rules are meant to be bent.

      No, it's called a double spin, triple spin, etc. Do as many as you want/you partner is comfortable with.

      She can control this or you can. It should be what you're both comfortable with. If your partner has bad knees you shouldn't be doing it at all. Dips can be dangerous. If other partners aren't watching floorspace you can get hurt. You partner should be supporting her own weight, she'll pull you over if not. Start small and test how far you can go with certain people.

      uh, YAY! DON'T DO IT. If they ask for advice that's one thing. But as you've said, you're still in the early learning stages. Who are you to tell someone they're doing something wrong. You just might not be aware of something that they are doing and as a result think it's incorrect. NEVER make a critique on the social floor.

  3. randomMysh

    randomMysh New Member

    I have to second that. I just heard of the (not so great dancer) guy who was social dancing with Brandi Tobias and telling her what she's doing wrong. You do NOT want to be that guy.
  4. jon

    jon Member

    Shrug. Shoulder slide, skin the cat, arm slide... students ask the instructors, the instructors make up some name on the spot. Maybe Arthur Murray has it standardized :)

    Most likely by sliding down during two triples, reconnecting the hands, and doing a rock step in open.

    Where I can see oncoming traffic before sending my partner there, e.g. usually I'm looking out over her shoulder.

    You don't have to dip your partner and if you do, it should be very shallow unless you know her well. It gets formulaic to do it every time. Some people have bad backs and don't care to be dipped. Some people will drop all their weight onto you and end up on the floor, or give you a bad back/shoulder as you try to hold 100+ pounds moving downwards rapidly when you're not in a position to do so.

    See the dating threads (also, keep in mind there is a wide age/nationality range here, so try to avoid obscure slang). But yes, I do. She only agreed to dance with you. If you want to discuss a date, that's a different conversation.

    I do, but only because I am really tired, or do not trust/like the person. The polite way to do it is "no, thank you"; no explanation is required. If you want to dance with her at some future time, I suggest something truthful and brief in addition like "I'm sitting this one out; can I ask you later on?".

    Yes, it is impolite to offer unsolicited advice on a social dance floor, in many cultures anyway (I believe Damon has commented in the past that in his birth culture, that's more accepted).

    The ones you've learned well enough to be confident in leading. If you want to practice / experiment with someone, that should be agreed before the dance.

    Yes. You never get completely over worrying about boring your partners, or at least I haven't. Try concentrating on the person you're dancing with, rather than the moves you're doing. Works sometimes for me.
  5. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    I don't recall the names that my instructors have given it.

    I was taught to end it with an open-tuck and free spin; ie, rh-rh as you're bringing it in towards you (which would normally turn her back to you if you let it go past you to the right), stop your hand righ tbetween you and at waist level. If she gives good connection, then she'll be pressing her hand against yours. Then lead her into a free spin to her right and when she comes back around you catch her right hand with your left and you're ready for the next move.

    I have also seen and borrowed (well, stole) a move where you lead her into a left turn that's like an inside roll. Same as above, you're bringing your hand across from left to right. Normally, you'd keep it at waist level, but this time you spiral it up, halo over her head thus turning her to her left, and as she comes back around and you're bringing your right hand down then you transfer her right hand into your left and you're in open position ready for the next move.

    And another that I just realized is that as you would be moving your hand from right to left, you could instead lead her into a round rock-step at that point and lead her into what moves you can do from a rh-to-rh round rock-step.

    When you're up close in closed position, it is customary (in all dances that I know of that use this position) to offset yourself a bit to the left, so that the centerline of your body lines up with the right side of her body. This also serves to offset the feet so that you can do flash kicks safely, plus for those moves (or dances, like balboa or bachata or blues) that require fairly full body contact you will not find yourselves crotch-to-crotch, which could be embarrassing.

    So, if your bodies are both offset to your lefts, your heads would more naturally and comfortably face towards the left. This will also allow you to breathe during the dance (we are advised to not exhale when our faces are close together).

    Occasionally could be seen as fun. For example, last Friday I sent my partner into a tuck turn with a double turn and simply continued to turn her a few more times making a small circle around me. Not something I would normally do, but she's a salsera and I know that she likes to do double and triple spins and could handle it. But more than once per dance, or even per evening, would be pushing it.

    Also, in West Coast, we're taught that if we've just put her through some spins, we should lead something more stable (eg, a sugar push or underarm turn) to give her a chance to recover before we lead more spins. Again, you could push it if you know she can handle it and you don't do it too often.

