Ballroom Dance > what is with my left arm?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Kitty, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    Can I ask standard dancers to comment on my left arm and shoulder and frame in general?

    I'm worried about my frame and my left arm. Couple of friends told me that my left shoulder sometimes looks weird and almost out of socket and out of straight line, and that my left arm (elbow) is too high. What do you think
     
  2. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Your left shoulder looks fine to me. If anything, it's your right that's wonky.
     
  3. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    what is wrong with my right arm?
     
  4. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I really hesistate to say much without being able to see you try adjustements.

    It looks to me though like perhaps your shoulders are inclined a tiny bit - like a degree or two - to the left as a result of how you generate your leftwards shape. This means that your arms and shoulders are just a little out of balance - your right shoulder looks high and your left shoulder looks low, which then makes your left arm look high.

    I think that the leftwards stretch actually has to have two components - one to move you to the left in the hold, and another on top of that, almost in the opposite direction, to level your shoulders.

    At the same time, your left shoulder has to be able to fill into his hand, so simply picking it up won't work either, though I do think he might place his hand slightly higher on your back. And we can't really see how the balance of his upper arms looks at this particular instant (so a picture of him at another time won't necessarily help)

    My two main point would be this:

    1) This is so much better than anyone else competing at your level, that while it could be improved it's really important not to get caught up in that.

    2) Working on it will need to be done by experiment. Ideally with a teacher who understands your concern watching, though you make make some progess with a mirror, possible even just on your own trying to get leftwards shape with level shoulders. (Level of course relative to any overall sway)
     
  5. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    makes a lot of sense. I was told to try to keep shoulders more level and I've been trying to do that a little more. The top three pictures are more recent compared to the bottom one and I think I see improvement.

    Maybe the ones who make the finals have it much better... :evil:

    Jennifer said that there were a lot of strange results and that other judge's marks disagreed with Stanley's drastically which concerned her.Can't wait for them to post they post the marks. Either I'm overestimating my ability, or the judging was random:going for familiar New England faces instead of good feet, or there was a scruteneering mistake.
     
  6. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I do not believe any of the finalist couples were better in this area. Or in many other things that you do well - I think this is a perfect example of a competition where the only effective follow up is to ignore the results and study the video, and I'd say that across almost every event that I really watched in detail. This isn't necessarily the fault of the judges, as there are many different areas of concern and opinions of what should take priority can differ, but it in terms of trying to figure out what to work on, second guessing the causes of these results is not really helpful.

    I do think it would be good to get your partner a more trim look than the loose white shirt. The problem is that if he adds a black vest, then you pretty much have to go for a more colorful gown. Though having some color in there would help. Costumes will be restricted at MAC, so you won't be dancing against all the old team gowns, and more in the same boat as everyone else in terms of trying to aquire a legal outfit in a nice color.
     
  7. Another Elizabeth

    Another Elizabeth Active Member

    I think the perceived arm problem actually is coming from your partner's left hand. It is too bent forward at the wrist, causing you to have to break the line in your right wrist and move your right elbow out to compensate. His left hand should incline out more, so that his left thumb is parallel to his forearm and his palm is mostly parallel to the plane of your bodies. Similarly, your right thumb should be parallel to your right forearm, with your palm parallel to the body plane. This should allow you to relax your right elbow and shoulder more.

    On your left side, I would bring your hand towards you so that the palm is facing out, with the thumb along the inside of his arm, and the third and fourth fingers curled loosely over the top of his arm. Think of the feel that you want to be able to use the hand to push him away, not bring him in closer (but don't actually push unless he starts crunching you).
     
  8. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    thank you very much, will check it out with his wrist: it caught my attention too that his wrist is twisted...

    I was afraid that there will be too much space, a large gap, between my left elbow and his right arm and elbow if I brought my hand closer in. Do you know what can be done about that? Or is this the correct way to dance for us?
     
  9. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    [EDIT: Photo archived.]

    Hi Kitty.
    Here are some of my observations. It is hard to comment on pictures alone because some things are lost in the translation from three-dimension to two-dimension.
    Picture 1
    --Left elbow is high.
    --Right elbow is held too low. Although it seems that it might have been lowered because of the forward movement by the man(?)
    --Man's hip seems more open than the lady's

    Picture 2
    --Right elbow is low (but better than pic 1!)

    Picture 3
    --I detect a slight twist between your hip and shoulder. Your right shoulder seems to be more forward.
    --Here, the right elbow is low.
    --Your right thumb should be level to your eyes.

    The height difference *could* be a factor in this. So's arm length. Perhaps playing with the placement of your left hand (lower maybe?) would work. As some have noted, you might want to experiment to see what looks good. The help of an experienced coach would of course be invaluable.

