Ballroom Dance > Schools of thought in Ballroom Dance

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by pruthe, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. pruthe

    pruthe Member

    I picked up a free Dance Notes at OSB and was reading interview with Maja Serve (previous partner of Glenn Weiss). She mentioned 4 schools of thought in Standard and 2 schools of thought for Latin. For Standard, the schools of thought were Traditional, Round, Body, and Square. She didn't mention the 2 Latin schools, but her main discussion was focussed on Standard and how many Standard couples seem to have no clear direction in their style of dance.

    Could somebody provide additional info/references on what these schools of thought are? I'd be particularly interested in schools of thought on Standard.

  2. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Why must people follow only one of the schools? Why can't they mix-and-match?
  3. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    A little guess work here--- Standard as applied to the competitive form --- Round-- as in Round dancing-- Square-- as in Square ( Body ? ) there is also Sequence, which is larger than Standard in the u.k.-- also , add in Line dance .

    As for Latin-- hows about 3 schools ( at least ) Intern. style-- American style and " street " style .

    The essence of a debate between current vogue divisions, would take a week to write.
    People fall into " camps " as far as their preferences are concerned. The street latin types, cannot come to terms with the more rigid
    style of Intern. latin.
    I do not see anywhere as near the same conflicts in the " smoother " dances .The American style Smooth, has strong ties to the Standard division, particularly at social and and advanced ( silver has many identical figures )
    What many do not realise, is that the" social " dances in the UK, are watered down versions of the" Standard "-- we use Q.S as a social dance in its very basic format, and have done so for multi yrs .
  4. pruthe

    pruthe Member

    Maja mentions that there are 4 schools of thought for Standard dance and 2 schools of thought for Latin. The schools of thought do not go beyond this (eg. other dance styles such as American). I'm guessing for Standard that a particular English style would be one school of thought and perhaps a particular Italian style would be another, but I don't know for sure.

    Maja mentions each school of thought could be considered as part of a four-sided pyramid and you could possibly cross adjacent sides in your style. It sounded like Maja prefers couples pick a given style and stick with it to perfect (ie. move to top of pyramid). She also mentioned couples should find main mentors (mom & dad) of given style that could provide needed guidance.
  5. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Having been around these genres since the thirties, I can assure you, that any evolution that has taken place, has carried fwd, for the better part, most of the original concepts, and each now, by and large , is dependant upon the other .

    Dress ,music, tempi and styles all have have made changes, to the advancement of theoretical concepts.

    Not all agree with this, and some can make good arguments to support their own theories .

    Empirical evidence sometimes carries more weight ( not always ) .
  6. ChaChaMama

    ChaChaMama Well-Known Member

    pruthe, I think you are right in the way you interpret the idea of schools of thought.

    To take a comparison from my field (English literature), there are differences in the ways a Marxist critic and a feminist critic and a New Historicist critic and a deconstructionist critic might approach a particular work of literature.

    I like Joe's point very much, though. Why can't you combine approaches? I am actually very distrustful of the idea of selecting one and only one method. Sometimes one school of thought is more appropriate than another.

  7. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    I, too, read the interview article and had questions similar to those raised by pruthe. My reading of the article was that Maja realizes that people might borrow an element from an adjoining side of the pyramid now and then. However, Maja's concern with "combining" elements from different schools seems to be that, people are so busy running around the bottom of the pyramid selecting bits and pieces from each school, they never start actually climbing the pyramid to get to the top of any school.

    I'd be interested if anyone knows of a "representative couple" from each school.
  8. chica latina

    chica latina New Member

    I was told you can combine elements of different schools but..... you have to decide which style do you like the best or it's best suited for you and train in that one (find coaches that perfected that style).

    If you take a close look in latin you will notice that turnout, leg action, rotation of hips, etc varies dramatically depending the style... and after you choose the one you want to do, it will be engrained in every movement you do... It's a difference on how you do basics and the mechanics of it.
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Many things we dance at a Comp. level, has " borrowed" from other schools of thought .

    So couples today, are representing unwittingly or unknowingly , things of the past , that have been embellished or shaped to suit .

    I believe people confuse personal style and interpretation as a new paradigm .

    Original ideas are few and far between. So todays proponents ,are in some cases ,trying to re invent the proverbial wheel .

    My coach, of many yrs past, gave me this advice--You can only be yourself , not me or the guy down the street-- so dance as if YOU own it .
  10. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    Sure, I agree.

    But if I knew who the "originals" of each school of thought are (and the primary concepts of that school) and who today's proponents of that school are, then maybe I wouldn't feel as though I'm chasing my own tail.

    Do you happen to have any examples?
  11. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    The Smooth has VERY DIFFERENT camps.
  12. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    You certainly can combine different camps of information. The problem is when a dancer still in the learning stages gets "conflicting" information about a movemnt. Instead of recognizing "oh this is a linear approach and that is a circular approach" they get confused about what is being asked and the underlying purpose and intent of the different actions.

