Ballroom Dance > What type of ballroom should I learn???

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by HieroglyphicChi, May 19, 2017.

  1. HieroglyphicChi

    HieroglyphicChi New Member

    Hi. My wife and I are dancers and we wanted to do a few intensives in a few different styles so that we could advance our understanding of our partnership and connection. We've done a video to showcase what our style is and we are looking for pointers! We take all comments and criticisms so please spare none. Mostly we want to know what type of ballroom would aid dancers like us. I have a hip hop, modern, ballet, martial arts background and she has a house, yoga, Caribbean, martial arts background. Thanks to anybody who helps. Help us find direction!
    Our video is on youtube if you search for sunrise vibes taylor flash is the user account it is uploaded under.
  2. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    Since you both have backgrounds in a variety of dance styles, you might want to start off with private lessons so you can work directly on your goals with an experienced teacher to guide you. I'd suggest you try learning the basics of a variety of ballroom and latin dances, and then see what interests you.

    For example, learn a bit of hustle, salsa, foxtrot, waltz, rumba, cha cha, etc and then take it from there. West coast swing may also be a good one to try.
    HieroglyphicChi and IndyLady like this.
  3. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    I think raindance put it best, but I would second the suggestion to sample a variety of dances to see what appeals to you, rather than approaching it as "I want to learn these two dances". You may be surprised by what you like. And keep an open mind as you go, it took me years to finally open up and warm up to salsa, WCS, and even smooth at first.
    HieroglyphicChi and raindance like this.
  4. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    The dance backgrounds you mention involve individual dances, and ballroom dances require that two people be able to move together yet each individual maintains his/her own balance and powers his/her own movements. Not trying to be harshly critical, but in your video I noticed a few spots where that didn't quite happen and one of you disturbed the balance of the other. Maybe you recognize that already and are looking for a path to improve.

    I think West Coast swing is a dance more along the lines of the video I saw demonstrated. It has a range of connection intensity from zero to fully connected not seen in some other dances. But WCS is harder to learn, it wouldn't hurt to learn other dances to be able to properly develop connection when you need it.

    You can sample different dance classes available to you. If your budget only allows group classes, be aware that a lot of the connection details are glossed over because most people are looking for a shortcut to dancing, ie they're doing routines and may really be dancing individually in close proximity.
  5. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    My suggestion is to sit down together and watch videos of different kinds of partner dance, such as on YouTube, and see what appeals to you. You'll learn something valuable from all of them.
  6. Br0nze

    Br0nze Active Member

    twnkltoz's suggestion is a good one, as is raindance's. You will not truly know what style you enjoy the most until you dance [it].

    You mention the desire to advance an understanding of your partnership. Honestly, all partner dance styles will do this, regardless if it's American or International, Social or Competitive. I have, however, always been and always will be an International Latin supporter/advocate, partially because it was also the first style I learned, and also because it gets straight to the point when it comes to your aforementioned desired goal: connection (and the patterns are pretty straightforward as well).

    Again, any form of Ballroom and any form of Partner dancing will and should emphasize connection between partners, so you can't really go wrong, but not everyone loves Waltz or Foxtrot, and what's the point in learning something you don't enjoy, right?
    HieroglyphicChi likes this.
  7. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    You are wonderful Fusion dancers -- that video is *gorgeous* Fusion. Are you located near an area that has an active Fusion community?

    Would ballroom help you? I don't know. What do you want? You already know how to interact with each others' weight and space.

    If you really want to explore ballroom, choose your teacher carefully. I'd give anyone that advice, but you have such a distinctive style, it's worth finding a teacher who is willing to work with you to figure out what from ballroom will make your style better. If that's what you want.

    If you're looking for enhancing partnership and connection, Blues is ALLLL about that. And there's a lot of crossover between Blues and Fusion communities, so you may find a kind welcome from Blues people.
    HieroglyphicChi likes this.
  8. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    You might also consider West Coast Swing, lindy hop, or Argentine Tango. They're not really part of the ballroom lexicon and are more improvisational in nature.
  9. HieroglyphicChi

    HieroglyphicChi New Member

    Ive actually meet a blues dancer before and noticed she had sort of a house like style. That is WONDERFUL advice and i had NO idea blues dancing was about partnering. Looking into it! THANK YOU BUNCHES!
    j_alexandra likes this.
  10. HieroglyphicChi

    HieroglyphicChi New Member

    Ive considered Argentinian Tango as i read it relies heavily on a partner connection. Ive tried lindy hop before but my wife and i have not taken classes. Ive always respected the swing dances because they are very much about style and creativity as well as improvisation. The small cues you can give your partner so that they have a clue of which direction your thoughts are headed in. I will revisit swing. Thank you!
    j_alexandra likes this.
  11. HieroglyphicChi

    HieroglyphicChi New Member

    Ive been dying to learn salsa. I love how sexy everything looks. Youve given me a very nice list to start off with. Ive noticed that most of the partnered dances i can benefit from seem to be in the ballroom/latin category. Is there a reason these two categories are more partner heavy than other styles?
  12. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    We try to avoid situations that involve the words "heavy" and "partner". ;)

    You are on a ballroom forum, BTW.

    What are the other styles to which you are referring?
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  13. HieroglyphicChi

    HieroglyphicChi New Member

    We are looking for NO SHORTCUTS. We want a deep knowledge base to pull from and i agree that learning a variety of style will give us that understanding. Yes, you are right, we DO disturb one another's balance. Thats one thing we are trying to learn better, how to hold our own balance as well as hold the balance of the other person whenever the connection feels off or awkward. If WCS can educate us in the different ways to maintain that connection, whether or not we are physically connected, thats exactly what we are looking to add into our repertoire. Thank you for your suggestions and thank you even more for your criticisms!
    j_alexandra likes this.
  14. HieroglyphicChi

    HieroglyphicChi New Member

    Exactly right about not wanting to learn something we wouldnt enjoy when there are many things we could learn that would take a lifetime to learn. We are looking for direction and focus as well, and while we want to try everything, we dont have that much time lol. So i appreciate you pointing that out, you understand our dilemma. We are looking into the international latin dances, and have also started looking into Capoeira as well. I used to do it in college and like how its very individual but also very much associated with your partners energy and the feeding off each others movement. Tai Chi also has this energetic connection where you respond to your partners small intricate movements that i feel we can highly benefit from, Thank you for giving me some things to consider!
    j_alexandra likes this.
  15. HieroglyphicChi

    HieroglyphicChi New Member

    lol...sorry, im a newb to ballroom. Thanks for the tip!
    For instance, swing dances have the flexibilty to allow you to dance by yourself right next to your partner as well as keeping a physical connection. Ive noticed that ballroom and latin styles are mostly all about the physical connection you share with whomever you are dancing with. I guess my question was badly stated. Rather, what are the advantages of ballroom over latin styles, vice versa, and the strengths and weaknesses of those as well as other styles. I know everybody's opinions are different, but thats what i think is so great about this question. Answers will give me a better understanding of what strengths im looking to add, what areas im weak in, and what to expect to look for and pay close attention to when learning and performing these styles.
  16. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    In my viewpoint, there are two types of lead-follow connection:
    (1) physical
    (2) visual

    But in partner dancing, visual connections are used temporarily and the relative positions of the partners are initiated with a physical connection. At times there may be a blend of a visual and a physical connection.

    A physical connection is where some part of the leader is connected to some part of the follower. This might be hand-to-hand, hand-to-some other body part, etc. The direction of the connection may be different, some connections are in compression and others in stretch. In some dances, the connection may change direction or even go to zero momentarily. A frame is involved, usually via the arms, to transmit leading information from the leader's body to the follower's body.

    Some dances to consider:

    West Coast Swing: this dance may have the most variation in the type of connection but not the full spectrum. The connection point may be, in my vernacular, any point on the woman's body that won't get my face slapped. The direction of connection may be either compression or stretch and the intensity of the connection ebbs and flows throughout.

    Argentine Tango: I have limited experience with this dance, but it seems to me to have a bit more of a direct body-to-body connection.

    Waltz: The connection types are fewer but the characteristics of movement are different. The American waltz has more types of connection than International.

    Rumba: The connection types are fewer but the characteristics of movement are different. (Different from waltz also). You may get into visual lead a bit sooner in this dance.

    If you take classes, be aware that the typical group class does not get much into the technique needed to make leading and following possible. If you can execute a pattern while the instructor is calling it out but not at random during a social dance, you need to consider private lessons.
    HieroglyphicChi likes this.
  17. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    Take a look at various dances on youtube, too.

    For ballroom (Waltz, foxtrot, tango, Viennese waltz), look at American vs International style ... the partnering is much more varied in American because they don't stay in closed hold all the time. (Technique for the closed hold portion is the same in both.)

    Argentine tango is very different than either ballroom tango, and there are several styles of Argentine tango.

    Look at Latin as well as rhythm dances ... cha cha and rumba are done in both, for instance, but there are differences between the dances.

    Look for videos of lower level stuff as well as the pros... you will see the basic nature of the dances more clearly in some ways by looking at bronze and silver dancing. (Pros demoing lower level stuff can be eye opening, too.) Pro level stuff certainly uses partnering, but much of what you see is pre-choreographed.

    For west coast as well, look at videos of intermediate dancers, not only the pros.

    And whatever area you decide to work on, pick your teachers carefully. Many students are not that dedicated and don't want a lot of technique detail, so plenty of teachers cater to that. There are others who can go as deep as you want or need.

    I hope you will keep us posted on your journey!
  18. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    What do you mean by ballroom HieroglyphicChi ? You are musing about different dances, but call them altogether ballroom. Ballroom is a style. You can dance any dance either in ballroom style, or in street style, or in club style, or argentine style, or cuban style. So are you looking for a certain dance, or style, or community?

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