Whisk in American Smooth

DanceMentor

Administrator
#1
Any technical reason why the whisk should not be used in American Ballroom?

And just a follow up to that... which do you find easier to lead/follow?
  1. Whisk
  2. Bronze twinkle
I find it interesting that the whisk is used by both beginning and advanced students in international, but the bronze twinkle is seldom used by advanced students of American Ballroom (right?)
 

Dr Dance

Well-Known Member
#2
I'm not sure: but, I have not noticed advanced smooth dancers using the bronze twinkle. But maybe they should because this would be a change of "routine" in a social setting.

Most smoothies whom I have observed use an open twinkle if they decide to twinkle at all. This, as well as the International whisk, better frees up the leader's right foot for the next sequence. For the closed (bronze) twinkle, the leader's right foot is together with his left at the end of the figure which can make next sequences awkward to lead without the man lifting his right foot off of the floor should he choose to go that way. At least in International style, some part of each foot must be on the floor at all times (excepting some kind of attitude line or lunge). For American bronze, especially in a social setting, the leader may be forgiven if he lifts his right foot to cross over the left for the next move. Or he can deftly move his right foot to the other side while he traces his toes across the floor. In any case, I personally find that the whisk and open twinkle are easier to lead than the bronze twinkle.

Arthur Murray who was a big proponent of "American style" felt that whisking was too difficult for whatever reason. Perhaps he felt that hooking the foot behind was too awkward. Therefore he had his students dance twinkles instead. To be fair, the twinkles are more compact and therefore more useful in a crowded social setting.

To their credit, the International dancers and instructors have gussied up the American open twinkle to suit their own fancies... calling technically upgraded open twinkles things like "right turning open telemark" or "traveling contra check." A rose by any other name....
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#3
For the closed (bronze) twinkle, the leader's right foot is together with his left at the end of the figure which can make next sequences awkward to lead without the man lifting his right foot off of the floor should he choose to go that way. At least in International style, some part of each foot must be on the floor at all times (excepting some kind of attitude line or lunge). For American bronze, especially in a social setting, the leader may be forgiven if he lifts his right foot to cross over the left for the next move. Or he can deftly move his right foot to the other side while he traces his toes across the floor.
I would say these are opinions and attitudes. Ones that create a false image of American patterns being sloppy. In reality stepping a man's right foot forward and across in promenade is no more difficult in american style than international. That is really just a a rose by any other name.

But the opinions by those teaching it vary wildly depending on the knowledge of the teacher and their opinions of american vs international.

I use a closed twinkle often, even with advanced social dancing. I don't use it for advanced competitive routines because it stops the flow, as would a whisk.
 
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Dr Dance

Well-Known Member
#4
I would say these are opinions and attitudes. Ones that create a false image of American patterns being sloppy. In reality stepping a man's right foot forward and across in promenade is no more difficult in american style than international. That is really just a a rose by any other name. But the opinions of these teaching it vary wildly depending on the knowledge of the teacher and their opinions of american vs international.

I use a closed twinkle often, even with advanced social dancing. I don't use it for advanced competitive routines because it stops the flow, as would a whisk.
It wasn't my prerogative to imply in any way that American patterns were "sloppy." I was stating that I had found it more difficult to lead a closed twinkle than a whisk because of the together position at the end of the figure. Skilled American dancers can deftly move their foot forward and across as you (and I in the above post) suggested. This is an acquired skill that some beginners may lack; and, newbies may find this transition to be awkward without lifting their foot. But a whisk ends with the leader's right foot completely free to dance whatever. Skilled American dancers may not even stop to think about this transition because they've danced closed twinkles so well for so often.

I believe that you and I have differing views about "stopping the flow." Keen rise and fall makes whisks when danced by advanced competitors appear to be fluid from start to finish. Closed twinkles should be similarly fluid. During advanced competitive routines, there may be moments when your partners would choose to "bail" with something like a closed twinkle, whisk, or wing depending upon the style to prevent collisions, refocus their efforts, garner attention from judges, or any other myriad of reasons. I do acknowledge that when you design advanced competitive routines, you prefer to keep the whisks and closed twinkles on the shelf. It's your personal choice.

