Richard & Anne Gleave - The Genius Equation

Organizers Michael Chapman and Victoria Regan set about a monumental task in organizing the 2018 Congress of Superstars.  They assembled a cast of the best minds in DanceSport to educate dancers from beginner to elite.  The results were not only promising; they were inspiring.

It is best to pay close attention when a dancer with the pedigree of Richard Gleave begins to discuss timing.  By the time he arrives at "two" it is obvious that this lesson will show both sides of the "Inspiration/Perspiration" equation.   The 2018 Congress of Superstars began with an air of aristocracy as Richard and Anne Gleave danced onto the floor for the first lecture.  A few measures of Viennese Waltz was all it took to draw the entire audience to them like youngsters at story time.  Richard's demeanor was exactly that... an experienced raconteur ready to unfold the mysteries of dance with quiet simplicity and a philosophical point of view.  After watching them drift over the dance floor, every eye in the room was transfixed.

Richard's discussion approached the art of ballroom dance from what seemed to the observer to be both a constructive and artistic point of view.  His discussion of timing began with the seemingly simple concepts of timing and weight.  He taught from first hand experience relating to the audience what it was like for him to learn.  His coaches had told him that he needed to know about weight on the foot.

"Ok," he would say.  "When should I have the weight on the foot?"

"Always," came the response.


He then showed the class what it was like to dance Slow Foxtrot with his weight "Always" on the foot.  Then he demonstrated splitting a "slow" count into separate parts to dance on the "front" of the count and then finally on the "and" of the '2' beat.  Perhaps the epitome of education is in seeing a true master demonstrate visibly the difference between two techniques so that it is clearly visible to the class.  He then counseled the class to make intellectual selections about their ballroom dancing performances.  He had done so, and his stories hinged on very simple and practical solutions to questions that are still asked today.

As a younger dancer, Gleave was challenged by the question, "What is Tango?"

Not having an apparent and obvious answer, Richard took an opposite approach.  "What is Tango NOT?" he asked himself.  He centered on the ideas of Tango being a study in reflex energy and position distilling that into the idea of centralizing the body by using larger core muscles before using smaller ones.  He shared these ideas with the class demonstrating that, even in a dance as powerful as Tango, there is very little 'push.'   It turns out that using weight makes a dancing body much stronger.
Weight, then, becomes the very key to the "swing" in the "swing" dances.

Courtesy Victoria Regan
While on that particular subject, Anne added a bit of wisdom that opened the door to a new level of partnering.  The swing gives the lady dancer power and even responsibility that she must take in a type of "female lead."  This, she said allows the partnership to use weight equally and share in its distribution making a couple move in perfect harmony.

Both emphasized that the movement must be efficient.  It was enlightening and inspiring to hear such forward thinking at the outset of the 2018 Congress of Superstars.  With some of our most venerated role models advancing new ideas, the time seems perfect to begin thinking more holistically and artistically about our craft.  Certainly for a dancer, there is never one moment to waste.


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Special Thanks: Arthur Murray Dance Studios
Copyright (c) 2018 - TonyPrado.com

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