Swing Discussion Boards > Very confused.(ECS question)

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Sardoth, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks. But since I've not been exposed to ballroom swing by that name, I'm not sure whether it's the ECS of the triple-triple-rock school that we've been discussing, or whether it's a different animal altogether. Sorry, but could you please clarify what "ballroom swing" is, especially vis-à-vis ECS?

    Sorry, my ballroom experience has been limited to beginning and a little intermediate foxtrot, tango, waltz, rumba, and cha-cha.
  2. jon

    jon Member

    They are the same thing for purposes of this discussion.
  3. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Warning: thread drift....

    That reads like my notes on WCS musicality. 12 bar blues (48) and straight 32s (contemporary). Since the current trend is toward pop, every 15 seconds or so you are right back where you started. The more interesting phrasings tend to occur only in blues (Mary had a little lamb switches between 48 and 32 beat phrases, for example).

    I normally do ok musically when I'm faking Lindy or East Coast, so I assume the basic rules are the same.
  4. Alias

    Alias Member

    Two points are discussed here about the basic steps in ECS:
    About the three basic steps (single, double, triple) (which one would be the fundamental basic step, which one to choose depending of the mouvement, which one to choose depending of the music).
    About the "rock step" being a the start or a the end of the move (argument in the move itself, argument with the music).

    About the three basic steps (single, double, triple):

    There seems to be three basic steps in ECS ("single" (rock step, step, step), "double" (rock step, tap step, tap step), "triple" (rock step, triple-step, triple-step) (1-2, 3&4, 5&6)), but this is the same dance because the moves are the same (I guess) so you can choose the basic step you want (and even mix them) when you want (and your partner can make another choice).

    Which one is the fundamental one?
    An instructor can choose to teach the "single" basic step first because it seems to be easier than the "triple" one and the students can begin to dance more quickly, so they don't quit, but if you are really interested in swing dancing you'll have to learn the "triple" anyway (so why not work it and get it earlier).
    Why is the "triple-step" so important?
    On a technical dance point of view, it's a powerful tool to move (translation, rotation with translation) (it's quite a lot more powerful than the single step or tap-step by which you're really somewhat limited), it's more precise (you've got three steps to ajust your movement), you have more ways to do it and many kinds of triple-step (for example notice that the basic steps of salsa dance are a kind of "triple-step"), it opens you to a whole new world of possibilities.
    You get a really new sensation (after mastering) (and it's interesting to contrast with the feeling of the single step, so knowing both is better) (and in case of the "triple" basic step (rock step, triple-step, triple-step) the contrast between the "triple-step, triple-step" and the "rock-step" is interesting too and you haven't one in "double"), so after tasting (and mastering) you would say "I wouldn't have missed it".
    Your timing frame is also more precise with the "triple-step" always in your head.
    On a musical point of view, it's good too.
    And you'll need it in Lindy Hop and West Coast Swing.

    Which one to choose depending on the movement?
    The question is what will I do on 3-4 (triple-step or tap-step or step) and idem on 5-6, for example, for a translation move the triple-step is a powerful tool and the tap-step is not going to make it easy, if you don't need to move you can do a tap-step, the single step can be more lengthy or allows you free moves with your free leg.

    Which one to choose depending on the music?
    I disagree with the tempo argument I always read (for example the music is too fast I can't do the triple, so I do triple-step on slow and single step on fast), because technically there are ways to do triple-step very fast.
    According to me it's more about the music itself, for example, a single step is more appropriate to a slow continious sound than a triple-step, and when you have lots of things happening quickly in the music you can do fast footwork (with a lot of small steps and kicks).

    About the rock-step begining or ending the move, I thought about it (a long time ago) and I'm convinced that the rock-step must begin the 6 count move.
    Argument in the move itself: the rock-step prepares the next part of the move (as well explained by DWise1, glad to find his and him).
    Argument in the music, it doesn't matter that much because of the question of the music (measure 4/4) versus the 6 count basic step (it's another story that I'll not tell you in this post) (the point is that the fundamental unit is made of a duration of 2 beats, and you play with multiples of 2, thus 6=2+(2*2)).
    Note that if you begin to dance with (triple-step, triple-step) (as your first steps on this song) you can fit it in a measure (at the begining of the story) and I think it's better to take care of the first measure rather than the first beat.
  5. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Is swing the same thing as rock n' roll? I'm being taught single as:
    step - point - step - point - rockstep

    Twilight Elena
  6. bjp22tango

    bjp22tango Active Member

    I'm going to drift off subject for just a second and substitute MOOT (of no significance or relevance) for MUTE (silent) in the quote above.

