Aerials, ethics, and you.

#1
Less of a question and more of a desire for feedback and discussion on the issue...

I was recently contacted by the instructor of a local studio about possibly teaching a 'masters' class and aerials for a choreography she wants to do. I've not gotten back to her on this, but it has brought to mind a number of thoughts.

Lindy does not equal aerials. And every swing dancer knows this. Or should know it. If they don't, they must still be too new. But why is it everytime some amateur group decides to do a 'swing' performance, it always always always means aerials. And I don't mean just one or two, but I mean a constant barrage of mistimed leaps and throws...

I could imagine that it's the easiest association, and so it helps people recognize it, but aerials are not what the dance is. So why do we (lindy hoppers) encourage it? Has anybody else out there taught an amature group aerials for a performance? I'm kinda thinking I won't do it. For ethical reasons. I wouldn't tell an amature tap dancer to throw down splits and wall flips because that's what the Nicolas brothers did, why would I have a noob throw deathdrops because Frankie did? What about rhythm and timing and frame? Hell, what about a decent swing out?

I held a community dance this last friday, and I caught a couple practicing on the side, getting ready to go to the middle of the floor to throw a few air steps. I had to give them a lecture, and they were confused! I tried to approach it as kindly as I could, directed the blame on the crowd, other people getting hurt, etc...but I still meet person after person who thinks Lindy is just about throwing the girl around...it hurts me in my soul!

I'm not saying no to all aerials. I've been there and done that, hell, I'm sure Ive been guilty of a candlestick on a public floor, but in my defense, the lead singer asked me too...how do we 'reclaim' the spirit of lindy and give the dance back to itself, instead of watering it down as nothing more than acrobatics?

anyone?
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#2
lifts etc

Agree with you 100 %,--- but-- there are exceptions to every rule. when choreographing for a show, the general public seem to expect more pizzazz .The same thing happens in all the b/room world. It unfortunately happens in the world of salsa, even in social events. Balletic and acrobatic moves, have become part and parcel of many peoples stock in trade.I think people who ask for this inclusion in their routines, should be made to put a disclaimer in their program explaining the differences between " show " work and social . TV, plays a huge part in this deception, but, once again--- flash and trash sells .
 

kayak

Active Member
#4
I have to admit that I am not a natural born dancer. So every element of dance that I know I had to learn from someone else. The better the dancer/instructor teaching me, the more precise my ability to replicate the move.

So my thought is you should take a look at the group. They might already have a good mastery of dance. They are obviously thinking of adding lifts to the show. Why not help them do it right? Otherwise, you will be watching their show in a few months grumbling about how their lifts were all bad.
 
#5
TV, plays a huge part in this deception, but, once again--- flash and trash sells .
You're absolutely right, and it frustrates me to no end. Every time I mention that I dance, people start bringing up 'So you think you can dance' and 'dancing with the stars' and I have to explain to them the difference between actual social dancing and theatrical performance. It takes awhile, but eventually I get through the dissapointed and dazed looks...

I'm just bothered that I could be a part of the problem, and I'll just be helping to perpetuate the myth that dancing is just who throw who around better.
 

Spitfire

Well-Known Member
#7
No, it seems to be at a non-social studio. They teach hip-hop, ballet, modern, etc...all the more reason I'm a little iffy about their doing a lindy performance.
I see that you have a Friday dance started down near the U of A. Is this the comunity dance you are referring to? I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I'm in town.
 
#8
oh boy

So, I just got a reply back. Looks like they're wanting to do a number to 'Hey Pachuco' in the vein of 'The Mask', the old Jim Carrey movie....any suggesstions? It's an awfully fast song for some body who's never done lindy before. They're competive Jazz dancers, so they learn quick...right?
 
#9
Well, here's the thing - if you don't do it, won't they just find someone else who will?

I say do it - while teaching them the routine, you can also teach them about good dance etiquette, when aerials are (and are not) done, what qualifies as good dancing, etc.

As far as the difficulty and what to do - (esp. in light of their song choice), I'd stick with a lot of 6-count basics. If they're doing really well with that (at speed) then maybe some swing-outs would be in order. What they're capable of really depends on the time between now and the performance, and how much they'll have you available to rehearse them. If you're just choreographing and then out of the picture, you'll want to keep it relatively uncomplicated.
 
#10
Well, here's the thing - if you don't do it, won't they just find someone else who will?

