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Thread: Do leaders need frame and balance

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    Registered User frodo's Avatar
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    Question Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by nomoves View Post
    ...I can still remember my distress at going to my first Jango lesson with Amir - after many years of jive - and having followers manipulating my torso and talking about something called "frame" which I'd never heard discussed before.
    Picking up on this from the West Coast Swing difficulty thread, I thought it might be better raised in a separate thread.



    In both Modern Jive and WCS it is very clear that frame makes a big difference to the follower.

    But why should it matter for leaders ?

    Quote Originally Posted by nomoves View Post
    ...I now look at jive hotshots (yes they do exist) at weekenders and think they're obviously great dancers but they'd look a whole lot better if they had some frame.
    From a couple of recent Ceroc weekender DVDs, some of the Ceroc teachers might look better if they had better posture. But is that really the same as frame.

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    Senior Member Minnie M's Avatar
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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    this

    or

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Frame is the body shape maintained by dancers during partner dancing. Specifically, frame refers to the shape of the upper body of the dancers relative to the rest of the dancer's body and the body of the dancer's partner.

    The frame provides connection between the dance partners, making leading and following possible. A frame is a stable structural combination of both bodies maintained through the dancers' arms and/or legs, and allows the leader to transmit body movement to the follower, and for the follower to suggest ideas to the leader.


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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Originally Posted by nomoves
    ...I now look at jive hotshots (yes they do exist) at weekenders and think they're obviously great dancers but they'd look a whole lot better if they had some frame.

    Can i just say that I should have put the word "some" before "Jive hotshots"

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    Senior Member Minnie M's Avatar
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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by nomoves View Post
    Originally Posted by nomoves
    ...I now look at jive hotshots (yes they do exist) at weekenders and think they're obviously great dancers but they'd look a whole lot better if they had some frame.

    Can i just say that I should have put the word "some" before "Jive hotshots"

    of course


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    That date is recognized as her official birthday.

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    I find that leads with a good frame are much easier to follow. They can communicate much more subtle leads than those without, who tend to have to use more exaggerated arm movements to communicate the lead. So I would say that it does matter if the lead has a good frame.

    Also, it helps if both partners have frame, as otherwise any decent frame I might be attempting to provide will be pointless.

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by frodo View Post
    Picking up on this from the West Coast Swing difficulty thread, I thought it might be better raised in a separate thread.

    From a couple of recent Ceroc weekender DVDs, some of the Ceroc teachers might look better if they had better posture. But is that really the same as frame.
    Just what I thought on reading the offending sentence, and clearly the writer isn't clear (sic) on what constitutes the frame.

    If a couple are (or is) dancing lead and follow freestyle together, even if only passably well, I would say they have a frame however rough and ready that might be.

    Quote Originally Posted by frodo View Post

    In both Modern Jive and WCS it is very clear that frame makes a big difference to the follower.

    But why should it matter for leaders ?
    Surely the frame is the totality, half provided by the follower and half provided by the leader - sealed, if you like, by the connection? And invidious to suggest that one half is intrinsically more important than the other?
    Last edited by Whitebeard; 7th-July-2010 at 01:13 AM. Reason: Add a word.

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitebeard View Post
    Surely the frame is the totality, half provided by the follower and half provided by the leader - sealed, if you like, by the connection? And invidious to suggest that one half is intrinsically more important than the other?
    Absolutely

    But, apart from some workshops very little empathises is placed on ether, the frame, posture or the connection, by many MJ teachers

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Minnie M View Post
    Excellent link, Minnie.

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    Excellent link, Minnie.
    So, from the link, what is a "light card chair"?

    Quote:

    "I found that I achieved a better sense of dance frame by practicing while holding a light card chair".

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by frodo View Post

    In both Modern Jive and WCS it is very clear that frame makes a big difference to the follower.

    But why should it matter for leaders ?
    Because the frame is the absolute foundation of lead and follow. If the lead doesn't have a frame, then the follow doesn't have anything solid to connect to. The point of a frame is to reliably transmit the lead's actions to the follow. For example, if I shift my weight from my left foot to my right, that is communicated to the follow through my frame (it will shift slightly to the right and my balance will change). If I don't have a frame, then the follow can't be expected to know which foot I'm on. I consider a good frame more important than good connection - because you can't have a good connection unless you have a good frame (the connection is connecting the frame). Connecting without frame is just holding hands.

    A good frame also makes body leading much easier and more obvious. My whole body is my frame; and I lead with the frame.
    Quote Originally Posted by Whitebeard View Post
    Surely the frame is the totality, half provided by the follower and half provided by the leader - sealed, if you like, by the connection?
    Most definitely not: each dancer has their own frame, the two are completely separate (and in many parts of MJ, they are physically separated) and each dancer owns and controls their frame. This is important because each partner can change the shape of their frame - and often does. Any time you change the angle of your arms relative to your body in the horizontal plane, you're changing the shape of your frame. This can be done without breaking the frame or breaking the connection (opening out in a first move is a really clear example of this). A good frame makes most things easier in dancing. For example, if I'm free spinning (with no connection to my partner), I think of it as spinning my frame.

    Finally, frame doesn't mean the bolt upright posture that you see in ballroom. It also doesn't mean rigidity. It just means that you maintain your body shape.

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Twirly View Post
    I find that leads with a good frame are much easier to follow. They can communicate much more subtle leads than those without, who tend to have to use more exaggerated arm movements to communicate the lead. So I would say that it does matter if the lead has a good frame.

    Also, it helps if both partners have frame, as otherwise any decent frame I might be attempting to provide will be pointless.
    My views exactly.

    Some moves require a really good frame for them to work well - pretty much anything in a ballroom hold needs a good frame to be able to provide a clear lead to the follower and make the move neat & clean (eg penguin turn - lots of leaders at the ceroc classes i go to want to know why this doesn't work for them...my response is usually to try and help them with frame & support of their body which then is clear to the follower where they need to move to). It's usually noticable as a follower, which leaders have had previous technical partner dance training as they are usually much better at leading moves which require a better frame.

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    So, from the link, what is a "light card chair"?
    I assume it's what we'd call a fold-up chair or deckchair.

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by emmylou25 View Post
    My views exactly.

    Some moves require a really good frame for them to work well - pretty much anything in a ballroom hold needs a good frame to be able to provide a clear lead to the follower and make the move neat & clean (eg penguin turn - lots of leaders at the ceroc classes i go to want to know why this doesn't work for them...my response is usually to try and help them with frame & support of their body which then is clear to the follower where they need to move to). It's usually noticable as a follower, which leaders have had previous technical partner dance training as they are usually much better at leading moves which require a better frame.


    I was going to type something like this. And I was going to add that some moves in the open hold require the lead to break, extend or stretch their frame. But the follower needs to have a nice frame at all times - how else could they follow?

    This is why <rant mode> I really don't like moves with a vebal signal. This encourages follows to dance a choreographed sequence, irrespective of what is going on with their frame. How many times have you led a simple walk in the closed hold and had a lady twist in your arms and push their frame out of shape to do the Colombian/grapevine? They obviously thought they'd missed you saying "Colombian"

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    And I was going to add that some moves in the open hold require the lead to break, extend or stretch their frame.
    Name one.

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by geoff332 View Post
    Name one.
    Catapult

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    How many times have you led a simple walk in the closed hold and had a lady twist in your arms and push their frame out of shape to do the Colombian/grapevine? They obviously thought they'd missed you saying "Colombian"
    Why say it at all??? The move can be led perfectly well without any verbalisation assuming all the previous points about frame are followed!!

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by frodo View Post
    In both Modern Jive and WCS it is very clear that frame makes a big difference to the follower.

    But why should it matter for leaders ?
    That's a different question to the title:
    - Do leaders need frame? no.

    A frame enables the physical lead to be conveyed through a physical connection, but you can lead without a physical connection. A frame keeps the limbs and body in a 'fixed' relationship, which helps convey the lead through a visual connection, but you can lead without visual connection.

    For many years I was leading without even being aware of what a "frame" was. And once I discovered it within followers, I better understood how to use it within them to improve my lead. Still didn't really implement one within my self.

    Only when I started leading from my 'core' or 'centre' did I start using a frame within my own dancing. Even then, it's used more for 'feedback' from my partner than as a lead. My posture is still bad, but the connection within myself forming the frame can take on any shape.


