Ballroom Dance > Would teaching technique be most effective if....

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by LordBallroom, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    instructors didn't teach more advanced technique until posture was correct? Maybe the lessons wouldn't be as fun but would it benefit students the most to be able to move without an arch in the lower back, with an elongated spine, head balanced on top of the spine, etc. before things like rise and fall, cuban motion, swing, sway etc. were introduced? Out of curiosity, is it common to see dancers on the silver curriculum whose balance is basically always thrown off due to the fact that posture was a concept never quite grasped by the student.
  2. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Well, at silver level posture is probably at the same level as their dancing....
  3. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    Apart from trying to teach a fun lesson, I just don't understand the point of teaching more advanced technique until posture has been corrected. It's not like they'll be able to do any of it anyways until they figure out how to move their spine in one piece
  4. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Interesting theory... I have often wondered if there is a sequence in which things should be taught...
  5. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Depending on exactly what you mean by posture, I think it's important to keep in mind that many dancers take the hobby up after decades of being hunched over a computer screen. Straightening the spine can be a long-term process. After a point, I think there's only so much an instructor can do to speed along the process.

    That said, I also think it's entirely possible to learn how to move one's spine in dance even while you have a permanent stoop. There's a gent at my studio who competes in open in the senior III division. He does reasonably well, but I think he'll always, to be blunt, have a bit of a hunched back. I don't think the damage can be reversed at this point. I actually consider myself really lucky to have taken up dancing when I did. While my own posture is an ongoing struggle (although it's come a long way), I'm reasonably confident that that's what my spine would have looked like given an extra 20-30 years or so.
    vit likes this.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    optimally it all goes hand in hand...and it goes best to teach anything in best possible position
  7. muyv

    muyv Member

    I don't think the "rise and fall" part should wait. I'd consider that as part of the basics of the step. Say when you teach a student to do Natrual, you would also tell them to commence to rise at end of 1 and lower at the end of 3.
  8. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Put simply, you can't just fix one aspect of technique without another. E.g., you can't focus completely on posture like you're suggesting, without addressing rise and fall and swing and sway at least somewhat, because there is a purpose to those things. If you don't have correct rise and fall, you won't be able to move your legs correctly, and your 'perfect' posture will distort when you move. If you don't have swing and sway, steps that turn will most likely distort your posture too. Both of these things effect balance and connection... it's not all up to posture.

    Sure, you need a good base posture to work on other techniques, but it's impossible to start out with perfect posture immediately. Improvements need to be made incrementally to all aspects of technique: improve posture, then improve rise and fall, then swing and sway, footwork, then back to posture, etc.
  9. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    If you decided to never teach anyone to dance until they stood up properly you would have no students past the first lesson.
    Leon Theou, j_alexandra, vit and 8 others like this.
  10. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    ding ding!! i was going to say this my first pro said that exact thing to me ages ago
  11. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    I agree with Larinda. I find even after years of dancing silver smooth, I still hear very beginner/bronze type things like "shoulders down", "eyes up", "hips forward", "this is tango, why are you rising?", etc. etc. Can I have good posture and frame while doing a simple waltz box? Most of the time, if that's all we're doing. But when that box is followed by a double reverse, I can tell you that the last thing I'm thinking is "posture" as I enter that heel pull. And that's when I hear "lats down" again for the gazillionth time. Is it because I haven't mastered "lats down" yet? Perhaps. Is it feasible that I should not be introduced to any other technical aspects of dancing because I don't keep my lats down 100% of the time? I think a good instructor will know when a student is ready for new concepts and when the student needs more time before moving on to something new.
  12. Mengu

    Mengu Well-Known Member

    At one point, I asked my instructor how she taught new students, and what aspects she focused on. She told me first goal is to get them moving around the floor. It's not posture, it's not foot work, it's not rise and fall, it's not hip action, just learning some steps and counts, and starting to move around the floor. It would take me an incredible amount of effort to not nit pick, correcting the little things from the start, so I'm in awe of instructors who teach beginners and watch them do a hundred things incorrectly and compliment them for a job well done.
    twnkltoz, debmc, frotes and 1 other person like this.
  13. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    I agree whole-heartedly.
  14. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    New dancers want to dance right away. They do not have the patience to go through all the nit-picky details that can make them do it better. But you can be subtle and introduce technique without calling it technique. New dancers are like babies. They'll absorb everything their teacher tells them or makes them do.
    twnkltoz likes this.
  15. jump'n'jive

    jump'n'jive Well-Known Member

    simply put, you can only teach a student what they are capable of actually producing. An experienced teacher knows when and what they can teach a student. I know a lot of teachers who work on figures first so the student has some sense of whats going on, then go back and layer tech. why would i teach a student how to stand up properly and only focus on that for the first 15-20 lessons i have with them, when i can get them moving around the dance floor so atleast they are dancing. If i did it any other way i would be broke. it should be explained dancers posture vs street posture from teh beginning so they are warmed up to the concept but we teachers can only do so much. hell i would rather send my students to pilates to work on body awareness and posture in the beginning, let someone else sort them out LOL
    twnkltoz, j_alexandra and vit like this.
  16. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Me too. But that isn't because you don't know what you should be doing. It's because knowing it, intellectually, is one thing, but doing it is another. dbk mentioned a problem that I've run into a number of times, which is that the dynamic aspects all interact with each other and if you try to learn one thing in isolation, it's likely to mess up something else. I fought that for a long time and decided I was just going to have to take the holistic approach of putting it all together at once. But sometimes it's overwhelming -- you barely get moving before you're being corrected for this, corrected for that, and brain overload comes on pretty fast.
    debmc and Mr 4 styles like this.
  17. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    i can actually feel that as a palpable sensation, and tell my pro how close to maxxed out I am in a given lesson
  18. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    Exactly. That was my point with the example of the box vs the double reverse. I can easily keep my lats down in the box, not so much in the double reverese when I am thinking of multiple other things. But since I can't always keep them down during that step, it doesn't mean I shouldn't be introduced to the double reverse or not move out of the box step yet. Though between us, he can take back the double reverse and it wouldn't hurt my feelings lol
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  19. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    its a staple!! like wheaties!!
    Wannabee likes this.
  20. Wannabee

    Wannabee Well-Known Member

    That's what pro says too... Something in my brain just shouts "danger! danger! Will Robinson" when I'm asked to spin on a square inch of surface area that is then 2 &1/2 to 3 inches off the ground. I'm sure it's a mental block lol
    Miss Silly and jump'n'jive like this.

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