Swing Discussion Boards > WCS different from the 90's?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by manteca, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. manteca

    manteca Member

    Hi, am interested in learning about WCS. Looking online I found that I really liked the style that I saw from the 90's (Mario Robau, Rob Royston). The smoother modern version is cool too, but I really liked what they seemed to be doing in the 90's. Is it just a function of the music? Or has the style changed?
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Not really sure I can answer this, but hopefully something is better than nothing.
    I say "I'm not sure I can answer" because of my limited perspective. I know that MY style has changed since I started doing WCS in the early 90s. But that is mostly because of training I took from Skippy Blair a few years ago. (And I might add that some of what Skippy teaches as components of basic patterns can't be found in the early record of the dance. It is based on what she and others have found to be most effective in teaching people to do WCS.)

    I'd like to think I look more like a trained dancer rather than someone who learned in country bars. There was the series of lessons I had through a local recreation program, but, like most stuff, it was just moves.
    I still look for the same thing to dance to - something with a "swing feel."

    Based on what I see many people dancing to, most people will do WCS to most anything. I don't think I saw that years ago. (and if you can't even find and stay with the basic beat, does it really matter?)

    You don't see much video of people doing WCS socially. You mostly see performances. So I'm not sure it actually reflects what most people do, but maybe it's reflected in what people teach.

    One thing I think I'm seeing is that more people seem to think that WCS is something anyone can learn. Back in the day it was known as a dance for people who could do simplier forms of swing (including advance Lindy), advanced students in fact. (Butler 1975, 1980)

    OK. This will be all I write unless there is some response since I don't want to sound like the the grumpy old guy I may be turning into!
  3. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I would say it's both...the style has changed, but you will still see some of the older style. Part of it is because people are dancing to more contemporary music, and the style shifts with that. Contemporary music tends to be flat, with little in the way of dynamics--breaks, changes in intensity/tempo, etc. Many current dancers prefer to do lots and lots of moves and spins and shapes, and that goes well with this flat music. Dynamic music requires more interpretation. Personally, that is what I prefer. If you go social dancing, depending on where you are and what your community is like, you're likely to see a mix of people who prefer one or the other or alternate between the two.
  4. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Good question. I wasn't doing WCS in the 90's so I can't really say though I did go to a few classes then and have noticed that in these parts anyway, the tap step is not being taught in the sugar push anymore.
  5. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Our coach is trying to convert me to doing all triples, and it's driving me crazy. I can do the steps, but I've completely lost the feel for the dance. It just leaves me cold doing it this way.
  6. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    Myself, I don't worry too much about which foot I'm on. Just so long as I'm dancing the lady onto her feet. While that takes a shift in thinking, works for me. And my partner.
  7. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    that was an accurate yet diplomatic way of stating it. kudos. i might substituted the word musicality for dynamics myself and the terms faster and beat driven for flat myself. and younger for current.
    twnkltoz likes this.
  8. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Eliminating dynamics has been an obsession of the pop music industry for the past two decades. Lots of fancy electronic processing is used these days to make everything sound as loud as possible. Use your favorite search engine to look up "loudness war".
  9. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Triples instead of the walk walk for the woman and corresponding "double rhythm" for the man?
  10. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Not quite sure what you mean by that... coach wants me to dance all the 6-count steps as SSQ&QQ&Q. Previously, I've done most 6-count steps with Q&Q only on the anchor.
  11. bookish

    bookish Active Member

    Depends on what contemporary music you listen to, I guess. A lot of it is full of breaks, hits, energy changes and strong sectionality. The phrase structure is often the same as in older swing jazz -- plenty of exceptions of course, and sometimes it sounds more like 4 fours than 4 eights, depending on which beat you count -- so if you listen for that you can pick up a lot of stuff on the phrase borders as well.
  12. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    In his intensives, Mario has claimed that "back in the old days", the competitive dance was driven by the social dance, whereas today the opposite is the case.

    There was a really big shift in the competitive scene, 1999-2001, as the younger generation of California dancers arrived. In the spring of 1999, Jordan and Tatiana won their first open Jack and Jill together. November 2001, they won the US Open (classic), while Benji (still under age, dancing on a waiver) and Heidi won the showcase division. Parker and Jessica were in that same pack as well, although it was a bit later that they started winning regularly.

    So I would call it primarily a style change: the dance changed to match what the cool kids were doing.
    manteca likes this.

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