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re: Are Americans Ruining Smooth?
Posted by Independent Thinker
7/11/2003  9:47:00 PM
Jonathan,

Thanks for your comments. Part of the reason I chose your forum is that you have come across in the past as being someone who generally promotes the use of standard technique for the standard-like actions in smooth.

Certainly, there are many aspects to smooth that have nothing in common with standard - and those are the specific areas in which we try to seek out help from people who are specifically smooth coaches.

The problem I am finding though is the emergence of an indigenous 'smooth technique' of motion that is not based in standard traditions at all, but rather seems to come from a trivial extension of the very vertical social bronze taught in chain studios. Some of these people say that this is uniquely smooth technique (implying they would dance standard differently), wheras others actually claim that this is the proper way to do standard as well.

Obviously, the top smooth dancers do not suffer from this - and today some are probably approaching technical parity with our top indigenous standard dancers. But the problem is that they are being widely misquoted by numerous second-tier teachers and competitors, who reinterpret their ideas through the lens of the bronze studio traditions they do understand, rather than the foreign standard traditions they never really figured out.

Certainly smooth as synthesis of different dance techniques is an American invention. But smooth as an excuse to replace proven basic principals like standard technique just so that we can be uniquely American is precisely the mistake we cannot afford to make.
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