Dancing to live music

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Dancing to live music

Post  lenusz on Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:35 pm

There is a great variety of live music, with a normal spread of excellence/non-excellence. There are many benefits to live music, but like everything else, it depends on your level of experience. If you know the basic dances, and I am NOT talking about the made-up (politically correct=choreographed) dances, then I encourage you to go to live music dances, particularly "ethnic" dances. It will hone your recognition, so you don't make the mistake of thinking there is "only 1 racenica melody", there is "only 1 U Sest melody" etc. etc., so that when the band plays, you recognize the dance, without having to look at the blackboard or whatever, to see what the dance is. The nice thing about going to "ethnic" dances is that the ethnics don't know very many dances, as opposed to folkdancers, but the dances they do, they do with much more enthusiasm than folkdancers, and it gives you a real "high" to be in the middle of these dancers who are screaming, shouting, clapping, laughing, etc. etc., you can't help but notice the difference in enthusiam at ethnic dances versus folkdances. Of course, it's a luck of the draw thing.....does your city or village or whatever have any live bands, or are there ethnic groups within your area that have bands that play their music? Maybe you'll have to do a little traveling to get live band music. If you're fortunate, you'll have bands of both, folkdancer bands and ethnic bands, so you can compare the sounds, and hear the differences. Folkdancers tend to try for music and dances from the "old" country. So, what about the ethnic folks that have been in this country for several generations, what does their music sound like, what dances do they do? Let me insert here, that I'm 3rd generation Polish-American and we here in the US, at our parties (weddings, christenings, funerals, parties) do the COUPLE Polka, Oberek, and Waltz "straight". We do NOT do the "snobby" Krakowiak, Kujawiak, Mazur, etc. that (supposedly) are done in the "old" country by the "noble/royal" folks, because a lot of our ancestors were peasants, and believe you me, they didn't get to dance. The same goes for other ethnics. Go to, say, the Macedonian conventions on the labor day weekend.......So in your dancing experience, don't limit yourself, go to both, live music and recorded music, ethnic and folkdance. I suppose I'm dating myself, but remember, "there's more than 1 way to skin a cat".

lenusz

Posts : 9
Join date : 2008-09-30

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Live/ethnic/folkdancer/etc

Post  denismurf on Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:06 pm

Thanks for a rich article that points out a lot of important distinctions within the broad topic of dancing to live music.

Another feature of ethnic dances at ethnic events with live music is that in line dances, many of the people some distance away from the head of the line basically tune out the music, except for the beat, once they've settled in on what their feet are going to do. Once that happens, they are free to focus on what really matters: chatting with their neighbors in the line.

I agree with your assumption that dancing to live music is a very different experience from dancing to recordings, whether the event is ethnic or folky. Most people whose only experience is with one type of dancing (to live music or to recordings) will have some adjusting to do before they can enjoy the other type. It's worth the effort, for sure. -- Denis

denismurf
Admin

Posts : 43
Join date : 2008-08-17
Location : Seattle

View user profile http://balkan-ethnic-dance.forumotion.net

Back to top Go down

Dancing with the ethnics to live music

Post  denismurf on Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:11 pm

Over the weekend I chatted with Len about all the different slivers of Balkan dance, each with its own protocols. Here's an anecdote that says a lot about the intersection of folkies and ethnics, at an ethnic event featuring, as is almost always the case, live music.

This was a Serbian festival in the Sierra foothills south of Sacramento in the 60's. The band had an accordion, a bass, and a tambura, with the tambura player as the MC. Among the 40-50 dancers were about 10 folkies, including a kid about 16. The kid asked the tambura player if the band would play a drmesh. He said OK.

About an hour later, the kid goes back and asks, "When are you going to play the drmesh?"

Tambura guy: "We already did."

Kid: "No, you didn't. I was here the whole time, and you didn't play drmesh."

Tambura guy to the other players: "Mladi magarac kazhe da nismo svirali drmesh." ("The young ass says we didn't play a drmesh.")

Bass player: "Reci da sam mu jebao pichku materinu." ("Tell him I screwed his mother.") Players all laugh.

Accordionist: "Ne sme." ("Better not.")

Tambura player, to bassist: "Sram te bilo." ("Shame on you.") To kid: "We'll try to play it later."

