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. SD

    SD New Member

    For Me,

    There is one key element to West Coast Swing that some people understandably hold back on when they are new...

    As much as Westies harp on technique, patterns, technique, rules concerning anchoring, and more technique, the whole key understanding West Coast may be this:

    The most important element of the dance is attitude.

    Technique is second in order of importance, and flows there-from.

    If, perchance, you show up at a social and hold anything back, then logically you must be a newbie and in need of instruction. In their own backhanded and annoying way, perhaps these guys are really trying to help you out. Once you have figured out how to - at the same time - tell them where to put it AND charm their socks off, then you will have really arrived.

    (It is really late at night. I may be over the edge, or I might really be on to something...... prolly the former.)
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    um...pretty sure I have not posted in this thread...until now ;)
  3. 3wishes

    3wishes Well-Known Member

    Agreed, attitude, smile, enjoy - it's everything.
  4. SD

    SD New Member

    I daresay you are correct. My mistake indeed.
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    just wondering b/c I am a bit spacey but I scanned the entire thread and was well...mystified
  6. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Yup and there is nothing you can do to stop them, so you might as well not dwell on it and get your own butt in gear!
  7. SD

    SD New Member

    I think this is one of the most valuable, and difficult, lessons I have learned from dancing.:cool:
  8. utahswestcoastswing

    utahswestcoastswing New Member

    Just joined onto this forum and noticed this post. Since I mainly do WCS, I felt inclined to post about this thread. This has gotten to be a long thread, so I do not know what has already been discussed and what I have say may have already been posted.:confused:

    Pertaining to the original post, I am sorry if anyone feels WCS dancers are providing unwarranted criticism. I don't advocate giving critiques during social dance time unless asked for. Criticism should be reserved for the classroom and only if it is the teacher giving it or if there is an established relationship that allows for criticism. Apologizes for those who may have experienced this. Those people giving unwarranted criticism should not be giving it.

    I hope the experiences do not prevent anyone from doing WCS or any other type of dance. Although for some people it may appear to happen mostly in WCS, this is a problem in all types of social dance scenes. I only hope people go dancing looking for a good time as opposed to looking at what they think is wrong.:D
  9. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Welcome, utahs. Yeah, lots of reading to do if you want to go there!
  10. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Ditto; welcome to DF utahswestcoastswing! :cheers:
  11. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I think you are right about that. Part of the explanation may well be people who have built up some protections against this (attitude, reputation, options) in their primary style then feeling the full unshielded form of it in a different style.
  12. Me

    Me New Member

    Well I hate to end my contribution to this thread on a bit of a down note, but I was asked to dance in a WC exhibition. I thought about it for a week or so, and declined. I just don't want to deal with the garbage. Not too long ago I danced an exhibition that was very open performance style with some WC in it. We had some moves planned but other than that, completely lead/follow, light, happy, and fun. At least, that is how I felt about it. But later I just so tired of hearing about how what we danced was not "real" WC. Nobody critiqued the hustle in it, the cha in it, the freestyle in it... oh but the WC swing bits in it? Holy cow. Unbelievable.

    So until the dance scene changes around here, or until I move, I'm just not going to make WC swing any type of a priority. I'm sorry, guys. Thank you so much for your advice and insight! I really appreciate it. I will continue to haunt the swing boards and absorb what I can. :)
  13. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    "Dancers perform and get criticized."

    BTW, some time ago I saw an exhibition by Luca and Lorraine Baricchi, and heard a bunch of comments from fellow spectators afterwards. Guess what? They were mostly criticisms.
  14. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yup...which is why the smart dancer, if they don't intend to quit, or lose their mind, becomes a bit thicker skinned
  15. Artemia

    Artemia New Member

    There's a lot of posts in this thread so I'm going to admit I just read the first page.

    I can't say that I've been bossed around in WCS, though there are times when people will murmur "double turn" or something when I miss the lead. HOWEVER, having known that I hate being bossed around in any dance, I tend to not complain when they do a poor lead, provided I can figure it out eventually.

    I think that the line between social dancing (dance with someone you don't know, thankyouverymuch, go dance with someone else) and dancing with someone you know you're going to see again is fuzzy enough that there are times when someone might choose to mention a lead (or follow) in hopes of helping you progress, whether or not they actually are in the group of people you're going to continue dancing with.

