Swing Discussion Boards > the elusive bounce

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by goldfish, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    It's not flat; it's gliding. Some songs make a swing dancer want to minimize the dip / maximize the glide. Some songs make a swing dancer want to increase the dip. It's still swing, and Lindy Hop is what they're doing. The majority of what I have seen from Lindy Hop dancers is minimizing bounce. Bounciness is nowhere near the top criteria for validating Lindy Hop or anything "swing".
  2. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

  3. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Again, I'd say that this cannot be generalized to WCS... :?
  4. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    One last question to you jdavidb (and anyone else who disagrees with me): To you, what makes swing music swing, and what makes swing dancing swing?
  5. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    I don't think WCS swings. I think it's a non-swing dance that has developed from swing.

    I don't think any less of the dance though, I think it's a wonderful dance and would love to learn it. At the moment I'm only superficially aware of the differences between Lindy and WCS (and thus I may be wrong about the above statement).
  6. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Hey how come all the fun topics always happen when I'm away?

    So many good questions and ideas being given here... I'll start at the begining...

    Goldfish you should be bouncing, and it should be down... now the word bounce has lots of different meanings to different people. In the case of the Lindy Hop it is a natural movement of the body, as you begin to move your body in an athletic manner you must gather your weight, ground yourself and then finally push into your step. We do this by ensuring that all of our weight is comitted to one foot, we allow the ankle knee and hip to flex letting the muscles relax which brings our body down into the floor. We flex the muscles which push us out of the floor. If we were maintaining our position it is concievable that we might end up with a instead of a recovery of the distance we sank into the floor we end up with positive travel aling the vertical plane. This is entirely undesirable for this dance.

    Instead we want to travel along both the vertical and horizontal planes. This gives us a natural rise and fall just as when you are jogging. Actually the human body is intended to move in this manner, it is ebven present in a much minimized way when we walk, but if you jog a bity and concentrate on the flexing of your body and the feel of various parts of your body moving up and down without jarring we have a smooth bounce..

    Quick note... as a general rule breaks in the music should not be responded with the cessation of movement on the parts of the dancers. Frankie Norma, Sugar, George, Ruth and the other Savoy Alumni will tell you one of if not the major difference between how lindy hop is danced today and the way it was in the thrities through fifties in Harlem is the amount of stopping we do. Lindy Hop uses momentum and elasticity to create its moves... it is certainly one of the defining elements of this dance... stepping away from this lessens our connection to the original dance. Socially you of course can do whatever you want, but to many changes and what you are dancing is no longer lindy hop. You may care about this or not... personally I think as long as you are having fun, that is what is important... but you should be careful about categorizing the dance you do as the Lindy Hop.
  7. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    So if the bouncing which occurs is natural, it is correct. Therefore, I wouldn't go trying to find ways to manufacture a bounce. Instead, I would be striving for what you said about being athletic or the jogging motion, and the bounce would either happen or it wouldn't. I happen to be very smooth athletically. I allow a slight wave to happen, but it is definitely no bounce. It is looseness because I never hold my back stiff in any position (unless it's a lift done with the legs and a locked back). So, my swing persona also has almost no bounce. My upper body constantly adjusts with lower body rise & fall to keep me quite level from the chest up. If I want to let my upper body sink into (dipping, not teapotting) the first triple step though (and sometimes the 2nd one too), I do it.

    I said "no teapotting" in the previous paragraph. D Nice delivered that advice a few weeks ago. So, remember that tilting is not a way to help acheive "bounce".

    That's good news because I want to figure out how to get through St. Louis Blues March without stopping when those drum breaks throw me off.
  8. d nice

    d nice New Member

    If you are minimizing your bounce in anyway you are disrupting the natural movement of your body. With your background in ballet it may be a learned response, but it shouldn't be done in this dance. Flat Feet was partially right, if there is no bounce it is not lindy hop.

    If you look at old clips of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers as well as the Ray Rand Dancers you'll see a constant pulse/bounce in their body. Most of it is in their legs and waist. Just because the head isn't bobbing doesn't mean you are bouncing, just becase the head doesn't bob doesn't mean you aren't bouncing.

    Lindy Hop is an African diaspora dance... one of the prime factors in dances that are rooted in African tradition is grounded movement we describe as a bounce. You can use any language you want, but it must be present. One of the prime differences between the Lindy Hop and West Coast Swing is the lack of a number of the African elements. If you have no bounce you aren't doing the Lindy Hop, you are doing a lindy descended dance. There is nothing wrong with this at all. I do LOTS of lindy hop descended dances, teach them, and love them. I'd never get on the floor and dance smooth swing with no slot at all and try and pass it off as WCS. It is dishonest with my self and a misrepresentation of the dance that a number of people I really respect spent so long developing and popularizing.
  9. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    I do just as much as anyone else does with the lower body. I never have described it as bouncing though. As big as the English language is, there must be a better word.

    My upper body is only minutely smoother than videos from Meeshi's site, those Kevin & Carla videos, all those competition/performance videos I have watched including Sommer & Dorry and Steve & Rebecca, and others. I just now watched a Dorry & Sommer one where their upper bodies are smoother than I ever get. All of those dc area swing dance videos that get updated all the time... I get a lot of influence from their dances.