    (The image above is stored courtesy of a friend. You're welcome to download it, but I could only keep it there for a week.)

    maximus
     
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting the pix, kitty. It takes guts to post your photo on the web and ask for a critique. You rock. 8)
     
  11. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    This is getting interesting. I would caution Kitty that some of the comments are going to conflict, and it would be best to go with whatever fix is offered by the in-person coach, though I know such time is limited.

    Maximus makes two interesting comments I'd like expand upon:

    In the first picture, I agree the man's hip is more open. Given the heel lead I'm thinking natural turn, and I'm thinking insufficient CBM - I'd like to see the hip really rotated by the time the foot is placed. (But don't hit the guy over the head with this comment, okay? It's the kind of thing to work on with a teacher... if you get on his case about this, I'll have to tell him to remind you that you are neglecting to release your toe)

    In the third picture, I agree there is a rotation between your hips and shoulders, but I'm not sure this is a problem. If they were in promenade rather than closed there would have to be a large rotation there and we would not call that a misalignment. I think her top is following his in this picture, so my real question would be if both partner's hips are in the right place.
     
  12. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    Wow! Thank you very much! Do I have control over where my right elbow is? Or is this dictated completely by my partner?

    this guy is supposedly my perfect height match. does he look to you too tall for me or too short? probably means I'm not bending my knees enough or bending them too much...
     
  13. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    Don't worry, I'm not going to say the swear word (CBM) to my partner: he is obsessed with it already and don't want to add to this obsession...
    ...working on the toe...
     
  14. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I think your right elbow should be completely passive - it is set by the position in which your partner places your right hand, in combination with the way in which you hold your upper back. The position of the hands doesn't look far out of bounds to me, though I'm sure a coach could find something to adjust in person.

    With regard to the height, different differences are going to create a different look. If the man is much taller, your arms will appear to curve up from your shoulders. If he is not much taller, the forearms may slope down a little. What is important is balance to the look, to avoid uneveness, especially any sharp breaks between shoulders and arms. Though in general it's even more important that the man be balanced there, as both the role assigned to him and the sharpness of his eventual costume draw more attention to the geometric precision of his shoulders, while the desire is to see you as softer. That's not phrased well, but what I mean is that he has to be precise, while you have to avoid any sharp breaks in shape that would draw the eye.
     
  15. Another Elizabeth

    Another Elizabeth Active Member

    It looks to me like you are a good match for heights, but not a great match for leg length (which is more important, in my opinion). Your legs look significantly longer to me, unless your partner wears his belt really low. However, the mismatch is definitely not great enough to be worth trying to break up an otherwise good partnership.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    I felt that before and still feel the difference in the leg length, especially when I have to walk forwards... taught me to really bend my knees... but the partnership is great... I can't wish much better... I'm a lucky girl!
     
  17. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I don't think the left shoulder is too high. In fact, I think the left elbow is in the right place, and only looks too high because the left shoulder is too low. If anything, the right shoulder is a bit high, accentuating the angle in the right elbow.

    The shoulder tilt to the left relative to where it should be is particularly visible in the first picture because your partner's left shoulder is dropped too. I think there's a ten or fifteen degree difference in your shoulder lines - in that picture, yours seem perfectly parallel to the floor, while his left shoulder is about four inches lower than his right shoulder. It would be better if they were both halfway in between these two angles.

    I would like to see a straighter line from elbow to elbow, rather than the mild zigzag Maximus points out, but I think the right way of getting there is to avoid leaning left when you take shape. The left lean tilts your shoulders but not your arms, resulting in the zigzag.

    I agree with Elizabeth's comments on the left hand. It's okay for your left elbow to extend well beyond the gentleman's left elbow.

    I think the height match is great. I think the leg length match is also fine, based on the side view in your third picture; it appears that your partner's pants are not the high waisted type that dance tailsuits have. The reason his hips are well below yours in the second picture appears to be that he's lowering too much. Of course, since you're the follower, if he's lowering too much, you should be lowering too much with him....

    I agree that your partner's left palm is turned in too much, and that that's part of the cause for the angle in the right elbow. However, I think there is something you can do about it too - relax the right arm, so it's like spaghetti, with no bones in it. This will remove the temptation for your partner to push against it for control.
     
  18. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Just wanted to point out that the DF has a photo album and that it would be fine to upload these.
     
  19. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    Thanks for pointing that out Jonathan. I'll see if I can upload the pix. (Let me know if that's okay with you Kitty).

    maximus
     
  20. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Just thought I'd mention that I'm watching a pre-champ video from a large college comp, and about half the couples have this same shoulder slope problem, including many of the finalists.
     

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