Ballroom Dance > Videos > Christopher Hawkins and Hazel Newberry Slow Waltz

Discussion in 'Videos' started by DanceMentor, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    admittedly I would give my left you know what to be able to dance as well as she does but my first reaction to this is that her position doesn't seem that hot...meh, I know nothing
  3. chachachikka

    chachachikka New Member

    Actually, I liked her Waltz better than her Tango.

    The fuzziness of these video clips kinda makes Christopher Hawkins look a bit like Gherman Mustuc (sp?).
  4. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    What bothers you about it? I did notice that her upper back isn't as flexible as some ladies' and there's absolutely no cheating to make it appear more curved, just a straight spine and left poise.
  5. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I've seen a number of video clips of her dancing and I've always had the same response -- I don't enjoy watching her dance and I don't like the line of her body.

    Yeah, she seems too stiff. And not very... feminine. I don't mean in her appearance but in her movement, her quality of gracefulness.

    She's not someone whose dancing I want to emulate. Does that sound harsh coming from a newb? Meh...

    I want to see her surrender more, and *feel* more... feel more pleasure in her dancing. That would change things considerably I imagine.

    But what do I know... LOL
  6. dancesportgirl21

    dancesportgirl21 New Member

    I love their dancing. I agree with waltzgirl- her back isn't as flexible- but I'd rather see pure dancing, excellent technique, and beautiful movement by the couple as a whole than over styled gimmicks any day. IMO I think it also has to do with the fact that their coach was Peter Eggleton- he was my instructor's coach and visits my studio often and he really focuses on the body moving in one piece from the shoulders to the knees. He doesn't mean to be stiff- but rather focuses on a straight aligned spine and not breaking sides- and once that is achieved to add the nuances and articulations.
  7. dancesportgirl21

    dancesportgirl21 New Member

    yay! That was my 500th post!
  8. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    congrats! :)
  9. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    I just posted this in the other Chris and Hazel video thread, but yes, I agree, Hazel's back and lack of flexibility and movement in it is my biggest criticism of their dancing. I don't see this as her doing 100% though - I don't feel that Chris gives her much to work with - he just stands up straight and doesn't create much shape with his body either. Until I see her dancing with someone as active with his own body as, say, Mirko, I will not put sole blame for this on her:)
  10. swan

    swan Member

    Hazel was a very good partner for Chris. She might not appear to be flexible, but she's got a very soft body & a very clear center. I know - danced w/ both Chris & Hazel before, and she's clearly a great complement to Chris.

    Just watch Chris & his current partner, you'll know that w/o Hazel, it wouldn't bring out Chris' brilliance.

    Hazel's movement is brilliant & of high quality & precision.

    No doubt, between Chris & Hazel, Chris' the flower on the floor (not very different from Mirko's partnership). Both Chris & Mirko are very flowery dancers, thus their partners have to be the more 'grounded' ones & probably not as flowery.

    Trust me, she's one that one would want to emulate. Dancing is not all about huge topline. Hazel has a natural grace to her. Her dancing was never fake & the joy was from within.
  11. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    I saw Chris and Hazel dance live. What struck me about their dancing the most is their movement and the musicality - it was as you say, brilliant. But I also remember thinking, even back when I saw them when I wasn't as good or knowledgeable a dancer as I am now, that this girl lacks femininity and grace. Chris was the highlight in the partnership and that's not how it should be. The man is the frame, the foundation, "the lead" the woman is the "flower", the enhancer, the picture.

    I disagree that Mirko is the flower - he simply does his 50% of shape-creation that most male leaders do not do; they let the woman do more than her 50%. I still watch her when they dance, she is the highlight IMO. It's just when I take my eyes off of her and I watch him, I see why she looks so incredible - because he does everything in his power to help her look that way. But, for example, I look at Jonathan and Katusha dancing and it's beautiful, smooth, balanced, wonderfully nuanced and musical but I also see that a LOT of what she does with her back and her shaping is on her own. So the shapes, the stretch, the volume of lines they have is a testament to her incredible dancing, but not really to his... I think that is the difference between the 1st and 2nd couples in the world. I also think that is why those places will never flip...
  12. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    this is my take as well, albeit inexperienced tho my eye is
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Something that's rather overlooked in this analysis is that a good leader will have a large contribution to the follower's shape. You may not see the man's body itself having a substantial shape (though there is certainly some there) but there is a lot going on, contributing to the lady's shape, which is very important but which is not itself inteded to draw your attention. Probably any guy who has had a lesson with Jonathan has been put into a lady's frame by him, and been lead into the corresponding shape, specifically for the purpose of getting an idea of what subtle things he is supposed to do to contribute to and encourage his partner's shape. At the same time, I would guess that Katiusha can create a great shape when dancing with any student, even one who isn't doing his part.

