This is how we do it dance routine
How To Choreograph A Dance Routine In 6 Simple Steps
Are you wondering how to choreograph a dance routine? Or if you even can???
The answer is YES, YOU CAN! And you totally should.
Choreographing isn't just for professional dancers with tons of clout. It's a skill that anyone can learn with a little practice and inspiration. Not sure how to start? Just follow this handy 6-step guide and start creating!
Finding the right song could be the easiest or hardest part of choreographing.
Sometimes, you hear a song for the first time and you know, you just KNOW, that it's the one.
Other times, you browse through your entire iTunes library, SoundCloud dashboard, Spotify playlists, and still don't feel anything.
But once you have a song and pick out the section you want to choreograph to, listen to it...A LOT. And don’t just listen – listen with intent.
Look up the lyrics to see how you relate to the meaning of the song. Discover hidden hi-hats and riffs that you can highlight.
Note the "pathways" for movement you want to take – do you want to hit a certain lyric? Or that dope double bass? Visualize ideas as you listen.
You don't need to come up with concrete moves, but understand how you wanna move. And if you need to cut your music, do that first.
Having to wait or skip around to different parts of the song can interrupt the process.
Some tips for finding songs: Best Ways For Dancers To Find New Music
Yes, you can watch videos from your favorite choreographers and remix their routines, but to make something unique to you, try drawing inspiration from your own life and the culture around you.
Read thought-provoking books, watch beautifully shot movies, check out MET Gala costumes, and visit cool museums!
All forms of art can inspire and fuel your art. When you see something inspiring, write it down so you can come back to those ideas later.
Even something simple like an interesting conversation with a friend can turn into a dance choreography idea or a new dance move.
Already feeling inspired? Watch this video to learn how to turn those ideas and concepts into dance moves!
Freestyling doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be using those exact moves in your piece. In fact, you probably won’t even remember a lot of what you did!
The point is to let your body respond to the music. Play the whole song and let yourself move. Notice how you naturally groove to certain sounds.
This will be the first "layer" in your choreography. You can then try variations or build more intricate movements on top of it.
Not sure how to start freestyling? Read this article for a few more tips: How to Freestyle Dance
And if you put on a song you really love, but still can't come up with any moves, check out this video!
Clay gives you tips for creating unique movements, even when you think you have choreo block.
You probably decided to choreograph to the song because you thought certain sections would look dope on the body.
Is it a climax? A breakdown? An instrumental interlude?
Whatever it is, start with that part. You don’t have to choreograph chronologically from beginning to end.
Start with the chunks that come easier, then build the rest of the choreography around it.
After you've choreographed your favorite chunks, make sure to give some love to those in-between sections!
Just because it’s not a crazy beat combo doesn’t mean it doesn’t have potential to look amazing.
Sometimes it’s those slower moments that are the most memorable. Check out this piece from Galen – it's all about her presence and demeanor.
Even her simple movements are engaging because she's filling those calmer moments with presence, before she goes off in a powerful combo.
A lot of us have the problem of making choreography that looks good in our heads... But not on our bodies. At that point, you just gotta train yourself.
Some refer to this as “cleaning” or “setting,” which involves perfecting certain pictures you make with your body, looking at pathways between points, or drilling quick combinations.
Check out this article to learn more about the cleaning process: How To Execute Choreography Better By Utilizing Your Body With Carlo Darang (Choreo Cookies)
And remember: How you choreograph will be how the piece looks. So when you choreograph a dance, do the moves full out.
For example, if you want a plié somewhere, really bend those knees. Let body rolls go all the way through your body. If you’re doing floorwork – get on the floor!
It's not going to magically look amazing when you perform on stage or in front of the camera. Make it amazing as you're making it.
Watch this video to learn more about dancing full-out, in every moment.
There are probably moments within your piece that feel perfect to you. Don’t change those.
But the piece as a whole is probably a bit rough around the edges, especially if this is your first time choreographing.
As novelist Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of anything is sh*t.”
So don’t worry if it’s not exactly what you wanted it to be. You can work your way there!
Do this by trying out variations of movements, scrapping some sections, changing directions, or adding floorwork – whatever you feel is necessary to “edit” the piece.
And honestly? That’s what makes creating so fun – trying things. Saying “Nope, not that,” or “YES oh my god, it worked!”
It’s supposed to take multiple drafts! Just keep editing until you’re done.
Of course, if you're a perfectionist, you might feel like your piece is never finished, but you gotta draw the line at some point.
While it’s awesome to try to keep improving your piece, there comes a point where you have to say “This is it. It's ready."
It's not about feeling like your piece is perfect. It's about making something that you feel proud to say you made. So when you're done, let it be.
Give yourself a pat on the back. Record the piece and share it with us via our STEEZY Studio members Facebook Group!
Thousands of dancers around the world are not only improving their dance skills on STEEZY Studio... they're joining our community and getting feedback from other dancers!
Click here to sign up for STEEZY ;)
Check out this video for a quick recap of this guide AND a few extra tips!
