My goodness! I thought I asked a simple question! The more I learn about dancing, though, the more I realize how much I don't know!!
Since I asked the question, I've been back to class and also had some private lessons. So I've taken your replies and melded them with what my teachers said to figure it out. I am taking International style. I didn't realize there was an American version. What's the difference?
I agree totally on refering to the technical manuals. They help allot in recalling the steps learned in class. I just got the new ISTD Rumba manual and it is very helpful. I guess the new Samba manual is not out yet (hence my questions...). Does anyone know when it will be available?
Hi Everyone, I just read this thread, very interesting! A few of my own comments: A technique book is a good thing in the right hands. It is not written in stone, and different technique books can say different things. Also, it's open to interpretation. I took vcalvin's comment of being a competitor but not having done a corta jaca as a humble statement, and 'dance boy' probably did too. Should we talk about the difference between American style and International style Samba? I didn't see mentioned which version the original question was about. Either way, Samba sure is a fun dance, isn't it? I watched people dancing it in Montreal last weekend, I was breathless at the end!
You're welcome for the reply, Fred! I don't think there was anything wrong with your questions. This is, after all, a discussion forum, and the whole point is to share our views, opinions, experiences, etc. (for whatever those respective experiences are worth!) It would be nice if we could create new sections when threads go off-topic (as I am right now), but I don't see a way of doing that.
Dance boy, I hope you won't take offense when I say that it doesn't mean much to me that my being a competitor doesn't mean much to you I didn't mention my competitor status in order to impress anyone or to make myself out to be an "expert" of any kind -- I mentioned it to give context to my comments. And of course, you're free to take or leave those comments as you see fit, which is another great thing about discussion forums!
Thank you both for the reply. I didn't know that there was a differents between the "1&2" and "1a2" notation. I think the "1e&a2e&a" method is perfect to describe the rhythm of the Samba. With this method you have info on the beat values and the start of the figure. We dance the Traveling Voltas like "Dance boy" describe (1a2a3a4). For the Corta Jaca we use the rhythm (a1a2). I believe that "Dance boy" is right that the figure I learn is not the original Corta Jaca, but just a variation. I agree with him that you should have a technical book. I have a book, but for the Corta Jaca I can only find SQQQQ. Is "12&3&" a good notation? Can you start the original figure with the Slow step on count 1? I agree that if everybody post this kind of questions, the forum could be messy, but I think in this case it's different. The Corta Jaca is a special figure of the Samba with a "strange" rhythm. In my opinion it's very interesting to talk about it. I have learned a lot from your answers. It is not always possible to ask your teacher. That why I think this forum is great. Perhaps the topics should split in more sections.
Well boy! Carol must be more confused at this point. I posted my previous reply no because of the original question, but the incorrect response. I think everyone shall do his or her homework in the course of learning school figures. To have a copy of a technical book is essential for the learning process. This forum will be very messy if everyone posts this type of questions. Not just timing, Fred's description on the foot work for Corta Jaca is not quite right yet. (Sorry, Fred. You're better check with your teacher to see whether you have been taught correctly.) It is perhaps caused by the difficulty of describing a dance on paper. It is not easy to put timing, beat value, foot position, foot work, action used, and body turn together in few words, even for someone who has been formally trained and knows the figure very well. What Carol asked is the base figure, no a variation. The Samba timing is very confusing indeed. There are quite few of various combinations of timing and beat values for school figures. The figures REQUIRE to use various timing and beat values. That means you might not execute one figure properly if you don't use the required timing or beat value. Other the other hand, you do be able to use different timing and beat values for the same figure, which is called different style. Sure, you can dance the Travelling Voltas with QQQQQQS (beat values: 1/2, 1/2, 1/2, 1/2, 1/2, 1/2, 1), rather than 1a2a3a4 timing. I, however, am not sure that is technical correct thought. BTW, it doesn't mean much to me if someone says he or she has competed in a ballroom dancing competition. The reason is that people can go to a competition with just few months of learning, same for others with a few years of training, or with a few decade of training.
