Sunday, January 24, 2010

What is Formation Dancing and How do you Eat an Elephant?

Quote from the early rules of the British Formation Championship –

“This is a competition in Ballroom or Latin Dancing, danced by several couples simultaneously who perform the recognized steps and variations in a varying pattern.”
“Judging will be based on the effectiveness of design and presentation together with technical accuracy”.

Selecting The Team Couples – usually four, six or eight couples. Reserves are essential.
Selecting The Dances – to suit the couples who will dance in the Team.
Selecting The Music – have it recorded on a disc. Do not use current ‘pop’ tunes which may have a very short life.
The Entry - prepare a suitable entry bearing in mind the shape of the ballroom and/or studio in which the team is likely to rehearse and perform.
The Practice and Rehearsals – do not waste time. Be on time and come prepared beforehand with a plan of work.
The Dress Code for the Gentlemen and Ladies must be uniform and is a must for all practices and rehearsals.
The Routine should be timed carefully – count bars (measures) carefully noting the phrasing and high lights.
The Patterns – must be well varied and clear to the eye but not held too long.
The Precision is vital. Untidy lines, spaces or patterns lose interest for the judge or viewer.
The Dancing from one rhythm to another must be musically correct.
The Importance of Good Grooming – dresses, suits, hair, shoes, etc. Absolute uniformity is essential.
The Exit - a good exit is important – it is the last impression left with the judge or viewer.

Number all Couples from 1 to 8, less or more, so that it is easy to call them to positions.
Changing partners temporarily during practice can be interesting, sometimes amusing.
Solo dancing in the routine must be kept at a minimum.
All ballrooms/studios have four walls. Try starting the routine from a different wall.
Dance the routine without music and ask all the Gentlemen to count the timing. Then ask all the ladies to do the same.
Break the routine into small pieces and rehearse each piece separately slowly and correctly. (Remember the saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time"!)

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