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Thread: Choosing between AT and WCS

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    Choosing between AT and WCS

    As an MJ-er with a few years experience, you might decide you want to branch out a bit and try another dance form. This thread is about how to make a choice if you are facing such a dilemma.

    Of course there are countless other things you could, however, the 2 primary options (at least round here (the epicentre of Modern Jive)) are AT and WCS.

    For me, this is an ongoing and unresolved issue.

    When I first tried a 'taster' AT lesson with Marc & Rachel I was immediately drawn to the idea (and 'purity') of 'technique'. Following up with some lessons courtesy of the Grandmaster Gaucho David Bailey which provided a useful insight into form and the associated etiquette.

    My WCS experiences are more as YouTube voyeur - although I have dipped my toe into WCS in the USA - and promptly got told off for not dancing in a slot.....oops. And of course, countless conversations with students learning WCS - and the well documented challenges of the footwork make me hesitant.

    So my summary right now of the pro's and cons are:

    Pros

    AT:
    - technique based, well defined
    - global, portable form
    - limited number of 'things' to remember

    WCS:
    - looks f***ing great
    - a closer 'cousin' to MJ
    - greater range of music to dance to

    Cons

    AT:
    - etiquette: 3 dances in a go.....
    - slash-yer-wrists music
    - constraining form

    WCS:
    - footwork
    - not a global dance form
    - less learning options locally

    In summary I am now leaning more toward WCS. Why? Music, music, music. I very rarely hear a WCS I don't like. Conversely, I don;t often hear an AT track and think: "I must immediately go and get that track".

    As the music is such an integral part of the dance experience, I have for the moment to be persuaded otherwise.

    Any thoughts? Has anybody else been through this?

    PS Yes - of course: "why not do both?". Lots of reasons. Why not also do Lindy, Rumba, Balboa, Tap, Jazz, Shag and Waltz? Time for one.......

    This is about a prioritisation.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    When I first started dancing - it was DANCE that I enjoyed, in my case Modern Jive, then I got bored so started Rock ' Roll then Lindy Hop followed by West Coast Swing and then 40's swing (Jitterbug) NOW......... it is the music that drives me.

    I love modern music, blues, R & B and most swing and Rock 'n Roll but I really dislike Tango music, I find it sooooooooo boring and sweaky, therefore I am not interested in Tango in any form - sorry Tango lovers. BTW I dislike Salsa music too.


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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post

    In summary I am now leaning more toward WCS. Why? Music, music, music. I very rarely hear a WCS I don't like. Conversely, I don;t often hear an AT track and think: "I must immediately go and get that track".
    That's what would sell it to me. If you want to keep it up you want to enjoy it, and if you don't like the music then you probably won't enjoy everything else.

    That's why you'll never find me near a salsa night.

    My opinions on WCS and footwork etc are well documented on this board. Really though, I think you should ignore everything you've heard and read and give it a try for yourself so you can make up your own mind, based on the options you have locally. It might be for you or it might not, but you'll never know for sure if you don't try for yourself
    Last edited by NZ Monkey; 21st-October-2010 at 08:54 PM.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    Of course there are countless other things you could, however, the 2 primary options (at least round here (the epicentre of Modern Jive)) are AT and WCS.

    For me, this is an ongoing and unresolved issue.

    When I first tried a 'taster' AT lesson with Marc & Rachel I was immediately drawn to the idea (and 'purity') of 'technique'. Following up with some lessons courtesy of the Grandmaster Gaucho David Bailey which provided a useful insight into form and the associated etiquette.

    My WCS experiences are more as YouTube voyeur - although I have dipped my toe into WCS in the USA - and promptly got told off for not dancing in a slot.....oops. And of course, countless conversations with students learning WCS - and the well documented challenges of the footwork make me hesitant.

