Thanks to Foxky I think I finaly understand the foxtrot timing. You mignt say that the timing is (RF)slow,(LF)q,(RF)q, which would be correct if you could move your (RF) with your (RF) but since you have to use your standing leg the (LF) then the correct timing is (LF)slow-O,(RF)q,(LF)q. The (RF) the one that drifts outside partner does not enter the equation untill you put your weigt on it and then it becomes the slow of the next step. Foxy when looking at the feet on a vidio you are looking at the wrong feet thats why you get qqs.
"Interesting. What makes you assume we spent only a month or two learning standard?"
Not the assumption at all.
What makes you assume having your coach present at the recording insures that it represents any particular style?
The differences I see between this classically american interpretation and the English style are not things that could be changed by a few comments before a video shoot, so a teacher would not mention them at that time. They are the kinds of changes to fundamental methods that would require several months of experimentation to achieve that specific goal - even when the teachers do ask for them, they have to ask over and over because most skilled US dancers either will not change, or quickly change back to what is comfortable and has achieved their competition results so far.
Dave ,you raise a good pointaboutg the standing leg. Johnathan I am sorry I started this discusion. It's only because this is such a great website and showing the figures from three positions is excellent ,that I wanted to ensure that it continues to have the respect that it deserves by making sure that international style is of the same quality as the rest of your teaching vidios . Thanks to you Many people from arround the world are learning from this website so we have to get it right. Not that I am in the position to say what is and what is not right. Foxy as in foxtrot not as in sly.
Annon. You may be right to say that a step starts from along side the other foot. This is not so when walking,yes we start with feet together but once the body is in motion a step is the swing of the whole foot and not two half swings to make a whole.
In the Foxtrot whilst training we are encouraged to spend time stopping on every fourth beat on our toes. Whilst in that freeze mode we are told to consentrate on where our balanced point is. Is it on the front foot or the back foot or split weight. You will very soon find out. Waltz the same on every third. This time a Basic feet together, do we still have the correct balance and posture.It`s a bit like the Karate Master who put a student into a position and said."Study that position so you can make it anytime and everytime", in two hours I will show you how to come out" ..
Quickstep. We were not taught that way but I will give it a try and see how it feels. The problem with that method is that it may have the student staying up in the air to long. We should be down longer than we are up. We should be up only as long as the drift allows, therefore the size of the last step can vary.
In waltz you basically can stop at the top of the rise without altering the technique because you very nearly do so when ordinarily dancing, but in foxtrot you must alter the technique to stop at the top of the rise. Not as much as you would have to alter it to stop at the bottom though!
A setp in the swing dances is defined as two half (leg) swings, yes - but a step in the swing dances can essentially never stand on its own - it must be preceded and followed by movement (unless its a decorative little trick not using the characteristic movement technique). Even if you were to stop at the peak of rise in waltz, you are not stopping between steps but actually within the 3rd step, so it must still have a preceding action and a following one - when you get around to finishing it.
Annon. Thanks again,this takes some serious thinking. I have a feeling that the timing of a step starts from the rise for example , we might start saying (one) when we are up on three if we don't want to use the (&).
Johnathan I am sorry I started this discusion. It's only because this is such a great website and showing the figures from three positions is excellent ,that I wanted to ensure that it continues to have the respect that it deserves...
Nothing to be sorry about. The message board is here for this purpose. Everything we put out there is subject to scruitiny by the public, and that's the way it should be.
The only statement you made I didn't like was the generalization about "all Americans". It only served to diminish the credibility from the rest of your otherwise well written and well intentioned post.
Other than that, keep up the good work, and thank you for your contributions.
As an experiment, I overdubbed some Foxtrot music on the Feather Step video clip, which rendered some interesting results.
