Im still new to my lessons, I take both group and private lessons. My most recent frustration is with my frame in the group lessons.
Some of the ladies have good frames, and its wonderful to dance with them. Others have poor frames and its so frustrating because the lack of frame makes it so difficult to lead.
I pay a lot of attention to my frame, my question is, why is it that I cant always project a strong frame with these ladies? Is the problem mine, theirs or ours. What can I do to have a good frame with all of my different partners?
Hi FallsHiker. To be honest, the girl you are dancing with will have to sort out her frame. It is noy your fault. To help you don't want to have too straight a back, try to bend forward a little so your weight is not completely on your heels.
The girl needs to bend a bit to the left to create a good frame.You know the frame is good if you create a C shape between the partners.
Anyway, basically she has to sort her frame through exercises and practice. Its nothing to do with you.
, try to bend forward a little so your weight is not completely on your heels
Man should stand in a natural upright position, with the body slightly inclined forward from the feet, body weight being felt over the balls of the feet. There should be little or no weight on the heels, so to think in terms of making an adjustment not to have the weight 'completely' on the heels is to have started out with fundamentally flawed posture.
You're not alone in this area. Many new dancers, both men and women, are either not alerted to the importance of their frame (the teacher's fault), or they are not learning to dance with the purpose of obtaining some level of mastery of the finer aspect of couple dancing. Do some shoulder exercises to be prepared for the ladies who will "hang" on you. In a social dance setting, that is a reality you will face. There are ladies where I dance who make me pray for the song to end, and I am more fit than the average dancer. With the ladies I know well enough, I ask them to support their arms as they should. With some of the others, I grin and bear it as a gentlman should. I sometimes have to walk into the darkness to shake off the fatigue. I confess that I ask these ladies to dance on occasion just to be polite. Alas, it comes with the territory.
Your biggest challenge will be understanding that you do need to adjust your frame a bit, depending on the long, tall, short, lean or stout partner you are dancing with at any given time. Otherwise, it really is mostly the lady who will have to adjust and understand what a good frame feels like when presented to her. As much as good frame is important, the other thing to watch for with different partners is how many of them understand how to create enough tension in the hold so that they are able to follow a good lead. When that tension is correct, you will feel as if you are steering a set of handlebars on a bike, as opposed to trying to keep sturdy while someone else is hanging on or even pulling down on your shoulders.
I can speak for myself and a few other men I know on this issue. I go to social dances each week, and no matter how hard I and other men try to keep a good frame (make adjustments, etc.) in order to steer certain partners, there are some who will hang onto and drag down whatever you give them. It tires you, but you dance with them at least once to be courteous.
There is one situation that you do need to change your frame. If you are medium to tall and are dancing with a very short partner, your right hand needs to be slightly lower than normal. The reason is that if you use proper placement you force your partner arm to be inclined up toward her elbow which is very uncomfortable.
Hi. You need to explain to your partner the reason why she should hold herself in what is a very unnatural position. When she understands that it helps the man to lead properly she will try harder to maintain a better hold. If she thinks it's merely for aesthetics(as I did) she is less likely to hold herself in an uncomfortable pose.You need to communicate with each other in any partnership and not just presume that the other person knows what you need.
I understand your concern. Maintaining your frame requires considerable effort and practice. Unless you are an instructor I recommend you do not attempt to "correct" your partner's frame. If you are, as you say, new to dance you may not yet be able to evaluate the reasons why your own frame breaks or even when.
The best you can do is apply what you learn to develop your frame, lead, foot position, alignment, body position and the host of other elements. Then regardless of your partner for each dance, accept what you get and smile.
There was a time when my instructor said she could tell who my most recent partner had been by the way my frame changed. Keep practicing.
One particular challenge with the frame is that many dancers are ambivalent about it's role - is communication primarily through the frame, or through the contact between the bodies. Both ideas can be used successfully, but until both dancers are pretty good, it's likely that whichever is not chosen as the priority is going to be inconsistent. If there isn't a clear decision to prioritize one or the other, then both may end up inconsistent.
Especially when inexperienced students dance together, I think it really makes sense to prioritize the frame - really hold each other with your hands. Try to keep a good arm position, and a fairly consistent spacing between the bodies - not getting further apart, but also not bumping in towards contact either, because the skill being developed is the one of matching, and being inconsistent with spacing is a form of mismatch. This requires both students to develop many important aspects of dancing on their own. They will each need to learn to use their own standing leg. They will each need to remember to keep their posture, and leftwards stretch (slight for the man, substantial for the lady), even in situations where the movement might suggest the upper body flop across to the right. And they will each have to learn how to use their body for an outside partner position.
Communicating primarily through fixed contact of the bodies brings a lot of potential for getting in each other's way when attempted between two students, and they may adopt bad habits such as arching their lower spine if they try to force it to work. But for a student who is dancing primarily with a highly skilled teacher, it may be a more practical path. Presumably the teacher will do their part of the task correctly, and hopefully will be vigilant for distortion sneaking into the student's body. But the real benefit is that if the teacher's body is expertly used in the correct way, the student may be able to learn important aspects of body usage by feel, from the affect of the teacher's body on theirs. This can help with becoming used to things like outside partner position, swing, and especially the pacing of actions and the way in which dancing flows smoothly rather than having a little "bump" to mark each footstep. The leftward stretch for a lady student may also be more readily suggested since it will have the aspect of being a projection of her upper body off of her teacher's. But one risk to be aware of is that there are unfortunately a few teachers who in trying to quickly train lady students for pro/am competitions may ask them to really arch into their poise, placing their belly firmly on the man and their shoulder heavily into his hand, so that the teacher can quite physically manhandle the inexperienced lady through the dance. That might superficially resemble the shapes achieved by a professional couple, but its neither healthy for the student nor going to fool a skilled judge if he or she has the option of marking instead a couple where the lady is doing a good job of using her own body.
I doubt if any person male or female has the correct frame unless thay have been taught at a very good school, or have been fortunare enough to have gone to a very experienced teacher. It is not possible to learn this by ones self.
Frame: The position of the arms and top of body. As a woman, it is extremely important that you hold your own arms up. Do not lean straight back into the man's arms -this will kill him. It looks like this is what women are doing but it is an illusion. Look left, do not do 'the wiper' with your head moving back and forth across his line of sight. Keep your chest up and off the man's chest, shoulders down but do not scrunch your shoulder blades together. Your elbows should stay in front of you at all times. Proper frame is a huge challenge and I have only mentioned the most obvious tips. The only way to get the frame right is to learn from a good instructor who cares about it and check it frequently.