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Started to dance vs. started dancing

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Do the two clauses おどり はじめました and おどって はじめました have different nuances or completely different meanings in general? When would each example be more appropriate? Also what is the name of the form when changing a verb into -ing, like odoru to odori?
 
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Do the two clauses おどり はじめました and おどって はじめました have different nuances or completely different meanings in general? When would each example be more appropriate? Also what is the name of the form when changing a verb into -ing, like odoru to odori?
I didnt get exactly what you mean but.

The english "ing" form is similar to the:
- Verbて+います(ている)
ex:
食べています - 踊っています
Be careful though, cause its not always an action being done in the present. It can also represent the current state of something ( 死んでいます is "dead" not "dying")


About 踊り 始めた and 踊って 始めた
The first is a common construction (verb in 連用 + 始める) that means to start some action. The second is more like you're joining clauses together(considering the subject is you), it sounds odd given what you're trying to achieve (to me ofc).
 
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Toritoribe

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Yes, the -te form just connects the two clauses in おどってはじめました. This can be used as "started to do something (other than dancing) after/while dancing" if what is started is obvious from the context.
e.g.
彼らはその儀式で、いつもお祈りを踊って始めました。(=踊ってお祈りを始めました。)

what is the name of the form when changing a verb into -ing, like odoru to odori?
It's called ren'yōkei(連用形), i-form, -masu stem, etc.. Remember that this form can be used as a noun in some structures, so it's similar to gerund in English in a sense, but it can't be used as the present participle, thus, it can't express for instance the present progressive tense, as Kraise-san explained.
 
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