A Dancer's Guide to Knowing What Dance to Do to a Song » Dance With Brandee
A Dancer’s Guide to Knowing What Dance to Do
What Dance Do I Do to This Song?Here’s how to your dance music know-how
Dancers, have you ever found yourself standing on the sidelines for the first half of each song trying to figure out what dance is supposed to be done to the music? Like my students you might be wondering: How do I know what dance to do to a song?
Many events help you out by announcing each song’s dance or posting a set list for your reference. Even then, some songs work equally well for more than one dance, so being able to match dances to songs is a skill to develop. And of course, you’ll need that skill at weddings and private parties that don’t have these dance aids.
Until there’s an app for it, I want to help you develop your dance music know-how. Of course, there are lots of variables in dancing and music, exceptions to the rules, etc. But I’m going to keep this simple, so consider this a rough guide to figuring out what to dance to a song.
No Hard and Fast Rules
First of all, unless you’re at a dance competition, know that there are no hard and fast rules for which dance must be performed to a particular song. You get to choose the dance you want to do. That said, when you fit a dance well to a song, it’s easier to keep rhythm, to express the character of the dance, and overall, it tends to just feel better.
And some dances’ music is unique enough that it will hit you clearly. For example, Tangos have a distinctive staccato rhythm and dramatic. Once you’ve heard a few Tangos, without needing to think, you’ll just know it’s a Tango.
For the rest, it’s really just a process of elimination. As you become more experienced, hearing the dance in most songs will become more automatic.
5 Easy Steps to Determine What Dance to Do
1. Get a Feel for the Song’s SpeedAsk: What’s the speed of this song?
Start by determining the song’s tempo (i.e., it’s speed.) This simply means getting a feel for whether the song is slow or fast or somewhere in between.
Sometimes the instrumentation or vocals in a song can fake you out. For example, a song may sound very upbeat but actually have a rather slow beat. Until you get good at gauging a song’s tempo, just tap your toes or fingers to the beat of the song, becoming a human metronome for its true speed.
Once you know if the song is slow or fast (or somewhere in between), you can then rule out some dances. For example, if the song is fast, then all the slower dances are out, such as Rumba, Nightclub Two Step and Slow Waltz. Or if the song is really slow, you can cross off Cha Cha, Salsa, East Coast Swing and Viennese Waltz.
Note: As a beginner, you’ll likely only be comfortable dancing in a narrow tempo range for each dance. So if you identify a song as Cha Cha but find yourself unable to keep up with the music, it doesn’t necessarily mean you made a mistake identify it as a Cha Cha—you just may not be experienced enough to dance to the full tempo range for Cha Cha.
If you’re curious, check out this list of tempo ranges for each dance (this is one person’s idea of good tempos, not an official list). In case you’re interested, here are the official tempos used at ballroom dance competitions.
2. Rule Out If It’s a WaltzWaltzes have 3 beats in a measure (instead of 4)
As you’re tapping out the speed of a song, count the beats. If it’s easy to count 1-2-3-4 it’s not a Waltz. However, if counting in four’s feels off, try counting in three’s: 1-2-3, 1-2-3.
Most songs are in 4/4-time, meaning there are four beats in each measure. However, Waltzes are in 3/4-time, with only three beats in each measure. (There are other time signatures, but 4/4 and 3/4 are main ones you’ll encounter.)
If 1-2-3 matches the music, you’ll know it’s a Waltz. And having already gauged the song’s speed, you can immediately determine whether it’s a Slow Waltz (slower) or Viennese Waltz (about twice as fast as Slow Waltz).
3. Listen to Its Rhythm/FeelWhat’s the rhythm or feel of the song?
If the song isn’t a Waltz, your next step is to pay attention to the song’s rhythm or feel. Is it happy, romantic, dramatic, bluesy, melancholic, or funky? Does it have a Latin/Afro-Cuban beat? Does it make you want to bounce, glide, twirl or march? Listening to the songs’ rhythm and character will help you sort it into one of a few broad categories: Ballroom, Latin, Swing, or other (Hustle, Country Western, Nightclub Two Step, etc.).
For example, say the song has a Latin rhythm. The most common Latin dances in ballroom/social dancing are Rumba, Cha Cha, Samba and Salsa. Rumba is the only one of these with a slower, romantic feel. So if the song is like that, you’re ready to Rumba!
And if the song’s rhythm is upbeat, you can eliminate Rumba and then parse out which of the remaining three dances it might be. Samba has a very distinctive “boom-a-boom” percussive beat (think Brazilian Carnaval music). If you’re hearing that, it’s probably a Samba. If you’re not, congratulations, you’ve narrowed it down to a Cha Cha or Salsa.
4. When in Doubt, Step It OutDance in place to see what matches the music
Continuing with the same example, say you’ve figured out the song is either a Cha Cha or a Salsa. Cha Chas usually have a “cha-cha-cha” in their beat, although you may not be able to hear this until you have more experience.
