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Re: Foxtrot as displayed on this site
Posted by Waltz123
1/31/2006  10:25:00 PM
As an experiment, I overdubbed some Foxtrot music on the Feather Step video clip, which rendered some interesting results.

For starters, I must say that I was pretty lucky to have nailed the tempo almost spot-on, without having to speed up or slow down the music. With many of the dances, we were actually trying to dance slower than the true tempo, to give a more detailed look at the inner workings of the movement. However, with the swinging dances, which rely quite a bit on momentum, this would have been counter-productive. So without being fully aware, we danced the Foxtrot much closer to actual tempo. In the case of the Feather, it was right on tempo for the song I chose to overdub, making my editing job very easy.

The original plan was to dance each figure slowly to narrated counts, then up to speed with the music. Unfortunately, we ran out of time for the music clips. No official decision was ever made as to which musical interpretation we would use for our Foxtrot timing (ie traditional or "book" vs modern competitive timing), but since the music never happened, the decision was never needed. Or so we thought...

Here's where it gets interesting. After overdubbing the music, it's very clear that we did dance with a specific timing. Not surprisingly, that timing happened to be the one that we have used in recent years -- modern competitive timing.

What a lot of the current finalists and champions are dancing and teaching nowadays is to land the second "quick" on count 1 (whereas a few years ago, it was to land on 4, or slightly after). You might say it's gone to a bit of an extreme, but that's the current climate in competitive circles. Do I think it's good timing for a basic syllabus video? Of course not. But that wasn't our intention when we danced it to narration.

As far as the overdubbed video is concerned, the timing of the steps was correct for modern competitive timing. The only major problem I noticed was the follow-through after the last step, which was quite late. But I would expect this to happen, as we were slowing down to break our momentum in order to come to a balanced stop. If we'd taken the extra forward step (like I wished we had), that would'nt have been an issue.

The lesson here is that we should always dance, at the very least, to a metronome. But that lesson was already learned long before this was pointed out. Actually, we realized the importance of the metronome during the video shoot itself, just a couple of hours after finishing Foxtrot.

If we had danced Foxtrot to the metronome, we would have made a conscious decision about which timing interpretation to use. As it happened, the decision was made, if subconsciously, and unfortunately it wasn't the one I would have consciously chosen for an instructional syllabus video.

On the other hand, because it's danced to narrated "SQQ" counts, the only people who will even notice or care are those sophisticated enough to understand and recognize modern competitive timing.

Regards,
Jonathan
Re: Foxtrot as displayed on this site
Posted by Anonymous
2/1/2006  5:46:00 AM
"What a lot of the current finalists and champions are dancing and teaching nowadays is to land the second "quick" on count 1 (whereas a few years ago, it was to land on 4, or slightly after). You might say it's gone to a bit of an extreme, but that's the current climate in competitive circles. Do I think it's good timing for a basic syllabus video? Of course not. But that wasn't our intention when we danced it to narration."

The timing to the music, even the music that couldn't be heard, is just fine. Where the issue lies is in the order of various actions in the body and the feet. Insted of the feet moving as consequence of the body flighting through the steps, they precede the body motion, leaving the bodies often stuck in odd positions.
Jonathan’s previous comment on foxtrot timing
Posted by Anonymous
2/8/2007  7:17:00 AM
Since Quickstep wanted Jonathan's view, I thought I'd quote his previous comment, with some analysis.

"Here's where it gets interesting. After overdubbing the music, it's very clear that we did dance with a specific timing. Not surprisingly, that timing happened to be the one that we have used in recent years -- modern competitive timing.

What a lot of the current finalists and champions are dancing and teaching nowadays is to land the second "quick" on count 1 (whereas a few years ago, it was to land on 4, or slightly after). You might say it's gone to a bit of an extreme, but that's the current climate in competitive circles. Do I think it's good timing for a basic syllabus video? Of course not. But that wasn't our intention when we danced it to narration."

Quickstep, notice the clear recognition here that many top competitors place the second quick well after beat four.

Where I disagree with Jonathan is that I'm yet to see any evidence that anyone in the last few generations ever stepped on beat four in competition quality dancing. I think if you take the measurements (as I did) you will find that everyone is clearly missing beat four - usually by half a beat, but sometimes by three quarters of a beat (Sinkinson, for example).

Now would I try to teach or demonstrate to beginners foxtrot danced with the second quick landing on beat four. Such a dance would be very halting and awkward. It would also make the initial slow very "dead" with little of the continuity of body motion that is so essential to foxtrot.

I'd really like to see a video of someone turning in a quality performance of FOXTROT landing that quick on beat four. I suspect the reason Jonathan & Melissa didn't manage to do so in their demonstration is because their artistic sense took over - doing so would be so WRONG that their bodies refused to go along with that mistaken plan.

