Southern  UK Jive Forum Index Southern UK Jive
Share Jive Experiences and Opinions
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Go to the Southern UK Jive Calendar
What makes a good male Jive dancer?
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Southern UK Jive Forum Index -> Jive Q & A
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Andy T-R
Frequent Poster


Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 100
Location: Ringwood

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:14 am    Post subject: What is good dancing? Reply with quote

I've been mulling over what I think good dancing is (from a man's perspective).
I think there are three reasons to dance:
For your partner (most important).
For yourself (less important but still important).
For people watching (not at all important).

Each of those three needs completely different skills but maybe a 'good dancer' is someone who can do all the above very well (not many can, I suspect Smile I know I can't!).

For your partner (in order of importance imho)
1. Be nice. Put her enjoyment first. Smile. Interact.
If you need lessons in this then ... er ...

2. Be CLEAR in your lead. The worst feeling for a lady is not being sure what you are asking of her - she can't relax unless she is confident you are leading and will continue to lead the dance clearly so she can just enjoy it.

Probably this is the crux of being a good dancer - how well you lead. I've yet to find a teacher who can really explain leading properly. Many say you 'have to have good tension' etc but that's telling not teaching. I'd love to know who's best at teaching leading - I'd be there like a shot! Any recommendations?

3. Most ladies (I think) enjoy the feel of the movement rather than the technical accomplishment of dancing. Let your partner move in the way she enjoys - some ladies like to spin, some to be 'whooshed' in big sweeping moves, some to do drops, some to be lead through new moves they've never done before, etc.
Most like all the above!
If you can tell what she's enjoying most do more of it.
And DON'T do things you like but she's struggling to follow or clearly isn't enjoying (obviously! Smile ).

4. Be musical - make your dance fit the music.
Learn a variety of moves that will fit with different music styles. You don't have to restrict your moves - just do more of the ones that fit best with whatever's playing.
Practice listening for the accents in the music and try to get accents into your dancing (stops/leans/drops/etc.). Listen to the common tracks around the house or in the car until you 'know' when the accent points are coming without having to think.


For yourself
There's nothing really good or bad about this bit - it's what you enjoy not what's good or bad.


For people watching
Unless you're being paid to perform who cares what you look like to others? Very Happy


I'm sure others will have wildly differing views from mine - these are just opinions. Can't wait to see what others think.
_________________
Andy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Southern Jiver
Site Admin


Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 1656
Location: New Forest

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good post Andy. I agree with everything you have said there.

Andy T-R wrote:
Probably this is the crux of being a good dancer - how well you lead. I've yet to find a teacher who can really explain leading properly. Many say you 'have to have good tension' etc but that's telling not teaching. I'd love to know who's best at teaching leading - I'd be there like a shot! Any recommendations?
I recently did a class before a freestyle with Simon and Nicole where Simon took the time to explain leading (possibly more from a Smooth Jive or WCS point of view but applicable to Jive too) where the leader doesn't just pull on the arm of the follower to execute a First Move, for example, but he steps back and uses his whole body to encourage the follower forwards into the move. I have tried this and find that followers are generally in favour of this technique as being more harmonious than the "tug". The interesting part of it is that it also seemed to open up additional variations on the First Move.
_________________
"We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance."
~Japanese Proverb
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Andy T-R
Frequent Poster


Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 100
Location: Ringwood

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks SJ, I'll try that - sounds easy . . . bet it's hard to do well Smile
_________________
Andy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bungle
Casual Poster


Joined: 07 Jan 2010
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy T-R wrote:
Many say you 'have to have good tension' etc but that's telling not teaching.


I prefer the word 'connection' to 'tension', I think it's a much better description of what is required. I've seen various takes on teaching lead and follow:
1. Most of the teaching I've seen is along the lines of follower closes their eyes, blindfold follower, blindfold leader, or blindfold both etc. etc
2. The 10 pounds concept as taught by Andrew Sutton, a Lindy Hopper from the US. The idea is that you always have 10 pounds of force between leader and follower. As soon as the force gets to 10.1 pounds the follower moves slowly, or at 15 pounds (for example) the follower moves very quickly. As I understood it, it's an exercise in maintaining positive connection between you and your partner so that when a lead is applied the follower reacts almost instantly.


