A to Z Challenge

Sunday, April 29, 2012

T is for Technique!

T is for Technique
It seems so odd to me that so many social dancers seem to think that technique is a dirty four letter word.  At first I thought it was just that dancers can’t spell (or count for that matter)!  But no….that’s not it because I know some brilliant people who also dance (and thus should at least be able to count to 8…although t-e-c-h-n-i-q-u-e has 9 letters in it.)

So why don’t more social dancers find learning the skills and technique necessary to dance lead and/or follow well and to execute movements comfortably and with ease a fun, challenging journey?  Why do I hear so often:  “I just want to learn the pattern, all those fancy techniques are for competitors” or “I don’t need to take lessons…as long as he can lead, I can follow”?  Why is there such a stigma about learning the basic skills? 

When I started dancing I noticed that for the most part patterns were taught in group classes and technique was only taught in private lessons, and that private lessons were more expensive thus maybe technique was somehow being reserved for the well off and elite dancers.  Occasionally I would find a brave instructor who would teach technique in a group class.  One very forward thinking west coast swing instructor not only taught technique in her beginning class, but made mastering the material taught in that class a pre-requisite to graduating to her more advanced classes!  Her beginning class so popular there was a waiting list to get in.  Yet other teachers would tell me that they couldn’t teach technique because students didn’t want to learn it and they couldn’t fill a class that taught anything other than patterns.  Huh?

I think that I am starting to believe that most social dancers don’t find technique important because most teachers fail to make it important in their classes…technique classes aren’t widely available so students aren’t exposed to technique, so they find the concept of learning technique scary and secondary in importance to learning patterns. 

So why don’t teachers teach technique?  Perhaps because it is much, much more difficult that teaching patterns!  Nearly anyone can learn a pattern from a video, teach it back to a group of dancers and call themselves a dance teacher.  It takes a very skilled instructor who has actually mastered the skill they are teaching to actually be able to teach techniques effectively, especially in a group class where everyone is learning at a different rate.  Maybe if more instructors gained more mastery in their craft and offered quality technique classes, learning technique would become more important to students…after all, with good technique, patterns are easy and dancing is comfortable and fun.

Dance of the Day: Triple 2-step

A beautiful, flowing, romantic, progressive partner dance that is danced almost exclusively in the competitive country western dance community.  Triple 2-step was derived from the popular club dance the Ft. Worth Shuffle.  It is danced to slow (88-100 bpm) country ballads with a “rolling” feeling.  The timing of the dance is quick-quick-triple, step-triple-step and the dance is characterized by looping and lacing actions that curve and sway as the dance couple moves around the floor.  Maybe if more instructors would teach technique, more dancers would learn to love triple 2-step because it is not an easy dance, however beautiful and rewarding.

No comments:

Post a Comment