"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #129, Thursday, November 21, 2002
Maja Serve', A reminder
Who is Maja Serve'? The year is 1990-92 and it is the British Open at the Blackpool Dance Festival I don't remember the numbers on the back but couple No. so and so from Denmark (?) qualify for the Finals. The couple is Glen Weiss and Maja Serve. Bryan Allen gives them good marks in his commentary on the video and for some reason the names are engraved in my memory. Then amazingly in 93-94, I get a chance to take a lesson from Maja as she is visiting Detroit.
Recently, I was flabbergasted when I received an e mail from her and I couldn't believe that she remembered my lesson and my "sitting in the Waltz on 3." In short I hope you know what I mean. She has been very kind in giving me her opinions which I respect very much on so many things. She teaches Ballroom Dancing in Los Angeles area and is enjoying life. Some of her thoughts, I want to share with you.
1. A Reminder by Maja:
Hi Max, Thank you for all the good information that you provide. On your Heel Turn Tid-bit mail there is just one thing that I would like to say that many students may say it "Heels Turn" not Heel Turn. It would be great if you could clear up the misunderstanding. The turn is made on one heel as it is also clearly written in standard technique in Guy Howard's book. Happy dancing, Maja
2. Natural Turn vs. Reverse Turn: Here in USA, no one really seems to answer satisfactorily, why a turn to right is call Natural Turn and a turn to left a Reverse Turn. Maja's thoughts on this are that in Europe the first turn that is taught is a turn to right and to those students it feels more "natural." However she says that because in America, we teach Reverse Turns first, this type of turn feels more natural here. In other words I (Max) am still confused.
3. The Slow Foxtrot Timing Controversy: Many have suggested that more "artistic and alternate timing" in slow foxtrot is 2 3, 41 rather than 12, 3 4. So I asked her for her opinion.
"Hi Max, I read some of the letters about timing and it amazes me, how much they can get out of three simple steps.
In short, the timing in the book is S Q Q.
As a top dancer we use gravity and our body mass more and therefore dance the S with quicker feel. The momentum from the down swing takes care of the up swing. We then let the up swing fade out. Benny Tolmeyer and Janet Gleave always told Glenn to dance S S &.
One thing you must remember as a teacher, we must look at the couple/person and see what they need to do to improve. As timing above S Q Q is a feeling, we have to look at every single case and find out, what would help this person the best. We use different timing to create a certain look. I often play with the timing to help the student get the right feel. You must remember the basic timing is S Q Q, but every person may feel it different. The problem is when teachers try to make feelings a fact. Nobody feels the same (thank God) and therefore we as teachers must help the student to understand the difference between feeling and fact. Benny taught me always to teach facts first and use feeling only as a help. He also said; Make sure you tell your student "this is a fact" or "this is a feeling". We basically want a soft, smooth and gliding look in time, how ever you feel you time it.
If you want to put this on the website you are welcome. My advise is stick to facts and let the feeling develop by it self. If you copy your teacher, you will never be as good or better."
Happy dancing, Maja
This Dancing Tidbit is a tribute to the wonderful competing days of Maja and Glenn.