Swing Discussion Boards > Techniques for Swing/Lindy

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Black Sheep, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    No matter what Ballroom Dance you do, good techniques will improve your performance. I have observed enough dance lessons these past four years in Southern California to see why there are so few repeat students in a given group Venue Class; it is a lack of techniques. Techniques are factors that help a dancer function with greater ease and smoothness and adds gracefull style to the dance moves. Without good dance techniques, dancing will feel less comfortable and lack the gracefull lines that make your dancing attractive and more enjoyable for your partner to share. The following techniques are only a few that are easy to apply to your repetoire, and should be introduced along with the very First Basic Step Patterns on the Swing/Lindy lessons, so that a students can feel the rhythm and begin to move in a more precise unison with smoothness and agility:
    1) Constant resistance between partners hands;
    2) Accent on the up beat; (syncopation)
    3) Balance should be on the balls of the feet with slightly flexed knees, just as in any other ambulatory sport;
    4) Lead hands should be quiet with subtle hand moves for leads. No pumping please!
    5) The most efficient hand hold for Swing/Lindy is with the hands locked firmly but not tightly with fingers of both man and lady in hooked position. The movements of the hooked fingers during turns work very much like a universal joint, as long as those fingers remain hooked firmly but not so tight that they can't rotate. The lady, when turned free of her partner in any spin, should keep her right hand extended at elbow level with fingers hooked downward. Ladies should not try to find man's hand by frantically searching the air; the man will find your hand;
    6) When coming in from an open position, lady should head directly toward man's right shoulder with her right foot arriving and pointing between his two feet ready for pivoting to the right.
    These are only a few simple techniques that will improve your performance and significantly increase the joy of dancing. Unfortunately, most teachers that I have observed very often spend only a minimal part of the lesson teaching an inefficient technique that they picked up from an inefficient technician who picked it up from a Charlatan. I don't mean this in a bad way!
    Starting this coming mid May, I will begin considering participants for My Original Stage Musical, based on my dancing years in Hollywood during the 1950's. If you have any expertise or desire to perform in any capacity, be it from Producer to Stage Manager, from Vocalist to Dancer, from Musician to Makeup Artist, then send me your Email address so that I will be able to inform you of the details for coming Musical Production. Please include your talents and specific positions you feel qualified for. I will also need extras for background dancing.

    Check my Web Page www.lindybylanza.com and click 'DANCER' and Email me at d.lanza@netzero.net

    See you at Suzy Q's Friday night,

    Black Sheep
     
  2. d nice

    d nice New Member

    I prefer the term dynamic pressure. It implies leveraged tension or compression, and does not imply that one partner should try and resist movement from the other.

    Also the waist should be supple. Sports mechanics dictate that the best posture for movement in any direction witht he fastest response time is weight placed on the forward part of the feet (the balls), the knees bent so they are inline with the load bearing part of the foot, and the sternum (middle chest) over the load bearing knee.

    I always like to phrase it that the body leads the hand does fine tuning. This allows for the leads body and the follows body to stay in the same temporal relation, rather than the lead using his hand or arm, which can speed the follows body up or slow it down, in relation to the leader's.

    I think it may be better to say that the follow should leave her hand in the location th elead releases it, until he has regained contact, or until he asks for her to place it in his own out-stretched hand.

    I'd think the follower's best choice is to travel the path the leader has lead her down, and instead of going where she thinks he wants her, stopping when he stops, or any other form of interpretation of the lead. The leader steps forward the follower's weight shifts in that direction she follows that impulse. No worrying about where her foot is pointing or anything, she simply trravels where she was directed.
     
  3. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    I would think that of what was said, does apply to "most" swing dances, but not to all. For instance . . . (Sorry, I took them out of order . . .???)

    6) When coming in from an open position, lady should head directly toward man's right shoulder with her right foot arriving and pointing between his two feet ready for pivoting to the right.

    ---This will not work in WCS. The follower would be stepping off the proverbial "tracks." It is correct for the leader to step off the tracks, bring the follower down the tracks, then step back . . . anchor in place, or 5&6.

    Another . . .