    Do you mean to get in a grope? Yes, that is a very cheap move -- possibly only OK if you're already on intimate terms with her, but even then the dance floor is a bit too public for that kind of foolery.

    Don't get too hung up and worried about it, because that way leads to loss of confidence and sinking into a slump. I went into a really bad slump for most of one year before I finally realized that the object to dancing is to have fun, to let her have fun, and to play together with the dance.

    Now, to expand your repertoire, consider modifying what you already know. You have a basic move. Think of different ways to go into that move. Even easier, think of different ways to get out of it. We already went over a few ways to get out of that one move you led off with. And mix them up a bit.
  6. It's Wonderful

    It's Wonderful New Member

    I'm pretty sure "Do you think it’s a cheap move to try to score some digits during or after the end of a dance?" refers to digits as in numbers. As in phone numbers. At least, I hope :lol:
  7. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I think so too. It can be done at all three times when it is appropriate to do so.
  8. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Since I'm not on the distribution list for the code book, I had to decipher it as best I could.
  9. MAJ28

    MAJ28 New Member

    Well about tonight...

    I can see how "digits" could be misunderstood, I was referring to a phone number.

    Well folks, it's a been good night! Less robotic, more relaxed and we had a different instructor. He actually mentioned frame and was MUCH more specific on technique (unlike the regulars.) I went for a number at the end of the night, during a medium speed song with a partner I'd been frequenting tonight. I got politely rejected for some seemingly truthful reasons and the dance went on quite well as if nothing happened, so no bad results 'this' time. What is this "(eg, a sugar push" you refer to?

    The most difficult part about swing dancing is the fact that there's always someone there that's better than you, but I guess that's life. I just can't help but sit thinking - "damn, he makes me look like such a loser." Which obviously I'm progressing, but anyway....

    Move question - I saw this move the other day that was done from close position. Both hands were joined and the guy moved his right hand inside, and then quickly back outside putting her into and outside turn. Most of my partners have been 1st timers or less dance time than me, and I think they don't mind a little tip here or there. How do I indicated to them that that is what I intend to do. When I moved my right hand in they automatically think that I'm putting them into and outside turn - tips? Also, on what step do I begin this move. I would assume I pull my right hand inside during the 1st step so that during the 2nd step she'd perform the spin and we'd end on rockstep.... but that just doesn't seem like enough time.

    Tonight, my new StacyAdams were freaking awesome, all my moves felt more natural and smooth!

    I love you guys, your advice is priceless! (If you ever need car repair advice let me know....)


    P.S. Are any of you on myspace? I'm ......./maj28 .
  10. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    In the
    Imperial society of teachers of dancing
    Rock'n'Roll Study notes for Professional Examinations and Amateur Medal Tests
    It's called Flirt.

    Yes, I think that's pretty funny. Had this instructor class once where they were using all these formalizations. :roll:

    However you want, as long as it works. But according to my study notes, on 5-6: "Tap step RF in place, releasing hold as the Lady slides her R hand down the Man's R arm to end in R Side Position facing opposite direction with R to R Hand Hold."

    I've never done that move since I started dancing Lindy though. :)

    As DWise1 said, you're usually a bit shifted, so that the lady's head is on your right side. So you may either look her in the eyes, rest your head aginst hers, look away behind her or something else depending on the situation, how close you are dancing, how well you know each other etc.

    Make your moves fit the music. Don't spin the girls too much, or they might become dissy. (I have a tendency to use too much spins sometimes. :oops: )

    I think this has been properly covered by the other forumers.

    Yes. :-D

    In my oppinion, don't use the dance to score digits or anything else. If you have good chemistry you can talk to each other. And if you like each other, then ask for her digits.

    Well, that's my oppinion anyway. Other are more direct then I ever will be. But you have to remember that in the dancing community, dancing is primarily about dancing. That's why you can ask just about anybody for a dance. Nobody expects the dance to mean anything else than that.

    In a bar you might be turned down if you try to chat someone, because that person is not interested in you. On a dance in a dance scene that will thankfully not happen very often.

    In relation to last answer, only when I have a reason to not wanting to dance with anyone. Dancing is in my oppinion about dancing and having fun, not about picking up girls. So I don't exclude anyone.