    So my summary right now of the pro's and cons are:

    Pros

    AT:
    - technique based, well defined
    - global, portable form
    - limited number of 'things' to remember

    WCS:
    - looks f***ing great
    - a closer 'cousin' to MJ
    - greater range of music to dance to

    Cons

    AT:
    - etiquette: 3 dances in a go.....
    - slash-yer-wrists music
    - constraining form

    WCS:
    - footwork
    - not a global dance form
    - less learning options locally

    In summary I am now leaning more toward WCS. Why? Music, music, music. I very rarely hear a WCS I don't like. Conversely, I don;t often hear an AT track and think: "I must immediately go and get that track".

    Hey hun great that you have found a style of dance and music that suits you, makes you happy and got your fruity passions back for dancing.(no comparision to melons or plums intended) You make it sound though that it's an either /or situation, which it could be depending on prefence or why can't you like both. It should be purely a matter of what suits you and makes you happy. Dancing is about having fun so if the music and for example the technique of the dance bores you or drives you mad don't do it , it's not for you. I love tango, and it doesn't mean I'm a bad person But most of all I love to dance

    Quote Originally Posted by Minnie M View Post
    When I first started dancing - it was DANCE that I enjoyed, in my case Modern Jive, then I got bored so started Rock ' Roll then Lindy Hop followed by West Coast Swing and then 40's swing (Jitterbug) NOW......... it is the music that drives me.

    I love modern music, blues, R & B and most swing and Rock 'n Roll but I really dislike Tango music, I find it sooooooooo boring and sweaky, therefore I am not interested in Tango in any form - sorry Tango lovers. BTW I dislike Salsa music too.
    Vive le difference I say and love the thing you're into
    if you love the life you live then you'll get a lot more done

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by rubyred View Post
    ........ It should be purely a matter of what suits you and makes you happy. Dancing is about having fun so if the music and for example the technique of the dance bores you or drives you mad don't do it , it's not for you. I love tango, and it doesn't mean I'm a bad person But most of all I love to dance


    Quote Originally Posted by rubyred View Post
    ........ Vive le difference I say and love the thing you're into


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    Mickey Mouse's girlfriend, Minnie, made her film debut, along with Mickey, in "Steamboat Willie" on November 18, 1928.
    That date is recognized as her official birthday.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    AT:
    - technique based, well defined
    - global, portable form
    - limited number of 'things' to remember

    WCS:
    - looks f***ing great
    - a closer 'cousin' to MJ
    - greater range of music to dance to
    I do wonder if the (greater range) thing is correct.

    Tango is certainly danced to a considerable range of tempos, and plenty of non traditional music.

    Having to put up with the endless slash your wrists style music that some venues like to play would be a complete show stoppper for me, but there is enough choice for that not to be a major problem.


    WCS music seems to vary a bit with fashion.

    I was put off WCS at a time when the vast majority of the music played seemed to be uninteresting thump thump across a narrow range of tempos.

    But it got more varied.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    As the music is such an integral part of the dance experience, I have for the moment to be persuaded otherwise.
    For me, that's the clincher. A major part of why I love Lindy is because I love the music, and likewise with blues. With AT, I quite like it, but I don't understand it and have no feeling for it. I only really feel I 'get' it when I'm watching a great couple dancing to it and interpreting it well. Without that, I'm lost.

    I have to comment on your use of footwork as a downside (I'm sure NZM has had to be a master of restraint not saying anything about that)

    Transitioning from MJ to Lindy, I originally found the footwork hard, and would have seen it as a downside. Now, I see it the other way - learning all the footwork options and more importantly the footwork techniques has in fact been extremely liberating, and frees me to be far more creative in my dancing than I ever could with MJ footwork. I view the footwork as a positive, not a negative. I'm confident that the experienced WCS dancers feel the same way.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by straycat View Post
    For me, that's the clincher. I view the footwork as a positive, not a negative. I'm confident that the experienced WCS dancers feel the same way.
    Music is so important and a track can make or break a dance. As Frodo said earlier in Tango there are many variations of styles of music that Tango can be danced to. I know that you have commented before straycat, about how the more modern music presents a style of tango that may look stylised when you were referring to the video which Vincent was in, but this is dependent of course on whether it is a show dance, and the dance is choreographed or fitted around the music. Traditional tango music, (or the squeaky stuff that Lynda refers to ) was written to dance tango to. There are waltzes, tangos and milongas, the later being the party dance, and I am a bit of a geek and buy the likes of Carlos di Sarli, Juan D'arienzo, Alfedo De Angelis and Pugliese because I love it. Also tango is such a lead and follow dance where the music is interpreted by the leader in the way they want it to be, so as a follower you may get very many variations of lead to the same track....heaven never bored !!!

