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Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by SmoothGeezer
3/16/2008  7:49:00 AM
From reading the posts so far, you should be able to see that there are advantages to both styles of dance, and a few things that one style does better than the other. For a beginner I would choose the style done by most of the people in your area. There will be more teachers in your area teaching that style also. If you decide you really like dance and want to expand your ability, latter you can take lessons in the other style, but for a beginner chose only one and stick with it until you are good.

Terence already gave you the bad news, you really can't learn to dance from a video. Videos are good for picking up additional steps after you have learned the basic techniques, and they are a good supplement for classes. However if getting hubby into the classroom is the problem, maybe a video will help kindle enough interest to get him to consider some classes. You should be able to pick up some step patterns for the different dances from a video, but you will find that picking up technique is difficult to impossible for a beginner.

There are a couple of major problems you will have when trying to learn for a video. You won't be able to recognize if what you are doing is correct or not. As a beginner, what you think you are doing and what is really happening are usually not the same. If you video tape yourself and compare that to the video, you may be able to see they are not the same, but you won't be able to figure out what to do to correct it. However, go ahead and purchase that video and see if you can get some interest going for hubby.

Your next step should be to find a group class taught by a good instructor who also makes it fun. Yes there are some of those. Look for an independent instructor, not classes taught by chain studios. After that you will discover some more bad news, you really can't learn all of the technique from group classes. However, at this point, anything you can do to get hubby interested in learning is a good thing.
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by nucat78
3/24/2008  1:38:00 PM
Well, I was trained as an astronomer, worked as an engineer and now am pretty much an accountant, so I might understand your husband's mindset.

As has been said, a video alone is not going to cut it. I have learned some steps from videos (American Bronze) but I take group lessons mainly and supplement the lessons with videos.

I'm fortunate in that my studio sells their own DVDs so the DVDs show exactly what is done in class.

There are dance manuals available online that might appeal to your husband - everything is laid out in a grid. Again, they won't substitute for lessons, but I like them as an adjunct.

I have no knowledge of the quality of the videos offered on this site.

Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by rezamolavi
3/27/2008  9:55:00 AM
There are great many opinions out there and many ways to answer them. I'll give you my two cents as I have studied and have been competing in both styles. Furthermore, I am a dance DVD junkie and have a very large collection of them from all over the world.
Allow me to share my experience with you. First comment on the styles. I believe and in practice that you can do both styles socially and competitively. And yes, you can dance Standard Foxtrot socially; it is a matter of skills. The major difference is closed hold at all times in Standard and mixed mode in Smooth. The other major difference in the tempi of the music. According to the competition syllabus Waltz is the same, Standard Foxtrot is 28-29 and Smooth is 30-32, Standard Tango is danced at 32 and Smooth is 30. Viennese Waltz in Standard is 59-60 and Smooth is 52-54. There is no Quickstep in the Smooth curriculum as of yet.
There are technical differences in the individual figures and syllabus steps between the two disciplines. But as a new dancer it not come to play much of a role especially in the social setting. And, this is not a place to get into that level of detail.
One style will not prohibit or hinder the other; in fact, they complement each other. In Standard, the technique of dancing in closed hold with help the Smooth closed positions and Smooth individual balance and movement helps personal balance and independence and personal expressions. The basics of the dance, balance, posture, hold, moving the center through the feet, and setting one feet in front of there is used in both styles just the same.
As for dance DVDs, it has been mentioned before, they can be an aid and supplement. Relying solely on video training will guarantee you the opposite of what you are looking for. There is no "feel" involved in the video. An Instructor, as gifted as they may be, will not be able to communicate that feeling to you. And more importantly, what you see in demos and instructional dance videos, is never what you think you are seeing or it is what you think it is. There is so much going on inside those frames that is not possible to discuss in the video.
These videos are produced by some of the best in the field; they will make it look easy and simple. That is what they do. They take things for granted most of the times and there is never enough time to break things down as they should. No one will sit through them.
Here is how I use tapes. After of about a year of serious dancing with private and group lessons. I began to understand the elements and basics that I needed to learn to be a better dancer. I watched tapes and demos. Looked that the choreography and interesting figures I wished to learn. I took those materials to my coaches and asked them for direction, clarification, and explanation. My coaches appreciate the fact that I do not try to learn new material on my own and they have to undo and redo them. After 4 years, I have a better sense of what is being presented in the video lectures and which areas I can do on my own and which areas I am clueless.
Nothing will EVER and I mean EVER takes the place of one on one coaching with a well qualified coach. As a beginner, the group classes and dance partied were the only sure way to get comfortable on the dance floor and retain what was being taught. Especially if you are a social dancer this is the ONLY way to learn. As a competitor things change in a dramatic way.
Well, I hope you get him on the dance floor and in the group classes quickly. I am an engineer and know exactly what you and your coaches are going to deal with. After four years, I am just allowing myself to shut my head off and just listen and allow the music to dictate what I must do. This is an art after all and should be treated that way. It is very difficult for people like us not break things down so much. If I danced like I think, I would dance like a robot (as I did for a while). My dancing was very technical, careful, and mechanical. It was not artistic or flowy ; movement was small and ridged. Make him aware of this. He can think his way through it with analysis, but he will be a paralyzed dancer. Once he lets go of it, he and you will enjoy it soooooooooooo much more.
Well here is my two cents……….good luck with coaching and happy dancing…….reza.
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by kaiara
5/29/2008  7:56:00 PM
Well, I finally found a beginners DVD that does break things down the way hubby needs it. I liked how the dancers showed the step, then each time they repeat it, they explain a different aspect. It is the way hubby learns.

A friend is teaching us because hubby doesn't like the way the one teacher locally works. She expects everyone to pick up the steps quickly and hubby doesn't work at that speed.

Well, there is another instructor but she only teaches classes of mixed dance and I don't want to learn five different dances at once, I want us to work on Waltz.

Hubby is doing wonderfully, as he learns, his body seems to remember the steps even if he gets flustered and insists he cannot remember the steps he has learned. When he stops analyzing and just dances he is quite GOOD!

He has such good posture that frame is actually not an issue, and he has been a really wonderful lead from day one.

Our friend added a room to his house for dance, he can do five couples or two squares comfortably. He and his wife enjoy having evenings for various types of dancing so people can come practice. This also means there are always several people around to give feedback.

We are having FUN!

Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by kaiara
6/9/2008  9:40:00 AM
This discussion helped me a good deal. I had taken lessons over a years period so most of what hubby is learning I am comfortable doing.

I took my questions back to my previous instructor and she clarified that her classes are primarily American, but she also has taught a little bit of International. Mostly people around here dance socially.

I just want to be really GOOD at it.

Hubby still wants DVD's but I'm hoping to talk him into a few private lessons in conjunction with the DVD's--DVD's being homework.

This whole field is complex and confusing. For me, it is very important to have good technique and style, not just a few steps. Most anyone can get around the floor doing steps--I want to DANCE.

Anyone understand what I mean by differentiating the doing steps and dancing?

I knew two girls in high school who played piano, one was note perfect but there was not heart in her perfectly executed pieces of music, the other girl would make the occasional error, but her playing on the piano brought the piece to LIFE, it was music in a way that the perfect note perfect playing was not. (I always hoped that the note perfect girl grew up and let her heart pour into it so that she made music too but I moved away and shall never know.)

Lots of people do steps around the floor, I want to really DANCE. Maybe not every variation out there, but each step I learn I want it to move from step step step into DANCE.

I hope I am making sense and not just being foolish here.
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by Babamm
6/25/2008  8:09:00 AM
Can anyone recommend the DVDs about American Ballroom by the USISTD????
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by MamboManic
5/30/2011  2:34:00 PM
Babamm, I have seen the American style bronze and silver videos from the USISTD, I even took their bronze exams after dancing other styles for many years. The videos are very clear and show all the foot positions for every figure, but they are geared for preparing for the professional exams. They don't explain anything beyond what would be in the manual. I would say the same thing about the ISTD International Latin videos too.

The videos from DanceVision are more suited to people learning to dance. I'm not familiar with the videos from this site.
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by Suleima
6/26/2008  1:11:00 AM
Try the DVD's "Anyone can Dance" with Donald Johnson and Kasia Kozak (dancevison.com). I have two left feet and the hubby is a nerdy engineer in IT support. The instructions on the DVD breaks down the steps which are repeated several times for both partners. You work your way up in sections. At the end of each section, your are able perform a little dance with 2-3 variations which means that after a few weeks fun at home you are ready for the dance floor anywhere!
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by kaiara
5/3/2009  9:16:00 AM
I picked up the "Anyone Can Dance" videos and love them, then I decided on American Smooth, and purchased the bronze DVDs and the books (DVIDA) for the charts, and then I talked hubby into a private lesson and got him to agree to doing more.

I also liked How prettily Kasia Kosak moves her hands, and I picked up a DVD that is just her...don't recall what it is called but it was something "body awareness" and I really love how it helps me to feel what my body is doing when I move! I think it will help my dancing!

Now I am pregnant and my bad knee cannot handle the pregnancy and dancing so I'm stuck on hold until I finally give birth. 9 months feels like forever!

So I am on here reading the conversations like some dance starved fool. LOL!

But we know this is a little girl and I can hardly wait to teach her to dance!
Re: DVD dance instruction--recommendations?
Posted by MamboManic
5/30/2011  2:00:00 PM

I'm glad the dancing worked out so well for you and your hubby. Did you go back to dancing after the baby? Usually, it takes around twenty years for couples to get back to dancing after a baby. If you are dancing, please come back here and post a video.
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