My dance partner says that I land too soon on the 3 count in waltz. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can correct this? Would pushing off the supporting leg on the count 1 help? She is becoming very frustrated with me about this. I am not a professional dancer. I seem to have more difficulty if the slow waltz has a very slow (1,2,3). I would welcome any comments from the dance community.
I would say that analyzing your movement will help, stick to what the technique book says. I understand that when you say you arrive early on 3 means you lower too early so it would seem that the problem is in the area of rising and lowering. Technique book states that, step 1 commence to rise, 2 continue to rise and the most important thing is step 3, RISE THEN LOWER AT THE END of 3. if one arrived early on 3 or lower on 3 instead of end of 3, your frontal movement will be much faster than the lady therefore she will have a feeling of being pulled into the following step. Hope it helps.
I am definitely lowering too soon on count 3. We went to a dance last night and I continue to have the same problem. I did not know that on count 3 that you continue to rise and then lower at the end of count 3. I think I was lowering on the whole count 3. Waltz is my big problem at the moment and it's probably going to take a long time get it right. Does anyone know of any good videos on Youtube etc, or purchased CDs where the waltz technique is explained and executed very well so that a person can follow it. Thank-you for everyone who replied to my message on this message board. I welcome any other comments that dancers may have.
Videos are good reference but the explanations on details are somehow limited. I would suggest that you go and get a technique book, ex ISTD technique book. There you will find techniques in details. I would also suggest that you engage a teacher that can explain to you in much further details about lowering and rising. Ballroom dancing is very complex, I believe that the key to improvement is understanding what you are doing, also the focus in details is what will make your dancing much smoother and hopefully better. In my experience as a competitive dancer, the details of the basics is what gives you the foundation into your next stage of improvements. Patience is a must if you want to be a good dancer, it's not only the body that we should train but our mind as well. I have a saying "if you don't understand what you are doing on the floor, you are merely just moving around and you aren't dancing at all"- Romeo Queri
As an exercise you might try using one measure to dance steps 1-3 almost as normal, but then use all 3 counts of a second measure to slowly lower. Or you might find it easier to use one measure to go up, hold there for a measure, and then lower over a third measure. If that's still too hard, you can hold onto something and without traveling rise over three counts in place and then lower over three counts.
When you rise your knee should get straight-ish, but still be just flexed enough that it is slightly forward and not locked. As you lower, the knee stays just slightly forward until the heel touches the floor. Once the foot is flat on the floor your continue lowering your body by bending into the knee (and at a more advanced level, this is when you would start pushing your body away from the foot to create movement from the standing leg).
It's good to practice this all near a mirror so that you can see yourself in profile and be certain that your body is remaining vertical with your hips under your shoulders, rather than hunching your shoulders forward, arching your back, or pulling your hips behind your back.
That usually happens to beginners and if she is that good herself she should understand that. What is happening is that your mind knows it just the body hasn't caught up yet. It takes time to wire your muscles to control the balance needed.Ask your Dance Instructor to give you an exercise you can do at home to build your technique correctly to start with.Build on your self balance to the count who knows your partner may even be pushing you off your balance.
As you are a beginner we won't go into to much detail here. The technique book is correct. Beat 1 is very important as that is when you will begin rising. In certain cases you can extend this, so beat 2 becomes shorter but you are extending beat 1. Beat 2 is probably the least important in the movement as by this point you should be 'risen' so to put it. Beat 3 is very important as you begin lowering and must have completed the movement by the end of beat 3.
It is very important to make sure you are counting the rhythm as 1, 2, 3 and not for example as slow-quick-quick as this can make you arrive at beat 3 tooooooooo early, lower toooooo early and as result make the girl feel like she is being forced into the movement.
An exercise you can try is simply practising the movement to music. You can try walking with a 1,2, 3 and try rising by the end of 1, staying on the toes by the end of 2 and making sure to have completely lowered by the end of 3 in such a manner that you are now ready to start the next movement as expected.
I think the key here is technique in when you rise and fall, and finally in understanding the rhythm. Also check your partner is not lowering too early as well, although this is unlikely as you are leading.
Also try elongating your steps as this looks nice but might help you arrive at beat 3 by beat 3 rather than before it. Be patient and work at this, because as the technique improves, the dance becomes easier and the waltz looks pretty. Bad rise and fall and technique in a waltz is a complete NO NO!!
I have to disagree slightly. You should not rise on 'one'. You should stay low and start to rise on 'two' , be fully up on the start of 'three' and then low on the end of 'three'. The rise and fall will look odd and clunky if there isn't an obvious low step. One exercise you can do to help with rise and fall is foot pushups. With knees slightly bent, rise up on your toes and then slowly lower onto your heels. Take you time lowering and control the speed. They take strength and practice not to wobble.
In (for example) the simple Waltz box, the man's "one" step is a forward walking step--a heel lead. The natural action of the foot is for the heel to strike the floor first, then the foot rolls forward, and it "walks" up to the toe as the other leg moves forward. So, staying down until "two" is unnatural--and it looks awkward. I agree with the poster(s) who say the rise begins at the end of 1.
I can't help but smile reading your comments. I am a latin dancer which means that I am not familiar with waltz techniques although I dance it socially just for the fun of it. However, using common sense (modesty aside, I am a professional Engineer and have lots of common sense) I agree with LADYDANCE that you should not rise with on 1. How could you? You are stepping with your heel? Common sense, YES? You don't have to be a professional dancer to realize that? Please try to rise on 1 stepping forward with your heel. It's impossible! Perhaps at the end of one, like quickstep commented, you probably can rise. For me, I tried few times before I wrote this comment but I can't rise on 1 when I step forward with my heel first on the floor.
Have to be careful with these pronouncements about what is allegedly not possible, to be sure you don't claim something which actually happens in other situations... to be impossible.
