Saturday, October 30, 2010

What is Competitive Ballroom Really Like

Ballroom Dancing is Nothing like Strictly Come Dancing? This piece by a competitive amateur in the UK seems to do its level best to tell you how awful the world of competitive dance is. And it is certainly informative, but rather one-sided. The key point that is only alluded to is that not many people make their passion their career. If dancing weren't worth all the negative things she puts up with, she would likely have become a lawyer as her parents would have liked.

To save you the research effort, she is a competitive amateur, and has good results in England, but does not appear to have competed outside of England, and has indeed gone through a lot of partners, as she describes in the article.

I don't know what SCD is like, but at least some of what she complains about is in the American version, Dancing with the Stars.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Natural Turning Figures in Foxtrot

On the difference between Natural Turn, Natural Weave, and Hover Cross:
  • Natural Turn: On second step, hips and frame are square to line of dance. 
  • Natural Weave: On second step, hips stay square, frame continues to turn to left side leading so lady can step OP on step 4, hips stay square to LOD
  • Hover Cross: Between step 2 and 3, both hips and frame turn to face center. Then frame stays square to center, while hips turn to step OP wrongside  position, and then back to normal OP.

Competition, Costume, Makeup

Some interesting points (for Ladies) from a talk with a world class professional competitor:

  • As soon as a couple walks on to the floor, judge already started to put them into buckets, couple A and C are in 1st/2nd; couple B and D are in 3rd/4th; etc. (A lot of judges judge this way, of course, some don't.) 
  • At Bronze level, costume, makeup and hair are important. It tells judge if "you've done it before" and the commitment level.
  • Costume: it should fit and look good for that person. Something that looks good on one person does not necessarily look good on someone else.
  • Hair: general preference - bun shouldn't be flat, no bangs, pull hair back. Nothing on head should be moving.
  • Makeup: big and bold to make the face noticeable.
  • All is designed to catch judge's eyes. For 90 seconds, 6 couples, each couple probably just have about 10 seconds of judge's time.
  • After judge has initial buckets, the difference in footwork, technique etc will help the judge make the final mark. 
Of course, technique is ultimately most important. But, in competition, "looking good" will help your marks a lot. (Tall couples definitely have advantage here.) One coach thinks her student could gain 2 positions up simply by having better costume,  hairdo and makeup.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Heel Turn Exercise

Heel turns are found in Waltz, Quickstep, and Foxtrot

Heel Turn Exercise

Start facing diagonal wall, weight on RF
  1. Lower and drive back onto LF, dragging right heel (S)
  2. Straighten knees, and start turn 1/4 right on left heel (Q)
  3. Rise on feet, absorbing the rise with the knees (&)
  4. Drive off RF, straightening knees, step toe on LF (Q)
  5. Drive back onto RF, dragging LF (S)
  6. Straighten knees, and start 1/4 left on right heel (Q)
  7. Rise on feet, absorbing the rise with the knees (&)
  8. Drive off LF, straightening knees, step on toe of RF (Q)