Question about this particular situation in WCS

Ithink

Active Member
#21
I agree; I really dislike dancing with guys like that because to me the dance is solely about them, not at all about me, their partner. I call them pattern-dancers where they don't really dance but just practice how many patterns they can fit into a song.
 
#22
I agree; I really dislike dancing with guys like that because to me the dance is solely about them, not at all about me, their partner. I call them pattern-dancers where they don't really dance but just practice how many patterns they can fit into a song.
In some cases, not just patterns but also movements and timing - the really advanced leaders can lead the follower's footwork and rhythm, in places where the less advanced leader would not do so.
 
#23
In some cases, not just patterns but also movements and timing - the really advanced leaders can lead the follower's footwork and rhythm, in places where the less advanced leader would not do so.
I can understand if they're beginners and can only do patterns. However, when you hit Intermediate, you need to be able to definitely interact with your partner. If anyone wants to be all about them, go dance by yourself, NOT do a partner dance...
 

Ithink

Active Member
#24
In some cases, not just patterns but also movements and timing - the really advanced leaders can lead the follower's footwork and rhythm, in places where the less advanced leader would not do so.
Right. Mostly, I was actually talking more about advanced dancers anyway. I think beginners aren't likely to be able to control what *kind* of dance they dance but the advanced ones sure can and CHOOSE to make it all about them and their patterns/rhythm etc. That's what I dislike.
 
#25
Right. Mostly, I was actually talking more about advanced dancers anyway. I think beginners aren't likely to be able to control what *kind* of dance they dance but the advanced ones sure can and CHOOSE to make it all about them and their patterns/rhythm etc. That's what I dislike.
Yeah...and with those kinds of leaders, that's when the advanced followers decide to hijack...it's the only way for them to "get a word in edgewise" in the dance conversation. :p
 
#27
Well Jenny, I have to say 'Hijacking' is something I so want from a follower - and locally, its quite rare, probablly because of the small pool of WCS dancers.

When someone starts hijacking it immediately 'lifts my game' to about two levels above what I normally do - its so much fun going into something not knowing what is going to come out.

Ever fancy a visit to Scotland Jenny?
 
#28
Well Jenny, I have to say 'Hijacking' is something I so want from a follower - and locally, its quite rare, probablly because of the small pool of WCS dancers.

When someone starts hijacking it immediately 'lifts my game' to about two levels above what I normally do - its so much fun going into something not knowing what is going to come out.

Ever fancy a visit to Scotland Jenny?
Feel free to visit to Southern California and the followers you want to be hijacked. I'm sure many would be happy to oblige :bouncy:
 
#29
Well Jenny, I have to say 'Hijacking' is something I so want from a follower - and locally, its quite rare, probablly because of the small pool of WCS dancers.

When someone starts hijacking it immediately 'lifts my game' to about two levels above what I normally do - its so much fun going into something not knowing what is going to come out.

Ever fancy a visit to Scotland Jenny?
I would love to go on a worldwide social dance tour...you know, check out what the dance scene is like in different countries. What a blast that would be! Too bad my wallet is empty. :(
 
#30
I would love to go on a worldwide social dance tour...you know, check out what the dance scene is like in different countries. What a blast that would be! Too bad my wallet is empty. :(
I feel your pain... they say the US economy is turning around, but I got hit with two paycuts and looking for a 2nd job to make ends meet with no future raises. Family member had also lost their job. It's hard times for us all. I think swing dancing actually helps me to stay upbeat since it's a lot cheaper (w/out lessons) activity that's a lot of fun around great people. Plus, I don't need a gym membership this way ;)
 
#31
That's how I was taught, as well. That said, occasional hijacks can be okay, if the leader seems amenable. But only occasional, not all the time. If the follower is going to just plain ignore the leader, why is she even dancing with a partner at all? :confused:
Frankly, I call this back leading not hijacking. But as someone has both back lead and hijacked - when I was both younger and more of a Diva - I would posit other theories. The only time I would pull a backlead/hijack that was:


  1. when the lead was not defined enough ("did he want 2 spins or 3?")
  2. when the lead could not count (the dilemma of following the leader or following the beat of the music)
  3. when the lead missed all the musical cues and did no shines of his own ("nothing in front of me to watch" syndrome)
  4. I was just being damned rude and ignoring the leader
But there are 2 more reasons to consider

  1. the follower doesn't know that many steps and is covering for her lack of knowledge by blinding her leader with her shines
  2. another issues. I'm asthmatic - if I need to get air I will do a chest pop. Given my bust-line, that usually shocks the leader into stopping for 4 -8 beats. I also have repeatitive strain in my wrists - if my leader can't lead a spin properly I will hijack for self preservation.
Just some things to consider.