    The reasons for saying no to someone is usually because I need a break for some reason. Or I might turn someone down if someone else already asked me. In both cases, I usually put the turned down girl on my "should ask them to dance soon" list.

    Unless you really know the person, don't offer critique. In most places it's considered rude. Also remember, dancing is about having fun. Making mistakes can be a lot of fun. I know some girls who have the most fun when mistakes are made.

    Look at videos. Look at other dancers. Try picking up what they do. Learn your moves well, relax, and start experimenting with different ways of leading the same moves. Slow down or speed up parts of the move. Make the moves fit the music. Put moves together in new and different ways.

    Not so much any more. Dancing is not about the moves. The moves are a framework. Within this framework you should be free to have a lot of fun. As I wrote a couple of questions above, there are some girls who will have the most fun when you make mistakes. That's because they love playing around and doing "stupid" things. I've seen awful dancers, in the technical sense, having a lot of fun on the floor, because the play around and do a lot of silly stuff. I've seen dancers like that win jack'n'jill contests too. Because they play around and have fun, and are not limited by the moves and patterns.

    Not everybody are good at doing that. I'm not. But it can be learned with time, practise and experience. I had to be really comfortable leading, knowing it was "my dance" so to speek, before I could let myself go. Still others are much better at it than I am.

    But the point is, being a good technical dancer knowing a lot of interesting patterns and moves, that's no more than 50% of being a good dancer when it comes to social dancing.
  11. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I agree with this. I've seen couples click who are not doing anything close to what the "formal danec" should be but were a pleasure to watch as their connection was so apparent!
  12. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    A Westie's Voice

    Adding to the pile

    The most difficult part about swing dancing is the fact that there's always someone there that's better than you

    No, the most difficult part about swing dancing is learning that most people are worse than you, and figuring out what you need to do about it....

    • Is it considered to tacky to end a spin with another spin?

    I wouldn't say tacky so much as clumsy - finishing one spin then immediately leading another is a bit "red light, green light" for my tastes. Additional spins before finishing is OK, though (example: extending a spin for two more beats). In other words, leaving the hand up for more spins = OK. Bringing the hand down, then immediately bringing it back up.... not so much.

    • How low do you dip your partner at the end of a song?

    Important variables here are your technique, her technique, mood of the dance you just did, and familiarity with each other. Which ever of these is smallest, that's how low you can dip.

    • Unrelated – Do you think it’s a cheap move to try to score some digits during or after the end of a dance?

    No, but I think it is less effective than trying to score off the dance floor. Besides, I'm not going to remember the number, and have no where to write it when I am dancing.

    I think it's generally wiser to be forward off the floor.

    • Do you ever turn down dances at socials?

    Me? Really close to never. Injury, imminent departure, booked ahead (in which case I always track down that follower later). Asking people to dance is hard, so I do what I can to encourage it.

    Occassionally, I'll defer by inviting the follower to sit out this song and visit, then dance the next one.

    • Do you think it’s impolite for me to make technique critiques to the less-experienced partners I have?

    Almost certainly, by which I mean, it would almost certainly be impolite even were you much more experienced than you are today. Don't start that habit if you can possibly help it.

    • The toughest question of all – What new moves can I experiment with, so far I know basic spins/turns, see #1 above, cuddle, basic dip (and variations), and I think that’s about it. I know basic cha cha and basic closed position. I don’t know how to begin a turn/spin from closed position for example.

    I don't have an answer to this question; what I would encourage instead is experimenting with the moves you've got. How many different ways can you dance a cuddle? Learning how to change things so that it fits the music is REALLY BIG. It's at the top of my list of "what do you wish you had been told years ago when you first started dancing?"

    • Do you guys ever feel like you’re doing the same monotonous moves? I’m getting kind of shy about dancing now, because I like any uniqueness because I don’t know really enough moves to make for an interesting dance.

    Absolutely - I get bored with my dancing from time to time. "Flat" is the adjective I normally use.

    But it isn't something to be particularly shy about. Because though you are again doing your "five cheesy moves", they are different from the five cheesy moves of the guy she was dancing with during the previous song.

    Also, it's a social dance. Which means you are allowed to make thing interesting by being social. Showing interest in your partner. That sort of thing.