    - Do they need balance? only enough to not fall over.

    Balance issues are normally because the top half of the lead is used to lead the follower and the legs have to move under them as an after-thought.

    Again, it was a failing of mine that I concentrated on using the hands and compensating for awry leads & misguided partners by simply moving where I should be for the start of the next move. It works. It produces a smoother lead for the followers. (Similar to the stepping patterns used in WCS)
    Then I learned how better to position the follower and some floorcraft stuff that meant I didn't have to move about my partner as much. Now I plan a bit more ahead and try to move my feet where I want them in-front of the lead rather than behind it. (Lesson learned from AT.)

    - Why should frame and balance matter to leads? because they help convey your intent to your partner with a higher degree of clarity. But they are just one part of the lead; not an essential part, but your dancing will function much better with them.

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    Catapult
    I do this all the time and never break, extend or stretch my frame (unless I make a mistake, of course). I have to reach behind me, but that doesn't mean I lose my frame at all. The key is to keep my shoulders forward even as I reach back. Breaking your frame on the catapult can lead to hyperextension of the shoulder. This is a bad thing.

    Any others? (Ideally ones that actually do require you to break your frame...)

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by geoff332 View Post
    I do this all the time and never break, extend or stretch my frame (unless I make a mistake, of course). I have to reach behind me, but that doesn't mean I lose my frame at all. The key is to keep my shoulders forward even as I reach back. Breaking your frame on the catapult can lead to hyperextension of the shoulder. This is a bad thing.

    Any others? (Ideally ones that actually do require you to break your frame...)
    I think it depends on your definition of "frame". My own thoughts on frame for the leader are that the frame transmits body movements of the lead to the follower's frame through the hands of the leader. The frame of the leader is maintained all the time there is a relationship between the hands/arms and the body. In the closed hold the relationship of the hands/arms and the body is fairly fixed in place. In the open hold the relationship between hands/body is less fixed. The frame stretches and contracts as the hands move away from and towards the body. When the hands and body are moving in different directions it is very difficult to say that you have any kind of frame - especially when you compare this situation to the frame in the closed hold.

    In the catapult I think that it's the movement of the right arm to "turn the lady under and send her back" that is all arm lead and no body lead that breaks the leaders frame. There is no direct relationship between the leaders body and their hand - they could lead this move if they keep their body still and they could lead it if they move their body. The follower maintains the frame throughout the move.

    N.B. I do not teach the catapult with a reach behind with the left hand. So long as the follower maintains their frame they will appear at the lead's left hand side with their left hand at waist height. The lead simply takes that hand and steps back using their frame to initiate the followers spin. Finally, the lead will move their left hand to the left to complete the lead for the spin.

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    Re: Do leaders need frame and balance

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    This is why <rant mode> I really don't like moves with a vebal signal.
    Moves with a verbal signal are not moves. They're just directions. You might as well sit on a chair and shout out instructions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    How many times have you led a simple walk in the closed hold and had a lady twist in your arms and push their frame out of shape to do the Colombian/grapevine?
    Never in the past 2-3 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    They obviously thought they'd missed you saying "Colombian"
    Ahhh... time to dig out Amir's post on this one:

    Quote Originally Posted by Amir View Post
    I was once following a guy and he said 'Columbian!'
    I said 'no, New Zealand actually, but I do use sun beds a lot.' I was pleased he had noticed my dark smooth tan, and forgot all about it.

    But years later, when I saw Pablo Veron leading the 'Columbian' (the last move they do just before it cuts to the 'cafe' scene) you can clearly see him whisper the word just before they start. So you can imagine my embarrassment when I remembered my unwitting faux pas all those years before!



    But luckily, my pride was saved, when yet later I discovered you can lead this move without any verbalage whatsoever, (Pablo never made it to that class!) and many variations besides!

    You can lead it with one hand even.

    I recommend it. It leaves the other hand free to brush away any flailing curly locks. Plus, it doesn’t require the follower to memorise names of moves or capitals of states.

    A good way to lead it is to use ‘frame’. Just shout 'frame' a few counts before trying to lead the move. (or see the related thread.)
    Gold.

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