Partner height

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Partner height

Post  mpr9b on Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:43 pm

The 'how low can you go' exercise is designed for individual practice, but working with a partner of a different height will take some compromise. The shorter person naturally can't be as tall as the taller, and the taller person will have difficulty getting as low as the shorter person, so you must accommodate eachother.

Starting on the low end. First, both partners need a good feeling of how low they can comfortably go and still move. Once this is attained, the taller person will determine the actual lowest the partnership goes. Discuss exactly where you wish your connection to be, and then form one, with the taller person in this lowest state. Note that the 'connecting region' (depending on who you ask) can span anywhere between the bottom of the taller person's thigh to the bottom of the shorter person's ribcage. Every couple has a different comfortable location.

Standard dancers should never rise to a straight leg. In fact, some argue that the only time a leg is truly straight is in the final moment before you step onto a leg, with the knee bending as weight transfers. I will say the straightest a leg should be is slightly flexed, but certainly not locked. There are many terms for this, including 'soft', 'flexed', and 'active'.

Now for the high end. Starting on the low side, while maintaining a connection, slowly rise together. Rise until the shorter person achieves this soft state. You can do this with or without foot rise, as long as you agree on something. As taller person, you will not have reached your flexed state, but this is the maximal height in your dancing (with this partner). As an experiment, continue to rise beyond this point. Two things will happen. First the shorter person will be forced to a 'hard', 'locked', or 'inactive' knee. This is very bad for balance. After that the shorter person is unable to rise anymore. If the taller continues to rise, he/she will slide with respect to the partner. You can feel this by placing a finger 'in' the connection. The material touching your finger will crease and stretch.

I start with the low end because lowering is what produces movement. Thus we want to optimize this to generate motion. Make sure that you never sacrifice posture for lowering. A lowering in the legs, if anything, should correspond with a stretch in the body. The height change is a change in your ankles, knees, and the pelvic joint. As has been pointed out many times in other posts, judges really want to see people standing up straight, at all levels. Don't forget your posture Smile.

mpr9b
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