Oh sheepish, gentle goons, read on, my dear friends and be exposed to world as rich as any George R.R. Martin novel and as challenging as any MMO! Behold the world of dancing!
Why this thread?
All stereotypes aside, Iím hoping other goons on the forum are interested in dance, talk about our experiences, answer questions and maybe convince some others to get in on the fun as well.
The thread went into Watch and Weight because it doesnít fit in GBS, not really an Ask/Tell, nor is it appropriate for music. It is a physical activity so this makes the most sense. If itís more appropriate elsewhere, then mods, please move it.
I am a robot and do not understand this thing you call dancing:
Also known as that thing that the cool kids do, dancing is a great skill to have, right up there with: not being unpleasant, being showering, and holding a poo poo long enough to not soil oneís pants.
Who are you and what are you doing here?
But first, my credentials: I have none. Iíve only got into dancing relatively recently i.e. three months, and I am still at a terribly amateurish stage where I could only lead people in a few scenarios. But I am getting better. Maybe Iím not Michael Jackson yet, but Iíve discovered a passion for something I once hated, so thereís that. I am not an authority, just the first guy to make a thread about it.
What made me take up dancing? Well, like a lot of people, I couldnít dance half a drat. I lacked the grace and rhythm to be a free styling master, and I certainly didnít have the self confidence to be a complete retard without heavy drinking. Instead at every party, club or spontaneous street dance routine (god damned gay district), I clung to the walls and waited it for it all to stop. My tolerance for alcohol improved remarkably though.
After years of avoiding dance, dancing, or dance related activities and years of nights where I looked on and watched my friends have fun, I decided that perhaps this was a problem that wasnít just going to go away. I needed to do something about it, and enter the world I so feared: I HAD TO LEARN HOW TO DANCE.
And then I started taking lessonsÖ
Why should I even bother?
Dancing is one of the most fun things you can do and it can really improve your social life. Youíll meet new people, make new friends, and maybe even sleep with them. Better yet itís also great for your health (as long as you do it properly). Did you know that a competitive dancer releases as much lactic acid as a marathon runner? Itís true! Thatís why dance judges have the same acid proof clothes as marathon participants!
But dancing is for the gays! If I just hit up the gym I'll get the girls no matter what!
Youíre right. Dancing is for sissies. Girls only care about big muscles. Rhythm and stamina are meaningless.
Alright, Iím convinced! What should I learn?
NOW WITH VIDEOS
Fantastic! You wonít regret it! What you learn is all personal preference and where you find yourself. If you only go to clubs playing the Top 40 and could give less of a poo poo about the Latin scene, then you might want to avoid salsa.
However, dances build off of each other. What might work as a great move here, might work as good inspiration there. Much like how learning one language helps you learn others, you're learning a way of speaking with your body, and more languages will only help.
Hereís a short but by no means at all comprehensive list (thereís just way too many and many substyles within each and broad overall categories, i.e. social dancing, ballroom, etc. If anybody has a good summary, Iíll add it to the OP. Feel free to point out any corrections.)
Like the name suggests, these dances were done traditionally in a ballroom and/or require a partner. While you might not be serving anybody with the slick moves listed here, they are neccessary if you want to ask a girl or guy to dance. Hope you don't do hover hands, because it's required that you hold your partner and move them around the floor. Note: There can be solo styles or solo bits to each of these dances but it isn't the main focus.
First invented by white folk with an obsession with counter clockwise movements, the waltz dominated the European dance scene for centuries. Set to a 1, 2, 3, kind of beat, the dance itself is very fluid and structured. Itís the closest youíll get to flying on youíre feet. It's especially useful for weddings and just cool to do in general. Gentlemen: Bitches love the waltz.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwdWE-X2vRI (Vienesse waltz, and I don't know how they keep from barfing).
When modernism went off like a bomb in the 20th century and blew the lid off of everybodyís social conventions like the boy in footloose, a shitload of new dances made the scene. One of the new ones, evolving out of the one-step was the Foxtrot. Similar in style to a waltz, but with a different rhythm and an emphasis placed on smoothness, it became one of the premiere dances of the jazz age. Nowadays its become a slower, sultry, sexy kind of dance like Louis Armstrong giving you a heated massage. Peggy Leeís Fever is the kind of song youíll be dancing to.
Flappers, mobsters and speak easies. This is the quintessential dance of the 20s and 30s. Using a lot of kicks, twists, and highly athletic shuffles, this is what your grandparents did when they wanted to really get it down on the dance floor. Why did I include this? Because the dance has held up remarkably well and is the grandfather of shuffling which is all the craze nowadays.
This is what your parents danced to. This is what they did. When you dance this I want you to imagine your parents trying to seduce each other.
Stealing blatantly from wikipedia: The Hustle is a catchall name for several disco dances which were extremely popular in the 1970s. Today it mostly refers to the unique partner dance done in ballrooms and nightclubs to disco music. It has some features in common with swing dance. Its basic steps are somewhat similar to the Discofox, which emerged at about the same time and is more familiar in various European countries. In the 1970s there was also a line dance called the Hustleówhich is regaining popularity as people throw 1970s theme parties or schools have 1970s dance performances
Because Irving has being doing this sort of thing for 7 years and knows more about this than I do...
Solo dancing styles!
