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Thread: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

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    Registered User El Salsero Gringo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Isn't the whole point of learning to dance about training your body to find natural what previously felt awkward, or off-balance?

    The fact that a dance move doesn't feel right when done in the suggested manner would motivate me to practice it that way until it *did* feel right - not to change the steps!

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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    Isn't the whole point of learning to dance about training your body to find natural what previously felt awkward, or off-balance?

    The fact that a dance move doesn't feel right when done in the suggested manner would motivate me to practice it that way until it *did* feel right - not to change the steps!
    ? I would say not - I think that it's +80%* technique, -20% 'conditioning'. Get the movement, timing and pressure right, then it won't feel awkward or off-balance.

    The fact that a move dosn't feel right when done suggests to me that I'm not doing it right, not that I just need to do it again and again untill it feels right: that's how to ingrain bad habbits. "Practice" to improve is not repeating something in *Exactly* the same way; it's making minor adjustments on every repetition.

    (*Actually I think that it's closer to 95%, but enough people keep telling me about 'muscle memory' that I have conseeded a little bit)

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    Registered User El Salsero Gringo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget
    ? I would say not - I think that it's +80%* technique, -20% 'conditioning'. Get the movement, timing and pressure right, then it won't feel awkward or off-balance.

    The fact that a move dosn't feel right when done suggests to me that I'm not doing it right, not that I just need to do it again and again untill it feels right: that's how to ingrain bad habbits. "Practice" to improve is not repeating something in *Exactly* the same way; it's making minor adjustments on every repetition.

    (*Actually I think that it's closer to 95%, but enough people keep telling me about 'muscle memory' that I have conseeded a little bit)
    We'll agree to differ on that then. If I do a First-move it now feels totally natural to me to step back with the outside foot, and not to take a second step. The fact that I worked hard practicing to make it feel natural - whereas for Clive and Whitebeard it still feels 'wrong' - suggests that it's not the move itself that's awkward.

    I also think you're 100% wrong to suggest that correct technique comes naturally, and if something initially awkward needs repetition to make it feel 'right' then you must be ingraining bad habits. For demanding forms of dance correct technique comes only after years of training. There's no way you can look at ballet dancer en pointe and say that's a natural position for her foot!

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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    - whereas for Clive and Whitebeard it still feels 'wrong' - suggests that it's not the move itself that's awkward.
    No, it's not the move; it's the execution of the move. In that execution, the technique is lacking.

    I also think you're 100% wrong to suggest that correct technique comes naturally,
    I said that? I just said that repetiton of the wrong technique untill it feels 'right' does not make the move correct. Every repetition done, if done in an identical way, will lead to you always doing it that way. Every repetition needs to be driven towards improving on the last repetion; that improvement is developing technique. Once the technique is spot on (ha!) repetition will ingrain it.

    For demanding forms of dance correct technique comes only after years of training. There's no way you can look at ballet dancer en pointe and say that's a natural position for her foot!
    "Natural position"? that's a very ambiguous term. Technique comes from years of training - not simply years of practice. Ballet teachers rarely say "yes, perfect": they say "yes; that was OK - but this time..." or "No; do it again" {<- hearsay}

    All I am saying is that practice is only any good if you are not simply repeating the same thing again and again untill it feels "right".

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    Registered User El Salsero Gringo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget
    No, it's not the move; it's the execution of the move. In that execution, the technique is lacking.
    No it's not the execution. Or the move. It's the executor's brain. The initial execution of even the most perfect technique still won't feel 'right'. Only repetition of correct technique will make correct technique feel right. (Of course, repetition of incorrect technique will also mke that feel right - but that's why we have teachers - to show us and help us practice the correct technique.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget
    Every repetition done, if done in an identical way, will lead to you always doing it that way.
    Agreed. That's why repeating the correct technique is a good idea. If you are a follower of the dread god Ceroc then the correct technique for a Ceroc First Move is to step back on the outside leg. That's why it's suggested to practice stepping back on the outside leg, and not the inside. Even if it feels 'wrong'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget
    I said that?
    This is what you said, and what I take issue with:
    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget
    The fact that a move dosn't feel right when done suggests to me that I'm not doing it right, not that I just need to do it again and again untill it feels right:
    It doesn't suggest anything of the sort. Whether you were doing it correctly or incorrectly, if it were new to your body it would still feel 'wrong'.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget
    All I am saying is that practice is only any good if you are not simply repeating the same thing again and again untill it feels "right".
    You're off on a tangent again. Learn the correct technique - whatever it may be - which might very well feel awkward, off balance, or 'conflicted' when first you try it. Then practice it until it no longer feels awkward, off balance or conflicted.


