Ballroom Dance > Using videos to complement your private lessons?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by bigtone, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. bigtone

    bigtone New Member

    My wife and I just started taking private lessons through a FA studio. We've gone through the 4 intro classes and we are going to be going through their Social Foundation program.

    I know there is no substitute for lessons from a real person, but based on everyone's knowledge, if we picked up a couple of americna DVIDA bronze DVD's would they complement our lessons?

    I wouldn't want to go into one of our private lessons and then all of a sudden pull out 5 new figures in the waltz, but we're picking up fast and, could we use these DVDs to complement our dancing at least in a social situation and help enforce things we learn during our lessons?

    I'm not sure how much difference there is in soemthing like the DVIDA syllabus and other studio syllabus such as FA or AM.
  2. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Welcome to DF bigtone!

    I'm sorry I can't help you on the syllabus differences between DVIDA and FA/AM, hopefully somebody that can will be along soon!
  3. QPO

    QPO New Member

    I would like to say that I knew but I dont know what they do in the US, I know in Australia they use the International Standard sylabus. It is about getting to a standard with people who you trust.
  4. pinkstuff

    pinkstuff Member

    I bought some beginners Latin DVDs and found them (well some) to be helpful in reminding me some of the steps that I had done in my lessons. It's also useful to see some-one else doing them and you can repeat!!!!
  5. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    FA and dvida are definitely not the same syllabus.

    That being said, yes, dependign on how you learn, it is certainly possible to learn things from videos (or watching comps, etc). I know I've done so, both watching the actual FA videos (sorry, you can't get them, only teachers. Actually, I don't have a copy myself, just occasionally watch over pros shoulder), and other videos, and gotten lots of good ideas/learning at comps too.

    Ask your teacher about it though. May or may not have a problem with it, but may have some suggestions as to what or hwat not to do. IE, foxtrot, you're working on the SSQQ form, assuming you're doing newcomer/social foundation/social bronze/advanced bronze (one of the four) syllabi. T here's also the SQQ form, which you won't see until silver at FA. If videos you get are doing the SQQ form though, may introduce some confusion for you as you try to learn from them and continue on in your privates. Things like that are caveats that your teacher should be able to help you with. Or fact that you're likely working Smooth/Rhythm, so your feet are coming together in Waltz. Pick up a standard waltz video, and your feet will be passing. Both right, just they can be confusing to differentiate, esp at start. So talk to your pro about it. heck, my pro has no problem with me watching videos, stealing stuff from comps, going to other studios (other FA, AM and hopefully independent in a while), sneaking tricks from other teachers, etc.
  6. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    The biggest thing you can do to accomplish that is to get out there and regularly use what you've learned. Knowing 4-5 steps in a dance and being able to make use of them under real conditions makes you much more of a dancer than learning a year's worth and never doing them outside of lessons.
  7. bigtone

    bigtone New Member

    Thanks, yeah we just finished the newcomer and are going to be starting the social foundation. At least on our folder from what I've seen they only have about 3-5 figures per dance, Off the top of my head i'm not sure but for instance tango I think its basic, promenade, corte. I don't want to push ahead to fast and not really get a good firm grasp on the basics, but of course part of me wants to be out there competeing so I just have to tell myself to slow down.

    And BTW, ETP - same general part of the country, I'm from NW Indiana, but I work all the way up in Itasca.... I still consider myself an Illini though, I haven't converted to hoosierism yet.
  8. bigtone

    bigtone New Member

    Thanks, I've done a ton of sports, martial arts, etc. and the good guys are usually the ones that dont' know the flashy moves but have the basics down like the back of their hand. While its expensive, I think the lessons we're taking at FA are pretty good, plus we have access to the group classes and our first group party after our first 4 lessons last week was a real eye opener.... Can't wait to learn how to turn and navigate the floor in the waltz because we pretty much got bowled over doing our little box :confused:

    But I must say we can really rock it out when it comes to the hustle.
  9. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Oops, didn't even look at area. You happen to be at the Schererville studio? They tend to come to our Illinois regional comps since the owners were part of Tinley Park.

    And yeah, if memory serves, 3-5 steps sounds about right. I haven't looked at a newcomer/social foundation card for a long time though. The Social Bronze and Advanced Bronze (can be either used for a parallel track, or do one and then the other, or a few other variations) have about ten steps in each dance, except for Paso. And the Social bronze splits a lot of the steps out into A-C, etc. Like in Foxtrot Social Bronze, one of steps is Twinkles (think it's 3), but then it has A-C or A-d with different variations. The Advanced Bronze Syllabus just has 1-10. Well, then there's the dancesport section of Advanced Bronze, which adds another 10 (or 5 in Paso). There's definitely a LOT to learn, and I think they're adding two new dances to Bronze, but not sure if those are done yet.
  10. bigtone

    bigtone New Member

    Yeah you didn't happen to look because I just added it :) You hit it on the head, We're at the Schererville studio... Maybe one day we'll be at one of the comps. Heck, if just to watch... I'm sure once we're nearing the end of our social foundation they'll start "suggesting" that we start thinking about the next track.