When you state that you "use a closed twinkle often," this implies that you (at least sometimes) lead during social dancing. This is what teachers do with their female students and their male student teacher trainees. But a buddy and me make it a game to break that stuff up when we see two gals dancing together at a social if we don't recognize either as being a teacher. Most gals are very good sports when we do this only ONCE because they find us to be flattering. I prefer to pick the lady leader to be my follower because ladies who lead tend to be more skilled than those who don't.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#5
Any technical reason why the whisk should not be used in American Ballroom?

It's not about technique, but does it belong ? .

American style B/room for all intentional purposes was to be "distinctive " . Its figures were (Bronze and Silver ) constructed , designed if you will, to be unique by and large to that country, hence its name " American " style.

The first addition to the Amer. syl. from the Intern. standard was the Spin Turn ( there were/are Lock steps in Peabody, but origins are moot ) .

The changes in the style is quite radical to where it was back when. Attempting to emulate the appearance of Intern style in the social levels really, to my mind, defeated the point of the "why " it was constructed .

I clearly remember in Tango, the Link being adapted at the expense of the simplicity of how the Amer. style was in use . No advantage there .

As I have stated in the past, the American style in content, particularly in the rhythm side is much closer to its roots . As they say " Do not guild the Lily " .
 
#6
But a buddy and me make it a game to break that stuff up when we see two gals dancing together at a social if we don't recognize either as being a teacher. Most gals are very good sports when we do this only ONCE because they find us to be flattering. I prefer to pick the lady leader to be my follower because ladies who lead tend to be more skilled than those who don't.
I feel like this could cause offense if you don't know the people in question. I know some ladies who only lead because there aren't enough guys and would be happy to get to follow. I know others who prefer to lead or enjoy doing both roles, and I wouldn't dream of cutting in in that case.
 

IndyLady

Well-Known Member
#7
But a buddy and me make it a game to break that stuff up when we see two gals dancing together at a social if we don't recognize either as being a teacher. Most gals are very good sports when we do this only ONCE because they find us to be flattering. I prefer to pick the lady leader to be my follower because ladies who lead tend to be more skilled than those who don't.
I feel like this could cause offense if you don't know the people in question. I know some ladies who only lead because there aren't enough guys and would be happy to get to follow. I know others who prefer to lead or enjoy doing both roles, and I wouldn't dream of cutting in in that case.
Yeah, as a non-teacher female that occasionally leads, this is not cool. I would be gracious about it (because like most women, I am well-trained not to make a scene) but definitely not flattered. How would you feel if you were in the middle of a dance and two other people separated you and your partner? Where were you and your buddy when the song started and both of us ladies were available to be followers? I generally only choose to lead if I can see there are available follows and either no male leads or male leads whose body language clearly signals they do not want to dance this one.
 
#9
I teach the wisk in Am. Waltz to my students but not in a closed position. More akin to samba with underarm turn. From what I'v found is that it's too similar to the twinkle at the bronze level and people get confused.
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
#10
I use the closed twinkle when I dance bronze, which is usually on Friday night with a beginner follow. It's a fairly easy step for a beginner. I don't know how I would use it dancing silver.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#11
Any technical reason why the whisk should not be used in American Ballroom?

And just a follow up to that... which do you find easier to lead/follow?
  1. Whisk
  2. Bronze twinkle
I find it interesting that the whisk is used by both beginning and advanced students in international, but the bronze twinkle is seldom used by advanced students of American Ballroom (right?)
Of course it will "fit". I believe the main reason is "Distinction ". If one keeps on adding material from the Intern. style ( as has been already done ) then there will eventually be little if any differences .

As to BR. Twinkle, I never teach this. Even avoided this when in States . Much easier to teach a Hover Prom .
 
#13
Of course it will "fit". I believe the main reason is "Distinction ". If one keeps on adding material from the Intern. style ( as has been already done ) then there will eventually be little if any differences .

As to BR. Twinkle, I never teach this. Even avoided this when in States . Much easier to teach a Hover Prom .
I do not like the bronze twinkle. The four step in international tango is a similar challenge, but I think a bit more leadable. Both can be done, but in most situations there are other good choices that are easier (ex hover feather, five step)
 

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