    The reason it's a point worth arguing is because in a thread for beginners I picked up a subtle suggestion that if a move didn't feel right to a newbie, they should just rework it until it did - and blow the instructions. That's one point of view, but certainly not the only one.

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    The initial execution of even the most perfect technique still won't feel 'right'.

    Even more, some moves are meant to feel "wrong" - unnatural turns, cross-body leads, that sort of thing. That's why they're called unnatural. If you just do what feels right, you're back to the last days of disco.

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    If you are a follower of the dread god Ceroc
    That sounds like a good T-shirt idea to me

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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidJames
    Some moves are meant to feel "wrong"
    Care to give any examples? You talk about "unnatural turns, cross-body leads", but I'm not entirely sure what those things mean within MJ. :-(

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    Registered User El Salsero Gringo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidJames

    Even more, some moves are meant to feel "wrong" - unnatural turns, cross-body leads, that sort of thing. That's why they're called unnatural. If you just do what feels right, you're back to the last days of disco.
    I don't think it's a good idea to introduce a new meaning of unnatural here - like an 'un'-natural turn in Ballroom. There's nothing unnatural-feeling about a cross-body lead once you've practiced it enough. It's no harder or more awkward than a First Move.

    (Actually, I agree with Gadget - it was such an ambiguous word to use that it was bound to start an OT argument - sorry.)

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidJames
    That sounds like a good T-shirt idea to me
    It was a typo - I meant 'great' but initially got 'gread' instead.

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinHarper
    Care to give any examples? You talk about "unnatural turns, cross-body leads", but I'm not entirely sure what those things mean within MJ. :-(
    I'll try, but I'm useless at trying to explain these things... An "unnatural turn", by definition, feels "wrong" - it's when you naturally want to turn yourself or your follower one way (typically, an anti-cockwise turn), but should turn the other way instead. Hmmm, that's probably pretty obvious and not very helpful...

    OK, as an MJ example, I learnt a move a few weeks ago called the Columbian, a travelling grapevine-y move where you both double-time twist along, facing each other, for a few steps - MJ version of a Pachanga style, basically. But for one of the steps, both partners move one foot behind the other, rather than the natural instinct to move in front (told you I was bad at explaining). Anyway, I'd call that part an unnatural move - it didn't come easily, and I had to work at doing the correct thing. Having said that, yes, "unnatural" is probably a poor description.

    I won't even try to describe a cross-body lead - I'm sure Senor ESG can make a good job of it tho.

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    Formerly known as DavidJames David Bailey's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    It was a typo - I meant 'great' but initially got 'gread' instead.
    Or "dread" even. Hell, I like the idea of a dread god of Ceroc, staring down at us and smiting us for daring to do our own thing
    But I wouldn't dream of calling Mr Ellard dread-ful

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    Registered User Whitebeard's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by el salsero gringo

    With the greatest of respect to Whitebeard I wouldn't recommend to anyone (and certainly not in a thread entitled "Beginner Moves: tips & advice") to take two steps back in a first move, or to step back with anything other than the outside foot.
    I wasn't recommending, merely observing, and drawing conclusions from that.

    I find it very strange that no-one else seems to have noticed that at least some teachers when demonstrating a routine containing a First Move or a Basket take two steps back when twisting the lady to the right on beat 3. But then, in another context, another sphere of activity, I've noticed that most people only see what they been led to expect to see. They follow; like sheep (no disrespect to Sheepman - I'd love to know how you came up with that!!).