I say do it - while teaching them the routine, you can also teach them about good dance etiquette, when aerials are (and are not) done, what qualifies as good dancing, etc.

As far as the difficulty and what to do - (esp. in light of their song choice), I'd stick with a lot of 6-count basics. If they're doing really well with that (at speed) then maybe some swing-outs would be in order. What they're capable of really depends on the time between now and the performance, and how much they'll have you available to rehearse them. If you're just choreographing and then out of the picture, you'll want to keep it relatively uncomplicated.
True and my guess is that they will know themselves what they are capable of as well, so they probably won't be afraid to say yes or no to whatever stunt is thrown at them especially if they have been dancing for awhile.

I admire your reasoning Firephreek. Do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. Even if you don't do it, so what? There will be more opportunities in the future.
 
#11
all for naught

Well, she's not gotten back to me after I suggested maybe using a different piece of music, so I guess it's out of my hands. Thanks for the comments and suggestions everyone. :)
 

Me

New Member
#13
I don't know much about swing, but your thread caught my attention.

I admire your unwillingness to 'sell out.' I believe if you continue down this road, you will only continue to gain respect in your field. Attempting to gain the approval of local dance studios by compromising your standards is a losing battle on both fronts - dancers in your field will lose respect for you, and the local studio dancers will most likely never understand (or respect) you or what you have to offer.

In my limited experience of working with my coach, I have grown to understand that most local dance studios have no understanding, at all, of ballroom/latin/social dances. In their defense I must say that, as a former ballerina, I remember thinking, "This stuff should be easy." So, they are probably thinking the same thing, and they believe the difficulty level is based on extensions, leaps, aerials, etc. The instructor has some wild vision of dancers flipping around in the air to crazy fast music, and doesn't understand why you won't give it to them.

On top of all that, most of these studios expect you to 'donate your time' because you will be gaining such great and wonderful exposure. (Right...)

At least, this has been my limited, and dismal, experience. I do live in Mississippi, where ballroom is practically non-existant, so perhaps that influences the knowledge level of the local dance school instructors. I hope you have better luck!
 

leee

Well-Known Member
#15
Mostly going to focus on the "you" part, which is to say, "me." (Yay! More psychoanalysis!)

We've got an intro to air steps class this month, and it's my first time really working on them (not the very first doing them -- I've been working on a routine that has a frog jump and an A-frame in it). After the first class, I sampled a few other opinions, and everyone else was way more enthusiastic than I was. I think that's part of me being scared about new things, and not being great at them off the bat, and seeing other people get so much more air than my partner and me. I'm too uptight about these things!
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#16
Ballrooms had dance codes in 1938, and you never saw anyone thrown in the air in a ballroom unless it was in a contest. Swing dancing in a ballroom during that period was all floor work. Norma Miller

So, lee, I think I saw an update or two on your air step experience, but, could you share again? Or, maybe nothing to report? Anyone else?
 

DL

Well-Known Member
#17
Past threads on aerials (not comprehensive):
http://www.dance-forums.com/threads/injuries-from-lifting-partner.40883/
http://www.dance-forums.com/threads/help-a-fighter-dance.35329/
http://www.dance-forums.com/threads/chicago-suit-charges-negligent-dancing.17230/

That's not particularly apropos of recent discussion here (which I see started back in 2006), but when I saw the serious topic of aerials come up again I thought some cross-references might be a handy element of the thread archive, some time in the future.
 

leee

Well-Known Member
#18
Ballrooms had dance codes in 1938, and you never saw anyone thrown in the air in a ballroom unless it was in a contest. Swing dancing in a ballroom during that period was all floor work. Norma Miller

So, lee, I think I saw an update or two on your air step experience, but, could you share again? Or, maybe nothing to report? Anyone else?
For social dancing, air steps are frowned upon if not expressly forbidden to this day -- as you quote Norma, they're reserved for contests, and also choreographed performances.

I didn't particularly enjoy the air steps class, partly because some of my chronic joint issues flared up during it, and partly because it really requires a partnership (it's not just the lead muscling through everything).
 
#20
Concur with you ,yet - there are special cases to each standard. at the point when choreographing for a demonstrate, the overall population appear to expect more spirit .The same thing happens in world. It shockingly happens in the realm of salsa, even in social occasions. Balletic and gymnastic moves, have gotten to be an integral part of numerous people groups stock in trade.i think individuals who request this incorporation in their schedules, ought to be made to put a disclaimer in their project clarifying the contrasts between " show " practice and social.
 

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