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Arm styling
Posted by Beth
8/11/1999  11:29:00 AM
Can anyone give me some suggestions for arm styling? The only two I know are the head sweep and framing the face. Also are there specific stylings for the different dances, or are they interchangable? I've only been dancing for a few months, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
re: Arm styling
Posted by Belle1
8/17/1999  3:43:00 PM
Boy oh boy, I'm all ears on this one too. My pro tells everyone this is the last thing he teaches, and I'm not that far yet but it would be nice to know a few more things...hard to describe without visuals though. Maybe a suggestion for the dance lesson on Ballroomdancers.com?
re: Arm styling
Posted by Larry Richardson
8/18/1999  12:45:00 AM
in response to tips on arm styling. I've been teaching professionaly since 1972 and here are a few thoughts based on my experience. Firstly..there are not absolutes in styling. Anyone who speaks in absolutes should be listened to with "a grain of salt."
To me, learning to dance is, in essence, learning awareness and control of one's own body, so that feeling and emotion may be expressed however the dancer wishes.
In learning to dance, that is why most instructor's approach this area last in the basic elements of teaching.
We can think of our body as a torso with 5 appendages. (Head, 2 legs, and 2 arms). Fundamentaly it is normal to say movement begins in the torso or main body and then continues out, or is reflected in appendages.
Thus, arm movement should be generated from the body outward through the arm through each major joint in series, beginning with the shoulder then elbow, then wrist then fingers.
Most people feel uncomfortable when they first begin using their arms and hands in dancing. It is normal for most people to keep the hands fairly close to the body for as a sense of security. For most people awareness and control of the feet, legs and body need to be learned before concentrating on the hands and arms.
My experience has been that many ballroom instructor's have not really studied movement or kinesthics and what limited knowledge they possess is from copying others whom they like the appearance of.
Hence trendy styles are more often the norm than not.
One good way of developing hand and arm control and movement is by practicing the Ports de Bras (arm exercises) from ballet.
These simple arm exercises can usually be found in many basic books on ballet technique. By learning these movement one develops the muscles to use and control the arms in appealing ways and having developed the awareness and control can then easily adapt to any individual stying technique.
re: Arm styling
Posted by Belle
8/19/1999  4:07:00 PM
Thanks for the ballet suggestion, I'll have to look into that. I did get some suggestions for rumba a while back, but not very precise. I do have some vague notion of the physical mechanics, but I hesitate to play with it because it's so difficult to isolate the parts. I have access to mirrors but I don't use them as much as I should .
re: Arm styling
Posted by vcalvin
8/18/1999  12:40:00 PM
I would emphasize that arm styling should be part of your overall body movement, and not just an arm flailing about for it's own sake. To begin learning how the arms relate to body action, you might ask your teacher show you how to do the arm movements that occur when you're doing basic walking steps in a latin dance like rumba (often called "natural" arm movement). The basic idea of natural arms is that you extend the arm that corresponds to the foot you're on, and the other arm is folded in, slightly across your body. The arms switch as you move from foot to foot. It's a flowing movement and not a static pose. That's just the general idea -- you should have a teacher work with you on it. This isn't fancy stuff, but I think it's vital to learn how arms work in concert with the rest of the body before you try to create impact with them. Ideally, arms continue what the rest of your body starts, and can create terrific shapes, lines, and emphasis. However, if you learn specific styling concepts too soon, they're likely to look posed and stiff, instead of being a part of your dancing. That's probably not the advice you were looking for, but I hope it helps in some way!


re: Arm styling
Posted by Beth
8/18/1999  1:27:00 PM
Thanks for all the helpful tips. I appreciate it!
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