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Forum: Irish / Irish - Technique & Training

Irish - Technique & Training
Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By Snuffymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3386, member since Wed Jan 02, 2008
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:04 AM

I was going to make this a poll, but I think it'd be more worthwhile to actually discuss it, in which case...

Do you think over-crossing is better? If so, why, and if not, why not?

Do you over-cross?

Also, is it something which is becoming more prevalent these days? I haven't seen much of it at the feisanna I've attended, but then, I only go to small local ones. I've seen a lot of dancers in photos/videos on the internet who do it, though.

Interested in reading your thoughts on this one! :)

18 Replies to Cross or Over-Cross?

re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By seannettaPremium member Comments: 2132, member since Fri Jul 28, 2006
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 08:18 AM
I hate overcrossing! Gah! Sorry, it's just a pet peeve of mine. There's no reason for it and I've no idea why it suddenly became "necessary"--except for the fact that dancers in competition are always trying to one-up each other, of course.

It's a dangerous thing to do. Feet were not meant to be on the wrong sides of each other. It can cause huge strain on the knees and I don't think it makes the dancing look any nicer.

It's definitely a "new" thing, relatively speaking. When I began dance (18 years ago) crossing was important, but you did not see many dancers striving to make that "diamond" shape between their ankles and knees. When standing and waiting to dance, you simply stood in a ballet 5th position or so.

I really don't understand how overcrossing enhances ID or makes a dancer have better technique. I don't think it does. Besides which, most dancers just use extreme overcross while standing, and most are unable to hold it while actually moving around the stage, except during certain moves.

Bottom line, extreme overcrossing looks kinda weird, in my opinion, can be damaging to a dancer's knees, and is not really adding anything to the dancing. A nice crossover is all you need.
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By ReelJiggered Comments: 515, member since Wed Sep 03, 2008
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:53 AM
Hmm.. I hadn't heard that term before. Could someone explain "overcrossing" to me?
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By GaelicGal Comments: 88, member since Wed Apr 20, 2005
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:54 AM
A judge's comment from the feis we attended last week told my daughter to overcross. This was a surprise to me. I didn't know that overcrossing was now required.??
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By SamCartermember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1220, member since Mon Feb 27, 2006
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:09 AM
I am also not a fan of overcrossing. I think it looks terribly unnatural and uncomfortable! I can just image the damage being done to the hip and knee joints.

I prefer to stand either in 5th or a slightly exaggerated 5th where my toes line up with the opposite arch. I don't like the toe to toe look.
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By little_dragon Comments: 531, member since Tue Oct 16, 2007
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 02:16 PM
What exactly do you mean when you talk about crossing and over-crossing the feet?
Crossing/over-crossing while standing or while dancing?
If the feet are "over-crossed" when you can see the "diamond" between knee and ancle of a dancer, what would it look like if the feet were "crossed"?
Sorry, I´m a bit at a loss here.
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By SamCartermember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1220, member since Mon Feb 27, 2006
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 02:35 PM
Crossed for me while dancing is when the toes are one in front of the other. Over crossed is when the left foot is on the right and vice versa.

While standing, crossed is standing in ballet fifth position (or a slightly exaggerated one where the toes are in front of the opposite arches instead of the heels). And overcrossed is when they stand with the toes together and on opposite sides of each other.
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By siobhan157 Comments: 239, member since Thu Apr 03, 2008
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 03:06 PM
I also don't like over-crossing.
but I do tend to try to do it when I practice as crossing is something I need to work on. I think a tiny bit of over crossing wouldn't be bad, but don't go and injure yourself. lol
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By wildwoodflowermember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 829, member since Sun Nov 04, 2007
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 04:18 PM
I physically can't over-cross. I've been dancing ballet with proper turnout and cross when in 5th so long that its automatic. I can't imagine dancing with that much strain in my hips and knees anyway. I'll settle for nice, physically safe, still aesthetically pleasing, regular old cross over. :)
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By Kickbuttgirl95 Comments: 9, member since Tue Jul 15, 2008
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 04:52 PM
I myself have problems with turnout so I try to over cross when I am dancing because when you are thinking about so many other things and trying to do them, you will cross just the right amount.

Happy dancing!
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By TheStoryTellermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2234, member since Mon May 19, 2008
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 05:17 PM
I think a little over cross is good, but too much looks like it hurts!
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By seanmharcailinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1976, member since Fri Dec 10, 2004
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 06:01 PM
I always understood over-cross to be toe-to-arch, knees in line. Toe to heel results in knees that peek out at both sides. I think one part of overcross started with when you are doing toes (like a hop back toe) in hard shoe. If your foot isn't overcrossed, your knee sticks out and your toe looks crooked.