For starters, I must say that I was pretty lucky to have nailed the tempo almost spot-on, without having to speed up or slow down the music. With many of the dances, we were actually trying to dance slower than the true tempo, to give a more detailed look at the inner workings of the movement. However, with the swinging dances, which rely quite a bit on momentum, this would have been counter-productive. So without being fully aware, we danced the Foxtrot much closer to actual tempo. In the case of the Feather, it was right on tempo for the song I chose to overdub, making my editing job very easy.
The original plan was to dance each figure slowly to narrated counts, then up to speed with the music. Unfortunately, we ran out of time for the music clips. No official decision was ever made as to which musical interpretation we would use for our Foxtrot timing (ie traditional or "book" vs modern competitive timing), but since the music never happened, the decision was never needed. Or so we thought...
Here's where it gets interesting. After overdubbing the music, it's very clear that we did dance with a specific timing. Not surprisingly, that timing happened to be the one that we have used in recent years -- modern competitive timing.
What a lot of the current finalists and champions are dancing and teaching nowadays is to land the second "quick" on count 1 (whereas a few years ago, it was to land on 4, or slightly after). You might say it's gone to a bit of an extreme, but that's the current climate in competitive circles. Do I think it's good timing for a basic syllabus video? Of course not. But that wasn't our intention when we danced it to narration.
As far as the overdubbed video is concerned, the timing of the steps was correct for modern competitive timing. The only major problem I noticed was the follow-through after the last step, which was quite late. But I would expect this to happen, as we were slowing down to break our momentum in order to come to a balanced stop. If we'd taken the extra forward step (like I wished we had), that would'nt have been an issue.
The lesson here is that we should always dance, at the very least, to a metronome. But that lesson was already learned long before this was pointed out. Actually, we realized the importance of the metronome during the video shoot itself, just a couple of hours after finishing Foxtrot.
If we had danced Foxtrot to the metronome, we would have made a conscious decision about which timing interpretation to use. As it happened, the decision was made, if subconsciously, and unfortunately it wasn't the one I would have consciously chosen for an instructional syllabus video.
On the other hand, because it's danced to narrated "SQQ" counts, the only people who will even notice or care are those sophisticated enough to understand and recognize modern competitive timing.
"What a lot of the current finalists and champions are dancing and teaching nowadays is to land the second "quick" on count 1 (whereas a few years ago, it was to land on 4, or slightly after). You might say it's gone to a bit of an extreme, but that's the current climate in competitive circles. Do I think it's good timing for a basic syllabus video? Of course not. But that wasn't our intention when we danced it to narration."
The timing to the music, even the music that couldn't be heard, is just fine. Where the issue lies is in the order of various actions in the body and the feet. Insted of the feet moving as consequence of the body flighting through the steps, they precede the body motion, leaving the bodies often stuck in odd positions.
Since Quickstep wanted Jonathan's view, I thought I'd quote his previous comment, with some analysis.
"Here's where it gets interesting. After overdubbing the music, it's very clear that we did dance with a specific timing. Not surprisingly, that timing happened to be the one that we have used in recent years -- modern competitive timing.
What a lot of the current finalists and champions are dancing and teaching nowadays is to land the second "quick" on count 1 (whereas a few years ago, it was to land on 4, or slightly after). You might say it's gone to a bit of an extreme, but that's the current climate in competitive circles. Do I think it's good timing for a basic syllabus video? Of course not. But that wasn't our intention when we danced it to narration."
Quickstep, notice the clear recognition here that many top competitors place the second quick well after beat four.
Where I disagree with Jonathan is that I'm yet to see any evidence that anyone in the last few generations ever stepped on beat four in competition quality dancing. I think if you take the measurements (as I did) you will find that everyone is clearly missing beat four - usually by half a beat, but sometimes by three quarters of a beat (Sinkinson, for example).
Now would I try to teach or demonstrate to beginners foxtrot danced with the second quick landing on beat four. Such a dance would be very halting and awkward. It would also make the initial slow very "dead" with little of the continuity of body motion that is so essential to foxtrot.
