On 2 August 1999, the IDSF Standard Modern Champions, Italians William Pino together with his beautiful partner, Alessandra Bucciarelli, gave a very musical lecture to about 60 dance enthusiasts at Westin Stanford Hotel (Canning Room), Singapore. This was one of the 4 lectures being conducted in the first ADSF Dancesport Coach's Congress being presented by the Asian DanceSport Federation. RpMerlion editors were asked to assist in the photographic requirements. Being an assistant to Robin has its privileges so Pele started jotting down the highlights of this particular lecture for the benefit of RpMerlion readers:
William Pino - Italy Professional Modern Champion; Undefeated World, European, British, UK and International Amateur Champions
To William Pino, this was a complex topic and it was the first time that he conducted a lecture in a foreign language (English) in a foreign country. He felt strongly that the most important latest trend in Standard Dances is none other than the man & woman dancing to the character of the music being played. Every piece of music has a character, a story line, a background. For example in Latin music, Paso Doble music describes a scene of bull fight while the Rumba depicts a mental image of romance.
So, what's the story line of Standard music? The Waltz music is smooth & sensual, Tango provides solidity and to a certain extend, aggressiveness, the Foxtrot gives the impression of continuity of line and movement, the Quickstep's sort of noisy and finally, the Viennese Waltz portrays a round about dance. Frankly speaking, it's completely all right for competitors to dance complex footwork but these should follow with the basic steps of that dance, so that others would know the dance type.
In Tango, the combination of intricacy and slowness gives the characteristic of Tango. With the same footwork, if the music changes, the character and atmosphere that competitors portrayed in their dancing should change too.
Learn to adapt actions to the dance. All actions can be artificial if competitors do not pay attention to the music. The more musical the couple is, the more they can express music exactly as a non-dancing person hearing it ... a perfect combination. However, competitors must be flexible to changes as during competition, competitors will never know which song would be played.
Try to have lots of imagination or 'big elephant ears', no doubt this whole process would take experience, knowledge and practice. Often time, couples concentrated too much on footwork and forgotten about the wonderful music.
There is a difference between an instrumental music and a lyrical piece. Paying attention to the music is necessary when dancing. The most common way of showing your musical expression is the way your lady partner is being led. William went on to lead his partner, Alessandra, to dance 3 different pieces of Tango music. His interpretation of the first piece gave the impression of directness, solidity and powerfulness.
The second piece was more legato, paced and with more tension. The third was a combination of the preceding 2, fast intertwined with the slow movements. All 3 dances were of the same footwork but with different interpretations. He got the watching audience excited and everyone became involved in the music.
Next, William displayed his powerful musicality by leading Alessandra into 2 different Quickstep music with the same footwork. The first depicted slow swinging, soundness and stability story line. The second gave excitement, slightly more aggressiveness, jumpy, energetic and almost got the audience flying across and off the dance floor with them.
William was able to convince the audience that the 2 dances were of the same steps but with different attributes to match the difference in the music being played. It is very important to stay in touch with the music. The key in making the same footwork seemed different is to change the look, even a common step can be changed with a sway in the body, the stride and shaping.
William next demonstrated a Waltz routine dancing it normally and on the second time, danced with changes in height to give variations and different interpretations to the same music. Such mastery, such acquirement of technique and knowledge. He advocated all competitors not to do the same dance interpretation again & again for 20 years ... too boring.
How to achieve musical bonding? It relies a lot on the lead and follow theory.
The priority of the Leader :
1) On Time,
2) Good Direction,
3) Accurate Step Pattern/Line.
The priority of the Follower :
3) Trusting, otherwise conflict will arise.
Couples must learn how to improvise but must be accurate. The guy's job is to be good enough to lead.
It was an hour of excellent demonstration of musicality dancing and even though there was a slight language barrier, William & Alessandra were able to wow the audience with their musical bonding via the only body language which all dancers trusted ... physical dancing which earned him an unanimous standing ovation. His lecture is like a cactus in a desert, a treasured thirst quencher to this part of the world where priority is still towards executing the correct footwork.