~Kristine
Play the funky music and dance
 

tsb

Well-Known Member
#32
In WCS it is part of and commonplace for the follower to move and play on her own rather than to always follow along with a lead and generally I don't have a problem with this, but I've danced with some followers who seem to do so throughout the entire dance and I find it hard to lead much of anything. It can all look very nice so I'm not saying that WCS followers shouldn't be doing any of this, but rather what can I do to best adapt to this situation? Perhaps this is something covered in various workshops and classes, but unfortunately I live in a community where these are not available since there is no dancing here.
hey tom: did you see felix & priscilla when you went down to phoenix?

IMO part of the challenge in leading WCS well is dancing as much *with* as *to* the music. it's not just a matter of locating the downbeat and matching the tempo, it also includes beginning and ending figures with the musical phrases, anticipating breaks, choosing styling influenced by the music being played at that moment, etc. and it's a lot easier when you are dancing with a partner whose ear/timing/sense of lyricism are comparable to your own, as she more is more likely to anticipate accurately where you will offer opportunities to show initiative in styling (play), and anticipating when you lengthen figures by adding extra beats to match the phrasing in the music, etc.

it's my take that appropriate hijacking occurs when a follow feels that she has a more aesthetically pleasing alternative interpretation/choice of figure/styling to what she thinks is being led in relation to the music being played.

to illustrate this, i invite you to check out a jack & jill competition on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J11uP9OmoI

you will see examples of side passes that were not 6 beats in length, but instead were extended to fit the phrasing on the music, such as the side pass at the 1:00 mark. note how tatiana's choice of styling reflected the actual music being played in each instance - the head snap in synchronization of the cymbal crash highlighting the break, etc. their sense of the music is pretty well synchronized.

but there is a IMO a perfect example of a great hijack at about 1:31. parker released tatiana in a free spin and looked to reconnect at a musical break within a phrase (not bad lyricism at all) - and tatiana hijacked by postponing the reconnect to the next (and final) break of the phrase - and it made musical sense! it's been five years, and i still laugh whenever i watch it.

to summarize, there will be some follows who will just hijack for the sake of hijacking. for those whose sense of musicality differs significantly from mine, i tend to avoid them. but in some cases it may well be that a perceived act of hijacking is a result of a follow hearing/interpreting/anticipating the music differently and *perhaps* more musically. in those cases, it may help you to note they do, especially if they're consistent in how/when they hijack from you and adapt to that - your being able to anticipate how a follow might typically "hear" the music will contribute significantly to your own sense of lyricism - in a way followers will appreciate.

i hope this helps.
 
#34
Partnering?

Yes, one of the beauties of WCS is the ability of the dancers to shine as individuals, but NOT at the expense of the partnership. I am all for follows pushing the limits of our partnership and don't consider it hijacking. It feels wonderful to share that space.

However I do have to say that one of my pet peeves are followers the embellish and syncopate EVERY step. Please take some of that energy and redirect it towards our partnering. :)
 
#35
This is from the best piece I've ever read on how back leading and hijacking coexist with lead and follow.

=====

Is there a word to describe partners effortlessly passing the lead back and forth? In music, I believe it's called jamming. Watching bluesmen jam, watching improvisational actors work and having spent 60 hours in improvisational acting training, I've found that jamming works when the players respect each other's solos, when the players are in tune to the cues that say 'I'm finishing up' or 'I'm starting a solo'.

In improv, there are several ways to interrupt the flow, all bad. All of them stop the scene cold. As most actor's egos need their own zip code, every improv class I've been in has featured the instructor explaining to some interrupter that this is a team effort, it's not about you. When you have the lead, take it in a direction that makes it work for everybody. When you don't have the lead, follow along, doing your best to make it work. Interrupting the flow is just selfish, egotistical, amateurish or an indication that you just don't get the basic nature of improv.

Yep, Improv acting is not partner dance, but there are lessons to be learned. There is nothing better in dance than jamming, IMHO, when each partner's creativity and passion is sparked by the other's solos. But this only works when the partners can communicate well enough to pass the lead back and forth.

