Ballroom Dance > telling a story

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by ballroomdancertoo, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. ballroomdancertoo

    ballroomdancertoo Well-Known Member

    I always thought that only Rumba tells a "story" of love, of rejection, forgiveness, etc. is this the only dance that is danced with telling a story?
  2. Br0nze

    Br0nze Active Member

    Rumba can tell the story of love. The longer I danced the more I started to argue for the idea that the Rumba was itself life, rather than a snippet of a particular thing (in this case, a "love story.") So, for performances, when my partner and I danced Rumbas we tried to encompass everything. Sometimes it worked, other times not.

    I also chose to look at the character of each dance individually and tried to put them all together as an overall performance, in a sense especially when competing, so that the coherence and continuity of an overall story would be present.

    If we look at what brings two people together, it's generally interest and curiosity about the other person. There are stages that the couple goes through -- Cha Cha: the flirting, Samba: the getting to know more in a fun setting, Rumba: the romantic dates and sensual moments, as well as the heart-breaks and disappointments, Paso: the arguments and life-changing decisions, and Jive: the acceptance of one another and understanding that at the break-neck speeds of life there is a need for support and partnering which leads to good old fashioned fun.

    Of course if looked through the "story" lens, Rumba is the one that lends itself the most to story-telling due to its slow tempo. A slower tempo means, in theory, more time to do things, and more time to do things means an ability to be elaborate, and that's what stories are: elaborations on a point. Armed with that in mind, I would say that the Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, and the Paso are, to me, all story dances as well, and sometimes specific stories, other times not...

    The Cha Cha, Samba, Jive are not "as easy" to tell stories with, though it can be done.

    If you want a "story dance," even though it's not technically "Ballroom," look at Argentine Tango. Now that's a vehicle for some story-telling.
    Requiem likes this.
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Regarding Argentine Tango...
    All of the business of it being sexy and steamy is to a large extent something that had been layered on top of the actual dance, and has little or no basis in the dance as it is done socially; although there is historical precedent for some of the sexy LOOKING moves. The judges on Dancing With The Stars are the latest high profile dance people to perpetuate this inaccurate portrayal of the dance.

    Here's another one I recently mentioned to a practica regular who looked very, very serious when she was dancing AT last Sunday. "Tango demands le cara fea ('ugly face')" Read the comments by an Buenos Aires regular here..

    Rant out of the way, Bronze, I like what you wrote.

    There is a song we do CW Two Step to; it's one of my favorites about unrequited love... "I walked away and let you have your space... "Just to See You Smile" by Tim McGraw. And guess how that works out on the dance floor.
    Then there is the line in "My Give a Damn's Busted" by Jo Dee Messina, "No. Sorry. Nothin"... Easy to work into a West Coast Swing.

    I guess for me, just about any dance can "tell a story" if the music "tells a story."
    eaglemike likes this.
  4. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    just to let you know, ALL latin songs tell a story and Salsa is a great eg. Here's an interesting "snippet " ;
    Guantanamera, possibly the most recorded song in latin music, has lyrics that may change with each version .The reason is that this style of music was invented in the fields by workers and each day different things happen so the lyrics reflect that .
    Latin music takes it's cues from tribal music ( the drums ) add the base and clave and they combined are the essence of the genre .NO clave no heart no soul..
    Clave can also be implied or very dominant thru Piano, Base and rhythm construction . It's time signature is 2/3 and 3/2
    dncergrl2 likes this.
  5. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Bolero encompasses everything that is good in life. Just saying.
    j_alexandra likes this.
  6. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    ANY style of dance can "tell a story." I make sure that ALL of my showcase routines have some underlying theme to better engage the audience who pays good money to show support for such things. Examples:

    Comedy...Fox Trot "I like to lead when I dance" as my partner periodically takes over and gives back the lead throughout the number.

    Romance...Fox Trot "Honey Pie" a tale of yearning for lost love as he dances around the floor with her "convincing image."

    Slapstick comedy...Tango "Oops Tango" as she periodically REFUSES to follow my lead.

    Drama...Tango "Jealousy" a tale of betrayal and eventual acceptance.

    Tribute...American Rumba (Nightclub 2 step) "Purple Rain" I bear a striking resemblance to pop icon Prince thanks to awesome make up and costume. Never mind my tall height and his shortness!!

    Stories are part of the appeal of dance.
  7. ballroomdancertoo

    ballroomdancertoo Well-Known Member

    thanks for all the replies. Dr. Dance, regarding your comment that "all dance tell a story" is quite true in the showcase that the dance will can tell a story, but in competition there's no storytelling except to me rumba. I guess the story definition here refers to presenting a plot boy meets girl, they court, they fall in love, etc. but in the other dance, I really don't see any story being told other than the feeling or atmosphere of the dances...for example, foxtrot to me has the image of elegance, tango has the man up, paso also has the same feeling, chacha has the fun and samba has the carnival atmosphere, etc. and also, do you think that competition would be more enjoyable for all if the music came from a movie that people relate to, eg, "Frozen" or "man of lamancha" etc?
  8. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    When a young, new pro couple who I know went to a high level coach the first question that s/he (I don't remember) asked about their waltz choreography was "what story are you trying to tell?"
  9. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I would say it's the song that has more to do with whether there's a story than the type of dance. The dance should be expressing the music--what is the music saying? I would argue that all songs tell a story, and ideally the dance would show it.
    IndyLady likes this.

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