    In terms of Chris & especially Hazel, I would say that what might be termed a lack of flexibility is actually an intentional decision not to break body alignment. Many of todays dancers are extremely fluid, and naturally that means some will at times be too fluid. I tend to intellecutally prefer the emphasis on alignment which Hazel's dancing exemplifies, but I would agree that it can result in a slightly awkward look if anything is less than perfect in the partnering - if you are unwilling to flow your body into the mistake, then you aren't going to be able to hide it, at least in the context of a still picture where the overall artistry isn't as captivating as in a live performance.
  14. swan

    swan Member

    Yes, but they still presented as extraordinary 'couple' whereas Chris & Justyna, Chris is still the flower, but the entire picture looked awkward. Justyna has improved a lot & she does have strong feet, but movement wise, just unmatching for Chris, which Hazel could. Yes, C/H strength would be musicality & movement. Even though Hazel usually wouldn't dance big shapes during movement, her lines are still feminine & natural which leads me to believe that she's not that inflexible. Perhaps it's Chris' analysis about alignment.

    I used to think this up until few weeks ago. Anna Mikhed told me that (and I definitely believe her as I'm seeing it more in the trend) men are allowed to be flowers now & that it's a good thing. Mirko was like Chris, the highlighted flower for the longest time.

    But recently, I could see it's closer to 50/50 (I still think Mirko is more than 50 of being the flower).

    Your comparison of Mirko/Alessia & Jonanthan/Katusha is right on. M/A are much more dynamic because Alessia does things fed by Mirko & it's a real dance between the 2 of them at all times.
  15. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    Oh, I am sure Jonathan "contributes" to the lady's shape, no doubt. I am sure there are all kinds of "subtle" things he does, but I would argue that ballroom dancing is hardly a subtle art... The fact that what he does is subtle (but you can see Katusha doing all kinds of things with her body) promotes the appearance of her doing all that stuff on her own and makes it look like each member of the couple isn't contributing 50-50. There is hardly an argument for subtlety given Mirko's unsubtle dancing and meteoric rise to the top...

    I agree with your analysis of Chris and Hazel's dancing in general. I would argue that intentionally deciding no to break body alignment at that level speaks volumes about the freedom with which you dance. At the level, where techinique is virtually perfect and partnering should be as well, risks need to be taken...
  16. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    It looks subtle.

    I doesn't feel subtle, it feels... convincing.

    A small change in the correct place is much more effective than a big one in the wrong place. A little change in the man becomes a large change in the lady.

    I also have a bit of a problem with the "hardly a subtle art" comment - in that this is one of the main problems I see, especially with couples battling to be finalists. There'sjust so much overdoing everything, trying to get attention, more, more, more. Wheras those who are already on top either are so because they exercise a bit more judgement... or, they have the luxury of exercising a bit more judgement and refinement because they are on top and know that people will already be looking at them to see what they are going to do up there.

    Probably one of the reasons that Mirko & Alessia have done so well is that they do quite a lot, but cross the line to doing too much a lot less frequently than the others who have tried that method. They've got the dynamics of the Italian tradition, but stick closer to the English ideas about how it's supposed to fundamentally work than a lot of others who've tried to dance dynamically.

    Nobody is that good. Any reasonably knowledgeable student should be able to look at these couples and identify many of the mistakes that they are still making.
  17. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    I will get to take a lesson with Anna this summer and I cannot wait - I am a huge Anna and Victor fan:)

    I agree with her (and you) that men are allowed to be flowers and should be (that's precisely what I was saying re Mirko v. Jonathan) - Mirko certainly is but not to the detriment of Alessia. He is the flower because he wants her to be the prettiest one:) My point is that they are BOTH flowers. The more active the man the better the woman will look. I think we definitely agree on this:)
  18. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    i've heard my pro & giampiero make comments suggesting that "trying too hard" (at the upper levels of dancing) is a mark of immaturity, while the champion achieves his presence through subtlety & concentrated energy. this makes a lot of sense to me.
  19. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member


    As you know ballroom dancing is hardly judged on what the partners feel from each other. It's judged on how they look so it's pretty irrelevant how convincing Jonathan's subtlety is when he's dancing next to Mirko who is not being subtle.

    How about a big change in the correct place - more effective than a small one in a correct place, no? That's what we're talking about here. I assume that someone of Jonathan's experience and knowledge would not make those big changes in the wrong places if he tried to dance more actively, right? Or do I assume wrongly and he is dancing safe for a reason?

    As for people doing too much to get noticed - I agree. There are some people who are. But safe dancing looks safe; when you don't make mistakes, take risks, give up some control, you don't learn how to not make mistakes, how to be balanced. Sometimes you have to do too much in order to know how to do enough. Doing too little all the time will not achieve that result... In that way dancing is like life - we don't live in a bubble so why should we dance in one. Yes, it looks bad when people overdo it (a lot of really young couples do to create excitement, get noticed etc.) but in a few years those same couples will learn how to do just as much and do it with balance and control while those who didn't take risks will look, well, the same...
  20. swan

    swan Member

    I'd agree. But also agree w/ Ithink's statement that the men needs to be active (and expressive as a flower) but at the same time, channel it the right way so that the ladies wouldn't get frazzled & become less of the flower :) That's probably the main difference between the top ranking couples Vs. the rest.

    I'd agree that Mirko does it rather well these days! In the earlier days, I only saw Mirko. I even made a statement couple of years back that I thought Alessia looked stiff! But now not anymore...

    The partnership is getting much more balanced & I get to enjoy watching both (must admit, I still watch Mirko more :))

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