[Callers] Timing & Force

Richard Fischer richardallenfischer at verizon.net
Mon Jul 1 12:31:32 PDT 2013


These differing views of swing posture remind me of the old question of whether galloping horses ever had all four legs off the ground at once--a question settled by the innovative photographer Muybridge. I wonder if anyone has made slo-mo video of experienced couples swinging. It would be interesting to check our impressions and intuitions with some video that we can view and analyze slowly. My impression is that expert contra dance swingers have their weight over their own feet while swinging and are not in a V at all. But I'm willing to find out I'm completely wrong!

Richard

On Jul 1, 2013, at 2:55 PM, jean francis wrote:

> Must disagree about leaning backwards (resisting each other, leaning away within reason) and swing/allemande speed. The physical shapes that spin best are cones (children's tops), small at the bottom, wider at the top. Couple turns and pivots (in other social dance forms like waltz), have the gent stepping almost between the woman's legs and have the woman resisting the guy by dancing further back into his right hand than usual...this sets up the 'wider at the top, narrow at the bottom" shape conducive to faster smoother spins. Again, I said "within reason"....no leaning away from the waist (the optimal form is a V not a Y). The inherent joy of a good "V" with strong resistance (weight-giving) is what makes the buzz step swing so much more fun than the 'walk around' swing of modern squares
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> From: John Sweeney <info at contrafusion.co.uk>
> To: callers at sharedweight.net 
> Sent: Sunday, June 30, 2013 3:33 AM
> Subject: Re: [Callers] Timing & Force
> 
> 
> Laurie said, "Also, I have talked with many who have developed, as I have, a
> shoulder/neck problem. This seems to come from inexperienced dancers or
> assertive regular dancers (not terribly good dancers) when they FORCE a
> turn, especially at an incorrect time.
> 
> "I'd love to hear from someone how to describe to a dancer who wants to
> twirl what the correct timing is - can someone give me a good way to put
> this out there?"
> 
> Hi Laurie,
>     Unless you are running a workshop that let's you go into more
> detail, then the best way is probably to drip-feed hints and tips as you
> teach the dances.
> 
> = = = = = = = = = =
> 
>     Regarding timing, I emphasise that, while you can do what you want
> in your own time and space, on beat #1 of the next phrase you and your
> partner should be in the right place and facing the right way for the next
> move.  
> 
>     So, when there is a change of direction, don't think of a move as
> being 8 beats, think of it as being 6 beats plus 2 beats to transition to
> the next move.  This applies to, for example:
> 
> Down the hall & turn alone
> Circle left/right
> Star right/left
> A simple flourish on the end of a swing such as an inside or outside turn
> For the inexperienced: opening out from a swing into a line or circle
> 
>     If the dancers are all doing the basic transitions well on beats 7 &
> 8 then just remind them occasionally that a twirl on the end of a swing has
> to happen on beats 7 & 8 as well.  Pick a dance where the transition into
> the next move is demanding and remind them to finish their flourishes on
> time.
> 
>     Make sure the twirler knows that they are responsible for the
> twirlee's timing and positioning as well as their own, and that they should
> plan ahead.
> 
> = = = = = = = = = =
> 
>     Regarding force, these are some of the points I make:
> (Note: although contra dancing is not about lead and follow, a flourish such
> as a twirl out of a swing often is - so I use the terms leader and follower
> purely as indicators of who is leading and following in a flourish.)
> 
> Rule #1: Everyone is entitled to get on the dance floor and have fun without
> getting hurt.
> 
> "Dancing is the vertical expression of horizontal desire", so RELAX!
> 
> A strong lead is about clarity, not strength.
> 
> (As an example, I often put my hand in an allemande position and get someone
> to blow on it - as their breath hits my hand I do a complete spin. People
> who want to spin don't usually need any force from their partner - they are
> quite capable of spinning themselves!  A strong platform can be useful to
> push off, but if you try to push someone into a spin you are more likely to
> push them off balance then to help them.)
> 
> When you are following, remember (as one excellent teacher used to say) "It
> ain't my job to drag your ass across the floor!", so, when someone leads you
> into a twirl or any other flourish, send the message straight from your
> fingers to your toes and follow the lead - don't fight back!
> 
> Always start with ZERO tension and build up to what you need to execute the
> move.
> 
> You aren't fighting each other - you are only fighting centrifugal force.
> 
> Unlike arm-wrestling, if your hand moves nearer to your body in an
> allemande, YOU LOSE!
> 
> It's dancing not wrestling!
> 
> You are responsible for your own balance.
> 
> Leaning backwards in swings or allemandes doesn't make you go faster it just
> makes your partner have to waste their energy holding you up.
> 
> = = = = = = = = = = 
>     
>     Of course, the people you most want to listen to these tips are
> probably the ones who aren't listening!
> 
>     If I seem a little passionate about this subject please forgive me,
> but I have had two shoulder operations as a result of dancing, and am hoping
> not to need another one.  
> 
>     Hope that helps! :-)
> 
> Happy dancing,
> John
> 
> John Sweeney, Dancer, England john at modernjive.com 01233 625 362
> http://www.contrafusion.co.uk/for Dancing in Kent
> 
> 
> 
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