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Ballroom Vs. Round Dancing
Posted by Jiveman
12/10/2004  2:30:00 PM
Is there much of a difference in round dancing and ballroom dancing? I do Round Dancing and am looking to get into Ballroom dancing, and i was wondering if there were any places in Washington that had a good ballroom instructor.
Re: Ballroom Vs. Round Dancing
Posted by twnkltoz
12/10/2004  6:37:00 PM
I've known several people who crossed over from round dancing to ballroom and did very well. Ballroom isn't called, so there's a lot more reliance on leading and following. Apparently there are a lot of common patterns, but ballroom tends to put more emphasis on technique (depending on your focus and where you take lessons). Have fun!
Re: Ballroom Vs. Round Dancing
Posted by Jiveman
12/11/2004  3:15:00 AM
do you know of anybody i could talk with that could get me involved with this website...i mean i'm only 18 but i want to learn how to ballroom dance professionally...i don't have a partner yet but still would like to learn all of this...so if you know of anybody that i could get in touch with that teaches up in washington then i would greatly appreciate it
Re: Ballroom Vs. Round Dancing
Posted by twnkltoz
12/14/2004  11:26:00 AM
Sorry, I'm in California. I think there's a directory on this site, and on ndca.org. You can also try your yellow pages. Good luck!
Re: Ballroom Vs. Round Dancing
Posted by tourist
12/14/2004  9:22:00 PM
We did round dancing years ago and have recently started ballroom. Learning to lead and follow is the biggest change but it makes the dancing so much more of a conversation between the partners. I think our old round dance teachers would be thrilled to see how we dance now. Good luck on the teaching!
Re: Ballroom Vs. Round Dancing
Posted by GaryMelton
2/19/2007  1:57:00 PM
Evergreen, in Longview Washington, is a good place to start in Ballroom lessons... Wednesday;Thursday;and or Friday.
no subject
Posted by Steve
7/2/2007  8:53:00 PM
I am a Round Dancer and have talked with a number of Ballroom Dancers. One primary difference is that there is no competition in Round Dancing, even at the highest levels. People Round Dance for their own enjoyment. The steps in both are similar and many are identical. Watching ballroom dancers has convinced me that, while the steps and figures are identical, the styling is occassionally slightly different. Round Dancing is usually described as "Choreographed Ballroom Dancing". That is, someone writes Ballroom steps to a piece of music and distributes a "Cue Sheet" to Round Dance Cuers. Cuers all over the world then "cue" the dance and the dancers do the steps and figures. There is no memorizing of each dance and many songs have multiple dances choreographed for them. There are over 25 different rhythms taught in Round Dancing. Each rhythm is separated into "Phases" with the easiest steps being Phase 1 and the most difficult being Phase 6. Round Dancing has been under the auspices of Square Dancing for decades. Chances are, if you go to a square dance, the caller will call 2 squares, then a cuer will cue 2 Round Dances. Most Square Dance Clubs have Round Dancing and there are a number of clubs that are Round Dance only. The clubs that have Round Dancing usually have club sponsored classes. Many Round Dancers dance at the lower levels only and are not interested in spending the time necessary to become as good as most serious Ballroom dancers. They do it for fun only.
For more info see http://www.roundalab.org/

Hope this helps.
no subject
Posted by SmoothGeezer
7/3/2007  11:16:00 PM
I think you will find a huge difference between round dance and ballroom. On the surface they may seem very similar because round dance uses a lot of ballroom terms, but when you start looking at details, you will discover there are more things that are different, than there are things that are the same. Round dance is advertised as cued ballroom dancing, but that is not the case.

I'm not sure that knowing round dance will help you much with ballroom. It will be more like unlearning what you thought you knew and relearning it. Here is a list of only the major differences.

Round dance stresses learning the foot pattern for many patterns. Dance technique is usually not taught. The characteristics of what makes one dance different from another is not taught. Lead and follow is not taught. Essentially what you get are step patterns for many steps.

Ballroom stresses learning the techniques required to execute just a few patterns. Quantity of patterns is not important but how you do those patterns is. Once you learn the basic techniques, adding patterns is easy.