At this point, it’s time to experiment with the basic steps in each dance. Do this on your own in place, so small and casual people might not even notice. Try a few Cha Cha basics and see how well your feet match the music. Then try the Salsa basic. Usually one will feel like the right fit and voila, you’ve successfully determined what dance to do to this song!See what dance others are doing
5. Or “Cheat” and Steal a Peek
If you’re still stumped after you’ve “stepped it out,” have a look and see what others are dancing. As a beginner, it’s often best to look at intermediate-level dancers. Fellow novices are likely as lost as you are, and advanced dancers may be dancing fancy figures with so much styling and technique you won’t even recognize what they’re dancing as the same dance you know! Intermediate dancers, however, will know which dance to do to a song yet will still be dancing figures you can recognize.
Have Fun: Make into a Game!
I encourage you to make a game out of matching dances to songs when you’re not out dancing. Play the “What Could I Dance to This Song” game when you’re listening to music at home, in the car or when you hear a tune playing at a store or on the street.Make a game out of matching dances to music
Of course, all music isn’t made for partner dancing (e.g., classical, electronica, hip hop and even many pop tunes). So to make it easier on yourself you may want to listen to songs pre-selected for a dancing, such as those off a ballroom dance practice CD or from a recommended playlist like this.
Remember, ultimately which dance to do is your choice, so have fun and feel free to be creative. That said, be respectful of other dancers on the floor. For example, make sure you use proper floor etiquette, especially if you decide to do a dance that’s different from what the majority on the floor is doing. If doing a traveling dance, stay on the outside track, moving in the line of dance; if doing a spot (non-traveling) dance, dance in the center of the floor.
Over time the process of matching songs to dances will become faster and simpler. You may even find yourself mentoring new dancers on the subject!
Street Dancing: How the Dance Battle Works
Most of the competitions are held in the knockout battle format. Some of them involve only two dancers competing against each other in one-on-one battles, and there is also the concept of entire teams competing against each other. Each team can consist of two dancers to eight, ten, and sometimes more.
In team battles, any number of people can participate in a routine (prepared bundle) - from two to the whole team, the dance is performed during the round. Opponents are not required to respond with a routine, each team independently decides what they do during their round, if certain rules are not stipulated within the competition.
O'trip House doing routine
© Little Shao/Red Bull Content Pool
Dancers or teams take turns dancing in the middle of the dance floor. Each dancer or team dances a certain number of rounds
The dancers take turns moving to the middle of the stage, dancing for the duration of their round. The chosen panel of judges then decides who they think won the battle by personally voting for the winner or holding up the card with the winner's name.
The winner of the battle moves on to the next round, and the loser is eliminated from the competition.
This continues until there are two dancers or two teams left. After that, the final battle takes place and the absolute winner of the competition is selected.
Menno wins Red Bull BC One 2017
© Little Shao/Red Bull Content Pool
How many people can compete?
The average number of dancers selected to compete is usually 16 solo dancers or 8 to 16 teams competing in a single style or mixed style battle. But in the main battle, from 4 to 32 dancers or teams can participate.
In order to participate in the main battle, dancers must first pass the qualifying stage, where judges will select participants with the necessary qualifications. From 30 to 500 dancers can take part in the qualifying stage. There are five ways to enter the competition.
Showcase round: dancers take turns performing in front of the judges. The judges evaluate each participant, then choose the best dancers with the highest scores. They are allowed to compete.
Showcase battle: in this case, dancers or teams compete against each other in an exhibition battle format, usually consisting of only one round, and in the case of team battles, a time limit may also be introduced. There is no one winner in the battle: the judges evaluate the performance of the participants in the battle and choose the dancers or teams with the most points. They will be allowed to participate in the main competition.
Preliminary Cypher: The cipher format involves the dancers gathering in a circle and then taking turns moving to the middle and dancing. Usually the duration of the music program put on by the DJ is from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. The dancers are usually given a sticker with a number, and then they stand in circles and just dance for as long as they want. The judges move from circle to circle, observing and judging, as well as recording the numbers of those dancers who made the most impression on them. After the performance time is up, the judges get together and analyze which participants' numbers were recorded and marked by all the judges. It is these dancers who will be allowed to participate in the main competition.
Winner of the previous qualifying battle: in this case, the dancer is allowed to participate in the competition based on winning another tournament.
By Invitation: The fifth and final way to compete is simply by getting an invitation. If a dancer is known and has a good reputation due to his performances and victories in various competitions at the local or international level, then the organizer of the event can directly invite him to take part in the battles.
Russian cipher Red Bull BC One
© Dmitriy Tibekin / Red Bull Content Pool
Who are judges and what do they do?
As a rule, judges are well-known and respected dancers who are members of the judging panel based on their years of experience, numerous victories in various competitions or thanks to their global contribution to the dance field.
Competitions always have an odd number of judges to avoid situations with a tie. As a rule, the judging staff includes three or five people.
