Monday, February 1, 2016

Competition Dance, Part One.

By Ray Ogawa, Honokai Hale

Historically, American style ballroom (called Smooth) was developing on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean during the same period as English style ballroom (called Modern) was developing near the east side of the Atlantic.

"If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their
own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others,
 we could have a paradise in a few years."

There seems to be no conflicts in that statement and there was probably some cross fertilization. Jive and Fox Trot are American not English. For that matter, Waltz is not English either. But in dancing there has always been a lot of independent development.

"Song For You"
by Jimmy Borges

Competition seems to have started to dominate the development of English style fairly early (1920s). And in order to be judged, the "correct" way to dance the English style had to be established. Today they have the strictest of rules and all with good reason. All the dancers will be judged by the same rules.

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Bruddah Iz.

American style was more rooted in social dancing as taught by the Arthur Murray studios and later the Fred Astaire studios and a desire to emulate the stage and screen dancing as epitomized in the Fred Astaire movies.  Consequently, ballroom dancing was much affected by Show Business. And that has given the rise to a different view, the not so fancy Social Dancer, mainly in Night Clubs. And they will dance to the music of their  choice.

"Kau I Ka Hano Ka Wahine" by Amy Hanaialii

You can generally trace many open American style foxtrot figures to things that Fred and Ginger did in various choreographed sequences in their movies. In fact, because of those movies, there was probably more influence of American style on English style than vice versa. But now there is a new version of Social Dancing on Oahu and the dancers will have their say.

(Part two is in Dancing Nights Blog.)

"Yes, we can be creative in anything - in math, science, philosophy -
as much as we can in music or in painting or in dance."