9.12 On Floorcraft

Floorcraft does not primarily consist of modifying where your steps go to make sure that you don't hit or get hit. Floorcraft consists of two things:
    avoiding or preventing "conflict" between you and others on the floor, and
  1. keeping the flow of your dance.

(1) means you try not to get hit or hit. This can be attempted by manipulating your steps like Mary's partner tries to do (see above), but it is best dealt with by choosing your steps to deal with the traffic at hand. This implies that you have a lot of steps ready to apply. Well, yeah, unfortunately you have to go through a lot of practice, both on getting and perfecting the steps so the leader does not have to think about them anymore AND on applying them.

You can do things like overturn or underturn a turn, hesitate, speed up (in very special cases), stop a step in mid-step or mid-turn and hold for 1 measure, skip out of someone's way, grab your partner and turn her around so you take the hit, or just plain duck the elbow coming at you. The best course however is to plan. Lots of social dancing helps with that. My competition floorcraft became its best after six months of particularly heavy social dancing.

I think the bad reputation that International style (the "smooth" dances) has with social dancers is often justified because the International dancers so often do "routines", death on the social dance floor. Hey, a routine is also death on the competition dance floor!!! If a competitor can't depart from his routine, at least at the Open Amateur level, he shouldn't be out there!!!! Um, sorry about that, pet peeve. The International dancer has to be able to get out of the routine mode and be able to throw in whatever step is appropriate to the traffic.

(2) keeping the flow of your dance has to do with enjoying yourself. Floor craft is not only to prevent collisions but also so that your flow lets you move as you want to and sothat you use the whole floor or as much of it as you want.

Floorcraft: the ability to move where you want on the dance floor without interfering with others on the floor while retaining your own enjoyment.

Floorcraft in competition: the ability to move where you want on the dance floor. (as many practice it. I try to follow the first definition always)

Tip for learning floorcraft: don't do routines and learn (and practice) enough steps to allow freedom.


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This file is part of the lead/follow FAQ list. These are articles compiled from the newsgroup rec.arts.dance by Mark Balzer. Html-isation by Victor Eijkhout, victor at eijkhout dot net. See also the Rec Arts Dance FAQ list Copyright 1996/7/8/9 lies with the compiler, the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

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