Ballroom dancers of mefi: How do I get better at being dipped?
August 4, 2019 9:53 PM   Subscribe

I have to learn some choreography where I am being dipped by my partner (my hands around his neck), and then swiveled around in a half-circle before being brought back up. I'm having trouble figuring out how to hold myself up and distribute my weight during this.

I am not a dancer at all, and neither is my partner. I've read that I'm supposed to hold up almost all of my own weight during a dip, and I can sort of do this, except when I get to the last 45-degrees of the half circle, I can't figure out how to put my feet / shift the weight in my legs so that I'm still low in the dip but stable and supporting my weight.

Is there anything I can do/read up on to learn what to do in this kind of sweeping dip? Things I can practice/do on my own would be especially great. What should I pay particular attention to, or avoid doing? Please explain it like I know nothing, because I really don't know much at all. (If it matters, my partner and I are roughly the same height/size when I have dance heels on.)

Thank you in advance!
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you post a video of the move you're trying to execute, or at least the tempo you're working at? (like, is this a quick salsa dip or a sweeping foxtrot thing)

The usual advice is to work on planks so you can be firm through your trunk, and to make sure you have enough glute strength to keep your hips forward and protect your lower back as you arch your upper back, but I think folks could be more helpful (esp re: footwork) if we had a better idea of what you're trying to do.
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:22 PM on August 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh great idea. I've scoured the internet and the only example I can find that's close is from Dirty Dancing. It's slower though (exactly a sweeping foxtrot thing, set to music at 114bpm), my arms are around his neck vs. in frame, and perhaps mine is supposed to go a bit lower (though I'm not 100% about that last part).
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 11:17 PM on August 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think it's all about the back foot, which I think should be behind you to help support your weight (rather than side by side like Baby - disclosure I've not been able to see the video but I know the bit in question). It might mean it needs also to sweep the floor in its own smaller arc so it stays close to under your head as you go through the rotation - that will need practice with your partner but should entail less physical effort on their part to keep you up.
posted by london explorer girl at 4:26 AM on August 5, 2019

If neither you nor your partner are experienced dancers, I think you should switch from "hands around his neck" to "brace hands on his shoulders."
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:07 AM on August 5, 2019

Who has given you this choreography? Dips have lots of technique associated so neither of you hurt yourself! Briefly you need to keep your centre of gravity over your feet (And yes that may involve moving or swivelling feet), use your core strength to maintain your shape, actively use your own muscles to do half the work of lowering yourself and practice the move alone as fully as you can so you figure out how to do as much as possible yourself.

And be very very careful of your lower back.

My worst dancing injury was being dropped into the splits when my partner and I were both very tired and no longer maintaining good technique. Tore my hamstring and couldn't dance for 6 months.
posted by kadia_a at 1:14 PM on August 5, 2019

Hmm -- if it's indeed a longer dress / foxtrotty dance, do the terms "contra check" or "throwaway oversway" help you at all?

Here's a follow doing the oversway part herself and maintaining balance by ...probably having lower abs and glutes of steel (and also, a partner whose hands are not on her mid-back, but rather, at shoulder-blade level), but also by being careful to "collect" her feet, i.e. pass the moving leg under the rest of her body so that she has a moment of stability before extending the leg behind her.
posted by batter_my_heart at 9:47 PM on August 5, 2019

Thanks all! Great advice all around. Bracing my hands on his shoulders to begin with helped a lot, as did practicing solo using a heavy, high-backed bar stool as my "partner". Appreciate all your help! :)
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 8:57 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]

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