Andy T-R wrote:
For people watching
Unless you're being paid to perform who cares what you look like to others? Very Happy


You do; if you've paid a lot to enter a competition and you're hoping to win some bling before you go home!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Andy T-R
Frequent Poster


Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 100
Location: Ringwood

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha, ha. Yes - forgot about the exalted world of competition performance Smile . Out of my league, of course!
_________________
Andy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Nicky
Forum legend


Joined: 22 Feb 2009
Posts: 401

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interesting topic. Thought i'd give you a followers perspective...

I regularly hear ladies comment after dancing with a guy that he is a 'good, strong lead', as if being a strong lead is some kind of prerequisite to being a good lead. Not necessarily so, in my opinion.

A guy with a strong lead may well be able to get his follower to execute moves, but is using brute force really classed as leading? Dancing with such a lead may result in a dance that appears good to onlookers, but will always leave me feeling dissatisfied.....

For me, leading and following cannot really be considered as seperate issues. After all, neither is of any use without the other..... Dance is all about making a connection with your partner and understanding the way in which they listen to and interpret the music. Every dancer and every dance is different. Surely the lead should therefore alter accordingly.

Andy makes some really good points:

Quote:
3. Most ladies (I think) enjoy the feel of the movement rather than the technical accomplishment of dancing. Let your partner move in the way she enjoys - some ladies like to spin, some to be 'whooshed' in big sweeping moves, some to do drops, some to be lead through new moves they've never done before, etc.
Most like all the above!
If you can tell what she's enjoying most do more of it.
And DON'T do things you like but she's struggling to follow or clearly isn't enjoying (obviously! ).

4. Be musical - make your dance fit the music.
Learn a variety of moves that will fit with different music styles. You don't have to restrict your moves - just do more of the ones that fit best with whatever's playing.
Practice listening for the accents in the music and try to get accents into your dancing (stops/leans/drops/etc.). Listen to the common tracks around the house or in the car until you 'know' when the accent points are coming without having to think.


Both of these points are about understanding and appreciating your partner and the music. Both of these are hugely important in making that connection.

One thing that hasn't yet been mentioned is eye contact..... Why do so many dancers, male and female, shy away from making that all important eye contact? I find it so much easier to follow somebody who is actually looking at me as opposed to the floor, the clock on the wall or the attractive lady behind me. Guys, you wouldn't believe how many clues and signals you give us simply by looking at us..... Raised eyebrows, a bite of the lip, the tongue sticking out, a deep breath in....the list goes on. Likewise ladies, if you're not watching the guy you're dancing with, how on earth can you expect to spot these signs that there's a drop coming up, he's about try out a new move, or that a pause is imminent?

I occasionally dance with a chap from another area who will suddenly let go of my hands and lead me through countless moves as if there is an invisible barrier between us. He still moves his arms and his body as if we were physically connected and I do the same, keeping eye contact for the entire time. It's an amazing way of focussing and tuning into your partner, and, to my mind, lead and follow in the truest sense.

We all need to remember, we are dancing with an individual, not jigging around next to somebody or dragging and pushing somebody into position Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Andy McGregor
Forum legend


Joined: 07 Oct 2009
Posts: 393
Location: Brighton/Shoreham by Sea

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nicky wrote:
I occasionally dance with a chap from another area who will suddenly let go of my hands and lead me through countless moves as if there is an invisible barrier between us. He still moves his arms and his body as if we were physically connected and I do the same, keeping eye contact for the entire time. It's an amazing way of focussing and tuning into your partner, and, to my mind, lead and follow in the truest sense.
I do this quite a bit. After a while you can get further and further apart until you're leading and following from opposite sides of the floor.

My next trick will be to lead and follow in different rooms - the only difficulty would be how you would know if it was working. And how someone would prove it wasn't...

On the matter of lightness of lead. I teach that the lead in MJ is an indication lead. The leader moves the followers hand to indicate what the movement should be. The leader should not force the follower into position by brute strength. There should always be some tone in the arms to maintain a connection. The direction of connection changes to indicate where to go next.

What has been described in post above with the feet moving is a body lead. Think about isolating the top half so that you hold your top half in position and just step forwards or backwards. This moves your hand which creates in increase in tension or compression and results in a lead. The other thing to consider is gently pulsing the lead.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jiveonaut
Forum legend


Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 386
Location: Wiltshire

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting stuff above.

