American Smooth Ballroom Dance
1 October 2011
The Modern Ballroom Committee introduces this popular form of dance as a Medal Test subject.
Following the increase of interest in American Smooth Ballroom Dance when it was shown in 'Strictly Come Dancing' last season, the Modern Ballroom Committee decided that the time had come to introduce this form of dance as a Medal Test subject.
The popularity of this style was well illustrated at the Worthing Congress in July 2011, when the floor was full on the occasion of both of the Lectures then and the Members were most enthusiastic in their participation.
To that end – and after the lectures given at previous Congresses by our American friends – we invited the three leading American teachers with whom we had been working, to stay over for three days after their Refresher Course Lectures in March this year to go through the syllabus steps of the four dances included, comprising Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango and Viennese Waltz. The three guests included the President of USISTD, Mrs Lori Woods-Gay, Miss Cher Rutherford and Mr Rufus Dustin.
This style has been very popular in the States for many years now and is danced mostly socially, but also as a competitive style and many well attended competitions are regularly held across America. Most USISTD teachers hold Professional American Smooth Qualifications as well as having taken their International Style Examinations.
When we started work on our syllabus, it was decided to use different names for some steps, so that our teachers would be able to quickly identify them. You will therefore find names such as ‘Travelling Bota Fogo shaped Twinkles’ for example.
We felt that our teachers would welcome the opportunity to introduce another style of dance in their schools and bring it into either existing classes, or special classes. A good way to introduce a new subject is also by means of running a ‘one off’ workshop, which can be held on an appropriate day when pupils from different classes could attend. This then can fire the pupils’ enthusiasm and can develop into a regular session.
Another very good way to use American Smooth Ballroom is for the increasing number of ‘Wedding Couples’ coming into our schools at present – most of whom love to be taught this style.
It can also be a useful addition when needing to make up the programme for a Medal Test Session if you are likely to need a few extra entries in order to achieve the minimum fee.
The levels go up as far as ‘Bronze’ at present. Social Dance Tests 1,2,3 & 4; Pre-Bronze Tests 1,2,3 & 4 and Bronze 1 & 2. Therefore all levels will be just 2 dances – which may be chosen by the teacher/pupil.
It is very much hoped that teachers will choreograph their own routines and to that end an ‘interim’ DVD has been made of all the figures separately, as well as the figures in groups as examples. You may find that there are some figures which you don’t care for – so as with other dances in the Ballroom syllabus, you can choose to omit them. The DVD often suggests preceding and following steps, but this is far from comprehensive, as we hope that you will work out your own personal way to group the figures. The DVD is ‘interim’ because with any new subject which is introduced and in working practice, it is difficult – although we worked very hard on the content – to pick the right elements for each level. Therefore, when we go on into the higher level tests, we may move some figures from one level to another at that time.
You should use your lecture notes from the Worthing lectures in conjunction with the DVD, as the figures are in exactly the same order. If you need copies of these descriptive notes and the ‘Syllabus Outline’ there will be an extra charge. The cost for the DVD will be £5.00 including P&P and the notes will cost an extra £5.00. Send to Anne Lingard at 35 Ernest Drive, Maidstone, Kent ME16 0QS, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not leave text or voice messages for this purpose.
So, how about getting involved in this new opportunity for your business – we are sure that you will enjoy it!
(Photo: courtesy of the ENO's Strictly Gershwin)