For round dance, patterns are usually cued in three step increments, but individual steps may be cued. Alignments and ending positions are cued, amount of rotation is cued, syncopations are cued. None of this happens in ballroom and much of the stuff that is cued in round dance would be considered incorrect in ballroom.

You get to enjoy the music much more in ballroom because you can actually hear it.

Change of footwork (syncopations) in round dance is done by the lady. In ballroom it is always done by the man.

Round dance execution of many of the standard dance patterns has been modified for round dance purposes, and some are actually completely different but have the same name.

In round dance, not everyone can dance all the time because everyone is supposed to be doing the same thing, and if you don't know the particular dance/song being cued you get to sit out. Or if it is a phase 2 dance and you are bored with that stuff you can sit out also. Most of the choreography requires that you have a training session on that particular song because most do not use only the standard steps, but they always seem to "invent" something for that particular song, None of this happens in ballroom. You can do every dance if you want, just do whatever steps you know.

You also don't need a cuer, cue sheet, and particular song to go with that cue sheet. For ballroom all you need is a danceable song.

Round dance two step exists only in round dance. It is not a ballroom dance, nor is it the same as country western two step. Slow two step also does not exist in ballroom, but it is somewhat similar to country western night club two step, except done at half speed. Most of the steps you learn in waltz phase 2 do not exist in ballroom, and nothing starts facing the wall.

Timing for several of the round dances are different in ballroom. Round dance cha cha 123&4, ballroom cha cha 234&1. Round dance rumba breaks on 1. There are three different rumba timings used in ballroom, one for International, and two for American, and they are all different from round dance. Round dance jive 12 3&4 5&6. International jive or American swing 1a2 3a4 5 6. Round dance mambo breaks on 1. American and International break on 2.

I can list lots of other differences, but I think maybe you should be getting the message by now. If you get started with ballroom, you will discover that it is a lot more fun than round dancing.
no subject
Posted by danceaddict
7/4/2007  2:04:00 AM
from your reply you seem to know a lot about round dancing. The more unbelievable is your statement that "ballroom is more fun than round dancing".

You made a lot of statements that are perfectly true but I don´t see any disadvantages, round dancing is just different. And the main difference is the lack of competition, it is just fun.

Being a dancer in gerneral I´m interested in all kinds of dance forms, round dancing, ballroom, swing, salsa, hustle and recently we even took flamenco.

Being on a web page promoting ballroom one must certainly face preferences. But I personally would prefer not to see any judgements about other dance forms here.
no subject
Posted by SmoothGeezer
7/4/2007  5:32:00 PM
Ballroom is more fun than round dancing.

That is not a condemnation of round dancing. It is a simple comparison. Yes, I do know a lot about round dancing as well as other forms of dance. I happen to like dancing, and I have tried many different kinds, just for the fun of it. Because of that I am able to make comparisons. I didn't say round dancing was no fun. If it was no fun, I wouldn't have stayed long enough to learn anything.

Actually the less experience you have, the more fun round dancing will likely be. If you are an experienced ballroom dancer, advanced steps in round dance choreography calling for things that in ballroom would be incorrect is very frustrating. I was able to modify some of this but there is no way out of some of it. On the other hand, phase 2 round dance is so much different from ballroom, that you can do phase 2 and just consider it another dance form, and not worry about things being correct or not (a lot like square dancing or contra dancing). At the higher levels of round dance the advanced patterns, which are obviously intended to be advanced ballroom patterns, need to be done correctly to be successful. That is where the experienced ballroom dancer will have a problem. However, if you are not an experienced ballroom dancer, then you won't know the difference. (So you see, prior experience effects the amount of fun you have.)

There seems to be a common belief among round dancers that ballroom is all about competition. Competition in ballroom is totally optional. It is just another aspect of ballroom that can be explored or ignored. There are many on this group who do participate in that, however if you did a survey of all ballroom dancers, you would find that they are in a very small minority. Most people who do ballroom, do it solely for the enjoyment. So you are incorrect to say, the main difference between the two is competition. Since most do not compete, that is a major similarity.
no subject
Posted by terence2
7/4/2007  6:23:00 AM
Might have a slight dis disagreement, on a couple of points .

Many yrs back, i taught a round dance group of teachers. they were working primarily at an advanced level .

it soon became apparent, that they had neglected ( not their fault ) most of the technical aspects. However-- they were very willing to revise and implement many aspects .

The problems arise from the way the teachers receive their " calls "-- It usually comes as alist of steps, lacking in description, essentially , from which they have to teach their students.
For some obvious reasons ( forget alignments )they adapted things to suit their purpose .
no subject
Posted by SmoothGeezer
7/4/2007  11:09:00 PM
As one other poster already mentioned, round dance is different, and this difference was also my point.

The reasons that round dance teachers may be lacking in technique is one of philosophy. It is the nature of round dancing that step patterns are first priority, and most other things are considered unnecessary. This is an intentional simplification by the round dance community to try to offer something that is fun without being difficult or requiring a lot of training. Most (but not all) round dance instructors adhere to this philosophy, and believe that such things as technique and lead and follow are not required. Why should they go learn something that is not required?

Round dance originally (now phase 2) only had waltz and two-step. The steps were simple and were not done to any ballroom style, so ballroom technique was not required. Many steps are unleadable, but that is no problem since there is no leading. Cueing takes care of that. For these two, the original philosophy makes sense.

In recent years round dance has added phases 3 thru 6 that include almost all of the ballroom dances (called rhythms in round dance) including most International steps, American steps, country western steps, many dance steps unique to round dance. They are still in the process of adding more dances (rhythms) to their repertoire. It is these advanced dances and patterns that cause the some of the problems. Some of these advanced patterns are impossible to do without good technique. This is immediately recognized by any experienced ballroom dancer, and it is beginning to be recognized by some of the round dance teachers.

A few examples:
Try a throw-away oversway, same foot lunge, or a traveling contra-check and do only the footwork.
Try a pivot 4 with a partner and try to walk it.
Re: no subject
Posted by paul&dot
12/26/2007  7:16:00 AM
If this reply seems a bit outdated, so be it. I just wanted to revive the July Discussion on “The Differences of Ballroom and Round Dancing.” The discussion in July lost its, Impetus simply because of too few contributors. Maybe the significance of the topic was not apparent to the average Ballroom ‘expert,' but I feel the subject has appeal to most, whichever community they belong. In today's environment, one must work a sufficient amount just to keep abreast in one area of expertise. Little time remains to wander beyond their chosen pasture. I feel a little education on the subject will go a long way, not in promoting Round Dance as a hobby or a career, but to give the activity the appreciation I think it deserves. Hopefully, it will allow the reader to place Round Dance at the proper point on the dance scale. Certainly, not at the top but not at the bottom either.

With the rise in popularity within the Ballroom Circles, specifically because of TV shows like, “Dancing-With-The-Stars,” the interest in Ballroom has zoomed in the Round Dance world. Right away many Round Dancers wanted to dance like those in the series. The Rounders who did not already ballroom, either started taking lessons, asked about lessons, bought DVDs or started attending social ballroom dances. Now you can weigh the pros and cons all day on this observable fact, but it is a actuality. With this new invasion into the ballroom arena, the round dancers bring with them many good qualities. They also bring in bad habits, mixed attitudes and sentiments. The bad tendencies are no different from entry level persons coming off the street or out of school. So let's focus on the good ones.

Most of the information originally relayed in the forum was accurate and informative. What it lacked was completeness. Now, we are certainly not the experts that can answer every question one might have on the subject, But as a couple who has danced both, as a couple who has taught both, and as a couple who loves both, we are in the position to give a more accurate pictures than the original discussion portrayed.

Let me start by saying that Round Dance, even before it was called Round Dance, had ballroom experts, ballroom teachers, and ballroom novices. It is no secret that the absolute superior round dance teachers have a ballroom background or exposure. Many have regular ballroom coaches. Many conduct Round Dance Festivals and also run a Dance Studio with duel dance activities. In the other direction, I only know of one Round Dancer who entered into the Professional Ballroom scene but I would guess there are more. There would more I'm sure, if it were not for the gigantic age differences between the average Round Dancer and the average Professional Ballroom Dancer. Still, you could take 10-20% of those older Round Dancers, give them the amount of tutoring received by the DWTS participants, they would win the completion hands-down.

It has been told me by some of the best, (1) I can convert most accomplished Round Dancers into a better-than-average ballroom dancer in very short time. (2) I can take an established Ballroom Professional and turn them into an accomplished Round Dancer in a very, very short time. (3) It is hard to convert an average Round Dancer into a good Ballroom Dancer and (4) it's almost impossible to convert an average ballroom dancer into a Round Dancer.

Assuming these to be factual, where does this leave us? Probably no further that we were at the start. Maybe because several facts are concealed in the last paragraph. Understanding these facts, and putting proper weigh to them, may help clear the mud. I would expect some disagreement on the statements as well as the analysis.

The first comparison made is because the Round Dancer brings with them a stockroom of figures (steps), amalgamations (series), and routines (variations) to relate too. Now they may not be able to execute all of these as expertly as a professional, they may perform them a bit differently than the same figure in American Style Ballroom, but they are head-and-shoulders above the average social ballroom dancer. The second comparison is for the same reasons. The Professional knows the basics, knows chorography, knows the rhythms, and has the aptitude. All one has to do is to teach a few terms and names, which they quickly relate to something they already know, and Zippo, they are a Round Dancer.

The third and forth comparisons not as easy to explain- With the third comparison, I think the average Round Dancer lacks solid foundation mainly because of advancing too rapidly through the Round Dance world and not be the result of bad instruction. There no testing point within the Round Dance learning process and a person/couple is able to attend any session they are willing to struggle through. Believe me, I've seen some struggling over the years. In other cases Round Dancers are not willing or able to make the conversion to ballroom because all they are interested in is the physical and mental stimuli afforded them with Round Dance. I put some weight in these statements becasue I have tried unsuccessfully to teach some of these types, only to be successful after they became better Round Dancers.

The forth comparison- Well, let's just say that years of memorizing 8 bar routines, using as little effort as possible to execute every figure they do, and too many hours of belly rubbing at SSQQ timing has created many androids in the social dance world. They do not have the time nor will they put forth the effort required to learn Round Dance. Believe me it does take effort to learn Round Dancing. This is true with dancing at all levels. The "stars" in DWTS put forth great effort before they appear on the first week's show and the longer they remain on the program the more intense the effort has to be. Some socials have danced for years and do not know a name of a single figure they execute. They do not want to put forth the effort and are satisfied with what they are doing. Despite this, they still dream of dancing better.

You might have guess we do Round Dance and we do Ballroom. Do we prefer one form over the other? Not really. At times we concentrate more on one than the other only to redirect our focus the other way for period. This is a luxury! We are not the best in either arena. We are not the worst either. We learn from those better in both worlds and avoid bad habits from those that are worst. That's another luxury just to be able to detect the difference. When we Round Dance, we try to use the techniques we picked up in the ballroom. We like to think this makes us better Round Dancers. When we ballroom, and a nice Slow Fox is played, we rely heavily on our Round Dance experience and the knowledge we have obtained popular-recent Round Dance Chorography, written by one of the many multi-talented Round Dancers teachers. Some nights we dance 20-25 dances and every steps is followed just like I know how to lead perfectly. Other nights it is not as smooth and we struggle a bit. When leading and following becomes an issue, It is not above me to suggest a cue to my partner in a low voice.
Re: no subject
Posted by Ellen
12/23/2007  3:04:00 PM
Thank you for the information!

As a social ballroom dancer (though I do compete a little bit), I have to say that what you describe as "average social dancers" are not what I, or most ballroom dancers, would consider average. No one I know considers "belly rubbing" as ballroom dance. We consider people who do it "non-dancers"! Basically, you are describing bad dancers, not the average, at least where I live and dance. No wonder they can't learn round dancing, they couldn't learn ballroom, either!

Not knowing the name of the figures you dance is no crime in ballroom. Since the communication is physical, not verbal, if the lead can lead it, that's all he needs to know.

There are other reasons why ballroom dancers might lack the motivation to learn round dancing patterns. I love following, the constant physical conversation that goes on between lead and follow, and the unpredictability of lead and follow. Even when dancing a set routine, as for a performance or a competition, we still try to dance it with lead and follow. So for me, round dancing just wouldn't have what I enjoy most about dancing.
Re: no subject
Posted by paul&dot
12/26/2007  6:46:00 AM
Hi Ellen,
If I suggested that leading and following is not important in Round Dance I certainly did not mean to leave you with that notion. Most of our figures are contact figures and good leading and following techniques is what separates the good from the average dancer. And certainly, it does not hurt to know the name of the figure you are dancing. It does not make you a better dancer but it helps you in other aspects of the activity like reading a dance book. I've yet to see written in a text book words like, “Let's do, you know, that figure we learned last week.” And regarding you reply about belly rubbing. I know many dancers that have spend half their wealth learning how to do ‘thing' correctly. It is the number-one, no-named figure in the social dancing world. Take me to your social dance club, let me put a piece of Night-CLub Two-Step music on and I'll point out to you half the people doing the famous belly rub.

Re: no subject
Posted by Serendipidy
12/23/2007  4:17:00 PM
Hi. Not knowing some of the names used I take it that what you call Round Dancing is actually Sequence Dancing which first originated in London in 1900 That is every couple are doing the same steps in sequence. Each dance has a name, and is usually 16 bars in length. It is absolutely essencial that the music is phrased correctly Anybody who wishes to find one of the Sequence Dancers site all they need to do is Google Sequence Dancing. A good one to check out is Sea Breeze at Redcliffe QLD. There are literaly 100`s of different dances, and there is some sort of competition in composing new dances which happens in the UK.. I popped into one of these dances only last Wednesday. I counted a 150 dancers there. Written on a board were the dances to be danced. I didn`t even know the name of most of them let alone how the steps went. This is absolutely true. There were two people not on the floor. Myself and a lady who I found out had a problem with her ankle. I can do all of the International Style dances. As well as all of the Competition Dances in Australian New Vogue, also Argentine Tango and the usuall Street Latin Salsa and so on. There is a different world out there if you look around. It is apparent that this type of dancer wouldn`t go to watch a competition if you paid them , and are not the least bit intetrested in correct footwork or alignaments or correct posture. Also Google English Sequence Dancing.The 8th one down is worth reading. Especially the part which tells the advantages of knowing the steps before they are led, as opposed to freestyle where the man has to lead.
Re: no subject
Posted by paul&dot
12/23/2007  5:42:00 PM
Hi back,
I can not say for certain that Round Dancing and Sequence Dancing is the same or akin. I do know that Round Dancing is International and is being danced in Japan, Europe, down under and other places. In most countries the cues are all given in English.
But responding to some of your previous comments, you may have a bit of mistaken belief about Round Dance. In theory, nothing in Round Dancing has to be memorized except the figures. Certainly not the entire 8-16 bar routines. Each next figure is usually spoken or cued approximately one-half measure before the current figure is scheduled to be completed. Cueing more one figure ahead is not considered good cueing. Most figures are a single measure but may be two, three or four or more measures in length and a single name to convey the entire figure. The ending direction and any change of dance position is usually given as well as the figure. These directional or positional cues most likely will be a conveyed during the time the figure in given but could come during the last measure of a multi-measure figure. Round Dance figures are based on International Style Ballroom but over the years, more rhythms and styles have infiltrated the curriculum. Also, chorographers are experimenting more with open work which opens up the entire American repertoire to the Round Dance World.

Being more astute to the International family of figure names, one of the first things I do when I observe the Variation of the week is to take Jonathan's American Overview and try to translate it into the International Language. Sometime I cannot do this from the written overview but I almost always translate after I watch the video. That way, I can take this sequence to the ballroom studio or dance club and perform from memory because I know the variation in a language I speak.

There is a proposal in the works to change the name of Round Dance to International Choreographed Ballroom. Because more and more Round Dancers are taking ballroom this makes more sense than using a name that is associated with Square Dancing is so many people's minds. A few of the Ballroom Professional are putting their fingers into the Round Dance arena as well. Recently, Charlotte Jorgensen choreographed two Round Dance Waltzes that were taught at a Round Dance Festival. She used a phantom writer for the written cues. Not much different than what I do with the Variation of the Week.

So you can see, we are not that far apart. We live on the same planet, we dance to the same music we just speak a little bit different language.


Re: no subject
Posted by Serendipidy
12/26/2007  9:07:00 PM
Guys. I`m still trying to work out is Round Dancing just an American name for Sequence Dancing. The name is completely foreign to me. Are you all on the floor doing the same dance all using the same timing and alignements.Do the dances, have just to name one , names like Honeysuckle Waltz. In which the partner always stays in contact with their partner. No solo turns or underarm turns. This is Sequence Dancing.
Re: no subject
Posted by SmoothGeezer
12/26/2007  10:09:00 PM
Old Time English Sequence dancing (now called Classical Sequence) is not the same as Round Dancing, but there are some similarities, as there are some similarities between most all kinds of dance. There is also Modern Sequence Dancing. One distinction between these two, is similar to one of the differences between American versus International style. Modern Sequence Dancing is done in closed position, and if you break into an open position you are doing Old Time Sequence dancing (there are some exceptions).

A large difference between round dancing and sequence dancing is that there is no cueing in sequence dancing. The dance is memorized. In round dance's beginnings, the dances were also memorized, but that is no longer done.

Note: In both sequence dancing and in round dancing, a "dance" consists of a particular song with an associated choreography. In round dance a type of dance (waltz, foxtrot, jive, etc) is called a rhythm.

I do not do sequence dancing, so my knowledge of it is not extensive, however as I understand it, a dance consists of a 16 bar pattern of steps. These steps are repeated for the duration of the song. Information about the particular dances is difficult to come by, because each of these dances is copyrighted, and it is prohibited to demonstrate, video, or copy the scripts of most of these dances without the permission of the copyright holder. That doesn't do much for promoting the popularity of this form of dance. There are many types of sequence dances, many of which would not be recognized by a ballroom dancer, such as Blues, Four Step, Gavotte, Glide, Mazurka, Party, Quadrille, Saunter, Stroll, Sway, etc. Some may recognize some of these as predecessors to some of the more modern dances. Sequence dancing also has the dances familiar to ballroom dancers, waltz, foxtrot, tango, jive, rumba, quickstep, etc.

Here is a video of sequence dancing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDnb7Z9qKHk

Another major difference between round dance and sequence dancing is that there are competitions in sequence dancing. Competition does not exist in round dancing. Sequence dance competitions are actually pretty high level in terms of execution compared to social dancing (but you would expect that). Here is a video of a sequence dance competition.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13VBQVfrDZw

Round dances (a choreography for a song) are typically split into an introduction, 2 or 3 middle parts , and an ending. The middle parts are usually repeated. All the steps are cued. Here is a page that has a video of a phase 2 dance which is the beginning level of round dance, and a phase 6 dance which is the highest level available in round dance.
http://www.crda.net/CRDAclub.html

A middle level, phase 4 may be seen here:
http://www.crda.net/

Here is a phase 6 rumba (highest level in round dance) demonstrated by a cuer and instructor.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvWCGGuMWks
Re: no subject
Posted by Serendipidy
12/27/2007  2:22:00 PM
SmoothGeezer. Thanks for the information. I know now that Round Dancing is not Sequence Dancing. Scrips are available here as well as tapes and books on English Sequence Dancing. Some of the dances are vey cleverly put together and some are useless. I had a discusion with a Sequence adict. I said you only have a certain amount of time at a dance. With forty new dances being introduced each year you must be discarding forty dances from your list. I named one what has happened to the Flo Jo Cha Cha. named after the American sprinter. That one was long gone.
In reality what is happening is that one group on this side of town have their selection of dances. It would be fairly useless to go to the otherside of town where they could be playing the Flo Jo Cha Cha. It is now becoming rather clicky.
I did put my foot in it when this guy said he knows 120 dances off the top of his head. I said speaking as a Ballroom dancer you don`t do one correctly , which is true.
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