    5) The most efficient hand hold for Swing/Lindy is with the hands locked firmly but not tightly with fingers of both man and lady in hooked position. The movements of the hooked fingers during turns work very much like a universal joint, as long as those fingers remain hooked firmly but not so tight that they can't rotate. The lady, when turned free of her partner in any spin, should keep her right hand extended at elbow level with fingers hooked downward. Ladies should not try to find man's hand by frantically searching the air; the man will find your hand;

    ---I would never lockhands, in fact, I practice with a nickel between my fingertips and the follower's fingertips (still talking WCS here). Light, light, light, and on specific moves, the follower already knows where to go, and I lioghten up even more. Example: in a right side pass . . . I step back 1, step off the tracks on 2 . . . and unless I give any other indication for a move other than a right side pass, even a semi-experienced follower would know that it is indeed a right side pass. Subsequently, the follower knows exactly what the rest of the move is, and executes it. Why have be firm thorough this? Let's be gentle on these women!

    ---I somewhat disagree with the hooked fingers during turns. I bring my lead arm up, pointing fingers down toward the floor, and the follower should have a cupped hand in which my two fingers would be firmly into - this the only difference in turning!

    Last three . . .
    1) Constant resistance between partners hands;
    ---A properly held frame will maintain that constant resistance or dynamic pressure, no???

    2) Accent on the up beat; (syncopation)
    ---Always . . . 2, 4, 6, 8 . . .

    3) Balance should be on the balls of the feet with slightly flexed knees, just as in any other
    ---I've been practicing, especially for turns and spins, to think of my weight and balance on the very back part of the balls of the feet, which helps to keep the heels downs - - meaning - - - I'm gounded... getting into the floor, etc.
     
  4. d nice

    d nice New Member

    I can agree with a lot of what you are talking about...

    except for two points...

    The first: the follow should never anticpate the move. I should be able to tell her, verbally, in advance what move I'm going to lead and then be able to change it half way through with absolutely no increased lag or resistance. If she is going off intellect rather than following what is being lead she limits us both in what improvisations we can accomplish.

    The second:
    I'd have to disagree. Being grounded has nothing to actually do with how much or even what part of your foot is on the floor. A common misconception. Being grounded has to do with how your weight is shifted from the contact point. While it is "easier" for many people to stay grounded by putting their weight in th middle part of the foot (behind the ball) it in fact is not superior in a moving context. The human body has two methods of applying force through the foot while moving forward or obliquely and that is heel-to-toe in the natural walking motion and ball-to-toe for everything else.

    The sinking center, relaxed waist, pushing thigh, flexed knee, pushing calf, flexed ankle, and pushing foot is what creates grounded movement. Body mechanics. The body only seeks to place weight on the back part of the ball when the foot is flat and no movement is present or expected. walk in damp sand or moist dirt and look at the track you leave, no shift from a forward movement to an oblique one. You'll notice that if you keep it natural you foot prints will always show the most weight having been placed on the heel, mid-ball, and then first two or three toes. When you shifted to oblique movement the pressure skips the heel almost enitely with the weight being most concentrated mid-ball and first two or three toes.

    Teachers' will sometimes tell students in WCS to put the weight mid foot but the purpose is not for them to succeed, so much as to keep them from dancing on their toes (the weight being forward part of the ball of the foot and nearly all toes engaged). I'm personally not a fan of "tricking" students to do the right thing by misleading statements. To much chance that the student may actually accomplish the misdirection and develop other problems. Such as the fact that today more than 75% of WCS dancers cannot dance at their level at tempos over 145bpm and few but the most studied can dance at over 160bpm. These are slow tempos. Most of the dancers would consider this a slow jog often times uncomfortably slow if they were on a tread mill. West Coast Swing dancers in the old days could handle these tempos without batting an eye.

    The further away from natural movement you get in your dancing the more difficult it becomes. The body moves a certain way, because of its mechanics, you wouldn't expect a machine to do something against its design, why would you do that to your body?

    Lastly I'd like to say, without attempting to put words in Joe's mouth... I think he was probably excluding WCS when he said swing/lindy technique. I think that was a reference to the more widely known ECS/jitterbug. Shrug. Personally I think WCS should qualify and any use of the word of swing in reference to dance should refer to all forms of swing, or th espeaker should be more specific.
     

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