    Take yourself along to www.danceyourselfdizzy.com and navigate through "Teach me to dance On-line now" to step 6 "The moves" and click on the "Basket". The description of the move on beat 3 does indeed, as Ceroc does, invite we, the lead, to "step back on either foot". But, click on "View the video" (it'only 300kb for wmv and doesn't take long even on dial-up).

    Watch it a couple of times - how does he (the leader) step back on beat three ??
    Last edited by Whitebeard; 22nd-March-2005 at 01:14 AM.

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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    Whether you were doing it correctly or incorrectly, if it were new to your body it would still feel 'wrong'.
    ? I dissagree - it may feel 'unusual' or 'different' - but should not go against the grain or feel 'wrong' in any way. If you look back to my post, I specifically said that if I felt something wrong, it would be because I was doing it wrong. Technique.

    It took me months to get an elbow roll not feeling 'wrong' - I was timing the move wrong and having my body do more work than my arm. The improvement has come from practice and development of technique, not multiple repetitions of the same thing. (and it still needs a bit of work coming out of it smoothly)

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    Registered User El Salsero Gringo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidJames
    I'll try, but I'm useless at trying to explain these things... An "unnatural turn", by definition, feels "wrong" - it's when you naturally want to turn yourself or your follower one way (typically, an anti-cockwise turn), but should turn the other way instead. Hmmm, that's probably pretty obvious and not very helpful...

    OK, as an MJ example, I learnt a move a few weeks ago called the Columbian, a travelling grapevine-y move where you both double-time twist along, facing each other, for a few steps - MJ version of a Pachanga style, basically. But for one of the steps, both partners move one foot behind the other, rather than the natural instinct to move in front (told you I was bad at explaining). Anyway, I'd call that part an unnatural move - it didn't come easily, and I had to work at doing the correct thing. Having said that, yes, "unnatural" is probably a poor description.

    I won't even try to describe a cross-body lead - I'm sure Senor ESG can make a good job of it tho.
    David, I think the First Move Columbian is a very good example of something that feels very odd - until you practice it enough times (with correct technique - thank you Gadget) for it to feel right. If you learnt it a little while ago at Whetstone then it was I who was demoing the man's part for you. I must have spent the best part of 20 minutes practicing it with Zebra Woman this Saturday, and another 20 minutes tonight with various partners. I figure it's going to be a couple of months before it feels anything like natural to lead in freestyle.

    As for describing a cross-body lead? I'm afraid I have to refuse the challenge, but there are some good videos of it here.

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    Registered User El Salsero Gringo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitebeard
    I wasn't recommending, merely observing, and drawing conclusions from that.
    Point conceeded, and it's worth bringing up for discussion. But, I did feel that a still small voice from someone who freestyles the move as dictated might be useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitebeard
    I find it very strange that no-one else seems to have noticed that at least some teachers when demonstrating a routine containing a First Move or a Basket take two steps back when twisting the lady to the right on beat 3. But then, in another context, another sphere of activity, I've noticed that most people only see what they been led to expect to see. They follow; like sheep (no disrespect to Sheepman - I'd love to know how you came up with that!!).
    Credit to your observational skills. I shall watch as many Ceroc teachers as I can in the near future. I checked my own dancing tonight and made sure that there was no difficulty with stepping back only on the left leg though. It does work as a move, honest!

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitebeard
    Take yourself along to www.danceyourselfdizzy.com and navigate through "Teach me to dance On-line now" to step 6 "The moves" and click on the "Basket". The description of the move on beat 3 does indeed, as Ceroc does, invite we, the lead, to "step back on either foot". But, click on "View the video" (it'only 300kb for wmv and doesn't take long even on dial-up).

    Watch it a couple of times - how does he (the leader) step back on beat three ??
    I can't find the video (the spot where the link should be appears to say "coming soon") - can you PM me the url?

    Edited to say - sorry, I was looking for the First Move video...

    OK. Having watched the Basket video carefully, his right foot slips back a couple of inches as the left foot steps forward - other than that I can't see a second step.

    There's also another possible explanation for what you see as a second step. If you do the rock-step (step-back) with full weight transfer to the back foot (as you should) it's easy to lift the front foot a touch. In fact in some schools of dance lifting the front foot on a rock-step is recommended to ensure full weight on the back foot. If the front foot lifts, and isn't replaced in exactly the same spot that might be interpreted as a step?

