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re: Are Americans Ruining Smooth?
Posted by CampionDancesportKC
7/19/2003  9:51:00 PM
Dear Indy-

Of course American social schools are butchering smooth and smooth technique. A glance at the history of the American franchise dance schools will tell you that they have not historically been very concerned with turning out well educated dancers. The very reason the American styles were originally created was to enable American franchise schools to commercialize dancing here in the US for an adult social market.

When I began dancing many years ago I was trained at two major franchise schools...their technique and training programs were abysmal. However, their sales training was first class, and we typically devoted about twice as much time to sales training as to dance training. C'est la vie. After several years I was lucky enough to find qualified instructors who opened my eyes to many elements of dance I had NEVER EVEN HEARD OF in my original training.

The United States seems to be in a painful transition right now...trying to make the jump from the passe commercialized "American" styles taught by entrenched franchises, to International style dancing and the "new" American Smooth which proceeds quite naturally from an understanding of Int. Standard (Modern if you prefer).

The transition unfortunately leaves a large number of traditionally trained instructors wanting to butcher smmoth and arguing heatedly against it's natural relation to Standard. It is understandably a difficult change to make for those who have made a living teaching the old smooth for 20 years or more. They are not only concerned about changing their own dancing but are uncertain if the new techniques will sell well to social students. Have you noticed that Standard in the US is typically considered a style for "serious" or "dedicated" dancers only? It is often dismissed as too challenging for social students.

Besides, in many areas of the US it is still impossible (I'm not kidding) to find a reputable instructor of Standard and Latin! Even teachers and studios who want to change and grow in their dancing may not be able to do so.

Not to fear Indy, some chain schools can be relied upon to butcher not only Smooth but also Rhythm and Latin. Yet Latin competition has been steadily improving in the US of late. The US Junior Dancesport competitors are dragging us out of the dark ages Slowly but surely the US will have to _sway_ into compliance with the rest of the world, if we ever hope to create competent dancers.
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