The other day, I started a lively debate on The Facebooks about whether social and competitive dancing should be taught the same or differently.
I was pretty vague with the question. My exact words were, "Should social and competitive dancing be taught differently? If yes, why?"
What I really wanted you guys to do was read my mind and hear the whole conversation I had before posting that made me ask the question.
A group of [ambitious, very wise, and clearly forward-thinking] high schoolers recently formed a ballroom dance club and asked me to teach their group class each week.
The president of the club was outlining their goals the other day and he reminded me that they are "just a social club".
"As opposed to what?" I asked.
"Well, we're not looking at competitive dancing."
"There's no difference," I automatically replied.
"There isn't?" he asked incredulously.
"Yes?" I answered similarly incredulously. My opinion was so swift and strong, I didn't even see it coming.
But, there's not, right? I mean, if you begin teaching a group of people, with no experience, the basics of ballroom dancing, there wouldn't be a difference in how you teach them... RIGHT?
The field on Facebook was relatively split on whether this was true or not, but I feel like a lot of people who didn't agree that social and competitive dancing should be taught the same were thinking in the long term development of each branch, or were comparing "the social dances" (like West Coast Swing and Salsa) to "Dancesport" (Waltz, Bolero, and the like). But maybe I just want everyone to agree with me.
OF COURSE, social ("hey, I'm going to a social dance at the rec center tonight!") and competitive ("hey, I'm going to compete in the Silver Smooth division of Ohio Star Ball!") ballroom dancing should be taught differently eventually. But for those first few months, when everyone's trying to remember the rhythm of Rumba and which foot they generally start with and not to look at their feet and what dance you can do a Twinkle in, IT'S ALL THE SAME.
There's dancing on the beat, standing up correctly, moving your weight from foot to foot, and the rest of this crazy pyramid:
On the plus side, when a friend ranted to me about it, he brought up my previous post about social and competitive dancing and WHEW I totally agree with myself still.
If you have more than a few minutes and you want to read up on the debate, it's pretty neat and more than one person is way more eloquent than me at explaining all sorts of things and philosophies and teaching techniques.