I don't think that's an experience that should be ignored when deciding what to teach.

Nor, if you ask around, do I think you will find many serious teachers actually teaching students when to land the steps. Instead, they start out by teaching students to create the necessary physical actions. Once the strength and skill to do that has been developed, they can talk about advancing or retarding the timing as an artistic goal - there is never any need to go into precisely where the steps fall as a dance teacher. That only comes up when we resort to scientific analysis of a video recording to prove how wrong certain common misconceptions about the timing actually are.
Re: Jonathan’s previous comment on foxtrot timing
Posted by quickstep
2/8/2007  3:30:00 PM
With all that writting you haven't mentioned that the RF. has further to travell than the LF on a Feather.Could it be that is why Billy Irvine teaches and beleives the first quick is accentuated. Is it possible he wants the second quick on the beat. Get the calculator out.
To add a bit more. If we beleive that Len Scrivener was correct and that after the the first quick we are on the way down for the third. There we have a step that has sliced timing by a fraction away from the technique books. Interesting isn't it.
Re: Foxtrot as displayed on this site
Posted by Waltz123
2/1/2006  12:37:00 AM
What makes you assume having your coach present at the recording insures that it represents any particular style?
That's not the point of having a coach present. As with many competitive couples who might have their coaches present at a compeition, it serves an important purpose, which has nothing to do with learning anything new.

If you've ever been a competitor, you're probably aware of the tremendous effect having a coach present can have on your performance, whether it be last minute quick observations and reminders, or simply moral support and cheerleading. Turns out the same is true of a recorded video performance.

It almost seems as though our friend Anonymous is implying that I simply hired this coach once on a single occasion for a cramming session on the day of the shoot. Obviously the quality would not have been anywhere near what it was if that were the case. Throughout the last decade, we've put thousands of hours of practice and coaching lessons into our Int'l style, a large percentage of which happens to be from European coaches.

But that's not the point. Although there's still plenty of room for improvement in our dancing, "English" has nothing to do with it. That's something that Anonymous tries to inject into every criticism of our dancing to make it seem more valid. That's ironic for someone whose fundamental philosophy is to let the substance of the argument speak for itself. Take away his ability to make any references to England or America, force him to speak purely to the technique -- what's good about the dancing, what needs improving, etc -- and I'd be willing to bet he'd have something very meaningful to contribute. Actually, I think he did, a little bit... Unfortunately, it was buried beneath the rest of the patriotic rhetoric.

So...

Would anyone care to engage in a discussion of the Foxtrot clips that doesn't involve our American-ness?

Regards,
Jonathan
Re: Foxtrot as displayed on this site
Posted by cdroge
2/1/2006  4:10:00 AM
Johnathan. Thank you for showing light as to how you vidio taped the international foxtrot,it was also nice to know that my eyes did not decieve me into thinking and feeling that we lower on the first beat in basic slow foxtrot. I was not aware that this was the modern way as I hve been dancing it that way for some time. Keep up the good work. By the way I am British not that it means anything. I guess we Limeys like to blow our own horns just as much as the Yanks. Dave
Re: Foxtrot as displayed on this site
Posted by Anonymous
2/1/2006  5:39:00 AM
Jonathan, you gotta stop moving your feet before you body or you will always be identified as American or European in style and not English
Re: Foxtrot as displayed on this site
Posted by Anonymous
2/1/2006  5:41:00 AM
In terms of having the coach present, if he wasn't able to communicate this concept in the past, then having him present on the day of the shoot is not likely to fundamentally change anything. The dancing displayed remains what you are comfortable with - higher or lower in quality due to day-of factors, but fundamentally your style. Which is not the Slow English Foxtrot.
Re: Foxtrot as displayed on this site
Posted by cdroge
2/1/2006  6:22:00 AM
Anon. I should,will point out that the Italians have been beating the pants of the Brits for a while now. It seems to me that the Brits can't think out of the box when it comes to dancing, but then I'm just a Brit.
Re: Foxtrot as displayed on this site
Posted by suomynona
2/1/2006  7:19:00 AM
"Anon. I should,will point out that the Italians have been beating the pants of the Brits for a while now. It seems to me that the Brits can't think out of the box when it comes to dancing, but then I'm just a Brit. "

- Some of the italians dance more classically british than some of the brits. The color of your passport doesn't matter, who you study with does.

- Sometimes the judges, even at Blackpool, have to pick a couple that does not use the classic technique because they are simply doing a better job than the couples who are.

- For the classic techniques to produce a result that is better to all eyes, you have to get everything else nearly right too. However if you look at stills or have really good eyes for watching live dancing, you can easily see the distortions caused by some popular deviations from the classic technique, such as this eager feet trend.

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