    By the way - his footwork as a demonstrator is lousy in another area - count the steps at the very start of the move - there's a very odd left-right-left shuffle as he offers his second hand....
    Last edited by El Salsero Gringo; 22nd-March-2005 at 01:57 AM.

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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Whitebeard,

    OK, I've watched that video another couple of dozen times (that poor man, what did he do to deserve this...?)

    You're absolutely right - he does step back twice - first on the right foot (a half-beat ahead), then on the left.

    For the little that it's worth, my opinion is that this chap's footwork is pants. And doubly so because it's in a demonstration video.
    Last edited by El Salsero Gringo; 22nd-March-2005 at 02:40 AM.

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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    If you learnt it a little while ago at Whetstone then it was I who was demoing the man's part for you.
    Yep, that's the baby. Nice move...

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    I must have spent the best part of 20 minutes practicing it with Zebra Woman this Saturday
    That's your story...

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    I figure it's going to be a couple of months before it feels anything like natural to lead in freestyle.
    Hmmm...it's a lovely move, but I'm not sure if it's ever going to be natural to lead, it's so much choreographed, you probably need to teach people individually. Or we could persuade Carol to teach it again!

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    Not a spoon! Lou's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitebeard
    Watch it a couple of times - how does he (the leader) step back on beat three ??
    I'm not commenting on the other bits of footwork or technique, however I like the "and three" footwork in the basket myself. It's always flowed nicely.

    What you do is wrap the lady in on count 2, then take a tiny step back wtih your inside foot on the half count ("and"), then the usual step back on the outside foot on count 3.

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    Registered User El Salsero Gringo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou
    I'm not commenting on the other bits of footwork or technique, however I like the "and three" footwork in the basket myself. It's always flowed nicely.

    What you do is wrap the lady in on count 2, then take a tiny step back wtih your inside foot on the half count ("and"), then the usual step back on the outside foot on count 3.
    Thinking it through a bit further: Let's suppose that when the lady steps in side-to-side (First Move) or wraps in (Basket), her inside foot ends up somewhere in back of you rather than right next to yours. Perhaps she had a lot of forward momentum as you drew her in which caried her past you rather than stopping exactly abeam your shoulder. Then you're going to have to take a little step back with the right to get your and her feet back in line in order to do the step-back comfortably.

    So I can now see that in an energetic freestyle you might *have* to take that little extra step in order to match up to your partner's size of stride. Perhaps that's the answer to the mystery?

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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by El Salsero Gringo
    ...caried her past you rather than stopping exactly abeam your shoulder. Then you're going to have to take a little step back with the right to get your and her feet back in line in order to do the step-back comfortably.
    Why? on the 'pivot out' of the first move, the lady is stepping back and will end up behind you: what difference will it make if she is an inch or two further back to start with?

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    Registered User El Salsero Gringo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Moves: Tips & advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget
    Why? on the 'pivot out' of the first move, the lady is stepping back and will end up behind you: what difference will it make if she is an inch or two further back to start with?
    An inch or two won't make any difference. But if, in the First Move - during the step in - she doesn't bring her two feet together but instead steps past you a whole stride with her left (which is the foot she pivots on) it could well end up 18 inches past your shoulder. After the turn-out her back foot is going to be that same 18 inches plus another stride - i.e. four feet or more - behind your front foot. That isn't going to be comfortable.

    The faster you draw her in, the less likely she is to plant both feet in a line with yours. (There's plenty of room for debate about how you could prevent that, whether it's a fault of execution or lead or whatever - but let's leave that to one side.) That having happened, the easiest way to get the feet back in line for the turn out to be nice and symmetrical is to move your right foot, half a beat in advance, to be in line with her left (inside, stationary) foot.

    Come to think of it, if she's stopped short of you then you might need to step forward a little with the right.

    So I can see why you might end up dancing that extra step without it being included in a class demo where one hopes the lady is going to be very careful where she plants her feet.

    Do you disagree?

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