I tend to the view that, as the song goes, itís not what you do, itís the way that you do it. The lead and follow for any dance is very much a technique thing. Most over-strong male leads are caused by the males substituting physical power for that technique. If you've ever watched a drops class, see how many guys are actually throwing the ladies about and depending on their strength to keep the ladies, and themselves, upright. Sometimes you can watch and actually wince as they do this, as their backs look as if they will surely pop! I've called this, previously on this forum, the haybale technique. It is quite possible to do most basic dips and even drops with one finger of each hand, although it does help if you have a lady who is also good at technique and doesnít just hang on.

Iíve done something similar to Nicky by dancing MJ without actual contact Ė it is possible to do drops doing that as well!!! It does show its all in the signals and technique Ė no way horsepower can dig you out of trouble doing this.

Iím not sure about the 10lb rule Ė my recent scientific experiment using the fruit and veg scales in Waitrose would suggest my lead exerts a pull of 1 lb. Others will differ but 10lb seems a bit excessive to me. However an excessively strong lead is a bad thing, as it can be very hard to follow, and may overpower and even hurt the ladies who are often, despite years of equality legislation, still not built like Viking warlords.

Guys, think of ladies like cars: unless youíre driving a fifties lorry, you would not hold the steering wheel in a vice like grip, slam the gears up and down while ignoring the clutch, yank the steering wheel from side to side and do an emergency stop everytime you brake. And yet thatís how some blokes lead the ladies on a dance floor.

What you should do is match your partner. Iíve demoíd classes before where the teacher has used playing cards and even loo roll to show what sort of pressure/pull youíre after. Itís a bit of fun really, but does show what effect weíre after with a lead. If the tough of taking a wad of Andrex on the dancefloor doesnít appeal, then at least listen to the lady and react to how sheís dancing. If youíre lucky enough to get a Nicky, then soften your lead, reduce the size of your movements and signals but make them clearer. If you get a fifties lorry, then its only 3 minsÖ. But remember, she may have danced with haybalers only, and the experience of a proper lead could be a revelation to her. And guys, you will know when you get it right, as itíll be a revelation to you too!!
_________________
Words are good, but hens lay eggs.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
The-G-Man
Frequent Poster


Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good male dancer should just have fun and enjoy the dance with whom they are dancing at the time and not get involved with all the politics surrounding modern day Modern Jive.

Nothing personal to the above posts as everyone has their own views on this.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nicky
Forum legend


Joined: 22 Feb 2009
Posts: 401

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooooops! I really must refrain from skim reading.... I assumed this topic was about male leads as opposed to male dancers...Sorry all! Embarassed

Any guy who gives me all of his attention, smiles at me even when I totally misread his lead, tells me that it was a fab dance, gets my vote Very Happy

The-G-Man is right about the fun aspect... No rhythm?... Lack of musicality?... I'm still gonna come back for more if you show me a good time Razz
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bungle
Casual Poster


Joined: 07 Jan 2010
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a difference between a brute-force lead, and having a large amount of force intermittently present in the connection.

The former involves using force rather than effective leading to execute a move, this could result in injuries.

The latter uses force in a way that eliminates any slack so that the connection is tauter and more effective. In general, the moment of peak force occurs when you are at maximum separation from your partner, just before you start moving towards each other. A large amount of force may not be required, desirable, or possible once you have closed the separation and are engaged in the detail of whatever it is you are trying to do.

It's true, you *can* lead and follow with only very low levels of force, even when at maximum separation. I will always adapt to whatever level of feedback my partner is giving; however, my preference is for the slightly higher level of force that is often (but not always) found in the most experienced followers. The only downside I've encountered is that when it gets sweaty it's slightly easier to lose your partners hand when at maximum separation.

Some people, having read all of the above, may now be surprised to hear that the most frequent comments I get from women I've never danced with before is 'You have a very gentle lead' and 'You're very smooth'.

If anyone wants to better understand the use of force and connection, I recommend finding a competent Lindyhopper and asking them to teach you how to do a Swingout; although, it has to be said, there are unfortunately some Lindyhoppers who do not use enough force to get the 'elastic' sensation that a well-executed Swingout produces. The '10 pound' concept was developed to assist with moves such as the Swingout; I've danced this move with enough different dancers to know that it feels lifeless and flat when the force isn't there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Glenn
Newbie


Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Milton Keynes

PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting reading, and from what i gather people some use similar tension in the connection most of the time and some vary.