    Of course, these same people might both have no tact (leading to you feel like you're being bossed around) and also feel that even if they're only going to dance with you once, their astounding knowledge MUST be passed onto you for your greater good!! Without their gifts, how EVER shall you survive as a WCS dancer?

    I've learned a lot of things dancing WCS, and one of them I have to agree is that Ballroom dancers are looked down upon. I take a WCS group class once a week and the instructor's assistant just told me this week "You're finally starting to like a west coast swing dancer!" Can't I be both?

    Continuing on my ramble regarding being bossed around, there are times when I wish followers would tell their leaders how the lead is feeling, but it becomes such an awkward conversation, because we're not the instructor. (I'm talking about a group class setting now, not general dancing. In general dancing you just grin and bear it, regarding this subject.)

    I think that the reason some people may boss in social dancing is they're just so SURE of their "style" that they don't stop and think that West Coast is the sort of dance that is interpretive! If you let the woman go, she can do whatever she wants until she anchors and lets you take her back. If you're ad-libbing the lead, it's up to the follow to figure out her own groove.

    What I love about WCS is that if I mess it up, it's not going to be as noticeable as if I do a sweetheart in ECS and my partner tries to pull me through a flirtation and we both fall over backwards! (Not happened to me but it will some day in my nightmares.) Same thing happens in WCS, as long as we make it look smooth, it's part of the dance.

    If someone bosses you around, just do things your own way anyway. That's what the dance is about! *grins*
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    It cuts both ways, of course.
    If the leader knows what he is doing there may be a perfectly good reason for him doing what he is doing. He may be compensating for something you aren't doing.
    There is a special place in my heart for women who "correct me" while having no idea that, from my perspective, they were the one who missing something or did it vey poorly.
    I've found over the years that being equally honest in sharing my perspective, and going to great lengths to explain things, gets me nowhere other than on THAT list. Now, I just listen politely and wait for the day when I might be willing to dance with someone who has a flaw that they are uninterested in addressing.

    Here's a for instance.

    I've had women use this as an excuse (after the fact) for consistently falling behind the beat and not starting forward on time after completing their anchor. And I hadn't even "let the woman go". " They aren't all six count moves." Well, maybe you are dancing 6.7 count moves?

    Bad thing about being a guy is that we usually have to risk rejection if we want to dance. Good thing about being a guy is that we can simply not ask someone again.
  17. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    The bottom line here is that for a dance to be so adamantly exalted for its freeformed freedom, improvisation, and play, there certainly are a large number of persons w/ very vocal opinions of exactly how, and when, these things should take place. Though, IMO, she is giving in for the wrong reasons, it is a shame that the WC communities have been so unforgiving that the OP has opted to quit dancing it.
  18. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Perhaps what the champions of free form dances really mean is that they enjoy it when others do things their way.
  19. GJB

    GJB Well-Known Member

    WCS allows for SOME freedom, improvisation, and play. It is a PARTNER dance and therefore does not allow for total freedom whereever and whenever you want. That would just be chaos. Part of the leader's job is to present the follower with windows of opportunity in which she might improvise. But ... it is not supposed to look like two people dancing free style while holding hands. There seem to be some in the WCS community that think things have veered to far with the freedom and improvisation and that it is loosing the partnering aspects.

    I don't think this applies to all WCS communities. For example, Samina has no training in WCS and has enjoyed dancing here in NJ and has said she has received compliments on her dancing.
  20. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    GJB, I totally agree that not all WCS communities are like this. The pretty large DC community (I would argue the largest outside the West Coast) is really friendly. Sure, there are snobs everywhere but the majority of people here are pretty welcoming.

    And to the previous comment about a person being told in a class that they are finally looking like a WCS dancer: well, why do you have to take it as an insult instead of taking it as a compliment that you are finally mastering the technique of a VERY different style of dance? It's true what someone said earlier: it's ALL in the attitude. If you are going to get insulted by every innocuous comment, then your feelings will get hurt. If you get an attitude adjustment and take a statement for what it is likely meant to be offered as, a compliment about coming a long way, then you are bound to have more fun, which is what is supposed to happen when you dance WCS. And yes, I am proof that you can be both a ballroomer and a westie, full throttle in both, but you do have to make an effort to distinguish between the two when you dance.

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