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Former Latin American World & European champion. Open British, UK & International Latin American Champion. Professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing with Diarmuid Gavin, Nicholas Owen & John Barnes.

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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Broadway Week Review

Broadway week:

I felt that this week was a bittersweet week for me. I found ‘Broadway week’ to be confusing on a judging level as I couldn’t quiet figure out what the criteria for judging should be – there seemed to be one set of rules of some and a completely different set of rules for others. It must have also been confusing for the Pros as to what to choreograph & what the criteria was.

Does dancing Broadway mean – dance a Ballroom or Latin dance to a Broadway song; create a Broadway theme dance loosely based on a Ballroom or Latin dance or create a Broadway dance?

Which one shall it be as all 3 have endless possibilities and rules & regulations to go with each option?  None of the options were entirely clear to me as a judge, dancer or viewer which made this weeks dances very difficult to comment on.  Therefore, my comments this week will be a lot shorter as I felt that there was a general lack of Ballroom or Latin content – although most of the dances were very entertaining to watch from a theatrical point of view and if that was the purpose this week, it was a success.

Holly & Artem – Tango

Holly certainly looked the part and in her intro was very convincing & captivating in her character.  Holly does have a very natural way of moving which I like to watch as it all looks easy but this is also a draw back as it can look like she hasn’t put enough effort into what she is doing. I was left wondering if their dance was supposed to be Tango or Argentine Tango as there was insufficient content or technique to convince me it was meant to be either one.  I do think that Holly looked very good ‘in hold’ and I look forward to seeing a proper Ballroom dance from her as I think she may feel more comfortable in the Ballroom dances.
Content = 50%
My Score:  7 (Attack the dance with more energy)

Dan & Katya – Viennese Waltz

Unfortunately for Dan, he just isn’t a natural dancer no matter what style he dances & will have to work very hard to convince me otherwise regardless of the amount of acting he can do.  His movements look messy & uncoordinated and his V. Waltz was a little on the skippy side without enough sway.  He needs to use his heels & toes more as he looks a little flat footed & his frame tends to drop towards the end of the dance but in the beginning, it does look good so it’s just a matter of concentration & stamina. It just lacked a bit of Broadway theme & characterisation for me.
Content = 40%
My Score: 5 (work on more fluid movements)

Anita & Robin – Jive

Fabulous characterisation & interpretation especially in the chorus of the song and Anita kept the theme going all the way through the dance.  I do feel that technically there were some issues.  Anita needs to point her feet in all kick & flick steps & not only in Jive.  Her body weight could have been a little more over the balls of her feet which in turn would have given her a better Jive bounce action.  She needs to also be aware of dancing mostly with bent knees – even in Jive our knees need to bend and straighten.  They had a good amount of Jive content – Change of places, Chasses, Lindy hop kicks, Drunken Sailor & basic jive steps that I was very happy to see.
Content =70%
My score: 6 (Leg action needs a little more work)

Alex & James – Viennese Waltz

What a beautiful intro – Alex’s arm movements & acting were mesmerising. Their underarm spin sequence was lovely and Alex’s spins have improved greatly. Their V. Waltz had a lovely lilting quality & Alex’s head position has really improved.  There was beautiful, simple, elegant, effective & classy content & the characterisation was spot on!
Content = 95%
My score: 8 (Just keep working hard)

Nancy & Anton – Tango

Nancy certainly looked the part & her interpretation of the song was very good in the intro.  Unfortunately, I felt that the song was rather slow which in turn made it difficult to show impact & enough content in their dance. She also lacks upper body strength and needs to be able to control her leg action more.  At least this looked like a more serious attempt at a proper dance though instead of relying on their version of comedy.
Content = 30%
My score: 4 (Core strength & content)

Audley & Natalie – Quickstep

Audley has a lovely personality on the dance floor & looks like he enjoys every moment.  His characterisation was good & he has a great frame, although his arm movements when he is out of hold can look a little casual at times.  He has a good natural rhythm but he needs to put a little more energy into his movements as for a tall guy, I really feel that he lacks movement around the floor & he could also be a little lighter on his feet, especially in the Quickstep.
Content = 50%
My score: 6 (lack of stamina & energy in movements)

Robbie & Ola – Tango

I was a little confused if they were doing a Paso or Tango in their Intro but as soon as they got into their dance, all became clear – a Tango!  Robbie’s characterisation was very good & very serious.  He must be careful however not to drop his chin when he feels the dance so much. This is a common problem though and can be fixed easily just with a little reminding not to feel the dance too much in the head and shoulder region. His walks when not in hold with Ola were a little too ‘stompy’ for me but there was good content & characterisation.  It was an entertaining & watchable dance again!
Content =85%
My score: 8 (work on how you look when dancing solo)

