Swing Discussion Boards > Technique and Tact

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

  1. kansas49er

    kansas49er New Member

    Yes, she's a gem. However, as with all gems, there's fire inside! Sounds like you responded quite courteously as well. Here's to civility, a characteristic that is missing from much of society today, to it's detriment :<(
  2. luh

    luh Active Member

    i think it's okay in class to give feedback - not only from the instructor. there are way to many people any way that the instructor could give feedback to all who'd need it.
  3. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    Technique critique and feedback are two different things though.

    Any group class should have room for feedback. BUT you're in a class to learn something you don't know. So the advice of others is welcome and has the added benefit of an instructor nearby to make sure the feedback/information is correct. If you need your partner to not grip your hand so hard or relax their arm a bit on a spin, that's feedback.

    Explaining a move to someone and how their body should be moving when you've only had 12 classes learning one part is not appropriate. People can get really injured because someone else told them how to do something without the necessary knowledge to back it up. Often times, what's being taught in beginner classes is condensed and simplified explinations. Beginners aren't ready for more information. So giving advice at this stage is like playing a game of telephone.

    For those who don't know what "telephone" is, it's a game American children play that helps listening skills. Everyone sits in a circle. One person thinks up a sentence or two and whispers it to the person next to them. The message is whispered all around the circle to the last person who say what they heard outloud. The message normally gets messed up along the way as people leave out a word or substitute it for something else they heard.

    The same thing is happening with non-instructors try to teach someone else by giving advice. They have received a simplified message of all the neccessary parts, have translated it in their own my to make sense for themselves and then passed it along. The proper knowledge is now garbbled and warped. Additionally, while feedback is acceptable in a class, advice often takes more than a few words. As a result, something important that the instructor is saying could be missed leaving another opportunity for injury.

    Also, if you and your partner in class realize something wrong is happening, rather than taking it upon yourself to correct them, ask the instructor. Other people in the class could be having the same problem. And, as much as people would like to deny it, it could be you with the problem and not the partner.
  4. kansas49er

    kansas49er New Member

    At my studio, the basic class repeats itself monthly. I have taken that same class probably 15 times. I do so to 1) work on MY basics 2) work on expanding my basics with one of those who know what I'm doing 3) giving aid by being there as a knowledgeable lead to those just beginning....as some one did for me.
    That being said,

    1) social dancing should never be used for critiques and lessons unless asked, even then the best answer may be I don;t feel capable of doing that

    2) In group lessons, giving a "mini-private" moment may make them miss something the INSTRUCTOR is saying.

    3) Being able to "do" and able to "teach" are too different skills.

    4) many people helping makes much noise

    Even after taking the basic class that many times, I limit my comments to

    1) Please let me lead you, It can help if we aren't working against each other

    2) Stay in the slot, I will move

    3) Try a little tension in your arms, it will help

    Those three things are it. They take about 2 seconds. They don't interfere with class instruction. They are pretty much universal across instructors. They are the biggest problems in basic class. I leave footwork and execution to the guy they are PAYING to teach. All of the comments by
    leftfeetnyc are extremely valid and important. Let the instructor instruct.
  5. luh

    luh Active Member

    k, leftfeetnyc - that's true
  6. alemana

    alemana New Member

    leftfeetnyc, great post.
  7. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    Thinking more on the feedback/advice concept...

    I mentioned that there should be room for feedback in a class. If the instructor isn't giving room/time for feedback it might be worthwhile to mention something to him/her later on and see if it's something that can be worked in.

    At a beginner level, however, I don't think it's quite as necessary since individuals are still learning when their feet should be moving and where they should be facing, etc. People like Kansas49nr and others who return to a basics class act as a strong an knowledgable counterpart to the beginner students...much like when an instructor jumps into rotation. It gives the beginners a feel for what a move should be like (vs. the awkwrdness of dancing with other beginners).

    There is also room during the time for feedback when a song is put on so that partners can go over the new material a few times. Here's your chance to say "this doesn't feel right", "that hurts", etc. Because people's egos are fragile, a good way to workout feedback is to ask how you feel to your partner; "is this to strong?" "how does the connection feel to you", etc. After the music is over and before new material is taught is a good time to bring up any questions that the feedback brought forth with the instructor.
  8. luh

    luh Active Member

    i agree leftfeetnyc, there is a difference between advice and critique
  9. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    Thanks. I'm a decent dancer and a terrible teacher. I learn by creating metaphors in my head that don't translate well to others. Since I would like to one day pass on my knowledge I've been watching how a number of pros teach their classes and adapt to the students.