    You can spend literally a thousand dollars with one coach one day shaping and aranging movement one way... and then two days later spend a thousand dollars with another coach rearranging and undoing everything you are trying to implement.
  13. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Scrivener is the template for Tango as we now know it .

    Wally Fryer could claim that crown in Q.Step

    As for W and F/T-- too many contenders , although Josephine Bradley was a pioneer in the development of F/Trot.

    On the technical side of things, the names that spring to mind-- Charles Thiebault , Binnick, Scrivener ( again ) Benny Tolmeyer and Henri Jacques .
  14. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    TT, as always your information is interesting, but in this particular case I think the OP is looking to understand what Maja Serve meant (i.e. her model of this) and was not looking for other people's interpretations of said model.
  15. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I will say this is probably The Most Talked About article that has come from Dance Notes in a really long time. Everyone I know has really enjoyed and chatted about it and is hoping Maja writes more.
  16. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    Thank you. But we're still at cross-purposes here with regard to the information I'm asking about: you've told me "founding" names associated with specific dances. What about the schools of thought that are associated with that? I'll be more specific:

    Is Wally Fryer associated with the round, square, body or traditional school? How does that relate to WF and quickstep? What characteriazations or technique make his quickstep different from the characterizations/techniques of others so that he can (or can't) be placed in one school or another?

    Is Josephine Bradly associated with the round, square, body or traditional school and what is it about the foxtrot that makes it so?

    Same with Charles Thiebault, Binnick, Scrivenr, Tolmeyer, Jacques? Which schools of thought are each of them associated with?

    As mentioned above, maybe Maja would need to elaborate more on the concepts of each school - I hope she does. Until then, it's probably not fair to ask you to place these people into any of the schools.

    Gee, it would be nice to have a "primer" on this.
  17. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Because it's generally assumed that you as an ordinary dancer or even championship finalist don't have the level of insight into the mechanism that makes the various approaches work that the retired champion/championship judge class teachers who promote the various technical schools do. To mix and match, you'd basically be saying that you know better than they do.

    It comes back to the question of who do you trust: yourself or your teacher?

    Even if you doubt your local teacher at times, there's also the question of if you want to do something that is "ultimately right" but only supportable when the person who teaches that is in the country, or if you want to do something that is "used in the pro final" and supportable a few times a week... it's an interesting decision made more complicated when one coach or the other suddenly says something completely at odds with what you thought they were going to say.
  18. pruthe

    pruthe Member

    Well, in Maja's interview she mentions that Christopher Hawkins and Hazel Newberry were in one family (ie. school) and Luca and Loraine Baricchi were in another. I now remember talking to my coach about styles of Standard dance some months ago and I seem to remember her telling me there is an English style, an Italian style, a German style, and a Russian style. Maybe that's the four schools, although I wouldn't know which ones match Maja's school terms. In re-reading article, Maja stated one Latin school was started by Nina Hunt (ISTD) and the other by Walter Laird (IDTA). Maja mentions Carmen and Brian Watson as being part of one family. She didn't identify which family/school they belong.

    I have a lesson with my coach this weekend. I will show her article and maybe she can shed some light on different schools of thought. If anyone else has info, please let us know.
  19. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    If any of the above were to be singled out-- it would be Scrivener-- he always thought outside the " box ". he is a " school " unto himself as far as Tango is concerned ( and most all other dances ) You need to read his book to get a better understanding of how his mind worked . .He is difficult to pigeonhole .

    Jo. Brad. was the first to experiment with outside partner positon in F/trot but very much of the traditional school, and Fryer made a large impact on the way we interpret Q/Step-- he took " crackerjacks " to a different level ( thats an all encompassing term for ,Stutters, Scatters and multi syncop. movements ) many of which are still in vogue .

    Binnick was one of the best at " body " work , and yet fairly traditional in his outlook .

    You can pick any recent champs ( last 20 yrs ) and they all at one time have had input from a short list of coaches ( Irvine, Eggleton, Binnick,et al )

    So-- when looking at todays " crop ", they are a product of several schools of thought ( including, now Glenns ).

    It is nigh impossible to nominate anyone individual, and say that all the current vogue is all their idea .

    Bottom line is-- its very subjective-- its the flavor of the month-- and, it will change again at some future date, when another " wheel " is discovered .

    like a previous poster noted -- find a style you like-- and run with it .
  20. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    It's one thing to adopt a style as an individual, it's another thing to adopt it as a couple.

    Partnerships are often compromises about certain issues on individual style (picked up as one develops with previous partners and teachers), preferences, and physical build (length of limbs etc...).

    All of which contribute different levels of stylistic complexity.


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