Rory & Erin – Quickstep

Fred Astaire eat your heart out – Rory certainly got this impersonation right!  Their dance contained a good amount of content and had some lovely scatter chasses, skips and hops that were very light.  Rory has worked hard on his heels and toes and that is what creates the lightness in the quickstep.  His posture does need work & looks a little hunched over but I feel that it is because he lifts his chin up instead of keeping his head up and dropping his shoulders. 
They had a great theme and portrayal of the dance and Rory looked like he really enjoyed it.
Content = 70%
My score: 7 (posture)

Lulu & Brendan – Rumba

There was a great amount of feeling and character in their dance and Lulu kept in character all the way through.  There wasn’t much content to go on – swivels, fan position & sliding doors and in these movements, Lulu needs to work on straightening her knees more & keep working her feet into the floor to create hip action.  Her movements were very lyrical though and I thought their lift although illegal was beautiful.
Content = 30%
My score: 5 (bent knees & working feet into the floor)

Side Note:  I did agree with Brendan about the timing & musicality of the lift in their dance & if it is 'Broadway week', doesn't broadway also incorporate lift work to enhance the theme of the musical? If lifts can be used in Salsa which is NOT a traditional lift dance, I don't see why it is not included in Broadway.  The 'Rules' of Ballroom & Latin require that there be Ballroom & Latin content so as to be able to mark it as a Ballroom or Latin dance. In Broadway however, there doesn't seem to be a requirement regarding the minimum amount of Ballroom or Latin content therefore in my opinion, lifts should be allowed.

Russell & Flavia – Foxtrot

Russell always makes me smile and makes me want to get up and dance when I watch him – that is a very rare quality!  He has such a natural ease of movement that even when there is so much wrong, he manages to get away with it because there is nothing awkward and uneasy about how he moves. His interpretation of the dance was good and as always, very well rehearsed – he never seems to look nervous on the floor.  Although his posture is good, his actual frame with Flavia needs work as it moves around a lot.  Russell is however sheer entertainment.
Content = 60%
My score: 7

Jason & Kristina – Tango

Jason’s interpretation of this song was unsurprisingly brilliant! His hold & posture is very strong and he is very consistent with it.  The characterisation, content & choreography was superb and I have never seen anyone give so much to a dance – Jason’s commitment to each dance is very, very good.  Their dance incorporated entertainment, comedy, dance & theatre all in one & is one of the best  ‘show dances’ I have seen on Strictly!
Content = 85%
My score: 9

Chelsee & Pasha – Cha Cha Cha

There is absolutely no doubt that Chelsee can dance and has amazing rhythm & ability and that is why I think I expect so much more technically from her.  I thought she had a cleaner, less fussy look, which really enhanced her dancing & made her look more confident.  If Chelsee can concentrate a little more on technique, the improvement will be huge.  She is a very exuberant dancer & this is a very infectious quality however, she needs to calm down a little to be able to control her body.  It was a great attempt at the Cha Cha though, just a little inconsistent BUT it is all there!
Content = 85%
My score: 8

Harry & Aliona – Jive

Such a great Jive song but where was the Jive & Rock n Roll that is so characteristic of that era?  There were a few recognisable steps like the ‘Sugar Push’ (swing step), Chasse – Pivots & 1 small section of flicks & kicks, not one basic group & a lift from Aliona. But the rest was just hand gestures & choreography, floor work & general wasting of music.  This all seems really harsh but it is frustrating to watch talent being wasted.  The character of the dance or theme was a little lost on me as I didn’t feel it contained enough ‘Grease’ moves & this is a dance movie that the general public would know a lot about & lacked the together dancing of that era.  Harry can dance so I was just disappointed to not see it.  This was a dance based totally on a theme & little content for me.
Content= 30%
My score: 6 (only because his portrayal & that he can dance)

Nicole’s Pet Peeves:

No clear rules or regulations regarding content or interpretation of what a ‘Themed’ week should involve.

This is a Ballroom & Latin American dance based dance/entertainment competition therefore there should be a certain % of Ballroom & Latin American dance based steps & content to keep it within it’s own description other wise it could just be another dance/entertainment programme. Content, content, content!

Well, that’s my Blog for another week, as mentioned at the beginning, it was a difficult week to comment on but I look forward to returning to the unthemed & hopefully proper dances next week even though it was an entertaining week. Xx

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