    Who would have thought this former high school wrestler/football player would get into ballroom dance... Its a shame I don't have more friends to bring to the guest parties.
  11. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Heh, that was me too. Well, wrestling in jr high and football in high school. :)

    Don't worry, they will push it. You're probably safe for AAC and July regionals, but expect to be pushed for Showcase in September, and then October and December regionals. :)

    The comps are a ton of fun though. A little different than some open comps, as we have the competition all day and then a semi-formal dinner and dancing and pro-show at night as a wrapup. Get to see the same group of people at each comp, and can develop some good friendships between the studios, etc. I've been going to the comps longer than i've been dancing myself, actually, as started going to watch parents dance.
  12. NielsenE

    NielsenE Active Member

    I have the USISTD videos and the DVIDA videos; and I take lessons at a FADS.

    I'd be careful about supplementing your training with videos at this point. It would be very easy to get confused over slight differences in interpretation and execution at this stage, and you don't really want to keep "but teacher, the video said X,Y,Z" to your teacher. As you gain more experience, you'll be able to make more use of videos for understanding alternative approaches and instruction, but I think its not good for say the first 1-2 years of normal instruction. (ie Assuming ~ 1 private a week, with some group classes. If you're putting in more than 10 hours a week, including practice time, this advice might change)

    As to what the videos will cover --
    FADS Beginner + Social Foundation + Social Bronze should be roughly comparable to to Bronze DVIDA syllabus. There will be some minor differences in which figures are included; minor differences of opinion on some of the directions of foot placement; and major differences in naming the figures.
    FADS "Advanced Bronze" will have basically no overlap with the DVIDA syllabus, but is ~80% built out of shared elements.

    JANATHOME Well-Known Member

    In regards to comps dont most comp reconize the FADS syllabus? Not in issue for us because we work with our FADS instructors using the ISTD book for Standard. Interesting though when we were at Ala Carte one of our FAD instructors was there competing with a student. He told me there were many heats because the had to accomodiate both the Arthur Murray and the FADS syllabus that he said are quite different.

    The only area where there is a difference is in a USADance comp what we dance in Gold Smooth we have to dance OPEN at FAD comps. If we were to dance open at USADance we would be way out of our leauge and get eatin alive!
  14. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Yes Jan, FADS is a member of NDCA and their syllabus is one of the recognized ones for syllabus level entries at NDCA comps.
  15. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    And what syllabus do the socials recognize? That must really be a mass of confusion ;-)

    Joking aside, it's very easy for "learning to dance" to turn into "learning a bunch of steps" - quite possibly followed by discovering that no one else knows them, leaving competitions your only outlet for using what you have learned.

    The problem with the videos isn't that they cover a different set of steps, it's that they are still about steps. Dancing is really only incidentally about "what" - mostly, it's about "how". And to a large degree, "how" gets communicated between two or three people meeting in person.
  16. and123

    and123 Well-Known Member

    So true.... when I dance with people from my ex-studio, I hear "You're the only one who remembers those steps -- I can't get anyone else to follow them socially". Exactly!
  17. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Heh, as long as the step isn't unreasonable, or a visual lead, etc, then either they need to work on their lead or follow needs to work on their follow. :)

    Course, say that knowing I REALLY need to work on my lead. ;)
  18. NielsenE

    NielsenE Active Member

    I wasn't tailoring my advice at all towards competitive dancing, since the OP wasn't asking about competitions.

    Yes AMDS/FADS have quite different syllabi, my only real experience with AMDS was back in my second year dancing when I was at a month long Air Force training program in Texas... In my evenings off I found a AMDS to keep in practice at. We did more clean-up what I know, versus learn their stuff, but in some of the group class I got exposed to their syllabi. In general I found AMDS more similar to USISTD and DVIDA then FADS is. Typically speaking I find FADS to be roughly 1/2 a level above the other syllabi in terms of what techniques/abilities they include in the syllabi. I think their return to the "Old Bronze" now called "Social Bronze" as compared to the "New|Advanced Bronze" syllabus, will help bring them back in line with the others....

    I've had problems with FADS syllabi being disallowed at some of the local collegiate competitions, because they have pushed the boundaries of what is traditionally thought of as "Bronze" or "Silver", even though they are an approved NDCA syllabi (Just like USISTD has the caveat "don't dance Tango #10 at NDCA comps" (Oversway) isn't allowed officially in Bronze, though both FADS and USISTD include it... Or how the last 2-3 figures on Bronze Waltz/Foxtrot include continuity action which wouldn't be allowed at most bronze events, regardless of their saying "All NDCA syllabi allowed"
  19. L-Jay

    L-Jay New Member

    Hi bigtone

    No matter where you go to learn to dance beginners always learn the same beginning steps. People (teachers and studios) seem to argue about the right and wrong way of how steps should be done - but in actuality everyone teaches the same foundation movements.

    One thing you should always remember: Dance steps are not as important as the dance elements. Elements are what make steps. A first position element is the same everywhere, an underarm turn element is the same everywhere and even a chase element is the same - it is how they have been made into steps (the starts and ending) that change from place to place (and usually the name changes too).


    If you use videos to help you remember the elements that you learn in your lessons - fantastic. Using videos to practise will save you money because you will not have to revise as much in your regular lessons - you can get onto new stuff! But the best thing you'll learn is that there is not right or wrong steps - just different steps. That's the beauty of Social Dancing! And knowing different ways of how to do the same step will make you a much better social dancer.

    But if you are concerned about learning something contrary to what your teacher says then - another thing you can do is to video record your own lessons. However, a franchised studio might have some rules against it - but there is no harm in asking!

    Hope this helps.

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