I guess none of the leads can say which is correct, as it all comes down to what the follow says they like. One follow could prefer a heavy hand, and another light; now whose opinion is to say which is the better lead ?
I guess we just have benchmarks of where to start, and alter it to suit during the learning process.

I personally try to be a consistent lead with my signals, and without hesitancy. Like if you change your mind once starting a move it is very confusing for the follow ( guilty there occasionally).
Also generally i think the tension i use is quite light, but use the hand and fingers of the connecting hand, to help indicate whats coming up.
Like if going into a sway.. slightly twist her hand anti-clock, then slowly turn it clockwise in..and her arm starts to twist and follow..and before she knows it she's there.
On t'other hand if ur doing MJ to a rock n roll number you need a bit of power and speed in the tension.

So i guess it should be changed to different tunes, different follows...easy innit Laughing
_________________
Does dancing five nites a week mean i'm addicted ?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Southern Jiver
Site Admin


Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 1656
Location: New Forest

PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

<soapbox> Further on this topic about what makes a good dancer (I'm talking from a male perspective here), I've recently had cause to review my ideas about this. What is a "good" (male) dancer? There are some interesting thoughts on this thread but there's a whole other aspect to this question.

1. Is a "good" dancer someone who has all the fancy moves?
2. Is it someone who displays a host of more technical moves?
3. Is it someone who throws in a few aerials?
4. Is it someone who seduces their partner with sexy moves?
5. Is it someone who just gives their partners a platform to show off for themselves?
6. Is it someone who establishes a good rapport with their partner, whatever their skill level, and dances according to that level?
7. Is it someone who is always conscious of their surroundings and is mindful of where other dancers are so avoids taking their space or causing collisions?
8. Is it someone who is always courteous and ready to apologise if contact with other dancers does occur?
9. Is it someone who dances in a manner corresponding to the space available?
10. Is it someone who always makes dancing fun?

I personally think that some of those qualities are absolutely essential, especially the last 5 and without them, I wouldn't call the person a "good" dancer. Someone may have all the fanciest moves, the greatest aerials, the most proficient seducers and drops in their repertoire but if they ignore the last 5 , they become an "inconsiderate" dancer and at worst dangerous. Some people are technically very proficient but their desire to impress their partners (and maybe everyone else who they think is watching) means that they ignore other people on the dancefloor and dance as though they "own" it. When collisions inevitably occur, they do not even apologise for their actions. That is very bad manners and it doesn't matter how well they dance, it signifies that they are not a "good" dancer, to my mind. Likewise, using very long, open moves or aerials on a crowded dancefloor is selfish and dangerous. A "good" dancer will only dance moves that the conditions allow and if they can't use all their usual flamboyant, extravagant moves to impress their partner, then so be it. At least they wont ruin another dancers evening. To my mind, it doesn't take a huge amount to observe the last 5 points above, and they should be an essential ingredient for what makes a "good" dancer. </soapbox>
_________________
"We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance."
~Japanese Proverb
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
DJ Bry
Frequent Poster


Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 104
Location: Dorset

PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes SJ, your post has my vote!

A little of one to five, and a lot of six to ten!

you could term a new saying out of this, like,

'I'm a six to ten dancer' ('Smile')

You or ladies could rate men by a group of numbers! Need some more though for all the bad faults!
_________________
Freelance Teacher & DJ.
Dancers usually live longer, so go for it!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dizzybee
Forum legend


Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 331

PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The-G-Man wrote:
A good male dancer should just have fun and enjoy the dance with whom they are dancing at the time and not get involved with all the politics surrounding modern day Modern Jive.


Pheewwweeeee!!!!...I agree with 'The G-Man' on this one...
GOD BLESS any beginners reading this... they'd shy away big time...
Who cares whether we can dance well or not, We were all new dancers once and I'm still Crrrrap Rolling Eyes
I dance with a few that only know a few moves and they're happy.. who am I to tell them you need
to learn more moves. I would'nt dream of it and would'nt stop dancing with them either.

Good topic if you want to intimidate dancers.. male or female Exclamation

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dance With Your Heart & Your Feet Will Follow.DB

www.dizzybee.ewebsite.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Southern UK Jive Forum Index -> Jive Q & A All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group