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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If this reply seems a bit outdated, so be it.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.
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