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Less stress on Footwork

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  • ...

    e.ferguson March 15, 2006, 6:16 p.m. (Message 44725)

    Campbell's approach has more to commend it.
    
    In social dancing, poor steps hardly disturb the set, but it spoils the joy 
    for all when positioning and phrasing are wrong.  Dancers who are late 
    (think of Grand Chain, Allemande, the turns of "turn corners and partner"), 
    or early or far out of place can turn a lovely dance into a contest to get 
    through and avoid collapse.  I too often see the attitude "if the set did 
    not collapse, the dance went well".
    
    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 know a new dancer who says "I need to think so much  
    of my feet and the formations that I am leaving it to later to also listen 
    to the music". It shows that some newcomers pick up a wrong order of 
    priorities.  
    
    Of course, in dems we DO need good footwork, but that is not the issue 
    under discussion.
  • ...

    Anselm Lingnau March 15, 2006, 6:52 p.m. (Message 44726, in reply to message 44725)

    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
    -- 
    Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany ..................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    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
  • ...

    Bryan McAlister March 17, 2006, 12:16 a.m. (Message 44735, in reply to message 44725)

    As the "good" dancers will obviously be maintaining eye contact hew can 
    they tell if the footwork doesn't meet their high standard?
    
    
    In message <xxxxxxxx.xxxx.xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxx>, Eric Ferguson 
    <x.xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xx> writes
    >Campbell's approach has more to commend it.
    >
    >In social dancing, poor steps hardly disturb the set, but it spoils the joy
    >for all when positioning and phrasing are wrong.  Dancers who are late
    >(think of Grand Chain, Allemande, the turns of "turn corners and partner"),
    >or early or far out of place can turn a lovely dance into a contest to get
    >through and avoid collapse.  I too often see the attitude "if the set did
    >not collapse, the dance went well".
    >
    >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 know a new dancer who says "I need to think so much
    >of my feet and the formations that I am leaving it to later to also listen
    >to the music". It shows that some newcomers pick up a wrong order of
    >priorities.
    >
    >Of course, in dems we DO need good footwork, but that is not the issue
    >under discussion.
    >
    >On 13 Mar 2006 at 9:39, xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.xx.xx wrote:
    >
    >> At the risk of making myself hugely unpopular, may I venture to suggest that
    >> the lesson to be learned here is that footwork needs to be downgraded to an
    >> optional extra in SCD, rather than a qualifying skill.  I shall use my own
    >> experience to illustrate the point.
    >
    
    -- 
    Bryan McAlister

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