Quote Originally Posted by Lory View Post
Once you've got to grips with the tripling and such like, you suddenly find the rock step, plod plod, plod plod, steps of MJ more limiting, than the infinite variations of footwork patterns available to you in WCS
Quote Originally Posted by Lou
Only if you've been grounded in the RLRLRLRL "walking" footwork...
I think this is something of an implied restriction to be honest.

Many good MJ dancers insist, quite correctly, that you don't have to step once on every beat, but every class I've seen has taught moves that way if they bother mentioning the footwork at all. It's what the overwhelming majority of MJ dancers (if they're on-beat at all anyway )and teachers do.

In my experience varying from that rhythm tends to distract your partner because you're not doing what they expect. Even if the lead is still fine the whole way if find they tend to worry through the dance rather than just enjoy it. The alternative then is to tone it down and "plod" away in a limited way for your partners benefit, which is limiting if you feel inclined to do something else to the music.

Quote Originally Posted by Ducasi
WCS has rules that MJ doesn't have, therefore MJ has more scope to "do interesting things and movements".
I think this is cop out argument.

In one sense it's true in that without any rules to adhere to anything is possible. In a practical sense though I think it's wash. Firstly, there is enough variety in options open within the rule sets of more strictly defined dances that I don't believe the limitations provide a ceiling to musical interpretation for any individual to hit in their lifetime. Secondly, the existence of rules may rule out some moves or techniques - but they also enable others. I can't lead tick-tock footwork on my follower for instance if they don't anchor step with a triple.

In addition to that, despite having the ability to lead anything at all in MJ, the technique from both dancers that is required to do so is in many cases non-existent. Dancers with highly developed lead/follow skills in the MJ world are vanishingly rare and teachers even rarer. Those who do demonstrate that ability have almost invariably learned their skills elsewhere before starting MJ. While it's possible to have good technique and rubbish musical interpretation in a partnered dance, it's very difficult to have good musical interpretation (that makes sense to anyone outside your own mind anyway... ) with rubbish technique.

To be entirely fair that last paragraph isn't a criticism of MJ as a dance form itself - but one of the business model. The catch is that the two are so closely aligned in this case that I don't think it's possible to separate them for practical purposes. In order to reverse the situation* most of the teachers would need to be extensively re-trained or discarded entirely which wouldn't be good for business.

*I'd rather someone started another thread or resurrected an old one if they want to debate about whether we should even want to do so as I think it'll just derail any conversation about musicality. I'm well aware there are good arguments about why people wouldn't want change