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Re: American Smooth
Posted by Waltz123
7/14/2013  11:23:00 AM
If you are dancing Foxtrot and approach a corner with another couple just behind you, should you dance a Hover Cross and get in the other couple's way?

Depends on whether I'm dancing on a social floor or at a competition.

When I'm in advance, it's my right of way as I've established the space first. So technically I'm within my right to dance a stationary figure. And if I'm competing, I'm not going to mind if this disturbs another couple's trajectory; It is actually to my advantage. On a social floor, I will be much more courteous -- especially when dancing ahead of a couple who may be of limited driving ability.

On the flip side, I would never "tailgate" someone so closely that I wasn't able to deviate should they decide to slow down or stop -- not unlike driving. The only time dancing a figure like Hover Cross should be a problem in a corner (or elsewhere for that matter) is when the approaching couple does not have the ability to maneuver... a rare instance, we hope.

We find that when we dance Standard on the same floor with other people doing American Silver, the two styles progress at different speeds. Sometimes this is a problem.


Really, they shouldn't. Silver level is composed primarily of traveling figures, punctuated with the occasional pause, similar to silver Standard. But then again, we're talking about what is, and not what should be. So I'll address that:

What I find is that American couples move just as fast but stop more often and for longer phrases of music (typically more of a problem in Gold and above, not as much in closed silver). But this doesn't usually cause as much of an issue as the fact that they take up so much more space in general, because their dance positions allow for it.

If you think it's difficult dancing Standard with a couple of American style dancers on a mixed social floor, try dancing Smooth in a competitive semi-final with 11 other Smooth couples. It isn't easy, but we do manage to get by somehow. The advantage you have as a standard dancer is the ability to make quicker changes, as you have more contact points and a more compact, controllable position. So it should be considerably easier for you as a standard dancer to make quick, on-the-fly adjustments.

In the end I think it comes down to expectations and attitude. When I'm dancing at a party I expect people to be continually moving with only occasional stops, whereas during lesson time, I'm well aware that there could be a group of 4 people standing in one place for a good 45 minutes. If this was a party, I might find myself irritated with a permanent obstacle, but that's really a matter of expectations. I can deal with it at lesson time, so I should be able to deal with it equally well at a party.

Even the best of us can become occasionally frustrated with having to share our space, especially when it seems like the other parties are not "following the rules". If the problem is severe enough, I suppose you could complain to the studio manager. But most situations do not call for such extremes, and so I would suggest making your life easier by adjusting your mental approach: Rather than worrying about whether or not somebody else *should* be in your way, just look at every obstacle as an opportunity to improve your own floorcraft.

I had a teacher who would make us dance rounds, and while we were doing so she would jump in our way, push us over, and generally make life difficult. I paid good money for that, and it was worth every penny. I now do the same thing to my own students. The point is, when someone gets in your way, just whisper the word "opportunity" to yourself under your breath, and rate your own reaction on a scale of 1 to 10. How did you do? The more you practice, the better you become as a dancer. And the more opportunities you get to practice, the faster you improve. So obstacles are really free lessons. Keep that in mind, and you might just develop a fondness fo
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