From John Blanchette
Amanda workshop notes (January 13, 2013)
General notes – observations for everyone!
What gets couples to semis? Good movement, good frame, good expression – you do not need fancy patterns until at least semis or even finals. Emotion and affect get you noticed! Frowns and lack of smiles get you overlooked.
Everyone should google, YouTube, and look for professional american smooth and rhythm dancers – look at the expression, not the patterns!!! Do not try to imitate the moves – rather look at the feelings they are trying to project
What can you do? Practice in slow motion. Practice in drills. Typical successful college competitors practice on their own / with a partner at least one night a week and take 1-2 private lessons per semester. Typical successful silver level dancers practice 4-6 hours per week on their own and take 1-2 private lessons per month.
Connect arms to your body; arms move as a result of your body moving.
Complete all of your moves (steps and arm stylings).
Turns – leads are often late – it is okay to be there early!
Whenever possible, video your dancing and watch it objectively.
Group Lesson – Tango
1. Ladies – lift arms up – leave room under your arms Everyone – bend elbows, have fingertips on sternum Gentlemen – hinge point – elbow of Right arm out, L arm up Ladies – bend L arm at elbow place hand behind his arm, R arm up hand hooks onto his
Gentlemen – stand on R foot,, left arm out to bring her in (bring her hand up to her eye level)
2. Ladies, take R hand to his left, take 2 steps in
Foot line up – ladies Right foot between gentleman’s feet
Count tango in 8s Slows are 2, quicks are 1, slows should be nearly twice as big!
Exercise: leg pendulum – foot flat underneath, but toes point on forward and backward action
Exercise: 4 walks, then 4 walks in outside position
Use outside position in first half of Reverse Turn
Strive for Quick quick timing in Reverse Turn, leaders!
Corté – Leaders – keep head and butt aligned, you can turn out Left foot (almost a side step)
Remember to be as sharp and staccato as possible on the quicks, make sure the slows are indeed slow!
Group Lesson – Waltz
Exercise 1: stand on right foot, forward on left side together, back on right side together. Alternate box step with turning box – both L Foot forward leaders and R Foot forward leaders (R foot is harder!)
Exercise 2: feet under body, bend knees forward, lift heels, straighten legs, bend, drop heels, back to neutral – SLOWLY – do this evenly and with control EVEN BETTER – practice in ballroom posture
Exercise 3: Left foot forward, up and across, then lower. Right foot back, up and across, then lower
Combine the exercises above – this is what rise and fall in waltz should ALWAYS feel like
Watch higher level dancers – do NOT try to imitate them!
Exercise 4: box step , then 3 forward steps, then 3 box steps, the 3 backward steps. This will help you get used to switching between feet.
When on outside of turn, you travel more – inside of turn means you travel less
When leading through patty cake – bring arms through to creat big line – don’t crunch!
Silver lesson – Rhythm patterns
Cha – cha
Syncopated X Over Break (Cuban Break) 2 and 3, 4 Make sure the step across is SMALL – thighs touching Make sure to swivel BEFORE landing the foot
Half Moons Switch turn, change hands, open break step step, go into rocks with her Cha cha rock, cha cha rock, cha cha rock. Can add spins on either side
Sliding doors – give her a good lead in FRONT of you
Can alternate -who ever is on left goes in front Can have person on right do a 3 step turn behind
Ladies double turns – turn in place – leaders, “stir the soup”
No move of hips until end of triple