Experimental Dance Class

I am about as natural of a dancer as it is possible for someone to not be.I'm also abysmal at learning things by rote. As such, I've always had difficulty with the way that dance is almost always taught, where they teach you long sequences of steps and expect you to be able to deconstruct those sequences and actually dance.

For me, social dancing is about dancing with your partner, and dancing with the music. Classes that concentrate on steps and sequences, seem to neglect these details.

I've had several friends express an interest in learning to dance. Before my party, I am going to try to teach an experimental dance class, one that concentrates on dancing in general, and then shows how to apply those fundamentals to several of the common dances.

I'd really appreciate it if folks who already know how to dance were to show up for the classes. In aikido, people of all levels practice together, and that ends up helping everyone learn more. It is the same fundamentals whether you are a beginner or advanced, you are just working on different aspects of them.

Since everybody will be doing both lead and follow, and we'll be looking at different dance forms, there's a good chance you'll be doing something new anyways.

I'm planning on three sections:
Fundamentals; lead, follow & connection
Very simple swing
Very simple polka and waltz

I intend to have everyone both lead and follow in the class. This will solve the problem of there potentially being an imbalanced number of men and women. For the fundamentals, it really is best to understand both sides anyways.

Some of the things that I'm thinking about covering in the fundamentals are:
Unbendable arm from aikido. It's a cool demo that shows how you can be very strong, with little effort, and still be "relaxed" rather than "stiff".
Sharon Ashe, in her classes, shows how to "lock in your lats", to get good frame.
Connection from open position
connecting with the center via the bone structure
leading weight from one foot to the other
leading the follower with their eyes shut around the floor
closed position frame, different for swing and ballroom
some turns, spins, and other general purpose moves
The follower maintaining direction and speed until led otherwise.
How to spin (weight over ball of foot, knee bent)
How to dip/be dipped

The second segment will be very basic six-count swing. Once folks have the basic step down, we'll cover leading and following it. Then we'll look at applying some of the generic moves from the first section.

The goal of this section is to teach the absolute bare minimum needed to swing dance socially.

There will be a break to rest, and/or practice.

Some people may consider the transition from swing to waltz and polka too big of a mental shift. These folks can go inside and dance there, go for a hike in the woods across the street, or just hang out.

The last section, will be a simplified version of the basic class before gaskells. It will cover the simplest open waltz and polka. We may show how to apply a couple of the generic moves from the first section to the open waltz.

Depending upon the time, and the enthusiasm of the students, we may also cover the Schottishe (if you can count to four, you can schottische), or possibly even rotary waltz or polka. Most recently modified by lrc at Tue Sep 21 23:50:41 PDT 2004