Consider the idea the the rise in an ordinary waltz figure must not be before the end of the first step. Okay, sounds sensible, but when is the end of the step? The end of a foward step is when the other leg draws even with the newly placed foot.
But consider the man's action on step 5 of the spin turn. This is a heel lead, with a rise at the end of step 5. Only his left leg is at no point going to draw even with his right leg. Technically, the condition of the end of this step is not defined but it would have to occur by the time that the left leg gets as close to the right leg as it is ever going to. Since the feet are never going to close there, the rise on this step must occur while the feet are still apart.
Transpose the reality that it is possible to rise from a heel lead while the feet are still apart which we have just demonstrated in the spin turn, back to the first step of the natural turn, and that would be a rise well before the end of the step which in that case is not until the left foot draws even. That doesn't make it advisable to have a full rise that early, but it does make it entirely possible.
But to return to what is advisable, once the dancer's feet are strong enough, a significant percentage of top coaches will insist that the heel begin to rise from the floor ever so slightly before the other leg passes, such that the rise and resulting swing are fully underway by the conclusion of the first step, instead of delayed until what is really the early part of step 2.
I think what is getting lost here is at the end of step one on a Natural Turn in the Waltz is that the LF comes under the body as the Right Knee is bending at the end of the step. This is sometimes called a Neutral Position. Others call it a Balance Point. Whatever it is called the LF will be under the hip line with the heel off the floor, toe in contact, and the Right knee will be flexed ready to produce Swing and Sway.
The standard pattern of rise in most waltz figures is to start to rise at the end of step one, continue to rise on 2 & 3 and lower at the end of 3. When moving backwards, there is no foot rise on step 1, but foot rise is only one element of rise & fall, and the correct use of the leg muscles, knees and a feeling of stretching upwards in the body are all just as important than foot rise.
Out of all the swing dances, Waltz is characterised by gradual rise over three steps (but there are exceptions).
Hi to All, I queried the Howard technique to Guy regarding the Rise & Fall, about not stating that the the written technique did not include, 'Down on One', then start to Rise E/O 1. He replied that it's like this Old Boy, all professionals know that, so it saves characters, which saves paper. The swing down is carried through one, and not commenced at the E/O of one.
THe really confusing thing is that the technique books define the end of step 1 in waltz Natural turn as the moment when the feet are closed (man's moving left foot alongside right) and yet most dancers (i've never actually seen anything else) make their foot placements for natural turn on the beats of the music. So the left foot is alonside the right foot on approximately beat 1&.So the rise starts at this point as it is defined as "end of 1" not at the end of beat 1 which is just before the left foot lands on beat 2. Please tell me i've got it wrong if i have.
The advice to dance change steps 1-2-3 and then stay on toes for a whole bar before lowering is really good. this'll "force" a dancer not to lower too quickly. Good for balance too.
"THe really confusing thing is that the technique books define the end of step 1 in waltz Natural turn as the moment when the feet are closed (man's moving left foot alongside right) and yet most dancers (i've never actually seen anything else) make their foot placements for natural turn on the beats of the music. So the left foot is alonside the right foot on approximately beat 1&.So the rise starts at this point as it is defined as "end of 1" not at the end of beat 1 which is just before the left foot lands on beat 2."
Yes Phil, the numbers in the book are step numbers, not beats. Many people forget this when reading the simpler waltz steps since there are three of each, but as you've observed, they do not line up but are instead offset from each other, with the beat falling somewhere around the middle of the step.
I would caution though against the idea that the end of step one is just before the foot lands on beat two. Once a dancer is able to fully use their standing leg, there's a lot of important body movement away from the standing foot which happens between the time when the feet pass and the later time when the moving leg find its position and accepts weight. For a newer dancer, the body may stop over the position of the first step while the free leg shoots through to the second on its own, but for a stronger dancer the body keeps moving and the progress of the body regulates the movement of the free leg with the result that the overall action evolves in a smooth and lyrical way.
"I queried the Howard technique to Guy regarding the Rise & Fall, about not stating that the the written technique did not include, 'Down on One', then start to Rise E/O 1. He replied that it's like this Old Boy, all professionals know that, so it saves characters, which saves paper. The swing down is carried through one, and not commenced at the E/O of one."
The swing down really comes from the last step of whatever precedes - either a full figure, a prep step, or (most challengingly but informatively) a start from a simple standing position. Simple geometry tells us that the body will be lowest when the legs are divided on the way to the first step.
Unless counteracted by extreme absorbtion in the knees (as one modern school now does) there will be a slight, unwritten body rise back up from this lowest position as the body approaches the receiving foot. As (or in the view of many leading experts, just before) the feet pass the actual official rise commences - specifically foot rise for the forward partner. The overall effect is a very smooth path - a descent from the previous figure that gradually levels out and then becomes a rise that begins as a gentle floating up on the way into the foot and continues more steeply out of it.
It's important to realize that in the era when the books were written, the amount of travel achieved was, by modern standard, downright tiny. A lot of things such the as the implicit body rise and fall that happens if we divide or reclose the legs without compensating becomes obvious when you scale up to modern standards, but were just not very visible or apparent at the smaller scale, and so aren't included in the written technique - see for example how the apparent plateau of rise in the written description of a feather contrasts with what naturally and appropriately happens when the figure is danced in a flowing way.
But perhaps because of the small movements envisioned, the technique does reflect the mechanics of sending the body forward with the moving foot - something dancing ideally shares with normal walking. When we scale up to modern competitive proportion we have two choices - we can project the body weight with the moving foot, in which case the old descriptions of technique are accurate in what they address but substantially short of the full story, or we can let the body hang back and place the moving foot on its own, in which case we need an entirely new technique book.