    Who knows, it may even score you some phone numbers.
  13. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Mainly a West Coast Swing (WCS) move. It's basic form is the "push break" In which:
    1 2: In two-handed open position, you step back drawing her with you (in WCS, the follow almost always steps forward on 1 and rarely rock-steps).
    3 4: You stop with either a tap-step or a triple step. She is pressing against your hands as you are against hers. On 4, you step forward which leads her to step back.
    5&6: Anchor in place pulling slightly away from each other (the common ending to a WCS move).

    That was the push break. She can swivel as she's coming in and do something fancy during the 3-4, which is what adds the sugar.

    We've also done sugar pushes in Lindy. But there it's rare.

    From Dizzy's Desiderata:
    6. If you compare yourself with others, you may become frustrated or overconfident, for always there will be greater and lesser dancers than yourself.

    It's generally considered impolite to instruct your partner during a dance. However, what I've found is that if I try a move and she did know how to follow it, I'm ready to politely move on, but she'll often stop me and ask for me to teach it to her. Even then, if it's involved, then I'll offer to show her off on the side after the dance.
  14. huey

    huey New Member

    Yes - don't do it.
  15. huey

    huey New Member

    Great advice Flat Shoes, that's my experience too. Sometimes I get turned on dancing with someone, and then I remember - it was a 'just' a dance. If I really want to get to know someone better, then I need to talk to them.
  16. kansas49er

    kansas49er New Member

    I would have to concur with the rest. This is poor form, and could lead to embarrassment! We were at a beginners class recently that we had not attended in 6 months or so do to other comittments...preprating for our team competition and couples traditional contest. WHile would not say we are excellent or even great dancers, my wife got a kick, sortof, out of one of the students who had been in the beginners class for less than a month. His comment went something like "Not bad for your first time here, but you need to work on your sugar push and the footwork is....."

    The first part of the comment was kinda insulting, the rest was comical. As a very polite person, she just said "thank you" I know of some who would have left the guy in tatters. By the way, he was TRULY a beginner, obvious from 50 feet away.
  17. It's Wonderful

    It's Wonderful New Member

    My, you have a very restrained wife! But then, something similar happened to me at a tango social. I had a very challenging dance with a beginner lead (also taking classes for less than a month) and after the song he comes to kneel in front of my seat, does the whole lips-pursed-and-hands-clasped-pose, and begins telling me all the little footwork mistakes I should really work on. :roll: And all I said was "hmm, thanks", but my defense is that I wanted to get dancing with anyone else!
  18. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    Same here. After dancing 6 months an instructor asked me to come in and help out in his beginner class as it was really lLead heavy. It was the second class when I showed up and a new lead starting telling me what I was doing wrong. Thanks buddy.

    Here's the thing MAJ28....you're new, you admit that. So what makes you know your part so well that you can offer advice and tips to someone doing the other part? Just because you think they're new or think they like the advice doesn't make it right. You never know what skill level someone really is, how interested they really are in improving vs. having fun. Nor are you really qualified to be giving that advice. Leave it to the people who do teach to fix things in class, it will prevent mis-information from getting around which leads to bad habits and sometimes injury.

    Even instructors don't teach on the social floor. You're there to have fun. Classes are for learning. And in class, people want to hear from the instructor, not joe-shmoe who's been taking the class for a few months.
  19. luh

    luh Active Member

    it's about dancing, not dating. At least for most dancers - you might want to know this. - I think i'd be annoyed if someone i had a pleasant dance with wants afterwards try to start an obvious conversation.

    not yet. I've gotten turned down - and every time i think those people don't know how to behave. There are etiquette rules - look at wikipedia or wikibooks - they are written in there. You can turn down dances - but be sure that you won't do things like - accepting another dance in the same song !
    And even though you don't have to i think it would be nice if you have a nice excuse - like - feet are sore. (maybe offer next song if it is like this.
    And keep in mind - followers asking leaders seem to have most of the times more trouble asking. So being asked is an honor - in any case!! Turning down a follower might be a big mistake - especially with beginners - it might be one of the first dances they ask - and getting turned down at those dances doesn't help them build confidence - and also keep in mind that the beginner of today is the great star of tomorrow!

    don't critize - except that she asks for it. In a class it's okay. I really like feedback, because it just helps me improve. and if something goes really wrong and i don't know why, i'll probably ask that follower if i mislead something. (never tell her that she was wrong - in case that i think that she was wrong - i won't say it!! - and won't ask her for advice!). Giving advice at social venues is also kind of arrogant!
  20. kansas49er

    kansas49er New Member

    Exactly! Well said.

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