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  • Writer's pictureLynn Armsby

Latin Dance Technique

Updated: Jul 20, 2019

I have been a member of the Latin Faculty for the IDTA for less than a year. I was trained by Walter Laird so sometimes fiercely defend what he told me was the right way to dance something. But is this the right thing to do? When Walter wrote the first technical book, he told me he analysed the finest dancers of the day. Latin American dancing as a creative art changes all the time and it should. The champions of today are much faster, more technically skilled and more creative than their predecessors. This provides great challenges to those who document the technique. The technique moves very quickly and world class dance champions have very different ideas on technique. Keeping up to date is an impossible task. Printing deadlines have to be set and the work gone through in almost impossible detail. Every year dancers take professional examinations and ask the why questions, often causing even the most experienced technical experts like us to say “That is a very interesting point”. For me this is really exciting news though. Professionals should always ask the difficult questions. I feel sure the Latin faculty would love to receive more comment from the IDTA members with any questions they have. Nobody knows everything. That’s why the Latin Faculty is not one person.

I thought you might enjoy the latest misprint picked up in a figure the Latin Faculty is working on. The Action Used column stated Bad Walk instead of Bwd walk. You never know it might catch on. It would be so much easier to execute than a Backward walk!


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Lynn Armsby
Lynn Armsby
Apr 17, 2018

Thank you for this lovely reminder. I think you are so right that in heavily codifying the technique we do sometimes lose sight of dance as an embodied experience which is different in every dancer.


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Joanna Navarre
Joanna Navarre
Apr 17, 2018

Alongside the work of Rudolph Laban (see post on Choreography), was his often forgotten collaborator Warren Lamb, who did so much work on developing Movement Pattern Analysis - there are parallels to be found with the development, notation and standardisation of technique in ballroom and Latin dance - the pioneers from physics/science based backgrounds who applied their knowledge (I'm thinking here of Henry Jacques and Walter Laird in particular) to the analysis of technique. Whatever the dance discipline, whether it be ballet, ballroom, Latin or Hip-Hop the outcome is the creation of a 'dancer's body' and concerns with 'efficiency of movement' in order to produce an 'aesthetic dance product' - in that process, we can sometimes lose sight of th…

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