Swing Discussion Boards > Why do people critique and boss me in West Coast?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Me, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Zhena

    Zhena Well-Known Member

    My experience has been more like Ithink's than like that of most of the other posters (though without the competition aspect;)). I started learning WCS in a ballroom studio environment. I've been taking pure WCS classes and going to the associated socials for less than a year. I prefer WCS socials to the ballroom socials I attend because I get more invitations to dance, the leaders are aware of the music, and the level of dance skill is higher. I sometimes receive suggestions during WCS class warm-ups, but rarely at a social. I get a lot more verbal leads at the ballroom socials.

    It seems it's partly a matter of the culture of the local environment. I'd hate to think mid-dance teaching is as common as it seems from previous posts ... but since I'm likely to stick around my apparently-blessed corner of the westie world, I'll just be happy where I am.
  2. GJB

    GJB Well-Known Member

    I also suspect "teaching" while dancing may be a regional thing. I don't think I have ever seen it at a competition/convention. Saw it here locally last weekend. Interestingly, the men I saw doing it looked like very low level dancers. Suspect they might never have taken a private lesson. Probably have not heard of dance etiquette.
  3. GJB

    GJB Well-Known Member

    Have to admit there is a strong dislike of "ballroom" WCS in the WCS (NASDE type events, etc.) world. Once while dancing someone said to me "Do you do ballroom?" I was a bit offended esp since I dance WCS for several years before ever taking a ballroom dance lesson. Then I thought about it. I think she was comparing the quality of my lead to my lack of musicality. I don't think there is a WCS dancer alive that has danced WCS as long as I have that sucks as much at musicality as I do! I have danced with almost all of the top ladies and I try not to ask when there is a song with lots of breaks playing.
  4. GJB

    GJB Well-Known Member

    Since we are not dancing at the moment, may I suggest to the ladies just one thing that will make the dance much more enjoyable and make you much easier to lead:

    If you haven't already done so, learn how to do a nice plain vanilla no frills basic anchor.
  5. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I am not sure it is "teaching" that Me was getting at. It is constant criticism.
  6. GJB

    GJB Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen the criticism. What I saw last weekend was a few men genuinely attempting to help women improve their dancing. But, the men were very unqualified to do so.
  7. Seriously, how many leaders on the social dance floor are able to help women improve their dancing? Many of these "helpful" leaders don't know what they don't know. And, besides that, if the follower needs "help", then the leader needs to back down to the most basic of basic patterns.

    I dance, with my mouth shut, when I am dancing with a leader who has No Clue that his feet aren't following the beat, not even a variation of it, totally off time. Mouth shut. Would it be helpful to point this out?

    Now, sometimes a little bit of feedback IS helpful. A year or two ago, a number of leaders commented "wow, you're so light!". I asked each one of them, "Too light? is that a good thing or a bad thing? need more connection? does it feel like I'm rushing?". None of them said that they wanted more connection or weight or anything, but I reduced the "lightness" because I really think it indicated I was anticipating, early, etc.
  8. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    This leader makes it very clear that he can lead/teach some very basic steps, but nothing complicated, and even basic ones should be brought up in your next lesson to fix whatever I explained wrong. :)
  9. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    i have had the same experience - in ballroom and salsa. looking back, the common element was the dance career of the instructor; those whose careers had been more about performance and competition were more likely to teach unleadable moves and figures. those instructors who put a higher priority on partnering skills tended to teach non syllabus moves that were leadable - and also go into nuances, if any, of how the follow could distinguish one figure from another in how it was led. secondary factors included the level of expectation that one would be dancing with (only) other members of the class - knowing the same "step".

    IMO part of being a good leader is not just technical proficiency, but the decision making process - a good lead does not choose figures if he is not sure that the follow can actually follow his lead smoothly. and leads should be taught that, when dancing with strangers, to start with simple figures and increase the difficulty until they perceive that they've reached the proficiency level of their partner - and don't go beyond it. anybody trying to lead a move that their partner has little chance of following well is a poor lead regardless of their level of technical proficiency. but that also reflects what or how these leads are given in terms of instruction in what it means to be a good lead.
  10. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    tom, i doubt you'd have much fun dancing with me if MY idea of fun as a follow included (and i've experienced all of these working as a dance host - though thankfully not all simultaneously):

    - no deodorant;
    - noodle arms;
    - charles atlas arms;
    - vulcan nerve pinch with the left hand on the shoulder;
    - vulcan never pinch with the right hand on your left hand;
    - dancing off beat;
    - complaining all the time;
    - dropping left arm so as to baste your wrist with my sweaty armpit - or worse getting it on your clothes that you can't wash off - leaving subsequent partners believing that *you* didn't use deodorant (and this has happened more than once);
    - backleading;
    - keeping my weight on my heels;
    - pointing out every perceived flaw in your frame, posture, lead;

    you get the idea. the point is that every dancer will have more fun if they are more fun to dance *with*, which includes technique, attitude and demeanor.
  11. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    :kissme: May I have this next dance? Please?
  12. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    maybe where you come from, but the WCS crowds i tend to see are cliquish enough that the leads wouldn't even consider dancing with an untrained person.

    in the ballroom world, WCS is the only dance i won't try to dance with someone if they don't know it; i prefer to do a different dance with them where we are both likely to have more fun.
  13. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    these folks also tend to be the ones teaching in class - while the instructor is speaking.
  14. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    you are probably one of the few people qualified to give a unbiased answer to the following question: how do you think the typically competitive-oriented trained ballroom dancer but untrained in WCS would fare in a WCS jack and jill (at the same corresponding level of their ballroom proficiency)? i'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this.
  15. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member


    (and this apparently was my 2000th post!)
  16. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    i'd love to, although we suffer from geographical difficulties; when i'm not in denial, i own up to living in pasadena ca.
  17. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    Hey, I have family in Burbank; if I'm ever out your way...

    That is, if I can fight off the harem in your avatar.;)
  18. Me

    Me New Member

    Yes! Constant criticism, followed by bad or unwanted (or both) on-the-fly instruction.

    Last night I chatted with a dancer who hangs with the WC crowd in this general area, and she believes it is a problem, but that I just need to let them know to lay off. She said she's had to say things every now and then to make leads shush. She also said that when she gets tired of the chatter, she starts hijacking the dance to mess with them. I'm not sure whether to take any of her advice or not. I don't like being chatted down to (somebody used that earlier and I like it); however, I don't want to make things worse.

    I still wonder if this is a WC specific problem... I am absolutely certain I do not put up with this in other partnership dances. *sigh*
  19. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    I hope you don't mind another answer?

    The interesting thing is your scenario really doesn't occur. Each J&J competitor has to get points to move up. Having everyone start as a Novice really caught me by surprise when I started. Here I was a true novice and I was dancing against pros from other dance forms that just needed to adapt to WCS. It was really intimidating. Having other dance experience does help get out of Novice. In the Intermediate/Advanced categories, creating the feel of WCS is really important.

    I think the transfer of technique really has a lot to do with a dancer's attitude. It is kind of like being a rhythm dancer signing up for a smooth comp. The judges are looking for a specific feel. So if we took that great rhythm technique to Waltz, the judges would crush us. If we took a start at ground zero attitude and really added smooth technique, we learn faster than a true rookie and compete pretty well. The same is true with swing comps. The judges are looking for a very specific look and feel. So bringing awesome ChaCha talent really doesn't help win a swing J&J.
  20. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Not in my experience. It is indicative of severely stunted dance etiquette, though. While I don't advocate being uh... tetchy with people as a general rule, I might be tempted to do one or the following:
    • "Where do you teach?"
    • "I'm sorry, I'm just here to have fun, not take a lesson."
    • "Gee I must have missed that workshop. Too bad. Why don't we stick to stuff we both know?"
    If it is really, really awful and you don't mind burning a few bridges...
    • Drop the person's hand mid-dance and say "That's just about the rudest thing I've experienced. I'm sorry but I just can't finish this dance with you if this is how it's going to be. Sorry." If you're feeling generous, walk them to the edge of the dance floor. If you're NOT, just leave them in the middle of the floor.

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