"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #135, Thursday, February 20, 2003
How to Dance the Basics with Style
Yes, as I am writing this Tid-bits, that was the topic for our Workshop/Lecture tonite by Stephen and Jennifer Hillier at Dancesport Academy of Michigan. It amazes me how many times Basics, Basics and Basics and yet it is a never ending battle. Without further ado let me share a few things they gave us tonite, of course the basics.
What is Style? Think about it; Actually it can mean different things to different people but when it comes to Ballroom Technique, it reflects the "Silhouette" of 2 bodies dancing in perfect Balance and Harmony with each other; easier said than done!
Hold? This is by far the most important feature of ballroom and may be termed as the "Tope Line". He emphasized again the "Universal Right Arm" which is "outside the Radius of Mans body". This gets the Lady to your right, it creates space for her to dance; you don't bump into each other and there is more freedom.
Ladies Poise: I can't remember what was said about that but I could see Jennifer well into his Right Arm, poised slightly back (?) and to her left. Actually the Man is not holding her "IN", rather encouraging her to expand out into his right arm.
Hands: Man holds her right hand comfortably between his middle finger and ball of his left hand, the other fingers are wrapped around without much fuss and the little finger seems to be slightly more loose. She more or less reciprocates the same. They prefer their thumbs aligned against each other vertically rather than in a "cross". Man's right hand wraps around her upper waist (left shoulder blade) with his palm facing diagonally upwards mostly supporting her back with inside edge of the hand.
Ladies Left hand holds his upper arm (Deltoid) tenderly with her thumb and middle fingers, little finger raised slightly, hand flat and wrist bent outwards. This creates a line from her shoulder to her little finger making an "S". Interesting!
Swing: What part of your body swings? He said; most of your swing comes from the Hips. Let's leave it at that.
Few Waltz Figures: Did you ever think that Whisk was actually like a LF closed change (for Man) except that you get out of balance at the end and have to cross LF behind RF and that is how it came into being. The Chasse from PP is also like a RF closed change loosing balance at the end and thus splitting the beat and stepping to side with LF. I thought it was interesting to think about these figures that way; you may have your own ideas. Important: As LF crosses behind RF (man) it is not a lock step but the LF simply clears the heel of RF and you just place it there comfortably before you lower.
Natural Spin Turn: There is a sway to right at the end of 3 and this sway is gradually lost when man takes LF back on the 4th step (pivot). Both of you stay low on the pivot and rise later at the end of step 5. Lady should not make a conscious effort to Brush between 5 and 6 but let it be more or less a natural closure or nearing of RF to LF before she steps forward RF, on step 6.
Alright it can go on and on but that much should be enough for one evening. We are lucky to have them come to Michigan all the way from England in this snow storm. With Best Wishes, Max