Thursday, February 25, 2010

Newcomer Samba and Foxtrot

Some points of Foxtrot technique:
  • We've become accustomed to trying to fix our frame into position. Actually, the frame has to be flexible. The most important thing is that the body contact is good, so if the man moves his arm out of good frame, for example, it doesn't cause the lady to lose contact, and thus the lead. There are some ladies who get into a beautiful frame at the start, wide elbows, shaping left. But then, as the dance progresses, they can't make adjustments as needed during the dance, so that when things start to go wrong, they just keep getting worse. On the other side, there are ladies who are able to adjust, sometimes the feet are not doing the right thing at times, such as passing the feet when she should be locking, but it doesn't matter, it could still feed very good to dance with the lady, because the connection is always there and is always good. If the frame and the connection look good, the audience could hardly tell what's wrong.
  • When the lady steps out of a heel turn, the rise and fall should be gradual. She rises as she steps forward, and lowers as she completes the step.
  • When a man makes a heel turn, he does not rise until the end of the second step, in contrast to most figures in waltz and foxtrot where the rise begins at the end of the first step.
Samba practice routine:
It includes an "alternative side basic" step: start on the right foot, step in place on right foot on 1, step side left with partial weight on 'a', replace weight on RF on 2.

Natural phrasing of Samba is 8 beats, indicated with (8) below.
  1. 2 complete reverse basics (8)
  2. Side basic to left and to right
  3. Whisk to left and right (8)
  4. Whisk to left
  5. Lady's left turn to PP
  6. Two samba walks in PP (8)
  7. Forward Samba Walk in PP
  8. Side Samba Walk
  9. Turn to face partner for Two Stationary Samba Walks (8)
  10. 2 Alternate Side Basics
  11. 2 Boto Fogos, hand to hand (8)
  12. Boto Fogo, man stepping with left foot first
  13. Five Voltas to mans' left, with Boto Fogo ending. (8)
  14. Two complete natural basics, a quarter turn on each, to complete a half turn. (8)
  15. Alternate Side Basic
  16. One Boto Fogo
  17. Five Volta's to man's right, with Boto Fogo Ending. (8)
  18. Alternate Side Basic
  19. One full reverse basic, turning 1/4
  20. Forward Half of reverse basic, turning 1/8 (8)
  21. Back Half of reverse basic, turn 1/8
  22. Samba bounce in place to complete count of (8)

Interestingly, both of coaches talked about Phyllis Haylor, who apparently had a large part in creating modern ballroom dance. As a little bit of history, our coach mentioned that all turns were to the right, and the standard dances were all fairly linear down the floor. Phyllis Haylor introduced the idea of dancing diagonally across the floor in the 1920's, and introduced turns to the left, or reverse turns. Other patterns, such as the Telemark and Telespin, were introduced when Haylor's partner made a mistake, such as overturning. The resulting mistake was attractive, and so was done intentionally after that. Our instructor says that she and her partner are one of the few couples that do the Telespin as originally done by mistake, and it has become one of their trademarks.

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