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Re: Define "Social"...
Posted by Ladydance
8/3/2008  7:34:00 AM
"We dance predominantly International when we dance. I've never understood the "not enough room"... we've learned to lengthen or compress our strides... in fact, I don't know how else we could have improved on it if we *hadn't* danced social."

Where we dance it is not enough to adjust our strides, there are just too many dancers at different levels to launch off into a slow foxtrot and expect to get down the floor. Beginners get flustered when they see dancers coming at them and although we are perfectly capable of getting around them, they often panic and do something quite unexpected. We hate stopping and starting so we stick to American foxtrot.
I always thought that 'social' dancing is more relaxed, less emphasis on technique, my head is not quite where it should be, my arms are kept close to my body, instead of fully extended (when doing a cross-over for example). We laugh and even talk sometimes when we're dancing.
There are a few competitors and instructors in our circle who seem to believe social dancing is beneath them. Or perhaps dancing has become a job and they have forgotten how to dance for fun.
Re: Define "Social"...
Posted by CliveHarrison
8/3/2008  11:17:00 AM
I agree that International Slow Foxtrot is problematical on the typical social dance floor, but oddly, I see too many people trying to dance foxtrot, and almost never anyone (sensibly) dancing "social foxtrot" aka good old Slow Rhythm. But I don't do it myself, although its compact style and simple figures would better suit a lot of those present, and it would be much easier to get around the floor.

My usual strategy is to be first on the floor: once around, and then sit down again, before all the fun starts. Not, quite, the best solution, I'm sure.

The rest of the dances are easy enough to adapt to crowded conditions, but foxtrot beats me.
Re: Define "Social"...
Posted by nigelgwee
8/3/2008  11:39:00 AM
Clive. That's our strategy, too: start early and start often. Then quit while we're ahead. At the other times when we can't refuse the challenge of a crowded Slow Foxtrot, we make liberal use of figures that help avoid collisions, e.g., Change of Direction, Top Spin, Curved Feather to Back Feather, Curved Three Step (we call this the "U Turn" figure).

One thing does seem strange to me. The American Smooth style has open work, which is not always appropriate in crowded situations. Yet this style is often called "Social," and social usually means crowded, does it not?
Re: Define "Social"...
Posted by DivaGinger
8/2/2008  8:04:00 PM
*Blush* Thanks!

We've always just tried to have FUN dancing, whether or not we're working toward a particular goal, or just working on "getting better". Dancing's our addiction!
Re: Define "Social"...
Posted by nigelgwee
8/3/2008  7:46:00 AM
DivaGinger and Ladydance. It seems there are different ways of having FUN: Practicing floorcraft, having a normal conversation (while dancing), playing by the ISTD rules, not playing by the ISTD rules.

BTW, DivaGinger, if that "Blush" was because of my previous post (not clear from the indentation what your message replied to), you're most welcome!
Re: Define "Social"...
Posted by anymouse
8/2/2008  11:19:00 PM
"I only know what happens here. No competition dancer would go to a Social Dance here."

How sad.

No, I don't expect competition dancers to regularly attend socials, but dropping into one on occasion, especially coordinating plans with friends, is a key part of having a complete dance life - it adds a missing piece of the life experience of being a dancer that is not satisfied by training, performing, or competing.

Re: Define "Social"...
Posted by CliveHarrison
8/3/2008  3:19:00 AM
Perhaps one way of looking at Social Dancing, is to consider its natural counterpart: Anti-Social Dancing.

Where is THAT mainly to be found?
Re: Define "Social"...
Posted by terence2
8/3/2008  5:04:00 AM
Alabama , Missipp. ( the bible belt )
Re: Define "Social"...
Posted by jofjonesboro
8/3/2008  6:16:00 AM
In fact, Birmingham, Alabama, has one of the more active chapters of USA Dance in the region (Birmingham, AL, USA Dance).

Some very nice folks there.

Re: Define "Social"...
Posted by DivaGinger
8/3/2008  11:16:00 AM
We're not far from Birmingham, and were almost halfway there this past weekend. Our area's just started a USABDA chapter, and I hadn't been exposed to it's inner workings before. It's interesting so far.

The worry/not-worry about technique, head, etc. is where people's personal preferences for enjoying dance vary.

I wouldn't think of worrying about proper frame and the smaller nuances of technique all the time- especially not in a social setting. That's what practice is for, to us. Work on it all we can there, so that we *don't* have to worry as much about anything but having a good time at a social. Then, yes, it *is* more relaxed/conversational. Our coaches imparted that to us very early on- during practice-specific "parties", groups, etc., they'd correct and teach and help- but at the same studio on a Friday night "actual party", they wouldn't "teach" anything other than something that really needed to be corrected to make sense and make something work.

We've been blessed to have several floors in the area which are accommodating to slowfox, and honestly, there aren't that many people filling the whole floor, so it's not been a problem. No, we wouldn't be dumb enough to try something like that in the one studio whose floor is about the size of a storage locker, for the record.

Clive's be early, be quick, get done strategy works for the seniors' dances around here. It's sad, but it takes a lot of them that long to realize "Oh- another country two-step" and start creeping and dragging up out of the chairs like a zombie scene. After everyone's on the floor, we slow down some, and then just practice weaving in and out- several couples in our area "play back" with us, and it's a LOT of fun. You never know when someone's going to come up, "accidentally" bump into you, and steal your hairclip, or if you're sitting at a table and someone comes by and pretends they have no brakes. But then, I'll say it again- we're all crazy here.

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