The steps going into a quarter turn and a grapevine are very similar - slow, slow to outside partner, then you can continue with either the quarter turn or the grapevine but what is the clear, unmistakeable lead cue to either step? My partner is having trouble reading my mind so I'm looking for a more reliable method. Thanks.
That's a great question, and I also look forward to hearing from the instructors and experienced dancers in how they answer this. I also have some trouble in making sure my partner knows when we are going to any steps that unfold outside partner, which is where most of the interesting, fun and classy steps take place in my opinion. I would love to know some fail-safe triggers, other than whispering "Grapevine," or "Continuity Styling" or "Shadow Twinkles" when we are moving into more advanced steps. The Fox Trot seems to pose the most trouble in this regard, whereas in a dance like the Rumba, it seems the transition to more advanced steps fit right into place. Is that it? That the Fox Trot moves in LOD, whereas Rumba is more stationary? Thanks for the question, molesaver.
They are not remotely similar IF you commence it from a Silver twinkle.
Right, but he's not starting from a Twinkle (which produces a totally different kind of Grapevine anyway). He wants to start from O.P. position.
It's always easy enough when presented with a problem to say, "Just do something else". But that doesn't do anything to solve the underlying problem. He wants to improve his ability to lead, which is commendable. So we should help him explore the problem using the context he's presented.
See my other message for my solutions, and feel free to add your own!
I was responding to the Open tele. comment-- am well aware of his predicament.-- And Jonathon-- his underlying problem is the very step he is trying to commence from.
The grapevine is a silver movement-- and that is its recommended starting point. Why not suggest a more practical position ?-- to me as a coach-- I look for simple solutions, Yes-- i can make pretty much anything work, within reason-- to me -- simplicity is the key to all good movement .
Actually the Grapevine is both a Bronze and a Silver element. Arthur Murray, Fred Astaire and our own syllabus all have a bronze version. The Grapevine used in all three syllabi is taken tandem/parallel and to the man's left, typically in a closed hold but not in contact. The two chains' version is entered exactly as Molesaver described above; Ours has the forward walk as one possible entry, but not the preferred one (and only due to phrasing considerations). The point is, it's common and danced all over America as a simple and standard figure by Bronze level social dancers. And that particular entry is nearly as common.
That being the case, it's not necessarily the simplest solution to say, "Avoid this common and very simple entry that everyone around you is doing. Instead, save yourself the trouble and learn this high difficulty technical pattern." That's jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. No matter whose fault it is, if he's having trouble leading his partner into a simple Grapevine, it's guaranteed that his problems will multiply tenfold if he attempts to throw in a Silver Twinkle to boot.
Not only is a Silver Twinkle in and of itself difficult to execute well, but there's no guarantee he and his partner will find it any easier to lead & follow the Grapevine. If they're having trouble distinguishing between a closed position box and a tandem Grapevine, then there's no reason they won't have the same trouble leading & following the difference between a box or Feather ending from PP and a Grapevine from PP. In fact, chances are they'll have more trouble with the position changes.
Even if one enters the Grapevine with an easier pattern, say a Bronze Twinkle (questionable, but I'll roll with it for the sake of argument), or even a promenade walk, it's still not a given that it's better to use it in favor of the more common Bronze entry. Throughout our dance careers, we are constantly presented with the choice of whether to buckle down and work on something difficult, or ditch it in favor of something easier. Certainly there are times when the latter is preferable. But I would rarely make that choice when it comes to very fundamental movements or technique. Imagine having difficulty taking a basic heel step, and rather than spending the time refining that technique, you simply avoid all patterns involving a heel lead. You wouldn't be left with much. Of course, this is a silly example, but it illustrates the point that the more fundamental the technique, the more important it is to work through the problem rather than around it.
The skills necessary to lead the difference between a closed box and a Grapevine (or any passing action, for that matter) are very rudimentary. Perhaps not as much as a heel lead, but not far from. And certainly they are fundamental enough that one should not be avoiding them. The Grapevine is the perfect step to introduce such concepts, as they will constantly resurface as one moves through the levels with more complicated patterns. What better a time to attack it than with a simple pattern that doesn't require the highly developed technical skills of Silver level dancing.
Luckily, because the two patterns giving him trouble are relatively simple, the solution itself is equally simple... enough so that I think he will probably discover the answer himself with just a little encouragement and exploration on his own. This is why I didn't just give away the answer immediately. But whether he figures it out on his own or not, once he has the information, I suspect it won't take much effort for him to achieve success without having to completely avoid the pattern or the entry.
There's no "cue" per se. Like most closed position movements, the way you move your body from one foot to the next is the lead. A missed lead is not the result of some cue you didn't provide but rather a breakdown in one or both of your ability to communicate through movement.
For example, the dance position could be too disconnected (either in terms of tone, weight connection, or actual physical contact) to be able to effectively transmit the information. Or she could simply not be experienced enough to gauge the subtle differences -- Either not sensitive enough, or too presumptive. In other words, not truly following. Or your movement may be ambiguous, too subtle to indicate a difference between the two.
The third problem is the easiest for you as a leader to fix. And to a limited extent, it can be exaggerated in social dancing to overcompensate for the other two (though I wouldn't make a habit of it). So as with any two similar feeling movements, your job is to define the difference between the two, and then focus on improving your ability to clarify such through the movement of your own body.
So let's start there: You tell me what you think the differences are between the two, and in particular at what point they begin to depart, and if you haven't answered the question yourself already, I'll fill in the blanks.
Regards, Jonathan Atkinson www.ballroomdancers.com
I hope I don`t break the train of thought here. One of my pet hates is the use of two names to discribe the same movement. Get rid of the Grape Vine and call it a Zig Zag. We do one in the Samba from a Promenade then a Zig Zag, Spin into Voltas. Grape Vine never.
I had no idea this was going to be so difficult. (Most of the comments on my question have been so far over my head as to be impenetrable.)
OK, so I S-S to outside partner, so far both steps are identical (I think). Then, if I want to do a quarter turn, my left foot goes forward and slightly left (Q) then my right foot closes (Q) and I am back in closed position ready to go backwards S-S. If going into a grapevine, my left foot goes pretty much left (is this where the difference starts?)Q and my right foot goes slightly back and to the left, behind my right foot Q. So that was my best shot at identifying where the steps depart from one another. But I would still like to get some expert advice (that is relevant to my level and question - I might actually love a "silver twinkle" but I have no idea what one is). Is it that my torso turns to the right LESS for the grapevine than for the quarter turn and that is what I need to point out and/or exagerate for my partner or what? Thank you for the time and attention.
I know nothing about American Smooth. But when you say my right foot goes back slightly to the left behind my RF, If you have your shoulders square to the front it would appear that you are going into CBMP. Is that correct for that step.
What may help with the difference in lead is think of the GV as left foot forward (slow) right foot forward same track (slow) left foot side (q) r/f back (q) left foot side (q) r/f forward (q) left foot side together (qq)
As you finish the second quick there is a slight rise and the lead is from the right hand drawing the follow to come with you.
As for the 1/4 turn or senior walk: left foot forward (slow) right foot forward (slow) same track. then the 1/4 turn on the first quick, the whole frame turns to your right as you step to the side together. (almost like cutting the follow off)