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Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by kaiara
3/13/2008  3:18:00 PM
I keep reading how there is more technique training in International, and how American fits the smaller dance floors better. So now I am still confused.

I want technique. For me, 3/4 of the pleasure is in fewer moves done beautifully. I would like to make my basics sing with beauty. I believe my instructor taught us mostly American, but also some International. She put emphasis on technique for those of us who wanted it; so when I look at the American Bronze and Silver DVD's most all the movements on both are familiar.

Yet, hubby is not exactly a dancer. I've way more experience than he has, and he needs things broken down so he can learn it correctly the first time--again, perhaps technique is more important for him as well.

I am willing to put in the time and effort to get really good at the basics.

And I am no closer to deciding between the videos than before I went all over this board reading.

To restate the question: Given that I intend to purchase one of the Bronze level DVDs shown on this site--which one has the better instruction? Which is clearer for the raw beginner (my hubby) yet gives enough detail to help me improve as well?

I appreciate input!
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by phil.samways
3/14/2008  5:56:00 AM
Hi Kaiara
If your hubby is still fighting to learn basic figures, i would recommend a video/DVD which shows the leg and footwork very clearly. Not too much emphasis on technique except correct footwork.
International style, with its closed hold, will 'force' you to develop your technique, since it is less forgiving than American style. (I know many will disagree with this).
In the past i bought tapes by Augusto Schiavo and Caterina Arzenton (http://w-w-w.dancesport.uk.com/video/index.htm.)
They're a little dated, but i think you'd find them useful. I'm sure there are lots of good ones out there which i've not seen.
Just one other tip - work on your hubby's posture from day 1. This is much harder to get right than any footwork
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by Ladydance
3/14/2008  7:43:00 AM
Since you just want to "go out and have fun", I'd suggest American style. There is no way you can do an international foxtrot in social setting, for example. Your hubby needs to learn basic steps and floorcraft.He has to feel like he is dancing and drillling technique with the basic steps gets boring. We had an instructor that taught that way and, sure our basic chacha was awesome but since we could do nothing else we died of boredom on the dance floor. And as Phil said, work on posture. It is very easy to learn to dance in your living room looking down at your feet the whole time, but quite a different thing when you are on a dance floor with people around you.
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by cdroge
3/14/2008  1:23:00 PM
It depends on where you live. I dance international which is fine for were I live ,but on my trips down south I find that most people dance American style. The problem is not the style but the Music. The Waltz and foxtrots are to fast for international, the tango's are ok, no quicksteps. The Bolero to slow for Rumba and the square Rumba to fast for international Rumba. Cha Cha's and jives are fine.
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by Serendipidy
3/14/2008  2:23:00 PM
I think Phil was the only one who mentioned the closed hold in the International Style of Ballroom dancing.
To make it clearer In the American Smooth there are steps where the man and lady are apart. Solo Turns and whatever.
In the International Style Standard there is no seperation at all.
In the Latin of both styles is a different story.
If you go to Learn the Dances on this site and go between the International Style and the American Smooth you will see the main differences.
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by kaiara
3/15/2008  6:44:00 AM
Actually, I have gone to the Learn the Dances on this site and am confused still.

Hubby is a physicist and Engineer--he wants it all broken down and the physics of the moves explained--I keep telling him that is unlikely to be out there at all.

On youtube I found a couple of videos that show the steps, but there was nothing on posture in this and honestly, if all I want is to stop around the floor I can get lots of partners for that! I mean, our Square dance group is fun--but mostly just rhythm and following directions. The Round Dance group is fun but lacks those things that set ballroom apart from the called dances.

Hubby has agreed to learn to do this properly so that dancing with him will be fun for me--he doesn't care. What is fun for him is reading blogs on politics and science then discussing the readings for hours.

I read blogs, think and discuss--HE is going to learn to dance a good Waltz!


So I guess I now go purchase the American Bronze level DVD and hope that it helps him....

But the Alex Moore book breaks things down better and does not seem to follow the American...

Diagrams....are there diagrams out there?

Doesn't ANYONE do a video that gives close-up instruction on the footwork for the steps, and separately handles the posture?

Ah well, thanks for the help, I'll be back to check for more advice because I haven't purchased the DVD yet!



Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by cdroge
3/15/2008  8:44:00 AM
Kaiara. The main advantage to learning international style is that it is easy to later switch to American style but the reverse is not so, also if you plan on spending any length of time in another country or like to travel a lot you will always find somewhere to dance international style .
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by terence2
3/16/2008  1:56:00 AM
Youve been given a lot of " mixed " info here.

Have trained numerous Prof. and amat in both styles .

Your 1st consideration should always be usage. If you are only interested in the social aspect ( tho there are comps in Amer. ) then the Amer style Br. will suit your needs .

Also -- there is as much " techn. " involved in the execution of this standard if taught and danced correctly.

I have a HUGE disagreement with the non contact approach in the smooth. My staff were always trained ( as are my students ) to dance in closed position, and taught to lead with the body, from day one .

The reason that Amer. smooth Br. was taught in an apart position was due to the social climate that existed when first introduced in the 30s/40s .It still persists in most " chain " schools to this day . (I always changed the concept when I coached in them )

As to open work, which someone mentioned , that really does not need to come into play for quite sometime .

NOW the most important thing for you to know- you will NEVER learn how to dance from a video. They are made to ASSIST your practical application , and knowledge gleaned from lessons, a tool , if you will .

There is no substitute for the class or private lesson-- a video cannot answer questions !
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by SmoothGeezer
3/16/2008  7:49:00 AM
From reading the posts so far, you should be able to see that there are advantages to both styles of dance, and a few things that one style does better than the other. For a beginner I would choose the style done by most of the people in your area. There will be more teachers in your area teaching that style also. If you decide you really like dance and want to expand your ability, latter you can take lessons in the other style, but for a beginner chose only one and stick with it until you are good.

Terence already gave you the bad news, you really can't learn to dance from a video. Videos are good for picking up additional steps after you have learned the basic techniques, and they are a good supplement for classes. However if getting hubby into the classroom is the problem, maybe a video will help kindle enough interest to get him to consider some classes. You should be able to pick up some step patterns for the different dances from a video, but you will find that picking up technique is difficult to impossible for a beginner.

There are a couple of major problems you will have when trying to learn for a video. You won't be able to recognize if what you are doing is correct or not. As a beginner, what you think you are doing and what is really happening are usually not the same. If you video tape yourself and compare that to the video, you may be able to see they are not the same, but you won't be able to figure out what to do to correct it. However, go ahead and purchase that video and see if you can get some interest going for hubby.

Your next step should be to find a group class taught by a good instructor who also makes it fun. Yes there are some of those. Look for an independent instructor, not classes taught by chain studios. After that you will discover some more bad news, you really can't learn all of the technique from group classes. However, at this point, anything you can do to get hubby interested in learning is a good thing.
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by nucat78
3/24/2008  1:38:00 PM
Well, I was trained as an astronomer, worked as an engineer and now am pretty much an accountant, so I might understand your husband's mindset.

As has been said, a video alone is not going to cut it. I have learned some steps from videos (American Bronze) but I take group lessons mainly and supplement the lessons with videos.

I'm fortunate in that my studio sells their own DVDs so the DVDs show exactly what is done in class.

There are dance manuals available online that might appeal to your husband - everything is laid out in a grid. Again, they won't substitute for lessons, but I like them as an adjunct.

I have no knowledge of the quality of the videos offered on this site.

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