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+ View Older Messages

re: Are Americans Ruining Smooth?
Posted by MSC
7/20/2003  12:10:00 PM
And, finally, american dancers, especially the competitive ones, usually get what they deserve in coaching and training, because what they invariably want are bandaids to cover up some shortcoming in their dancing, not a look at the kind of unglamorous, serious work on fundamentals it's going to take to put some quality in their movement. Ask any European coach who comes over to this country and doesn't know where to begin and so provides the bandaids because it's the path of least resistance.


I guess this sort of sums up my feelings towards smooth. It appears the emphasis is on variety of movement, expressiveness, etc., but not on quality of movement, or heck even being on time in some dances, particularly VW. Of course, there are similar problems in the other styles, but it seems exacerbated in smooth.
re: Are Americans Ruining Smooth?
Posted by ninedancer
7/20/2003  1:42:00 PM
Originally posted by MSC:
It appears the emphasis is on variety of movement, expressiveness, etc., but not on quality of movement, or heck even being on time in some dances, particularly VW.


You must be referring to individual dancers you've noticed dancing off time, not instructors teaching the moves wrong on purpose, right? Timing is one of the elements for which a competitor is judged on - an important one at that.

Deejays are supposed to play American Style Viennese Waltz a few beats slower than International Style to accommodate for the open and fuller movements of the Smooth figures and choreography. I can speak from personal experience, that some/many of the songs I've danced to in competition are played at full INTERNATIONAL speed, which is very hard to dance advance Smooth choreography to. I try to compensate by keeping my steps and shapes smaller, as to not sacrifice the timing, but Smooth dancers should not be finding themselves in this predicament as often as we do. I know for a fact that an International Style dancer would be struggling to dance Samba at the [faster] American Style speed.

So, keep in mind that you may have noticed some timing issues with American Style Viennese Waltz, but this probably has more to do with the level of dancing you're watching and/or the occasional inappropriate music choice of a ballroom Deejay.

No DanceSport style incorporates poor timing in its syllabus or discipline, so I think some of the broad [negative] statements here have been based on either not having enough exposure to high-quality American Style coaching or not getting to see enough championship-level exhibitions of American Style.
Re: re: Are Americans Ruining Smooth?
Posted by Bryan M
1/12/2014  5:18:00 AM
Interesting, and misguided subject line "Are Americans ruining Smooth". You all seem to forget why 99% of American adults, who want to learn to dance, take lessons. It is to have a social activity/ hobby and spend time with their significant other, have some fun, and learn to dance socially. Are they ever going to meet your high standard of judgement? No. Taking lessons and practicing 3-4 hours a week will not get these students (including myself and my wife) to the critical acclaim some of you seem to want us to be. If I wanted to be a professional dancer, I would take a much different path to meet that end and do what any pro would- find instruction that teaches the styles that would please a majority of judges, whether it be International or American.
American adults who want to dance do so for fun, and to have a social hobby that non-dancers do not enjoy- whether it be a night out on the town, A wedding reception or just having a fun activity on a Tuesday night instead of another evening in front of the TV.
Re: re: Are Americans Ruining Smooth?
Posted by O.K.
1/24/2014  11:22:00 AM
Reading all the comments, and being neutral. I don't do American Smooth. I would say that Are Americans ruining Smooth is the winner, judging from the comments made in this column
Re: re: Are Americans Ruining Smooth?
Posted by terence2
1/29/2014  3:59:00 AM


First.... the comments are over TEN years old .. I wonder if any past posters, have re-evaluated the purpose of Amer. smooths existence ?..
It is, as someone stated, a "social " animal only in the lower divisions,( altho it did creep into the Comp. arena ) and, this is where the problems lie.

Sadly, the technique for dance at these levels, is often commonly overlooked, for expediency .

When one does apply standarised technique to a genre, it needs to fit the purpose . The majority of social students, are more interested in variety than accuracy. And, this has been perpetuated by the " chains" in many cases ( NOT all ).

Many small studios, are woefully lacking in training.
So.. the style does meet a need, and to para-phrase Alex Moore
" I realised after teaching for one year that, not everyone wanted to be a world champion ". read into that what you will.

I am not sanctioning poor technique, at any level or genre, just pointing out the facts of dance " life " .
Re: Are Americans Ruining Smooth?
Posted by terence2
1/29/2014  4:12:00 AM
I do not know if you are still reading posts here, but.... A major correction to one of your insertions, that being.. there is no way Amer. studios ( chains particularly ) can turn out top level Intern. style dancers.. well.. heres a few for your consideration..

Joe/ Nancy Jenkins.. 3rd in the world 1972/3 Blackpool finalist .. Standard

Larry/ Betty Silvers.. eighth in the world.. Intern. Latin 19 70s

Bobby Medieros.. coached numerous latin european couples in the 70/80s ( a former F.Astaire teacher ).. I could go on.

but, I do think you may need to re-think your post.

P.S. I was one of the 1st coaches for Larry and Joe,among many others, both from F.A. in D.C,( 1964 ) and yes, they did go to the UK for training. doesnt everyone ???
Re: Are Americans Ruining Smooth?
Posted by phutch
1/31/2014  6:57:00 AM
This is an old post and the original author may have converted. I have always appreciated Terence2's outlook. I was wondering what your take is on how much responsibility the universities must share with the social arena as you cited in your 1/29/14 post.
Re: Are Americans Ruining Smooth?
Posted by terence2
1/31/2014  8:06:00 AM


I know that, the USA Univs. contribute a great deal to the Amat. and some times, Prof ranks ( Ronnie Montez for one e.g. and there are others ).

Pretty much most of them ,bring in outside coaches..... I for e.g. , had that pleasure ( with the U.Ga).

BYUs dance program ,is 2nd to none, and their formation team ,as i re-call, won "Blackpool" on several occasions . And I do know that, there were those that came into the dance teaching profession, well trained and coached .

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