Each judge only votes for one contestant in each battle, and the dancer with the most votes is the winner.
The Judges Point to the Winner
© Gianfranco Tripodo/Red Bull Content Pool
Votes sometimes result in a tie, and this is preceded by one of two scenarios.
The judges may vote for a draw if they believe that the level of the dancers participating in the battle is equal. The battle can end in a draw if all the judges vote for this result.
There may be a situation in which one judge votes for a draw, and the votes of the other judges are divided equally.
In this case, the competing dancers or teams will have to play another round for the judges to vote again. If this additional round also results in a tie, the dancers play another round and continue to do so until the judges reach a decision that will determine the winner.
But if all but one of the judges voted for a draw, then the winner is the dancer who receives the casting vote of the judge who did not vote for the draw.
What criteria do the judges evaluate when determining the winner?
As a general rule, judges base themselves on a general list of eight criteria that they pay attention to when judging. These criteria are given in no particular order:
How well the dancer feels the music and uses it to express himself in the dance.
Mastery of the base
Demonstration of excellent mastery of the basics of top rock and footwork, descents, transitions, freezes and power moves.
How well the dancers express their individuality in dance is judged.
The complexity of the elements
The level of dynamism of the movements that the dancer demonstrates.
Uniqueness and individuality of style are judged.
Technical and clean execution of elements without errors.
The performance in the round must have a beginning, middle and end, which are connected by smooth and logical transitions.
Original variations of familiar movements, execution of completely new and unusual elements, as well as demonstration of a technique that the judges have not seen before.
When a battle is a one-on-one elimination competition, the judges take into account all the criteria, with each judge independently deciding which points are more important. If the battle has a different concept or format, judges may pay more attention to some criteria than others, and accordingly, the general approach of the judge to assessing performance in competitions may change.
Below are the four different competition formats and a list of criteria that the judges primarily look at in a given competition:
Qualifying/showcase/preliminary rounds. Judges can choose a limited number of dancers. They strictly evaluate the performances, so in this case the criterion "performance" becomes the key. Any inaccuracies and errors in the performance of movements become a reason for giving a low score and simplify the task for the judge, narrowing the circle of applicants. The criteria "individuality" and "complexity of movement" are also of great importance.
Cypher king/queen competition. The judges pay great attention to criteria such as "style", "personality" and "musicality". In this format, breakers form a circle, then take turns starting to perform in the middle of it. As a rule, dancers are given a sticker with a number. The judges observe the participants and write down the numbers of the participants who made the greatest impression on them. (Sometimes the judge remains incognito, and it can be any member of the cipher). At the end of the time, the judges gather and decide who made the greatest impression on them - this person will be given the title of king / queen of the cipher.
Team battles. The uniqueness of the team battle lies in the fact that different criteria are evaluated in different rounds, and based on this information, you can send the strongest team members to participate in certain rounds. This means that the team can strategize and send the strongest dancers to participate in the respective rounds.
Watch as crews showcase their skills at the 30th anniversary of Battle of the Year in Montpellier, France.
Exception: audience-selected battles
On some projects, such as Red Bull Dance Your Style, the performances are judged by the audience, who may not understand all the subtleties, but simply dance lovers who came to enjoy the bright performances. The audience, evaluating the performances of dancers, as a rule, pays more attention to such criteria as the complexity of the elements and individuality. Viewers are more likely to vote for a dancer whose performance was able to inspire them and included high-level technical elements. The criterion of musicality is also important, but it must be at a very high level so that the audience can understand and appreciate it. Usually the audience does not pay much attention to the criteria of performance, possession of the base or composition of the round. As a rule, technical movements and individual style make a big impression on the audience.
The crowd votes for Dance Your Style
© Alex Grymanis/Red Bull Content Pool
Delicious conversations with Fox Fight! — Lisoborye dance school in Moscow
Part one — Title....
- How the French fell in love with Russians, Russians fell in love with Frenchmen, and all together they fell in love with WCS;
- How and why should a partner kill a deer;
- What is more important technique or interaction.
We had a delicious talk about this and many other things with one of the most sought-after WCS teachers: Boris Borenko and Irina Avdeeva (Lisichka, author's note).
- Borya, if I'm not mistaken, before joining the WCS you were engaged in martial arts and were even fond of tap dancing. And how did you get into dancing?
Borya : Trite and simple. A colleague who needed a dance partner called:
- Shall we go?
- And let's go!
She took me to the hustle. We didn't have West Costa then. I realized that in principle I like to dance with beautiful women to rhythmic music, but what I was taught at the beginning was, of course, great, but not very logical. And then the same teachers, Anya Kondakova and Kerim Kulmakeev, began to teach West Coast, for which many thanks to them.
They honestly told us: “We tried a new dance style here - we like it. Let's try together with you in a group." Anya showed me a video with Jordon and Tanya. It was the "How to save a life" routine. I caught fire. I liked this routine so much, it was so beautiful, and I realized that this is what I want to try.
After studying for just a couple of months, I accidentally saw on Facebook that Katya Avlasevich was going to some kind of event. I had a visa open - why not go to an event in France?! I bought myself a plane ticket and left. Knowing no one, not warning anyone. Naturally, I did not know that you need to register for events. :)
I came to the event: "Hello, I'm a boy from Russia."
They said, “Cool. What do you need?"
Me: “I want to go to the third level, the highest.”
They said: “Sorry, everything is busy on the third, go to the first!”
Me: "Okay, I'll go to the first one."
Then Katya Avlasevich appeared and said: “Yes, he’s dancing, it’s fine.”
In short, I was then taken to an event, it was called "Westie meeting 2009". And there I saw for the first time how multifaceted the West Coast is, how many people dance it, and I was really hooked. After that, I started to train. With Anya Kondakova, they set up a routine. We launched Westie disco for the first time - a disco that was in Moscow. Then Anya and I broke up, but we got along with Lisichka, and since then there has been no better partner for me.
- And how did you get along with Chanterelle?
Borya : At some point, we realized that we really wanted to do a routine, but something didn’t work out for everyone in their current couples. Ira's with Zhenya, I'm with Anya.
Contacted Chanterelle, they said:
- Let's try?
- Come on...
While we were setting up a routine, we realized that it was very comfortable for us to work with each other, that we understand each other, we don’t argue too much, we don’t swear. A year later we went to France. This was the first "French Open WCS". We took second place in routines. We were pleased with the result. In Russia, everything was just beginning, and it was very cool.
- Ira, how did you get into dancing, how did your history in WCS begin?
Ira : My parents sent me to ballroom dancing. I loved to dance very much, but the partners were constantly changing. The coach didn't pay much attention to us. It took a lot of money to move to the next class. And a new partner was needed, because mine disappeared again. The boys were in trouble then. Boys aged 10-11 did not want to dance...
Borya : Do you appreciate me? How many years have I been with you. ..
Irina : Did I interrupt you?
Borya : Yes.
Irina : Nooo… (laughs) The partner disappeared, there was no money…
Borya : “The partner disappeared, there was no money ... (pretends to cry)
Irina : Continue...
Borya : Chanterelle said: “Enough pair dances, I’ll go to solo ...”
Irina : It wasn't like that (smiles). When my parents took me away from ballroom dancing, I didn’t dance for several years. But the body demanded - I found solo ones. Tried one thing and another.
Like Borya, a colleague took her to the dance - hustle. I came to the party,
I realized that yes, this is what I want and .... did not go to work. I went immediately to parties, as I had dancing experience. There was no special preparation required.
She danced hustle for seven years. Has grown to A-class. My partner and I started to take some places and realized that there was nowhere to grow further. There was a stupor. We started watching YouTube and saw West Coast Swing. We thought: “It looks like we need to dig chips.” But since it is quite difficult to do this with video, we decided to look for someone to learn from. We started digging. And then I was paired with Zhenya Danilov, he digs very well. Found Katya Avlasevich, found in St. Petersburg. Nine years ago, this was the only person in Russia who danced the West Coast. They invited her with master classes. There was a group of us, probably five or six couples. We tried. Liked. We thought: "We need to call Katya again." A couple of weeks later they called again.
And so, Katya came to us for a year. At first, once a month, then more often, then almost every weekend. As a result, Katya got tired, and she moved to Moscow. By this time, I was already teaching hustle and realized that I liked the West Coast more.
Three or four months after training, we went to France, danced with the same incompetent French. We were sure that we were dancing West Coast Swing amazingly. They were sure of the same. We fell in love with the French, the French fell in love with us. We all fell in love with West Coast Swing and since then, everyone…
The first event was a beacon for us. We realized that we want to deal with West Coast in depth.
At the moment when Katya taught us, she did not know much of what she knows now, of what we know.
Borya : What we taught then and what we danced then is very different from what we dance today, like heaven and earth. These are two different dances.
Ira : The base is the same, the base is the same, but that was enough for us to light up. And since then we started studying, I started teaching with Zhenya Koltsov, then we did a routine with Borey and six months after that we started teaching. And now it's been six years.
Borya : Six and a half.
Ira : Yes, we have been teaching together for more than six years.
- Drive around cities and towns . ..
Irina : Yes.
- And you kill some deer ?
Irina : Yes, there are deer too.
- And what kind of deer is this? Why should he be killed?
Borya : The deer is not our idea. This is an analogy. This is what we heard from our dear friend and head judge Chuck Brown, who explains this topic in a cool way. We liked it and we took it with his permission.
In America, this is a common story. You are driving along some deserted road, and a deer jumps out of the forest. And a deer is such a beast that cannot run backwards. He can only run forward. He, hearing the danger, jumps out onto the road, freezes in the headlights, and something unpleasant happens.
So, the partner on the dance floor acts as this same deer: when the partner starts doing something unexpected for her, and she suddenly freezes frightened instead of continuing to move. Gets up as if rooted to the spot. On this, in principle, the dance ends. If the partner is good, he will pick up and correct this situation, but this does not always happen, so we regularly try to kill the deer in the partners so that the dance does not stop, so that the girls are not afraid to keep moving and so that they are not afraid and do not stop if the partner does what something they didn't expect.
- And what is this new beast - contempo?
Irina : Contempo is music. Initially, West Coast Swing was danced to the blues, and until the 2000s, it lived almost exclusively to the blues.
Borya : West coast swing is good because it absorbs different musical and dance styles. This has been very pronounced lately. But if you look at the history of dance, you can always trace two musical directions, to which swing is danced. This is modern music for a certain period. For example, in the nineties: disco, plus blues. 2000s: hip-hop plus blues. Two thousand and ten: dub step plus blues. Now: zouk, kizomba, something that is slightly different in rhythm, but very similar in interaction, just as cool. West Coast absorbs it all. Therefore, we conditionally divide all the music that exists into blues - our basis - and into contempo - a modern musical style, what is popular at the moment. The division is very simple. But the blues is always there, the blues is the foundation. That is why we learn how to dance it.
- Guys, since the interview with you takes place immediately after the contest, I can't help but ask. What are the main selection criteria for you as judges?
Irina : There are standard three Ts. These are technique, timing and teamwork (interaction). They also came to us from the States, like the whole base.
Timing is very important. This is the most important thing for people to get into the rhythm.
Borya : If a person dances past the rhythm, we don't have to look at him. He doesn't go any further.
Irina : The next very important parameter is technique. Does he do triple steps, for example.
Borya : Does the partner lead back one time.
Irina : Triple steps are the foundation of West Coast Swing. By skipping the triplet step, you are dancing in a different direction, a different dance. There is no “motor” in the legs, which should be.
Technique for a girl is how much she waits to be led. Or she moves herself, redirects herself, does everything herself.
How smoothly a person moves, no matter who is the partner, the partner. West Coast Swing is a very smooth dance, it is about smooth movements in space.
And a teamwork is an interaction, as far as partners dance with each other or everyone dances solo, holding hands. For me, a rather important criterion after timing is the teamwork. Even if the technique suffers a little, it is very important for me that people dance together.
Borya : Each judge has the right to weigh the creteria differently. That is, timing is always the first. If a person dances past the rhythm, no judge will lead him further.
Irina : Unless everyone is dancing past the rhythm in the same way)).
Borya : Everyone is dancing past the rhythm at the same time, well, ok, we choose the best of the worst. But if everyone dances to the rhythm, then each judge can choose a more priority criterion for himself. For me it will be technique. For Chanterelle, this will be an interaction - a teamwork. Someone, perhaps, will put musicality in second place, but this will probably not be very correct. We always weigh what is most needed at the moment, and at the same time, the weight of the criterion depends on which nomination we are judging.
For example, if we judge jack-n-gill, when we judge a partner and a partner separately in the selection, then technique is more important for us than interaction. Until the final.
In the end, interaction is more important than technique. That is, we already know that technically correct people who know how to dance technically well got into the final. Then we look at how well they can interact with each other.
If we judge the category of streaktli, for example, then in strictli it is more important to pair dances than technique. There, we are already looking first at the teamwork, then at the technique, and in the finale, at the musicality, how much the couple basically hears what they are dancing.
Irina : Yes, that's right.
— Does age, weight, having a difficult dancing past in childhood matter for someone who wants/dreams of dancing, but for some reason hesitates to fulfill his dream? Can a person come from scratch and become a dance floor star?
Borya : Any person is able to achieve anything. In general, a person is such an interesting little animal that, with proper internal motivation, he can move mountains.
If a person has an internal motivation to engage, grow, train, he is able to achieve this.
There are no restrictions in West Coast. Age is not a limitation. Weight is not a limitation. The only limitation is your own motivation and desire to do something.
Dance, like any art, probably, requires several things. I would formulate them like this: in addition to the fact that you have to hear and somehow transform what you hear in motion, you also need to do it technically correctly. That is, if you want to achieve some success in contests, become an advance, all star, etc., you need to develop a technical base. All of this takes effort and practice.
Irina : All this requires a certain number of hours spent in the gym.
Borya : Such a raid.
Irina : Yes. For some, this is easier, for those who have data from nature. It is more difficult for someone, and it cannot be said that if you are engaged, then in two years you will achieve such and such a level.
Borya : There is no such definite, fixed time scale. Everything is very individual. Someone is a native. We know such people in Russia. They reach the highest level in just a couple of years, in a year, thanks to their abilities and willingness to work. Ready to plow.
Someone spends more time on this. But what we see is clear: any perseverance is rewarded. Even those people who crawl to higher categories, after three years, after four, are people who deserve it. In the West Coast, which is cool, if you really try to work on yourself, you will definitely swim to the top. This is not such a difficult dance that it is impossible to rise in it. If you danced your base, and you are very danceable, very paired, then they will definitely see it. And maybe you don’t straighten your knees, as more technically advanced guys do, but you do everything in music, you do it together with your partner, you are able as a partner to explain to her exactly what you want from her ...
