"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #58, Thursday, July 5, 2001

Dancing Tid-bits
What is in a name

Hi Max,
Always a pleasure to read your letters. I find them informative and useful. As a fellow teacher, do you think it's important that your students remember the name of the steps? Even though I always mention the steps by name according to the syllabus, I find that students never remember them or cannot associate the names with the steps. Most of the time, they can describe the action but not the actual name. How much emphasis, if any, do you place on the subject? Looking forward to your reply & best regards.

I think this letter came from Jean and is a good reason to discuss something we might call dance terminology.

Why are we complacent about teaching names of the figures and more important than that, why students don't seem to be curious about remembering names of the figures? This is no good.

When you start a biology class, become a surgeon, train to be a car mechanic or become landscaping architect for that matter, you start with names. Everything has a name. When a surgeon wants to make an incision, he has to ask for a "Knife" and then there are names for infinite variety of surgical Knives. He will not say..O' give me that thing that you cut with"..etc. Every trade is beset with dictionary of names, terms and all kinds of things.

Every Study has a Syllabus and so does Study of Ballroom and Latin Dancing. So it is only common sense that we be more specific about the names of the figures that we learn. Yes, as we become more and more advanced we start taking things for granted. Terminology does not seem to be that important and for example in a Surgeons case, he just gives a motion of the hand and the nurse hands over the #15 knife.

More important than that, there should be an International Body to set standards for dance terms. I don't care whether you call it a New York, Check from PP to CPP or Cross Over Breaks but please let us agree on one name, so that our students are not burdened with this "trivial" stuff. It is indeed mind boggling in the beginning to remember 2 or 3 different names for the same movement.

Is Henman going to make history at Wimbledon? he might. Wow! He beat the guy who beat Sampras.

Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits