I am a ballroomdancer for over 25 years. In my opinion there was only one single style with Alex Moore and Walter Laird as the writers of the respective 'dance-bibles'. Shortly I discovered this site and I was surprised to learn about 'American Style' ballroomdancing. Also, the (excelently executed)video-clips looked very surprising to me. Can anyone please tell me more about the 'American Style'? PS If someone has questions about dancing in Western Europe do not hesitate to ask. But do not laugh at my text-mistakes, knowing that English is for me a strange language.
The easiest way to describe it would be to think of Classic Showdance style, when people who usually dance Standard break apart and do other things. That's sort of like American Style, except American Style goes so much further than that, incorporating elements of jazz, ballet, and the kind of dancing you'd see in old Fred Astaire & Ginger Rodgers musicals.
I began dancing 6 years ago in a small town in upstate New York. The teacher was excellent, but I knew nothing about American vs International style, and my wife and I learned American.
Now we dance at a large ballroom near Philadelphia and many of the dancers dance International style; one couple has competed at Blackpool. I find myself wishing I could do some of the things the International dancers do, and perhaps I'll learn to do so, but I'm enjoying myself doing American style.
Some dances are very different in the two styles, I think: tango and FoxTrot. Others are very much the same: American Bolero and Intl Rhumba? And there is only one Quickstep.
You can do the things the international dancers do, as American Style ultimately adopts all of the international style's possibilites once it moves past strict step lists. Virtually everyone cross trains with international coaches.
Belgium Boy. I have a question . Are the dance clubs owned by the Amatuers or are are they owned by professionals in your country. I believe in Germany to be a competitor you must belong to a club. An ordinary dance studio can not teach a competitor. There is a hands off agreement between the two. In Ausralia the studios are owned by the professionals who also run the competitions. With this system I can never see the Government supplying a building or going out of their way to help as is done in some countries. The only help is the same , since dancing became a sport, as any other type of sport. soccer netball and so forth. Our teachers very rarly own their own premises. They hire school halls or other types of buildings, most do not have a lease and can be tipped out at a moments notice, which has happend on many occasions. Anyway I would be intested to know what system you have in Belgium. Best wishes Don.
Yah, American style fits best in social dancing. I teach American style ballroom. I take international lessons from time to time, just to improve my posture and techniques. I dance American patterns with international posture and techniques. It really make me stand-out on the floor.
You are right. Some dances are both Internation and American style. This is how they are listed:
American Smooth: Waltz Fox Trot Tango Vienneze Waltz
International Standard: Waltz Fox Trot Tango Viewnneze Waltz Quickstep
International Latin: Cha Cha Samba Rhumba Pasa Doble Jive
American Rythym: Cha Cha Mambo Swing Bolero
International Standard keeps couples in closed position at all times. Whereas American Smooth...Couples can seperate and dance side by side, underarm turns, and grapevines. I thought this might help people, other than Jerry, tell the difference.
I dont understand what is meant by "social dancing". I dance American style foxtrot. By that I mean that my partner and I often separate, sometimes to do grapevines, or some of the fancy sequences like the "Cuddly Lunge Thing" that Johnathan did here.
If social dancing means doing SSqq steps and shuffling slowly around the floor, careful not to step on each other's feet being the prime consideration, then we need to create yet a third category. Intl, American, and Social (or shuffling?)? I think it takes us a little longer to navigate our ballroom in FT than in QS, but not a lot longer; we are MOVING!
We view Int'l FT with admiration and some degree of uncertainty because we dont know how to do all those pauses that seem to dramatize the dance so beautifully. Jerry
Jerry, I think most people make a distinction between social dancing (dancing purely for recreation, pleasure, etc.) and competitive dancing. The distinction is not necessarily one of quality of dancing, though there may be differences in emphasis. In my experience, competitors are usually more precise about things like frame and footwork, whereas experienced social dancers are often better at lead and follow.
When people are taught for purely social purposes, in the US they are virtually always taught American style steps (to begin with anyway). Competitors can compete in either style. And of course, some of us compete and also do social dancing (just can't get enough!).
You're right, I can't believe I left out Rhumba. Isn't that a beautiful dance? I enjoy American style dances so much more than international styles. During my teenage years,(I'm 21 now), I danced in Little Rock. When we went dancing, I didn't see anyone doing International except the people that took from the same instructor as me. I feel that if you're going out to dance, it doesn't matter what style you do, as long as you're having fun. Save the seriousness for the comps or lessons. BTW, I'm trying to sell a gown, a size three, turquoise and burgandy. It's beautiful. Would anyone be interested? I can email you pictures of the gown.
If you look at the image on the opening page you will see a couple who have created a shape in space. It is a terrific shape pleasing to the eye. It happens to be American Smooth. But it doesn`t matter which style it is. Some people mostly competitors will always try for beautiful lines. Too many who are Social Dancers, that is the last think on their mind. Unless they have been an ex- competitors.
It doesn't make as much sense going for the beautiful line when social dancing. In that case, you're dancing for your partner (and vice versa). In competitive dancing, you're dancing for a judge.
Your partner is hopefully a little too close to see that line, so who would you be trying to impress? OK, there are plenty of answers, but if your reason for social dancing is to have fun dancing with your partner, those all fall away.
In competitive dancing, you may be having fun, but fun is not the point. Winning is, and to do that you have to impress the judges, and good lines are part of that. You only have to look like you are having fun.
For me, the point of the lines is that it FEELS good. I enjoy knowing that what I am doing is both for my partner and I to enjoy and is pleasing to the eye. Same reason I used to ride Dressage--it was a joy to fit so subtly with my equine partner--and useful on trail rides too. LOL!
I enjoy knowing I look good dancing, even if hubby and I are dancing alone.
One of the bigger differences I've noticed between the two....especially with the latin dances, is the latin motion. In American Rhythm, we step onto a bent knee. It's interesting trying to dance say, Rumba, with my friend who teaches Intn. Style.
I do have one question about this ( I posted a message about it). In International Rhythm, is the frame used the same as smoooth or standard dances? It's something I see at the International studio I visit, and I catch myself wanting to correct it, but not sure if I am in the wrong.
no subject Posted by terence2 8/27/2008 4:30:00 AM
First-- Not Intern Rhumba.-- It is Intern. Latin.
The frame and posture in latin , can go thru various changes during the course of a given dance . Its like comparing apples to oranges-- both fruit== both from a tree-- but different flavors .
Amer. style " rhythm ", has many similarities ( and many things identical ) to Intern Latin . The techniques, sometimes, take different paths . The most obvious examples, are the commencement of Cha. And Rhumba ( in bronze ) is still Square ( the way we USED to dance it )
have done several dissertations on the authenticity of the Latin genre .Its posted on-- salsa forums -- also some postings on -- dance forums . These will give you a much better understanding , about the development of the dances we " choose " to include in our social and competitive arena .