Irina : Then there will be judges who will take you to the final and to high places.
Part two - Dessert....
— Burnout and motivation;
- What is more important in dance: the social component or competitions;
— WCS as a role-playing simulation.
Already interested? Then we read further interviews with Boris Borenko and Irina Avdeeva (Lisichka, author's note).
- Have you ever had depression on the topic: stopped enjoying dancing, did not take a prize in competitions?
When you almost completed the renovation at the new school, your upstairs neighbors caught fire and flooded you. How did you cope with such stresses, where did you find the strength and inspiration to move on?
Borya : Let's share. There is a desire to dance, and it is not tied to any criteria. Neither to fires, nor to what is happening. It's just a thrill from the fact that you are moving into music, dancing (in my case, with beautiful girls). This is an inner need to move beautifully to beautiful music.
Ira : This is when you can't help but dance. You dance because you can't not. Although, it also happened when the pleasure became less, when I felt that I was burning out. Then you take a break, get distracted by something else, meet non-dancing friends, go to the theater, go on vacation (without dancing). And very soon it starts to pull back, because dance is movement, it's life, it's harmony with your body
Borya : This is the motivation for dancing in general. Everyone has their own motivation for some kind of achievement. Someone likes the honor and respect that he gets by taking some place. We have such students, this is completely normal. It's normal in human nature to try to achieve something and get rewarded for it.
Irina : I always really like the feeling of adrenaline, but not from a competition where you are evaluated by specific 5-7 people, but after setting up routines. When you know exactly at what moment what you will have in the dance. There is no moment of surprise. I like to speak in public, I love to give, I love to share what I enjoy without working for places.
I emotionally open up very much. I am very open at the time of the performance and for me this is probably the biggest buzz. And the same thing works inside at a party, when you catch the same wave with a partner, when you share the feeling of music with him, when he shares with you and you are on the same wavelength, this is the maximum pleasure for me.
Contests are a slightly different feeling for me, of course, I like to win, but when I enter competitions, I don’t count on any places. I know for sure that if I count on prizes and do not win, I will be very upset. Therefore, I immediately set myself up: I just dance to the maximum as much as I can.
Naturally, when you enter a competition, you start to get nervous, you dance worse than you can, well, not that natural, but for the majority it works like that and usually you are not very pleased with yourself, in most cases. And every time you try to dance better than you can. This is also a kind of motivation. Dance better than you ever danced. Show that you can do more. This is how it works for me.
Borya : I don't care about contests at all. I have already gone through that stage when I was thinking about competitions and performances. For me now the buzz is in dancing. At parties, when you can dance, try to show what you hear through movement, do it in pairs. The thrill is in teaching, but not in the very fact of teaching people, but in what we get from them in return.
When you teach people to move and see how much they like it, how much they begin to get high from what they do on the dance floor. When you see their burning eyes, when you understand that people have come to you who know absolutely nothing, who are not familiar with their bodies, who in their lives have never touched other people like this, in a closed position, God forbid...
When you see how people, overcoming themselves with your help, begin to feel differently, when many people's lives begin to change after that, this is the thrill for me. And what we are doing now is the most valuable thing for me. We are changing the lives of many people for the better.
Irina : I would say that we make people a little happier. For me, this is the purpose of life. I was looking for her for a very long time, half the life I lived until I started teaching, I saw those burning eyes. I didn’t see that I was helping students to become happier even a little bit. And I realized that most likely I, yes, came here for this.
Borya : This is probably the only reason why we still teach. Because at some point, we, like everyone else, burn out. Yes, and I once got upset: “Whoa, the competition, again, it didn’t take any place.” In my life, there was no such thing that I took first place in the competition, not once. I participated in them in order to crawl to these very advances, not because I need it, but because it is necessary for conditional prestige, for show, because in Russia, unfortunately, they look at regalia. In other countries, you can be a cool teacher without confirmation of this in terms of competitions.
How it happens in salsa. If you are a cool teacher, then everyone knows you. And we, unfortunately, are looking at this. For points, for ratings. We are trying to get rid of it, but so far, it's hard. I came to advances solely for these reasons. Therefore, I am not speaking further now, other things are more important for me. I have some earned level, I feel comfortable on it. But the thrill is, of course, in a different way, the thrill is in helping people become happier.
Irina : And in terms of the school... You say: "Fires, floods..." This is precisely the motivation. To make people happier, to give them something.
Borya : Actually, we have never been a dance school in the usual sense. We are more like a family. People who get into the Fox Forest do not feel like students of some dance school, they feel like part of the family, part of the Fox Fight. They tell us about it and write. Perhaps this is our main difference from the rest. We don't just teach dance. We give people a family, we give communication with others, some kind of community.
Irina : hugs…
Borya : We feed, after all, and they feed us themselves (smiles).
