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  • Anselm Lingnau

    Anselm Lingnau March 15, 2006, 6:52 p.m. (Message 44726)

    Re: Less stress on Footwork

    Eric Ferguson wrote:
    > Why do we not give good timing and positioning, and dancing with the music,
    > the top priority in our teaching?  We would all have fewer frustrations at
    > our dance events.
    I've found that generally people *try* to be in the right place at the right 
    time, if they can remember where that place is. They don't mind getting there 
    two bars in advance because they will more often be late, usually due to the 
    fact that being expected to join in a formation at some particular point in 
    the dance takes them completely by surprise.
    I try to teach my dancers to think 1-2 bars ahead of the music so as not to be 
    surprised. I also try to get them to phrase correctly by stressing the side 
    lines etc. as points of reference, such as in figures of eight. However, 
    phrasing correctly in many cases means covering large distances, which in 
    turn means proper footwork. (Eric cites turn-corners-and-partner; this is a 
    figure which without good footwork becomes very difficult indeed, as people 
    try to make up what their feet won't do for them by using their arms in some 
    sort of weird Bavarian-style arm-wrestling match.)
    I agree with Eric that footwork should not be the first priority of a new 
    dancer. However neither should it be the last. It turns out that, given time, 
    most people do manage to figure out timing and positioning from the example 
    of other dancers, but this does not apply to footwork to the same extent. The 
    focus on footwork in many classes is probably not because teachers are 
    footwork-crazy, but because footwork is really much more difficult than most 
    other aspects of learning SCD.
    This is also supported by the observation that, in a dance situation, many 
    people manage to dance formations but their footwork goes haywire rather than 
    vice-versa. Besides, footwork, being a micro-motor skill, offers far less 
    immediate feedback to the individual dancer than phrasing or timing do -- one 
    can usually tell that something is not quite as it should be if one bumps 
    into other dancers or finds oneself off in never-land, but to straighten out 
    one's footwork in most cases requires a teacher.
    Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany .....................
    I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant,
    and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.
                                                                  -- Kahlil Gibran

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