Well, Fred and Dance Boy are both right. In social dancing (which is what appears in almost all books), SQQQ, etc. is just fine. However, for competitive, the correct rhythm is 1 uh-2 uh-3 uh-4, etc. This basic 'uh' rhythm doesn't change in competitive dancing. That's straight from the #2 rhythm dancer in the US. Yes, he competes in the American style, but he knows latin as well and is fully qualified to coach it.
A comment on attaching verbal counts to beat values -- Fred, I notice that you use the cadence "1 & 2" to refer to two different timings in samba (even though your posts indicate that you know the difference between the two timings).
When counting 1/4 beats (or sixteenth notes) aloud, I was taught in music lessons to say, "1e&a2e&a," and so on. If you apply this to the basic samba rhythm of 3/4 - 1/4 - 1, you would count "1 a2." This is distinctly different from "1 & 2," which would have the beat values of 1/2 - 1/2 - 1. Both of these timings *are* used in samba, so that's why I think it's important to be precise about how they're counted.
I compete in Latin, but frankly, I haven't danced the corta jaca! So, I won't venture to give any info on that particular figure. However, you also mention traveling voltas, and ask about the timing that others use for those. We most definitely use half beats (1&2) for those voltas, rather than the basic samba timing. I don't know if this is "compliant" with the syllabus, but it's not an uncommon practice. My experience has been that using half beats allows the voltas to travel more fluidly and permits more rhythm in the center. YMMV
I have learned the Corta Jaca a month ago. The rhythm of this figure differs from the basic count wich is 1-and-2-1-and-2. The rhythm how we dance the Corta Jaca is and-1-and-2-and-3-and-4. The man places his left foot forward and stands on the heel. Replace weight to the right foot on count 1. Then the man places his left foot back and stands on the toe. After that replace weight to the right foot while turning to the right 1/4 turn. Repeat everything once. This is how we dance it, but I think there are more variations. If you download my dance software wich is freeware (not shareware), you can see this figure as a part of the gold program. You will see animated feet on your computer screen. Look for the figure Samba-Gold. This is the url of my site. http://www.xs4all.nl/~fghb/ballroom.htm I think Jonathan can give you a better explanation, but it is nice to see everything on your screen.
[This message has been edited by Fred Bolder (edited 01-29-2000).]
Hello everyone. Just joined your forum. As a teacher from good ol' Great Britain, I've been following your discussion about Samba and Corta Jac with interest. However, I'd like to clear up some misunderstandings about International style (I know nothing about American style).
First, there are accordoing to Laird, 8 cross rhythms in Samba. Figures that need a normal Samba bounce eg Samba Whisks are danced using a 1a2 timing.
Second, Corta Jaca is a completely flat and stationary figure (although it can rotate on the spot). It's danced with the timing of SQQQQQQQQQQ (10 quicks) not just 4.
Third, to complete the correct 4 bar phrasing another bar of music must be danced. This could be a further 4 quicks of Corta Jaca or another figure (or 1/2 figure) with or without using Samba bounce.
So, if you think you can dance Corta Jaca with Samba bounce try it. I think you will find it rather stange to do. Not only that, you will probably be all over the music!
Check out some Latin Dancing books, you shall know the timing for Corta Jaca. It is SQQQQ. The beat values are 1, 1/2, 1/2, 1/2, 1/2. It is not 1a2, 1a2, which beat values are 3/4, 1/4, 1, 3/4, 1/4, 1. This information is presented in Walter Laird's "Technique of Latin Dancing". Sorry Fred. You are not right.
I was glad to see that there was another reply on this topic. First of all, I don't like using the terms Quick and Slow when explaining a Samba figure. Because of the many different beat values, it can be very confusing. I agree with you that the basic rhythm 1 & 2 has the beat values 3/4, 1/4 and 1. You explained that the rhythm of the Corta Jaca has the rhythm SQQQQ. I think we both got a point. I see the Slow as a step before the real Corta Jaca. The four Quicks come close to my description. I think the step on the heel is very short. In my opinion the beat values for the Corta Jaca are 1/4, 3/4, 1/4 and 3/4. This feels more like a Samba than 1/2, 1/2, 1/2 and 1/2. Then there's another thing. The steps 2 and 4 are taken on the 1 en 2 counts, so you can count & 1 & 2. If all beat values are 1/2 then you get a very straight rhythm. You can dance it that way, but it's not how we learn it. Try dancing it with the beat values 1/4, 3/4, 1/4 and 3/4. It feels great! For example, if we dance travelling voltas, we use the rhythm 3/4, 1/4, 3/4, 1/4 etc, starting on count 1. Do you use only beat values of 1/2 for the travelling voltas either? I think the way we dance the Corta Jaca is a variation of the real Corta Jaca. I think that you don't turn in the original Corta Jaca, but take normal side steps. Perhaps the rhythm we use is also a sort of variation, but it is more like the basic Samba rhythm.
Hope to hear more about this,
[This message has been edited by Fred Bolder (edited 02-14-2000).]
I am busy on the dance floor and couldn't follow up this discussion soon. I think I also need to clarify a few points here.
1. To the most of people, including Robert Richey, in the ballroom dancing community, the "a" and "&" means the same thing in Samba: a quarter beat. 2. If you want to count timing in the "½, ½, 1" beat pattern, you might to use QQS. Otherwise, you can confuse others as well as yourself. 3. Indeed, in Samba, sometimes people count "1e&a2e&a". It is for the expression of the dance, that is, to make the dance more musical. It, however, only applies for some of figures with Samba Bounce action, not for the Corta Jaca. You can try yourself to see whether this statement is right or not. 4. The two things: dancing the Samba Bounce action and the "1a2" rhythm are not equivalent. When the bounce action is used in a figure, you have to use the "1a2" type of rhythm. However, when you use the "1a2" type of rhythm in Samba, it is not necessary that you dance a figure with the bounce action. 5. I totally agree that we shall not use any technique book as a stone. We all try to understand some principles between the lines in the technique text. Within the principles, figures can be executed differently. One example is the Alemana discussion in the other thread. I have no any problems at all for the various execution methods presented in the thread. On the other hand, it is sad for me to see many dance teachers can't execute school figures properly. I'm not talking about the execution in a high standard, but an intermediate standard. "Not written in stone" can be an excuse for them. 6. You're right, Steve. The school figure of the Corta Jaca, according to Lair, contains ten Quicks. I didn't state the whole figure for the reason I would wrote too much if I wanted to make it complete. I think over all this discussion is good. I learn something from this discussion. I hope it is the same for others.
Corta Jaca. Walter Lairds Book. Starting on the mans RF the count is 1. 1/2. 1/2 .1/2. 1/2. In Slows and Quicks. S. Q. Q. Q. Q. Number of step 5 Footwork .Heel Flat. Heel. Flat. Toe. Flat. A very famous dancer told us. If you dont like a step then throw it out. The chances are you may never feel comfotable with it. Thats what I did with Corta Jaca`s.
This discussion is interesting and I can't help but join. I am only a social ballroom dancer, mostly LATIN, and don't compete, however, I had taken several lessons from famous dance instructors, former champions and adjudicators like Ron Montez, Corky Ballas, The late Chris Morris to name a few. I also studied some of their tapes.
I learned to use a1, a2 when doing the corta jaca. The man starts with his right foot when dancing the corta jaca in the promenade position (someone mentioned this in this discussion), lady on his right side. He starts with his left foot when doing it facing his partner. Left foot forward with weight on the heel followed with right foot forward with a simultaneous transfer of weight to the right foot( a1 ). Left foot back with weight on his left toe followed with right foot back with a simultaneous transfer of weight to the right foot ( a2 ). Repeat as you wish.
The International Samba syllabus has just one version -- the left foot version you see above. However, some American style Samba syllabi include a RF version. The most likely reason: There's no Natural Basic in any American style Samba syllabus. American style dancers with no International exposure are not accustomed to dancing a Samba Box with RF forward and LF back. If you are used to a Samba Basic that begins forward on the left foot, then it's much more natural to start with your LF forward on 1, and follow with a RF Corta Jaca action on the 2&3&4&.