At a certain point, the educational process develops into a social phenomenon, and we must not forget about it, we dance social dances that were invented so that people could communicate at parties. This is not something that should be shown in the competition.
The original original idea of social dancing is that people can come to some nice place, chat, dance, get high from it without straining, relax, spend free time. What they make of social dances is window dressing, they make competitions out of it, this is fundamentally wrong. This is a motivation to grow for some, but the main idea here is different.
Irina : We rented a hall for five and a half years, until we realized that we needed our own house. The hall is good, we liked it, it’s cozy, but it’s not the same, it’s still a rental, a few hours a week, but we wanted our own home, our own corner.
Borya : Where any dancer at any time can come to work out, hang out. Eat or sit, chat with people, chat. We made such a house for our students. Therefore, Lisoborye is a very open place in this regard.
- Borya, on your Vkontakte page, you somehow wrote: “They say that you can endlessly look at three things: fire, water and how Chanterelle dances! There is simply no better partner than her in dancing for me (may everyone else forgive me).”
Tell me, please, what exactly makes Chanterelle so special? What should other partners learn from her?
Borya : You know, it's very hard to find a person who won't bore you after so many years. And with whom you get along so well in character and - plus - get along with some kind of inner feeling. For me, Lisa is the perfect partner. I love her very much, such a good dancing love. But dance is always a romance between us, because if there is no this inner feeling of the game, constant flirting, then it is not interesting.
Lisa is very feminine, very beautiful. The way she moves in the dance is ideal for me. She doesn't do too much herself, she hears her partner, she knows how to decorate the dance with her own styling. There are partners who can do crazy things and do it regardless of what the partner wants from them. There are many, yes. But for me, as a man, this is too much. Still, in social dances, in pairs, I lead, I demand something from my partner, or at least I want ... If she obeys me, then we will succeed. She can be beautiful, I will give her the opportunity for this, I will expect from her that she will be beautiful .... If she doesn't listen, we're in trouble.
- As in relations ...
Borya : And dancing is about life in general. This is an absolute role-playing simulation. I set the general vector, the partner decorates and remakes it in the way that suits her. Lisa is very good at this. No other partner can do it like this. Feminine, soft, but persistent.
Irina : Borya was just talking, and I was trying to formulate for myself what I like about him as a partner, why I have been putting up with him for six years (smiles). And while I was thinking, I realized that I appreciate human qualities in him. What is characteristic of a person in life is very evident in the dance. For me, Borya is a good support. What in the dance plan, what in life. I feel safe and free next to him. He clearly knows what he wants and within the framework of what he wants, and provides a lot of opportunities for his partner...
Borya : As long as she does what I want)))
Irina : At the same time, he adapts very well if I offer something else. And it works well in the classroom. We discuss the topic with him. We work with this and this. Come, I'm doing a warm-up. The first part of our lesson is usually devoted to technology. And I see that the guys need this right now, I see it clearly, and I start, without discussing with Borey, to talk with them on some topic. “Now we are working on the transfer of weight, it should be such and such ....” Borya instantly picks up, as if we were discussing this topic, continues, flows in and leads very harmoniously. In terms of adjustment - within reason, of course - he is the perfect partner for me.
Borya : I think it works within a couple as well, because we have a lot of trust in each other. That is, we both know that each of us is doing everything right, and we understand that even if we disagree somewhere in the comments, we adapt to each other because we listen. If I see that the Fox is leading somewhere, then she needs it, I will always support her in this. So she knows what she's doing. We have this trust.
Irina : In dancing, as in life.
- If you look at dance as a relationship, what are yours based on? On what three main pillars?
Borya : Trust comes first. When there is confidence that a person is with you. The feeling that he does something not because he wants to do it, and he does not care about everything else. But because he wants the best, and you know that he wants the best, and you trust him in this. And even if you don’t agree with him (“What the hell is happening, what the hell?”), you still think: “Okay, if he does this, then he knows what he wants, and I believe him, then he does it like necessary". And from that moment on, everything is fine.
- It turns out that the main thing in a pair: trust, security, respect?
Irina : Yes, probably, yes.
Borya : Nooo….
Ira : No?
Borya : Sex ... if there is no sex in a couple, then what is there to dance about?
Irina : I saw different couples, but this particular scheme works in our couple. ..
Borya : Sex?
Irina : Flyirt.
Borya : Six and a half years….
Irina : Borya is not just a partner for me, for me he is a man, and I perceive him precisely from this point of view, not just as a man-machine that leads me to good movements and who speaks correctly ...
Borya : You probably saw it in the classroom too. We have a dialogue going on all the time, and Chanterelle is the feminine, this is softness, this is beauty ...
Irina : If you don't piss me off with the wrong triple step...
Borya : It's better not to piss off Chanterelle. Chanterelle is a dangerous forest predator. My task is very simple. My task is to accumulate the process as a whole. See that everything goes as planned, give love when you need it. Or vice versa.
Irina : I would say you are positive and you are not exactly entertaining people.