Richard Powers' Thoughts, Philosophies and Musings on Social Dance

#1
My friend came across a series of articles by Richard Powers (kudos to her!), who is a dance historian, and after reading them, I figure the site is definitely worth sharing. :)

Articles worth reading are:
Dancing Makes You Smarter

Sketchy Guys (I honestly feel that they should really read this, Sketchy Guys always get on my nerves!)

Suggestions for Choreographing a Dance

Teaching Tips

Rest of the articles can be found here.

These articles, personally, serve as a reminder for certain scenarios. Got to love what I've read. :D
 
#4
Salsa is not good as well

OK. Sorry everyone, but I just visited Powers' page on West Coast Swing,

[stupid Forum's software does not allow submission of a link - is the 21st century too young for hyperlinks?]

and I have to say, he's got a lot of it wrong.
I barely know salsa, but his salsa demo (in a class!) seems awfully bad:
w w w . y o u t u b e . com / w a t c h ? v = kklp1EnoRGE

His timing looks like waltz timing - no difference between slow and quick steps. His steps look like walking on ice. His posture looks like the one needed in Lindy. Footwork looks unusual. But the worst is his dress - inappropriate for a dance teacher. The lady looks better, though. Poor students...

Could someone more knowledgeable confirm?
 
#5
I never had even a single experience with Powers himself, but I danced with and became friends with a whole lot of people who started out with him. I can't even remember specifically why now since it has been so many years, but his name would invoke a silent groan in my head after awhile. All I know is he turned out some bad social dancers with chips on their shoulders.

If I recall correctly, he really, really doesn't like competition dancers and "their attitude." Now, being someone who worked hard at technical proficiency AND partied hard on the social floor . . . I felt a little miffed myself, especially in light of the kind of dancers he set upon the world.
 
#6
I barely know salsa, but his salsa demo (in a class!) seems awfully bad:
w w w . y o u t u b e . com / w a t c h ? v = kklp1EnoRGE

His timing looks like waltz timing - no difference between slow and quick steps. His steps look like walking on ice. His posture looks like the one needed in Lindy. Footwork looks unusual. But the worst is his dress - inappropriate for a dance teacher. The lady looks better, though. Poor students...

Could someone more knowledgeable confirm?
My understanding is that his forte is vintage ballroom. His events (and Friday Night Waltz) have a majority of vintage ballroom songs with the remainder made up with a smattering of swing, salsa, cha cha, etc. Those who attend these dances are the target market, and I would guess that he teaches accordingly. :)
 
#8
. . . I can't even remember specifically why now since it has been so many years, but his name would invoke a silent groan in my head after awhile. All I know is he turned out some bad social dancers . . .
I haven't had any experience with Powers, but one of his protégés (lets call her C) teaches at the local southern U, and she seems to be doing the same thing he does: get people out dancing. I've talked to competitive country folks who were around before C started teaching. The country bars around here were mostly empty, and the people dancing would mostly be people shuffling in time(-ish) to the music, with some older folks doing a quirky style of country, with the occasional group outing of serious dancers. Now, there are so many people out country dancing that there's enough business for twice as many venues as there used to be; half of them are packed with 20-somethings doing two step, polka, waltz, west coast, one step, and triple-two.

Some instructors I've talked to (you might call them technique afficiandos, or snobs, depending on your perspective) complain that C isn't teaching her students "good" technique; it's certainly true that C's students wouldn't do well in a competition, but, unlike the vast majority of people, they're actually out dancing. C has gotten more people out dancing socially than every other dance studio in the city combined. It's certainly not that C doesn't know what "good" technique looks like (she's one of the top dancers in one particular form of partner dance, and has had a decade of ballet training). It's just that most people don't want to spend a ton of time on technique, and she knows that she'll turn people off if she harps on it too much.

I suspect that most complaints about Powers and his students are similar to the complaints I hear about C and her students. Personally, I like that she gets a lot of people to dance, which has created a much more vibrant social dancing scene, but I can understand that some people would prefer a much smaller scene with fewer folks who have better technique.
 

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