    I love the idea of group classes as a way to share knowledge and questions with others rather than the narrow learning scope of privates (I love both but they serve different purposes). Sadly, so many studios are looking to make money and classes become a broken record of moves with advancement of students who aren't ready yet. It's a big goal and project of mine to work out ideas and possible models of how to make group classes more productive for truely advanced dancers/competitors. So many stop taking classes when dance becomes more about technique and less about moves, I think it's a real shame as what they discover in the learning process is kept to themselves.
  10. alemana

    alemana New Member

    a trick i learned as a beginner: i would sometimes ask my partner for feedback during class. if he had half a brain, he would respond, then ask me the same question. if there was something i was burning to tell him about his leading, that was the moment. otherwise, i pretty much kept my mouth shut.
  11. kansas49er

    kansas49er New Member

    Great post and some very good ideas I never thought of. I like it!
  12. MAJ28

    MAJ28 New Member

    My perspective seems different on this one

    I definitely see what you guys are saying and I'm not going to offer anything unwelcomed advice or anything that I'm unsure of any longer. I think my perspective is simply opposite of most of you. I'm all about the critique, I welcome anything that anyone has to say that's pertinent or helpful ~ but I understand that others don't feel that way. For me I get excited experimenting with new moves and trying different ways to do things, for me I like to share what I'm trying with my partner, because usually I have a 1st timer partner. I'm very opposed to saying anything even remotelly sounding negative. It's more to the tone of 'this is what my buddy taught me and he and his partner did it just like this' and then kind of pause for their input on it.

    I would never tell anyone they are doing something wrong, cause I definitely don't know what's right or wrong.

    Anyway, it was very much fun this weekend because we had a different (more detail oriented) instructor. Thanks for the advice all you guys/gals.

  13. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    I get what you're saying now and it's not that you're persepective is different. It's more that a forum can be difficult to convey ideas in. It's great that you're looking to receive imput. It shows you're really interested in dance and improving...most of us offering tips and suggestions are as well. Our main point is that it's not always welcome, there is a time and a place for it, and your interest in receiving more knowledge does not mean you are in a place yet to share with others just because they are newer at dancing than you are.

    The social dance floor is not the place to do critiques, nor is class where you are there to learn and not teach. Asking someone if they'd like to get together and practice with you is a nice way to work through things. It gives you an opportunity to feedback and critiques. The social floor is for having fun and working on something you learned recently. Just because you are working on something however, doesn't mean your partner is (or is working on the same thing) and other dancers are sharing the floor as well. You have to be considerate of them.

    Also, it sounds more like you're interested in receiving critiques. Just because you like that doesn't mean other people do, especially the first time dancers who are just trying to get comfortable with being out dancing. They don't care to have hear that they're doing something wrong or that your friend did a move a certain way. They're looking explore the dance and see what it's all about. They also tend to be insecure knowing many people there have been dancing longer (and in their minds are therefor better). Dance with them and just let them dance. If they enjoy it they are more inclined to come back and later actually work on specifics.

    You might want to look into private instruction as well. You'll get a lot more personalized advice on how to make your own dancing better which will result in better and more fun dances for your partners and yourself, regarless of their level.
  14. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    That's pretty clever.

    (Back to giving feedback especially unsolicited feedback...) You want to be very careful. If what you say is interpreted as unwelcome instruction, every one of that followers peers will have heard about it by the end of the night (how do I know? because many of them will repeat it to me). Even the happy accident of having been correct won't help, because that part of the tale won't be repeated.

    randomMysh is not the only one who has heard that story. Also note that not only is the story making the rounds, but it is even being published on message boards like this one....

    This is, as you might guess, a considerable disadvantage when trying to score phone numbers later.

    In three and a half minutes, it'll all be over. Why run the risk when the payoff is so short lived?
  15. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    For those of you who don't know who Brandi Tobias is, here's a clip of her and her partner Ronnie Debennedeta (sp?) at SwingDiego 2005 doing a two-step routine for the cabaret division

    Besides being a top CW competitor, Brandi is also one of the top West Coast Swing dancers in the nation.
  16. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Ronnie DeBenedetta. When in doubt, check the competitors registry.

    [size=-3]or just admit the doubt, and see if anybody cares enough to look it up for you :)[/size]

    Oh, and if you've heard of Brandi Northrup or Brandi Fillion? Same woman.
  17. chandra

    chandra New Member

    Haha, heard that story too!
    Also been corrected in group classes by guys that are... really hurting me...

    Most of the time if there is something that I want to comment to a guy in a group class, instead of saying it to the guy (I NEVER correct a peer, even when asked) Ill wait a couple of rotations than ask the teacher, and phrase it as what can I do to avoid what is happening
  18. luh

    luh Active Member

    MAJ28 - well if you like feedback and advice, and especially if you are beginner and are experimenting - than ask the follower - how she thinks she would have better understood, the lead. not tell her what to do - because if you really lead things - it'll be clear to all followers that reached a certain level.
  19. MAJ28

    MAJ28 New Member


    That's definitelly something I'm going for....
  20. chandra

    chandra New Member

    Most of the time, too, I am serious. I want to know what I can do to avoid injury, to catch the first &1 of hustle even when a guy doesnt lead it, etc... The funny thing is most of the time I get the opposite answer which is "The guys should do x to keep that from happening". The worst was when I knew somethign was my fault, the teacher (WCS pro) said it was 100 percent the guys fault, and apologized when I couldnt do it even with him! that was upsetting, I just wanted to know what to do better!

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