Thursday, February 19, 2009

Symmetry

What makes a good dance? Hannah and I write lots of dances, and I think we'd be the first to admit that some of them are better than others. (we might not agree about which ones, though)

One of the things that's most important to me is symmetry. The dance actually needs to be slightly repetitive. You don't always do a whole ladies chain, but it feels nice and natural when you do. Cross. Courtesy Turn. Cross. Courtesy Turn.

You can also do it in a sort of a chiasm:
A: Do-si-do partner
B: Swing your partner
B: Swing your friend
A: Do-si-do partner

I made that sequence up, but I really think that sort of a set-up is nice. That sort of repetition helps the dancer to remember what's going on because there's an obvious pattern.

Although this kind of repetition is not always necessary, when you choose to do something else you have to be careful of how it "fits" because some dances tend to feel like they've been thrown together out of a bunch of cool moves.

This isn't something that is just important when writing dances; when choosing a dance, especially for beginners, it should be symmetrical and logical, so that it has a nice flow to it and is easy to remember. If there doesn't seem to be a pattern to it, you probably should think twice before teaching it to beginners, because it can feel like a dance like that is just move after move after move, with no reason and no way to remember.

1 comment:

Erin said...

Oh, I see what you mean about teaching it to beginners.
The very first dance our students learn in clogging is one that goes like this:
2 drag backs
4 basics
4 kicks
4basics
4 pushes
4 basics
4 rockingchairs
(and so on, with four basics stuck in between ever differen move)
So I guess that's why it's easy to pick up.
The repetition also gives one time to think while dancing so you aren't always scrambling to remember the next step.