    I believe I was taught, way back in the dawn of time, to start ECS with a STEP STEP Rock Step, but when I started teaching it, I quickly changed to the Rock Step Step Step method because, as has already been pointed out several times above, the vast majority of leads work off the opposition of the partners' rock steps. It also requires tone in the frame from the first step, and makes the follower pay attention from the first step.

    In a perfect world all dancers would be taught the Triple Step version (mentioned above as the more versatile version) first as it is the version that fits with Lindy Hop and WC Swing the most. However, not everyone is a teenager, or limber, or has healthy enough knee joints and flexible enough ankle joints to withstand the pounding that triple step takes until they get the idea of compression. Also many men will quit when first learning something if they can't get it within the first 15 minutes in a lesson (and triple step triple step rock step is not that easy to pick up in muscle memory quickly). So Single swing is an easy way to teach anyone how to dance to swing music, and then work them into the Triple swing when they have a little confidence.

    As for the debate about when to use single, double, or triple swing-for me personally, it has everthing to do with the underlying rythym of the music. Two pieces of music may have the same tempo but in one I will be Triple Stepping and in the other I will be Single Stepping (or Balboa).

    As to 8-count phrasing in some music (usually the earlier swing music from the 30's and 40's and blues) I ignore it in 6-count because as has been stated earlier you will only be on the end of a phrase every 24 beats (4 6-count patterns, 3 8-count musical phrases). If your ear is trained enough to tell that you will end a pattern on the end of a phrase you can style it, but beginners are listening to the beat, not the phrasing. I leave that for the Lindy Hop and WC Swing when doing 8-count patterns.

    I have never seen Rock N Roll but I think it is mostly danced in Europe. IT is always danced at Swing Conventions, so I'm pretty sure it evolved from ECS or Jive. I would say it is just another regional variant of this great dance we call SWING.
  7. Alias

    Alias Member

    I have edited my previous post, mainly as quoted above.
  8. Alias

    Alias Member

    You can have a look at the Rock n Roll topic.
    For example I've written there:
  9. Alias

    Alias Member

    I know this one.
    I find the triple basic step (once mastered) far more comfortable than the (rock step, step point, step point).
    In the 6 count basic step, you have the "rock-step" (2 counts), and then (or before) the (one step, one step) or (three steps, three steps), that is one step or three steps in a duration of two counts:
    In the "one step" case you can choose to do this step on the first count (odd) of the two, and then you can do an action that doesn't transfer your body's weight (as "point") on the second count (even), hence "step-point" (or "step-touch" or "step-tap" or even "step-toe" if you like tap dancing) or "step" (if you do nothing on the second count).
    In the "one step" case you can choose to do this step on the second count (even) of the two (I've read some call this a delayed step), and on the first count (odd) you can do an action that doesn't transfer your body's weight as "tap" or "kick", hence "tap-step" or "kick-step".
    In the "three steps" case, you've got the "triple-step" (with the first step on the first count (odd) and the third step on the second count (even), and the second step between the two).
  10. Alias

    Alias Member

    I hope the logical explanation of the three basic steps in 6 counts moves (as in ECS) given in my previous post (above) has been a useful help for someone.

    Question: Why one or three steps (an odd number) in the duration of two counts?
  11. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    I'll hazard that it's because that's what the rhythm is. To borrow from WCS theory (allowable here, because it uses the exact same rhythm patterns as ECS and Lindy), every two beats is one rhythm unit and a rhythm unit can be either even (same foot is free at the end as at the beginning) or odd (opposite foot is free at the end). Another way to look at it is that an even rhythm unit has an even number of steps (ie, of weight changes; a tap doesn't count) and an odd rhythm unit has an odd number of steps -- hence one or three steps would give you an odd rhythm unit.

    Six-count rhythm: even - odd - odd (1 2 3&4 5&6)
    Eight-count rhythm: even - odd - even - odd (1 2 3&4 5 6 7&8)

    As for why the odd rhythm units, that came from the swing music itself, even though a lot of the music we dance swing to anymore doesn't swing itself. Music that swings has syncopated triples in it (ie, the "3" is slightly held longer than the "&4").
  12. Swingolder

    Swingolder New Member

    Obviously, I have way too little music background. One of my dance instructor's real job is an elementary school music teacher and I am always impressed by his music knowledge - and the same with most of you talking about all of this.

    I just listen to the music and it seems obvious when to start the pattern (with the triple step). Now that is on ec swing. Both my dh and I have problems identifying the initial count in our salsa class. Is probably just that we haven't been listening to that music since high school.
  13. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Learning the music . . . you need need a full blown music course - to "hear" where the counts of music, especially ct1 of each phrase will do wonders for your dancing. If any, you will be able to phrase your dancing with the phrasing of the music, which in turn helps to make your dancing look alive, on beat, and in character. It helps you to hear when to move your body, your head, and your arms - besides the obvious moving of your feet!