I think that a lot of dancers take overcross to the extreme and end up losing posture because of it. I have been told by lots of famous professional dancers that when you're standing with your toe pointed, your toe should be in line with either your back toe or the center of your arch. All your steps should be done with this level of cross-for example, trebles are done either directly in front of your back arch, or in line with that back toe. You should also aim to hide the back knee, that means toe-toe when you're elevated, and toe-arch when you're standing.

Just my experience. But i must say I much prefer a bit of overcross to a bit of a shallow cross. After all, aren't we all good Irish Catholic girls who keep their legs crossed?
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By ReelGirl343member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 526, member since Fri Dec 15, 2006
On Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:04 PM
I over-cross when I am standing to the point where I am toe-to-toe, but once I'm dancing, it's a much less exaggerated cross though still slightly over-crossed. Personally, I don't find that it damages my knees or hips, but in my case I'm not forcing it to over-cross. I really like the 'diamond' shape in standing. I don't think that it should be necessary, though, especially if it's going to damage joints.
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By tinydancer3825 Comments: 103, member since Mon Jun 11, 2007
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:48 AM
wildwoodflower wrote:

I physically can't over-cross. I've been dancing ballet with proper turnout and cross when in 5th so long that its automatic. I can't imagine dancing with that much strain in my hips and knees anyway. I'll settle for nice, physically safe, still aesthetically pleasing, regular old cross over. :)


I can't overcross either...I don't know if I'm knock-kneed or what, but I just can't. And when I try, my but sticks out and I imagine my ballet teacher jokingly hitting my butt with a wooden stick and saying, "Tuck in that tukus!"
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By ghilliegirlymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 911, member since Sat Nov 01, 2003
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 02:11 PM
So, we have established that over-crossing is a relatively new trend (so it's not been a traditional standard, like kicking your butt or pointing toes), and it is not only painful, but dangerous as well.

Then why am I being told to over-cross? As in the back knee should be seen on the OTHER side of my front leg? As in 'you should be so crossed it is painful'? I have skinny legs, and it is an absolute struggle to maintain a regular cross, let alone an over-cross.

So what is the correct way to Irish dance? And why doesn't our form of dancing have standards that are maintained across the world when it comes to technique, like other forms do?
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By seannettaPremium member Comments: 2132, member since Fri Jul 28, 2006
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 03:11 PM
^Those are excellent questions, ghilliegirly! And there are no real answers, unfortunately.

I suspect it was pure one-upmanship that brought about the extreme overcross. This is how much of ID advances - someone jumps, another tries to jump higher, and then the higher jump becomes the norm. Someone crosses over a bit more, and that dancer maybe wins a competition or two, and soon everyone's overcrossing.

It develops this way because we have no real standards in place--none that are codified, that is. We've somehow managed to all agree that cross and turnout and pointed feet are important, but this isn't actually written down anywhere. Irish dance has always been a tradition that's passed down orally, and so it becomes like a game of broken telephone - by the time it gets to the person on the end of the line, it has turned into something completely different from the beginning.

So, ask three people what the "proper" technique is and you'll likely get three different answers. You should not need extreme overcross in order to place well at a competition. But because it's become trendy, sort of, some people have come to expect it. And then everybody does it because they're worried that it's become necessary. That's how things progress in our world, and it's interesting (our dance form is certainly unique as a result), frustrating (because no real standards are codified, leaving us guessing all the time), and dangerous (because we latch onto trends without really examining why we're doing them and whether they're healthy).

It would be wonderful to see standard technique codified, so that this is cleared up for everyone and so that it becomes very clear what constitutes proper technique and desired form in Irish dance. But that's gonna take a lot of work, since people are used to this anything-goes kind of method of progression.
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By butterfly_capemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1721, member since Thu Dec 29, 2005
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 08:24 PM
My personal opinion...
I prefer the look of a slight over-cross. Like where the toes of the front foot touch the arch of the back foot, and theres a nice triangle that you can see through the legs below the calfs.

I agree that the less-overcrossed look is more traditional, but I dont like the asthetics of it, I think it makes the dancer look unsure of themselfs and lacking in confidence (probably just brought about with the stigma of top dancers having super overcrossed legs)

During the actual dance, I have always been told to overcross. This is because I have below average cross over, and I need to try my hardest to cross. If I'm thinking about crossing super hard and trying my best, then it just looks neat and slightly over crossed.
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By butterfly_capemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1721, member since Thu Dec 29, 2005
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 08:29 PM
Edited by butterfly_cape (148372) on 2008-10-31 21:14:54
edit:
double post
re: Cross or Over-Cross? en>fr fr>en
By boleyngrrl Comments: 2410, member since Sat Apr 15, 2006
On Fri Oct 31, 2008 09:05 PM
I think it depends. If you have really simple steps, like in TS, I think that over crossing is good, because it makes them look better. In harder ones, like solos, where you are moving more quickly and the movements are more complex, you just need to cross well.

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