    Footwork and the music fit together, the music defines when to place the foot, when to decorate, how to carry out the figure, slow, fast, smaller ocho, big ocho...... Footwork is definitely a positive for me too.
    if you love the life you live then you'll get a lot more done

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by rubyred View Post
    But most of all I love to dance


    :
    And What a lovely dancer you are, it was lovely to see and dance with you at SP

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by rubyred
    ....or the squeaky stuff that Lynda refers to.......
    maybe if I could spell it properly I might be able to appreciate it more


    --ooOoo--
    Age is a question of mind over matter, if you don't mind, it doesn't matter
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    Mickey Mouse's girlfriend, Minnie, made her film debut, along with Mickey, in "Steamboat Willie" on November 18, 1928.
    That date is recognized as her official birthday.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    No reason why you can't try both and see which suits you best. I've wavered between these two, finding trying to do both at once too much - and I like them both.

    WCS is maybe the easiest of the two to fit into MJ freestyles, in terms of music and space (easier to dance in a slot than progress round the room). I really enjoy the playfulness of WCS and some of the music is a lot of fun.

    Tango, for me, brings a different dimension of dancing. I love the intricacies of the music, and find I get more of the three way connection - me, partner and music.

    Probably a case of listening to the music from both, and seeing which you 'connect' with.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    Of course there are countless other things you could, however, the 2 primary options (at least round here (the epicentre of Modern Jive)) are AT and WCS.
    Not quite true - the salsa scene is still alive and well.

    Just to throw another option in the mix

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    So my summary right now of the pro's and cons are:

    Pros

    AT:
    - technique based, well defined
    - global, portable form
    - limited number of 'things' to remember
    Sounds about right.

    But I think you'll also find WCS is well-defined and largely technique-based.

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    WCS:
    - looks f***ing great
    - a closer 'cousin' to MJ
    - greater range of music to dance to
    I'd disagree with the last one - Tango music is far more varied; when you add in nuevo, milonga and vals to the mix, you have a lot of stuff there, more so than most dance forms. That said, most of it is probably unfamiliar music, and so may take a while to get used to and to appreciate. WCS music is, I think, more limited in range, but obviously it's far more familiar.

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    Cons

    AT:
    - etiquette: 3 dances in a go.....
    - slash-yer-wrists music
    - constraining form
    - The 3-dance thing is true, but also consider that the tracks are short - 2.5 mins on average.
    - The music is, actually, not depressing - maybe that's simply because we in the West associate violins with mournful music? - but it can be intense.
    - Constraining form - yes, it's mainly in hold.

    And to be fair:

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    WCS:
    - footwork
    - not a global dance form
    - less learning options locally
    - Tango also has footwork, but it's not so essential.
    - Well, that's only important if you're a globetrotter
    - They're growing, however

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    In summary I am now leaning more toward WCS. Why? Music, music, music. I very rarely hear a WCS I don't like. Conversely, I don;t often hear an AT track and think: "I must immediately go and get that track".
    Sounds reasonable. WCS is culturally closer to the music we're most familiar with.

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    As the music is such an integral part of the dance experience, I have for the moment to be persuaded otherwise.

    Any thoughts? Has anybody else been through this?
    I went through my decision moment a few years back. I choose Tango because it seemed like a challenge. And it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveLad View Post
    PS Yes - of course: "why not do both?". Lots of reasons. Why not also do Lindy, Rumba, Balboa, Tap, Jazz, Shag and Waltz? Time for one.......