    Talk to that music teacher and see if he can get you going down that path of hearing the counts to music. It's pretty simple, just takes a while to get it under your belt . . .
  14. Swingolder

    Swingolder New Member

    I have a private lesson with him Sunday afternoon and will talk to him about it. (He will probably notice the frustration, right off, when my dh and I stutter start our steps!)
  15. Alias

    Alias Member

    Be aware that salsa music is not the same as the music you dance swing dance on.
    In swing dance, the fundamental unit of the music is made of a duration of two beats, and there is only one obvious way to place within it a "rock step" or "step step" (one step on each beat) or even a "triple-step" (first and third step on beat).
    In salsa dance, the fundamental unit of the music is made of a duration of 4 beats, there are many basic steps (for example (LA, P2) vs ET2) (all are 8 counts), there are many valid ways to place a basic step within the music (depending on how you listen and feel the music) (for example you can place the kind of salsa "triple-step" on 123 or 234) (ex LA vs P2), thus the famous "break on x" question.
  16. Alias

    Alias Member

    The general idea is in fact to start with one leg free (respectively left or right) at the begining of the fundamental unit of music for that dance (that is duration two beats, ending on even beat, in the case of swing dance music) and end with the body's weight on this leg (so that the other leg is free) at the end of the unit, thus an odd number of steps, then it can be the turn of the other leg on the next unit.
    And you can also put between these units a unit where you end with the same free leg you began with (for example the "rock step" or "step step" in swing dance), thus an even number of steps.

    This general concept is valid for many dances (finding for each the fundamental unit of music).
    For example swing dance.
    For example salsa dance.
    For example Waltz (which has also a combination of three steps on one fundamental unit of waltz music), the music has a different structure but the concept is still available.
  17. ladybug963

    ladybug963 New Member

    Ok I'm new to this whole swing thing and i have done some other ball room dancing and i find that dance charts help me and i was wondering if they made these for swing and if they do where can i find them b/c i haven't had much luck. I'm looking for East coast swing. thanks!
  18. chachachacat

    chachachacat Well-Known Member

    Interesting discussion!

    In the AM Bronze ECS Syllabus, there are 6-count patterns to start,
    with 8-count patterns, called "Lindy timing," introduced about halfway through Bronze.
    They teach triple time first, to get them right into it. Now that I'm independent, there are cases when I've taught single time first,
    say they want to learn to swing by Saturday. (ha)
    I find that it's easier to break down and execute the leads in triple time, once those feet become automatic. Beginner men ususally aren't ready for fast leads and split-second timing that fast music requires. So, like Salsa, we dance to the slowest tempos at first.

    As for TTR, that's how AM teaches it. Interneational Jive starts with the rock step, and has influenced some teachers who teach both Int'l and American Styles.

    I like that it's not carved in stone one way. Dancing is movement, fluidity.

    "The only constant is change."
  19. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Welcome ladybug963. :)
  20. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Swing music is built up of several structures.

    A phrase is eight beats, or two bars. Normally you have sections of 4 phrases or 32 beats, where the three first phrases are the melody (and often similar) and the fourth is a break. That means doing four six count moves will fit into the first three phrases, and you will be right on beat for the break.

    Often, but far from always, these sections of four phrases are grouped in what is called a swing chorus, denoted AABA. That means that you have first four phrases. Then these four phrases are repeatead. The B then has a different melody. And then the melody of the first four phrases are repeated. Another swinch chorus is AABB and the blues chorus is AAAABA. That does not mean swing can not follow a Blues chorus of vice versa.

    A phrase can also be broken down into two bars of four beats. The beats come in pairs, with difference strength on the odd and even beat. Also the first and fifth beat of the phrase has more emphasis than the other.

    But wait, there's more. :D

    The basic steps also has it's rhytm. The six count basic (single, double and tripple time) has a quick, quick, slow, slow rhytm, where the quick is one beat and slow are two beats. The back/rock step is the quick quick. And on the slow we do either step, tap step or the syncopated tripple step. So the three different variations of basic is all the same rhythm. The eight count basic is quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow. The basic steps can of course be replaced with any other steps that fit the music and the dance.

    The structure of the music should be used as guidelines for dancing. But you do not need to follow it constantly. But it feels better if you use this as a base while dancing. For beginners I will advice trying to follow this as much as possible. When being more advanced, more varitaion can be put into it.

    And of course you have the music, the song, the tune, the instruments etc. to listen to and play with.

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