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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.
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