    This is about a prioritisation.
    I don't think it's easy to learn 2 dances simultaneously, especially not ones so different. So yes, I'd focus on one.

    But that doesn't preclude taking a few more lessons in both, or even starting one then deciding it's not for you and trying the other. Basically, try a bit more of both, then see what you like. I'd also consider going to both milongas and WCS socials, even if just to gauge the atmosphere.

    And I'd still consider salsa as a possible third option.

    P.S. You ignored the "snooty" thing with WCS
    Last edited by DavidY; 22nd-October-2010 at 07:40 AM. Reason: Fixed quotes

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    But that doesn't preclude taking a few more lessons in both, or even starting one then deciding it's not for you and trying the other. Basically, try a bit more of both, then see what you like. I'd also consider going to both milongas and WCS socials, even if just to gauge the atmosphere.
    Yes, I should clarify when I said...
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn View Post
    No reason why you can't try both and see which suits you best. I've wavered between these two, finding trying to do both at once too much.
    ...I meant to sample both to help you decide which one to focus on, not learn both at once. I'm back to AT now, and I'll probably not do much WCS for a while so I can focus on improving my AT.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Oh, and of course, another main difference seems to be in the level of "continuous lead" in both dances - there's much more scope for the follower to interpret / play around in WCS. Putting it another way, the lead has to be pretty much perfect, 100% of the time, in Tango. So that's either a good or a bad thing.

    Finally, you may want to consider the "cultural split" in the two dance scenes; you're likely to already know a lot of WCS-ers from MJ, but AT-ers will largely be a new scene to you. Again, that may be either an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your preference.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post


    I don't think it's easy to learn 2 dances simultaneously, especially not ones so different. So yes, I'd focus on one.

    And I'd still consider salsa as a possible third option.

    P.S. You ignored the "snooty" thing with WCS
    I think it is hard to learn two styles at once, and had to give up my ballroom when I started to learn Tango, and I don't dance MJ very often now, but love the fun,the friends and the social element to it. However I do transfer bad habits and keep being reminded to drop the impressions of 'chicken tonight' where my arms keep in time with the music like they do in jive,

    David you forgot the 'snooty' thing exists in Tango too
    if you love the life you live then you'll get a lot more done

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post
    ...
    I don't think it's easy to learn 2 dances simultaneously, especially not ones so different.
    I'd say you've got that the wrong way around. It is so much easier if they are different.

    Ballroom and AT would be a difficult as you'd have to concentrate on not applying techique from one to the other.

    I'd be extremely impressed if anyone ever got AT and WCS confused.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Im not an expert on Tango music, but there is a wider range of WCS music available than people realise due to some clubs only playing within a limited tempo / style of music.

    There is no reason you can not WCS to a classical peice around 60bpm as demonstrated by Benji at Southport a few years back through to something at 145bmp

    Across all styles

    Im planning on learning some basic tango at some point but I think the music would do my head in after a few weeks. I couldn't get on with Salsa, lindy and to some extent MJ because of that too.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bailey View Post

    P.S. You ignored the "snooty" thing with WCS
    I retract my previous comment in that respect, and realise that it was just a bit of Freudian projection happening. Mind you, MJ is still the 'über-dance'!

    PS Thanks for you well thought out comments and points.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Bartholomew View Post
    ......... but there is a wider range of WCS music available than people realise due to some clubs only playing within a limited tempo / style of music..

    Unfortunately in freestyle a lot of WCS DJs play the music that the Westies have been learning by.

    You wouldn't want to dance to only the MJ/Ceroc 'learning music'


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    Mickey Mouse's girlfriend, Minnie, made her film debut, along with Mickey, in "Steamboat Willie" on November 18, 1928.
    That date is recognized as her official birthday.

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    Re: Choosing between AT and WCS

    Tango

    The dance, the etiquette, the people, the music are completely and uttterly differant to MJ but some of the technique may transfer to MJ

    WCS

    I have only done a few WCS classes but the dance, the etiquette, the people, the music seem vaguely similar to MJ

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