    "Bounce" means that there will always be confusion and elaborate discussions when implying that non-bouncing is not swing and is not Lindy Hop.
  10. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Bounce is the right word and it is a good gatekeeper. The original style bounced... once the word can not be applied to ones dancing I feel it is probably too far away from the original style to be properly termed Lindy Hop.
  11. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    Bounce is more descriptive of free hopping against one surface -- the floor. In Lindy Hop, the floor would be one plane, and the upper body would be the other. So, what we are doing is trying to say the lower body is bouncing between two planes because it seems like everyone agrees that upper body horizontal smoothness (gliding) is acceptible, creating a plane on the opposite end. The first word that comes to mind to fit better is pumping because that means there is a constant (floor) on one end, and variable levels of pressure, resistance and absorption (upper body) on the other.
  12. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Sorry I'm going to have to disagree... the bounce is a down and up motion, a falling action and then pushing up and out into a recovery. Pumping is energy applied down and up... this is the exact wrong type of action most people apply.

    How energetic the bounce is dictated by the song and the persons personal range... but the energy decreases as it travels up and out which is why the legs will flex more than the body and the body more than the head. Those that continually pour energy into the bounce so that it does not diminish are creating an artificial bounce. Those that apply muscular energy to dampen the bounce are fighting their bodies desired mode of movement... as well as the dances.
  13. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    This is exactly what I do when dancing without bounce. It takes a certain 'focus' to keep the body from not bouncing at all. It's a quite distinct way of moving compared to the normal bouncing of Lindy.

    This is also why it's difficult to bounce when dancing really slow. Because one tries to bounce slower, one most use a certain degree of force to slow down the normal bouncing motion. This also makes it harder to keep a natural rythm in the bounce, and demands practise. When dancing really slow, it's often easier to take the bounce out of the dance.

    But this of course changes the characteristics of the dance.
  14. goldfish

    goldfish New Member

    :shock: wow

    but if the lead's and follow's are (naturally) different, and one bounces more vigorously because of their body type/size/style etc, what happens then? i know i don't bounce enough to begin with, but i've had much more bouncy leads and i had to force a bigger bounce that was out of my comfort range to keep up ... what then?

    i'm pretty new to all this jargon, so apologies if the question is too simple :p but where do i feel the bounce? for instance, in a charleston kick? and for charleston kicks where you turn 180 degrees around, how does the bounce make you turn? i feel a sort of momentum sometimes that pushes me around, but i feel my centre of gravity slide a bit when i kick - and it feels as if i'm bouncing up jerkily rather than down smoothly - and i'm not sure whether the kick should be a downward motion or upward... am i making any sense?
  15. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    The way you describe pumping is the way I'm feeling about bounce. Bounce (when applied between two planes) tells me to apply springing energy on both ends like a tennis ball in play. Bounce up, bounce down. Also, bounce leaves one end potentially open like I said earlier, which could mean free hopping upward. Pumping allows absorption or various other degrees of action/recovery on one end like the differences between shock absorbers (changing) and engine pistons (consistent). Pumping also makes it undeniable that there are two planes to consider with very different characteristics from each other between which the action is taking place. Both ends of the action are very different, so they need to be addressed accordingly. Afterall, no one installs two opposing pumps to work against each other.
  16. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    Still, regardless of whether it's bouncing or pumping, I'd never claim that an elderly couple who is walking through Lindy Hop steps or someone with knee or hip problems is doing "not swing / not Lindy Hop". Those are examples of non-bouncing, non-pumping which illustrate why I am not in favor of such exclusive, constraining idealism.
  17. d nice

    d nice New Member

    You can be against it, but from a labanotation stand point they aren't doing Lindy Hop. When you change such a basic quality of movement it has a chain reaction, fundamentally changing every aspect of motion. It isn't the same dance.

    A pump involves a double action energy applied at both ends of the stroke. Doing that causes the body to attempt to retard energy that it has accumalated... it is working against itself.

    Bouncing does have the lack of a ceiling beyond the natural degradation of energy as it pushes the body through space. THe key is the controlled use of energy which keeps the bounce fitting to movement and posture of the dance. If any of those three things changes the dance itself becomes extremely different.

    The vast majority of the moves in WCS and Lindy Hop are the same. They can be danced side by side to the same music. You can even have the same two people dancing the two forms, doing the same moves on video tape on a split screen... how could you tell the two apart? Their personal styling isn't going to really change much, the moves are the same, same counts etc. Fundamental body movement.
  18. jon

    jon Member

    Wow, does anyone actually use Labanotation for swing dance? I had the impression it had largely fallen out of favor even in the performance dance worlds, in favor of video.
  19. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    I think the heart of swing is too big to be mandated by labanotation.

    Variable, adjustable action. There is in fact something at both ends of this stroke we are addressing. Since one end is constant, the floor, making the other end constant in a rigid manner would be the only way to bounce off both ends. This would probably look like when someone is goofing around on a trampoline, keeping their upper body at one level and thrusting their legs down into it then letting only their legs bounce back up. Something like that could be when applying useless non-Lindy Hop energy would occur, but I wouldn't want to ban a humorous move like that from swing either. That's 2-way bouncing. The alternative is to not catch & bounce the upward stroke back down with the upper end, but that is absorption because you are not really keeping the upper body firmly connected to it for a blatant hopping upward action, yet the body is still up there doing something. Absorption must be followed by a reaction at some point or else a collapse would occur. So we could say that a stroke can bounce out of an absorption from the incoming stroke. That would be like the previous trampoline thing. I don't see people do that. People look more like they are just releasing it, allowing it to fall out from the upper body for the downward stroke, catching and absorbing with the knees, ankles and ball of the foot, and then goes the up stroke. Overall, the energy is off, on, off, on like a pump. Bounce would be on, on, on, on.
  20. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    ahh nomenclature!

Share This Page