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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If this reply seems a bit outdated, so be it.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.
Re: no subject
Posted by paul&dot
12/28/2007  11:03:00 AM
SmoothGeezer & Serendipid:
I enjoyed watching the Sequence Dance Demonstration. I agree that some of the footwork is very cleverly put together. From the video the activity looks to be a recreational movement that provides an outlet for seniors, stimulates their minds, and offers a form of bodily exercise, in a casual atmosphere and with neatly clothed acquaintances.
I'm too old to call any of the dances useless.
Re: Ballroom Vs. Round Dancing
Posted by kaiara
3/13/2008  3:15:00 PM
I'm probably not as good at any one dance as many on this board, but l square and round dance and have some solid basic ballroom training.

I love all of it. Like Square, Round Dance is called or cued. That means you follow the caller in addition to your partner, rather like the combination in square dancing. But instead of the square dance steps, you get steps which are similar in footwork to ballroom steps. I find it to be fun.

Ballroom gives you greater scope for technique in your ballroom dances. There is more focus on form, and you absolutely must learn to follow and lead. It is fun when you are with a partner who is good, I find that when the man leads well, waltz is like a dream and challenging because you don't know what is coming up until you feel the lead. That communication between the partners is what makes Ballroom my favorite--but I find getting a partner for round and square is easier for us older dancers.

I also found that when I do Ballroom, it makes my Round Dancing better. And the extra hours of dancing I get in Round Dance seems to speed up my understanding in Ballroom so I can concentrate more on style.

I guess for someone with minimal experience in any one thing I've rather a lot to say! LOL Perhaps it helps?
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