The bass player's response was a standard profanity I heard all the time in former Jugoslavia. I cleaned it up a little for this family audience.

denismurf
Admin

Posts : 43
Join date : 2008-08-17
Location : Seattle

View user profile http://balkan-ethnic-dance.forumotion.net

Back to top Go down

Live music anecdotes

Post  denismurf on Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:51 pm

Len and Sonia (in the passion thread) mentioned how one must get used to the differences between dancing to live and recorded music. Here are a couple of short conversations from the live music party at the last Madison Folk Ball I went to 3 or 4 years ago.

1. A friend there had never danced to live music before. An hour or so after the dance party started, the friend returned to the hotel, saying that doing the same dance for almost half an hour at a stretch was boring and tiring.

2. I joined one of many lines doing a simple choreography I'd never seen before to a tune I'd never heard before. I was doing what the people in the line in front of me were doing and had tuned out whoever was dancing next to me. After about a minute, the woman on my left says to me, in an irritated voice, "Don't do that." I look over and say, "Huh?" She says, "Those people you're watching are doing it wrong. Watch me. I'm doing it right." It was clear that she was irritated with those people doing it wrong, not with me.

I'd like for some of you readers to tell us how you'd react if you were Denis in anecdote #2. -- Denis

denismurf
Admin

Posts : 43
Join date : 2008-08-17
Location : Seattle

View user profile http://balkan-ethnic-dance.forumotion.net

Back to top Go down

Denis' anecdote #2

Post  Dansingsal on Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:17 pm

In that situation, I would be tempted to drop out of line and rejoin the line elsewhere, and I would avoid the woman who had complained, for the rest of the evening if possible.

Or, in a similar situation but in a better mood, I might have thanked the woman on my left for her advice and kept on dancing like the people to my right. (I'm assuming a line moving to the right.)

Actually, I think I've done both. A smile is the key, and repeating to oneself, "It's only a dance."

Sally

Dansingsal

Posts : 16
Join date : 2008-09-30

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Denis' Anecdotes

Post  Sonia on Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:18 pm

My response to #2 would likely be "Oh, oops" and changing what I was doing. I might later avoid the person or not, depending on the emotional tone of the interaction. I could even see myself in the other person's role, telling someone next to me, "Our line isn't doing what that line is doing."

Re Anecdote #1, I think that the enjoyment of dancing to live music depends much more on who you're dancing with and how well you know them. I've been lonely and bored at dance parties where everyone else has known each other for 20 years, and I've also had a fantastic time because I was dancing with a friend for most of the evening.

I also want to note that dancing to live music doesn't always have to be a multi-line mob scene with 20 minute pravos. Our local band plays in a relatively small space, for maybe 5-20 dancers, and their pravo is only 6 minutes long. Smile

Sonia

Sonia

Posts : 32
Join date : 2008-08-17
Location : Portland, OR

View user profile http://www.BalkanDancing.com

Back to top Go down

Anecdote #2

Post  denismurf on Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:35 pm

I said something like what Sonia would say, but bailed a minute or so later and resumed dancing as far away from my "helper" as possible. I fault her not for correcting me, but for not recognizing the inclusive nature of the event.

By the way, I think I met you once, Sally, at a St. Louis workshop with one of the big name teachers. Were you up there between 1997 and 2007?

Yeah, Sonia, Balkan bands play here too in small places where you have to dance in aisles and spaces constantly traversed by waitresses, like the pizza place in Portland. The number of dancers at any one time is below about 8, and the pravos generally last only 10 minutes tops. My only point in anecdote #1 was that a lot of people who enjoy dancing to recordings find live events to be boring, claustrophobic, and way too loud. I myself enjoy all Balkan dancing, even when the floor is crowded, the dances are long, and I have to wear ear plugs. Not so for my wife. But we're getting into a different topic.

denismurf
Admin

Posts : 43
Join date : 2008-08-17
Location : Seattle

View user profile http://balkan-ethnic-dance.forumotion.net

Back to top Go down

Catering to nondancers

Post  denismurf on Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:15 pm

A local email conversation has broken out concerning how, or if, bands should accommodate roomfuls of people who are there just to drink coffee or eat and have no dance experience.

I observed that nondancers pretty much cannot pick up the standard ethnic dances - such as syrtos, cocek, devetorka, many others - on the fly. Aside from the basic 3-and-1, what they can pick up are some of those old kolos like Ersko, Savila Se Bela Loza, etc., where the melody actually does tell you what to do, or at least when to change to a different pattern.

If this conversation leads to something constructive, I'll post excerpts here, with identifiers removed.

denismurf
Admin

Posts : 43
Join date : 2008-08-17
Location : Seattle

View user profile http://balkan-ethnic-dance.forumotion.net

Back to top Go down

Re: Dancing to live music

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum