"Not Recommended for Beginners"

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc

Message 12543 · 10 Jul 1998 04:35:38 · Variable-width font · Whole thread

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Hi Lee,

>I've had the experience recently of being asked to
>dance a dance that was over my head, being unwilling to say no
>(especially since they were calling for "one more couple" to fill out
>a set) and being partly responsible for bringing that set to a
>screeching halt. Don't want to repeat that mistake, and this kind of
>info helps. Is it more common than not to do this?

The "one more couple" situation occurs all the time. Often as not, the
result for the dancers in that set are unsatisfactory. It takes a fair
amount of discipline for a dancer to say "no" to the urgings of a would-be
partner who claims to be able to "get you through" this dance. "Getting
through" a dance you do not know is rarely a pleasant experience for you.
Unless you are very lucky (or very quick and skilled), your presence in the
set will not be a plus for the other dancers because of the high
probability that you will mess up. For a dance like the "Bees" it was
unfair of your partner to pull you onto the floor, partly because it is a
very busy dance and partly because your partner can't really help you very
much, because you don't spend much time together. However, I think it is
very likely that in this case there were a few other people in the set that
were "shakey" on the dance. If the other seven dancers in the set knew
their parts and you were attentive to the helping hands it is very unlikely
that you alone could have brought the dance to a halt.

You have touched on a broader subject of whether a dancer should join a set
for a dance s/he doesn't know. There are a lot of strong feelings on both
sides of this subject which you can find expressed in the archives over the
last couple of years. Some folks suggested that mistakes are normal
occurrences in dances and that to expect error-free dances is unreasonable.
Moreover, mistakes can add some "spice" to the dances. So we speculated as
to whether we should plan to make mistakes so as to spice up the dances,
and whether a planned mistake was actually a mistake or a "choreographic
variation". Most of the time BIG mistakes that cause dances to crash are
unpleasant, although they are occasionally a cause for great hilarity--but
too much hilarity of this kind can get old quickly.

One notion I suggested in a much earlier thread was that of the
"incompetent set". That is a set of dancers in which there are too many
people that don't know the dance well enough for the dance to work. Just
how many people that is depends a lot on the dance and on the skills of the
dancers. A dance like the "Bees" can easily accomodate 1 unskilled and
unknowledgeable dancer. The dance would have some difficulty with 2 such
dancers and would be very likely to break down on every repetition with 3
or more such dancers. This suggest another notion of "tolerance" of a dance
for unprepared dancers. A simple dance like The Rakes of Glasgow, has a
very high tolerance.

Cheers, Oberdan.

Trans Vector Technologies, Inc, 184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611
Phone: (805)484-2775, FAX: (805)484-2718, EMail: xxxxx@xxx.xxx

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