I'd really like to see a video of someone turning in a quality performance of FOXTROT landing that quick on beat four. I suspect the reason Jonathan & Melissa didn't manage to do so in their demonstration is because their artistic sense took over - doing so would be so WRONG that their bodies refused to go along with that mistaken plan.
I don't think that's an experience that should be ignored when deciding what to teach.
Nor, if you ask around, do I think you will find many serious teachers actually teaching students when to land the steps. Instead, they start out by teaching students to create the necessary physical actions. Once the strength and skill to do that has been developed, they can talk about advancing or retarding the timing as an artistic goal - there is never any need to go into precisely where the steps fall as a dance teacher. That only comes up when we resort to scientific analysis of a video recording to prove how wrong certain common misconceptions about the timing actually are.
With all that writting you haven`t mentioned that the RF. has further to travell than the LF on a Feather.Could it be that is why Billy Irvine teaches and beleives the first quick is accentuated. Is it possible he wants the second quick on the beat. Get the calculator out. To add a bit more. If we beleive that Len Scrivener was correct and that after the the first quick we are on the way down for the third. There we have a step that has sliced timing by a fraction away from the technique books. Interesting isn`t it.
What makes you assume having your coach present at the recording insures that it represents any particular style?
That's not the point of having a coach present. As with many competitive couples who might have their coaches present at a compeition, it serves an important purpose, which has nothing to do with learning anything new.
If you've ever been a competitor, you're probably aware of the tremendous effect having a coach present can have on your performance, whether it be last minute quick observations and reminders, or simply moral support and cheerleading. Turns out the same is true of a recorded video performance.
It almost seems as though our friend Anonymous is implying that I simply hired this coach once on a single occasion for a cramming session on the day of the shoot. Obviously the quality would not have been anywhere near what it was if that were the case. Throughout the last decade, we've put thousands of hours of practice and coaching lessons into our Int'l style, a large percentage of which happens to be from European coaches.
But that's not the point. Although there's still plenty of room for improvement in our dancing, "English" has nothing to do with it. That's something that Anonymous tries to inject into every criticism of our dancing to make it seem more valid. That's ironic for someone whose fundamental philosophy is to let the substance of the argument speak for itself. Take away his ability to make any references to England or America, force him to speak purely to the technique -- what's good about the dancing, what needs improving, etc -- and I'd be willing to bet he'd have something very meaningful to contribute. Actually, I think he did, a little bit... Unfortunately, it was buried beneath the rest of the patriotic rhetoric.
Would anyone care to engage in a discussion of the Foxtrot clips that doesn't involve our American-ness?
Johnathan. Thank you for showing light as to how you vidio taped the international foxtrot,it was also nice to know that my eyes did not decieve me into thinking and feeling that we lower on the first beat in basic slow foxtrot. I was not aware that this was the modern way as I hve been dancing it that way for some time. Keep up the good work. By the way I am British not that it means anything. I guess we Limeys like to blow our own horns just as much as the Yanks. Dave
In terms of having the coach present, if he wasn't able to communicate this concept in the past, then having him present on the day of the shoot is not likely to fundamentally change anything. The dancing displayed remains what you are comfortable with - higher or lower in quality due to day-of factors, but fundamentally your style. Which is not the Slow English Foxtrot.
Anon. I should,will point out that the Italians have been beating the pants of the Brits for a while now. It seems to me that the Brits can't think out of the box when it comes to dancing, but then I'm just a Brit.
"Anon. I should,will point out that the Italians have been beating the pants of the Brits for a while now. It seems to me that the Brits can't think out of the box when it comes to dancing, but then I'm just a Brit. "
- Some of the italians dance more classically british than some of the brits. The color of your passport doesn't matter, who you study with does.
- Sometimes the judges, even at Blackpool, have to pick a couple that does not use the classic technique because they are simply doing a better job than the couples who are.
- For the classic techniques to produce a result that is better to all eyes, you have to get everything else nearly right too. However if you look at stills or have really good eyes for watching live dancing, you can easily see the distortions caused by some popular deviations from the classic technique, such as this eager feet trend.