Teamwork!

by Douglas Rousar

(originally posted on the WCS – Competitor Hangout FB page)

One of the more common questions I get regarding the 3 t’s is about teamwork. What does it mean to have good teamwork and how does one get evaluated or scored? This is especially confusing in a J&J prelim where one is scored as an individual.

Teamwork has many layers to it and can be quite the challenge, especially for competitors that haven’t trained themselves on how to adapt to varying partners. The most frequent question is how to dance with someone that is off time?

Is it good teamwork to dance off time with them? Or is it good teamwork to correct them and force them on time?

The answer is easy on paper….difficult to execute without proper training and yes, technique.

Answer; Work to make adjustments to timing in a non-combative way. Adjust your spacing and use your body to intensify or lighten stretch in a way that you can manipulate timing without strength.
If a leader pulls early and you resist with strength, in essence getting pulled around, that MAY affect your score in a negative way. However, if a leader pulls early and we see your attempt to adjust your space and your stretch to dance on time, without pulling on your partner, it WILL affect your score in a positive way. At the very least, a judge will make a note on their score sheet to watch you with a different partner.

Another major component to teamwork has to do with balance of lead and follow movements. As the levels get higher, this element seems to get compromised more and more. To state it another way……Are you as a dancer making an effort to align your level with your partner’s level? I’m not saying you have to dance at their level, but is an effort being made to align closer to their level. OR are you compromising your partner’s success by trying to showcase your abilities? Are you leading your follower in spins even though the follower has difficulty spinning? Are you adding kicky flippy things to your following even if the leader is struggling with timing or your leader is nervous? Are you dancing circles around your partner in a “look at me” attitude?

I have heard advice given to just worry about yourself in a prelim because you are scored as an individual. I have a major problem with that advice. It is a partner dance! My evaluation of you as an individual very much has to do with how you interact with your partner!

To be advanced or higher……master dancing with beginners of all levels and abilities without compromising your technique.

It is bad teamwork in a competition to attempt patterns, variations, or syncopations you haven’t mastered on the social floor with all levels of partners.

If you can’t execute something at a high percentage of success on the social floor, it probably doesn’t belong on the competition floor.

I will finish by saying that you need to know that teamwork has a higher weight value in Strictly then it does in a J&J. A hand miss in a J&J MAY be more forgiving then Strictly. Since you have the ability to choose your partner, strictly teamwork skills SHOULD be off the charts 🙂

This is my insight…..hope it helps or at the very least, invokes some thought.

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Douglas Rousar is a top ranked WCS competitor, Head Judge and Instructor.  Check out his website RousarDance.com, follow him on Facebook, visit his Competitor Hangout FB page, and be sure to check out his June event, the Michigan Classic.

We’ll be sharing more of Doug’s insights for competitors soon!