Like ballroom or partner dances you will probably... need those two things, but what makes Latin dance stand apart is its history (a fusion of the cultures of Latin America) and its music. Also they tend to teach them seperately so why not list them like that? Oh and by the way, get ready to move your hips and shake that rear end.
Salsa is a very popular dance combining African and Spanish cultures. Actually, practically every Latin dance is like that. Anyway, itís a very fun dance that can be very sultry and sexy. However it has an unusual beat that confounds a lot of people who arenít used to it (Iím looking at you clave!). The trick here is that where in Western music, the beat and melody are usually rather stark in comparison with each other. in Salsa, the rhythm is just as important as the melody, creating a blended arrangement of several rhythms, which can make one single one difficult to pick out. This can make timing a bit tricky but itís still definitely worth doing. Practice makes perfect.
The origins of meringue are shrouded in mystery, but like its cousin Salsa, it is also the child of African and Spanish cultures. There's one apocryphal story that explains the nature of the dance. Supposedly a general by the name of Meringue in some war torn Latin American country wandered into a village at the time of a festival. The general had lost his leg in some long forgotten battle, and used a peg leg which gave him a limp and a stilted walk. The villagers not wanting to offend the general, when he danced, danced just like him, doing a kind of stiff legged, hip swaying marching motion, that eventually gave way into something a lot sexier than a war amp (unless thatís your thing). Great for clubs and can easily be transferred into anything with a one-two beat.
Honourable mention: Ballet. That's a whole world onto itself.
Okay, so I really want to learn how to do this, where should I go?
Most cities offer a large selection of dance classes that range from group to private and good to bad. My best advice is to shop around and find a place that YOU feel comfortable being in. If it's the best dance school in the company and you hate it, then it's not worth it. Some names stand out more than others, Arthur Murray being at least one big school I can name off the top of my head.
Group classes tend to be the cheapest and easiest to find but the only disadvantage is that you go at the pace of the class. Make sure you do your homework and come prepared, otherwise youíll fall behind and feel stupid. Group classes are still great though because they give you one experience that private cannot: dancing with regular people. Most of your partners will be newbies too, and youíll be making the same mistakes. This will give you the ability to compensate for a less skilled dancer, and give you a better taste of what itís going to be like in the real world.
Private classes are a little tougher to find and are certainly more expensive. For the extra cost though, you get a one on one experience and a learning curve matched to your skills. If youíre really shy this can be great, and will help you to focus on particular challenges without you being lost in the crowd or feeling embarrassed. The one disadvantage (besides the price) is, dancing with the instructor is always easier than a real person. They know what youíre doing, and they know what youíve been taught. They can anticipate your moves and are trained well enough that they can already recover from what happens. So keep that in mind.
Note: The internet can be a great resource, and so can DVDs but unless you plan on dancing solo, you still need another person!
Weíre all learning. You will screw up. Youíre going to feel stupid but thatís okay because weíre all learning. At first you will feel like: Oh my God I canít do this, and then as you get into it that feeling will subside. Then you will feel like an expert without really warranting it and will try out your stuff in the club and look a little bit foolish doing it. Thatís okay but youíll probably learn humility at that stage. At some point youíll become super self-conscious of your movements and everything you do will feel awkward. Youíll be advanced enough to know how a move should be done, but arenít at the level to execute it flawlessly, and youíll feel frustrated. This is normal. Finally you will reach a point where it will become natural, and you will forget why you were ever nervous about it. Depending on your personality youíll either be elated or stressing out about the next move. In any case, donít panic. You donít suck. You just need to practice more. Just keep on going and keep on dancing.
Testikles fucked around with this message at Nov 11, 2011 around 22:20
|# ¿ Nov 10, 2011 20:48|
|# ¿ May 23, 2013 17:42|
You skipped hip hop entirely! I haven't done any classes in a while, but I still love it.
Sorry, I missed a lot of really important stuff but I'll be adding as time goes on! (I'm adding this to the OP)
How long have you been doing hip hop for, and are you still doing it? How do you find it?
|# ¿ Nov 11, 2011 06:09|
You will have to send us a youtube video of yourself or something.
Also you probably have a lot more experience with the solo side of things (everything I know is more on the social/partner side), so if you want to add a small write up to this obviously skyrocketting thread, I encourage it.
Partner is weird like that. It's kind of sexist in a way, but men traditionally do the leading and women do the following. A woman definitely needs to know what she's doing but at the same time the quality of the dance is very much up to the man. Technically he should be able to lead you with your eyes closed. If he's a lovely lead though, then you'll get confused because you won't know what he's trying to do with you, and that's when people fall over. There is a way to backseat drive though. But you shouldn't have given up so early!
|# ¿ Nov 11, 2011 19:08|
Let's not forget that breakdancing started in Russia first and spread to America:
Oh, and it might be helpful for people to post where they are and what dances they feel comfortable doing. Maybe we can organize practices or parties or something. I'm out in Toronto and I'm a beginner with Waltz, Rumba, Foxtrot, Salsa and Meringue, though my Waltz, Foxtrot and Rumba are best. Irving if you need help with partner stuff, I can try and show you what I know.
|# ¿ Nov 11, 2011 22:41|
Go ahead! It'll have to be in video form since I'm probably as far from your location as is possible in North America (SoCal).
drat! Well there are probably better youtube videos (I've seen some good ones depending on what you're looking at) but to really get the experience, you need another person. Pushing an office chair around a basement just doesn't work, let me tell you.
|# ¿ Nov 11, 2011 23:08|