General Dance Discussion > When do you become "intermediate?"

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Peaches, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    As I related in another thread, I had an AT lesson with a different teacher yesterday who made a comment that I was intermediate going on advanced. I was shocked. I've said for a long time that I won't consider myself as anything but a beginner until 2 things happen--1)I find/figure out/consciously use my center/core, 2)following happens naturally and my mind is freed up to think about musicality. I'm not exactly sure where some other things fit into the "define your AT level" schema--things like being grounded, consciously and deliberately making use of various body parts (and, therefore, being aware of them), having a completely free non-supporting leg. But, whatever.

    How do you define yourself and your level? What criteria do you use? What should be used? Where does the transition from intermediate to advanced come in? Between advanced and great?

    I'm not talking about syllabus steps, necessarily, for ballroom folks. I mean, I can pretty much follow silver steps in a variety of dances, but I'd certainly never consider myself a silver level dancer. Not yet, at least. (To be fair, I don't consider myself a dancer yet at all...just someone who loves attepmting to dance while avoiding toes.) But what qualities need to be present before one isn't a beginner anymore?

    And how do you differentiate (yourselves? others?) between a beginner-beginner and a beginner? If that makes sense. What i think of as someone who's green v. someone who's a beginner.

    Sorry so many questions...just so many thoughts rattling around in my brain.
  2. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    At my last studio, they only taught beginning basics and nothing else in their group classes, that is why anyone could teach etc. I was also never taught advanced anything during my privates at my last studio. I only became advanced when my new instructor I guess you could say auditioned me to see where I was at. He said that I knew more than I thought, so he put me into his Intermediate classes. However, he also said I need to work on my feet work, because he knew which count etc., that I was messing up on. So, now I am soley working on my feet work like I had said in the other thread. I am also really working on my frame, because they didn't teach that at the other studio as well. So, he's got a lot to work with when it comes to my dancing. I actually wished I had knew my feet work and the proper frame before this, because I can tell a difference as to how graceful and things like that I am right now. Also, it helps with my balance etc. to have the other stuff down whereas before hand you could really see me struggling to keep myself up. So, I know that I belong there now. I just have to really work on the other stuff to be able to move up to the advanced stuff.
  3. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

  4. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I was thinking along the lines of your question just this morning!

    My marker for the next level of my dancing, when I feel I'll be ready to start competing, is when I am no longer distracted by my lack of control so that I'm freer to really tune into both the music & my partner. This all gets back to a more fluid use of my core, just as you said!

    Right now, until I have more training in my body, it always feels like there's something in between me and truly dancing. Sometimes that veneer is thinner and I feel the connection and flow when I'm with my instructor, but the struggle to put things where they need to be eclipses my ability to feel myself dancing.

    You know what I mean?

    But once I hit that place where things stay in reasonable frame, and I stay in reasonable harmony with my instructor, then I'll really feel like I'm a Dancer, no matter what level of syllabus figures I'm dancing. And that would put me (in my own mind) in the Intermediate category.

    I mean, as far as my lifestyle, choices, values, how I spend my time, I'm a "dancer". But Dancer with a capital "D", having enlivened & freed my body up enough to truly DANCE... that's still emerging for me.

  5. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    My basic working definition is: You have transitioned out of "beginner" when you can, in a social setting, dance competently and carry on a conversation with your partner at the same time. That's not as flippant as it sounds; it means you have internalized enough of the movement that you now have brain bandwidth to start attacking the finer points of technique and style.
  6. Love2Dance

    Love2Dance New Member

    I think a good rule of thumb is when you can hold a conversation comfortably while dancing. ;) At least, that's a good sign you're no longer going "one, two, three, and one two three..." or the like... :p
  7. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    when you stop thinking about labels ;-)
  8. DrDoug

    DrDoug Active Member

    I don't know about intermediate, but I think you reach advanced when you realize you've spent n years and you're still just beginning.
  9. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Fair point, Chris.

    But labels can be useful at time. Such as when you're talking with a teacher to set up a special, one-time lesson--and they ask you where you are in your dancing. Or, when you're interested in taking classes at festivals and trying to figure out where you belong.
  10. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Hmm... by this definition I'm definitely not beginner. Crikey, my first instructor was so chatty -- he was great training for the social aspect of dancing!

    My current pro is Deep Technique, so I always feel like a beginner with him. LOL

  11. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I'm just after a certain feel when I dance, a certain freedom.

    And that feel, that freedom, is such a huge objective of mine, but it's also just a Square One starting point, so trying to judge where one is at on this huge spectrum of "dancing" seems very paradoxical to me.

    Yeah, exactly, Doc. Although I haven't spent h years dancing, much less n. ;)

  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Meh. Freedom I got. Unless you're taking arm styling into account, I got freedom in spades. I need the technique.

    And, hell, my dancing feels great to me. The question is, how is it feeling to a more advanced leader?
  13. saludas

    saludas New Member

    I'd add about 5 years of intense study to that 'moment'.

    Intermediate means that (among other things) that you are finally realizing that dance is not an activity that is an accompaniment to social interaction but an art form that requires an attempt to be 'in the moment' that requires fine motor control, advanced esthetic sensibilities, an understanding of of the expression of the dance you are creating, the negative space that it fills, etc. AND that you realize that you're only just beginning.
  14. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I remember when I had my first private with my current instructor. I opened my mouth to try to explain to him "where I'm at" and he shrugged me off with a smile & a "Don't worry -- I shall be able to tell." LOL

  15. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    That's great. I don't have that. But I associate that freedom with very strong technique.

    I can't be truly spontaneous in my dancing without that control, otherwise I get into that "wriggly puppy" zone that Chris mentioned in another thread. "Dancing Bear" is my pro's description of it. haha...

  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Wriggly puppy?

    I think we must be talking different senses of freedom, here! I guess I'm thinking of freedom in the sense of enjoyment, and enjoyment which is not constrained by constant thoughts of "must get technique right." As in, social dancing.

    I know my social dancing has much better (relatively speaking) technique now, compared with whenever. But from the beginning I've had that enjoyment and certain, albeit skewed, sense of abandon. Now the trick is fighting that urge to let go and have fun in order to develop the technique.
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Yeah, as far as social dancing I have a total blast most of the time, unless I'm with a leader who's not connecting with me but is rather shoveling me around the dance floor like a wheelbarrow according to some pre-determined objective.

    But I really enjoy social dancing. I just relax & have a good time.

    With my instructor, tho, I'm definitely in the "must get technique right"-constrained state which impedes enjoyment. Absolutely.

  18. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    How about this, then?

    If I'm conversing while moving to the music I'm not dancing. ;-)
  19. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Oh, and I think labels are pointless really. I don't worry about them anymore. I just say I know a little and am always learning more when I'm asked. :)
  20. jhpark

    jhpark Member

    To me, a follower is no longer a beginner if I enjoy dancing with her. But I know that doesn't help you at all. :)

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