What happens all to often is the follower decides to express herself and she launches into it with no apparent regard to what I'm doing. I have learned how to communicate passing the lead to her. I don't do it if i'm in the middle of a solo, if I'm setting something up for the bridge that starts in 4 bars, if I'm trying to prevent the bozo next to my partner from running into her, if I'm still assessing how well she can dance or follow, etc. Take the lead when it's passed to you and we'll have grand fun. Ask for the lead when I'm just noodling nothing in particular and you'll get it with my full attention, more grand fun. Take the lead, smoothly and gently, and I'll surrender if I'm not in the middle of something best not interrupted, more grand fun. However if she demands the lead, takes it jarringly or abruptly, interrupts me at a bad time, or refuse to follow, well, at best that's just bad dance.

In the first post in this thread I said: "The ones who dislike dancing with me are those who fail when attempting to impose their will on me." I wasn't talking about jamming, which is a way to work together. I was describing selfishly demanding the lead or refusing to lead, which is all about her and not about us.
 
#37
Thanks for this way of looking at it! :cheers:

This is from the best piece I've ever read on how back leading and hijacking coexist with lead and follow.

=====

Is there a word to describe partners effortlessly passing the lead back and forth? In music, I believe it's called jamming. Watching bluesmen jam, watching improvisational actors work and having spent 60 hours in improvisational acting training, I've found that jamming works when the players respect each other's solos, when the players are in tune to the cues that say 'I'm finishing up' or 'I'm starting a solo'.

In improv, there are several ways to interrupt the flow, all bad. All of them stop the scene cold. As most actor's egos need their own zip code, every improv class I've been in has featured the instructor explaining to some interrupter that this is a team effort, it's not about you. When you have the lead, take it in a direction that makes it work for everybody. When you don't have the lead, follow along, doing your best to make it work. Interrupting the flow is just selfish, egotistical, amateurish or an indication that you just don't get the basic nature of improv.

Yep, Improv acting is not partner dance, but there are lessons to be learned. There is nothing better in dance than jamming, IMHO, when each partner's creativity and passion is sparked by the other's solos. But this only works when the partners can communicate well enough to pass the lead back and forth.

What happens all to often is the follower decides to express herself and she launches into it with no apparent regard to what I'm doing. I have learned how to communicate passing the lead to her. I don't do it if i'm in the middle of a solo, if I'm setting something up for the bridge that starts in 4 bars, if I'm trying to prevent the bozo next to my partner from running into her, if I'm still assessing how well she can dance or follow, etc. Take the lead when it's passed to you and we'll have grand fun. Ask for the lead when I'm just noodling nothing in particular and you'll get it with my full attention, more grand fun. Take the lead, smoothly and gently, and I'll surrender if I'm not in the middle of something best not interrupted, more grand fun. However if she demands the lead, takes it jarringly or abruptly, interrupts me at a bad time, or refuse to follow, well, at best that's just bad dance.

In the first post in this thread I said: "The ones who dislike dancing with me are those who fail when attempting to impose their will on me." I wasn't talking about jamming, which is a way to work together. I was describing selfishly demanding the lead or refusing to lead, which is all about her and not about us.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#38
This was published in 1998 in "In the Swing" magazine.
http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1101385994674-211/KennyInterview.pdf I got the date and source by hunting around.


About playing at the end of the slot:
"If there's nothing in the music telling you to play, don't," said Mary Ann. (Nunez)

"If a woman stays out there for two counts, he may not notice. If it's four counts, he'll pay attention. If it's six to twelve, you had better be entertaining," said Beata (Howe)...

Sounds like really good advice to me.
 

Generalist

Active Member
#39
So, does that mean, if you lead a pass, a whip, a turn, a sugar push, etc. etc., the followers actually don't do the move you led? Are they literally hijacking or ignoring every lead that you provide? Or are they doing the move, but with variations in footwork, timing and styling?
In my dance community it's all the rage for women to take "styling" classes where they learn synchopations and hijacking. I really don't have a problem with this fad because women who are good at make me look like a much better lead than I am, and it can add very fun dynamics to the usual lead/follow of WCS. It's also good because it makes the ladies feel empowered.

However......

Too many women are really getting carried away. Lately a lady I danced with hijacked four attempts at a sugar push in a row. I then tried and whip but she wouldn't let me. Every right or left pass she hijacked. The rest of the dance I just decided to let her do her own thing because she made it impossible to lead her. I got the impression she thought I was a lousy lead because nothing felt right.

My example is not an isolated case, although most women aren't that extreme. The majority of women aren't very good at syncopations so they don't settle enough to let me know when to take them out of a hijack. That wouldn't be a problem but they will try this over and over in a single dance, and then it becomes very mushy in terms of anchoring or for me to decide what to lead. I don't mind if they practice by doing, but since I don't practice new moves more than once a dance I feel they should have the same courtesy.
 

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