Ballroom Dance > Dancing on TV > Dancing with the Stars - Week 5

Discussion in 'Dancing on TV' started by discovery, Jun 29, 2005.


Who is your Final WINNER?

  1. John & Charlotte

  2. Kelly & Alec

    0 vote(s)
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  1. Big10

    Big10 Member

    If I'm mistaking a standard ballroom idiom, then I apologize. (Like I've noted many times before, I'm not a ballroom person, merely an intruder. :wink: ) Anyway, it just seemed like the standard meaning of "trash" was being applied, given Laura's opening words to that very same post:
  2. Infosaturated

    Infosaturated New Member

    Well, I think the point that the other posters wree trying to make is that they don't want to see ballroom dancing degrade into a purely physical contest, a sentiment I fully agree with. You mentioned skating, and unfortunately amateur figure skating has turned into a perfect bad example: Whoever does the most quad jumps wins. So now you see "routines" that consist of a bunch of jumps separated by 15-20 seconds' worth of skating aimlessly around in circles, with some kind of spin at the end (when the skater is out of breath, and generally ignored by the judges) to keep up the pretense. Boooorrrrring. :roll: Ballroom should involve all of strength, tone, posture, coordination, and the mental aspects that go with them.[/quote]

    Absolutely, and I suspect ballroom would benefit by the changes in judging in skating which now make a bunch of jumps no longer an effective means of winning.

    It's just that I have heard male-lead emphasized to the point where is seems like there is no point in being a female pro at all, after all, as long as the man can lead well the woman doesn't need any skill.

    I disagree with that sentiment. I think there are areas of dance that are difficult for women achieve that the male ams haven't needed to achieve. The male ams are not fully leading. The female pros have been backleading (at least that is what I have read here). I have to watch my tape over and over to try to keep my eyes on the male am because the female pros are so entrancing to watch.

    Because the women are "the picture" the female ams have to look credible all the time, and try to do flashy moves. That means the split, and spins, and being dipped. If they were just expected to do bronze moves then yes the male pros could "cover" for them.

    For example, the jive where Ashly ends doing a split with her leg straight up over Joey's shoulder was an incredible finish. All Joey had to do was stand there. When the female ams get on the floor, they may not have to lead, and being lead may be an advantage, but having to do the flashy moves offsets it, and so does having to wear heels when you are not used to it. It completely throws your balance.

    Maybe in bronze level competition the woman has the advantage because she doesn't have to lead, but in this contest I don't think it is an advantage. In this competition I think the women ams are facing just as many challenges as the men are.
  3. Rugby

    Rugby Member

    The judges every week had been telling the pros that they wanted to see more basics but each week Ashly kept up the Show Dancing instead. She tried at the end but too little, too late. I kept wondering if she was ever going to clue in! Charlotte did some good solid basics and thus she is still around and Ashly is not. I have to hand it to Joey that he was doing better and was finally holding his posture up better.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    btw, all the couples will be back for the final. Any idea what they're going to do? Watch? Dance? Do a formation? I have no idea. :?
  5. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Finally had a chance to watch the fifth episode.

    On the foxtrots: John and Charlotte made a good and somewhat succesfull attempt at an English style foxtrot. Far from perfect, but with things you'd hope to see in an actual ballroom competition, I'm glad the judges rewarded this. On the other hand, I do think they were too harsh with Joey and Ashley for showing us a what can be accomplished in the American/Showdance style of foxtrot in that amount of time. While I'd prefer to see a good English foxtrot (too bad they couldn't use an old video of Charlotte with Andrew Sinkinson for the demo clip) it's not clear to me that what was accomplished towards that goal in the available time is necessarily a superior performance to Joey and Ashley's show number. It's also a little odd from a ballroom perspective to hear the judges who claimed to be looking for classic elements choosing to single out John and Charlotte's footwork for complement - it got the job done, but there were too many footwork errors to highlight it with a complement in a dance that's full development relies so heavily on full foot action. Kelly probably could have done much more characteristic performance if she had not gotten stuck with a pro partner who, while finally attempting some classic figures revealed in their execution his limited understanding of either style of foxtrot. The judge who commented she was a latin dancer might have better directed that remark to Alec.

    For the Paso Dobles, John and Charlotte kind of lucked out and survived the latin number in part by getting the only actual Paso Doble music of the three selections. They could have been a little sharper rhythmically and John could have made the arms over head pose look a bit more masculine, but again it was the kind of performance that wouldn't be drastically out of place at a ballroom competition. The other two couples reactions to the uncharacteristic music couldn't have been more different. Alec and Kelly did something between a salsa and a samba, and didn't get called on it (perhaps because those in charge didn't want to be left with two male stars for the final?). In contrast, Joey and Ashly more or less ignored the music and came even closer than John and Charlotte to doing something that would belong in a ballroom comp - turn off the disco music, imagine flamenco percussion, and it all fits.

    Advice to the producers:

    1) Have actual ballroom/latin dancers approve the music selections. Yes, there may be licensing complications with getting common ballroom music. I bet there's a future film composer in school somewhere who would just love to write you some numbers in appropriate styles and get their work early TV exposure.

    2) Use only pros with a proven ability to teach the technique of all 10 dances. Certainly there have to be enough active 10-dance pros out there to choose from?
  6. randomMysh

    randomMysh New Member

    There might be enough 10 dance pros out there, but how many of them would be interested in skipping Blackpool to participate in the show?
    Oh yeah, that leads to another note to the producers: do a little research before you schedule the show, will ya? You just had to have it during THE ballroom comp of the year, eh?
  7. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Yes, that wasn't great timing. On the other hand, my guess is that (US) 10-dancers are on average less likely to attend blackpool religiously than single style dancers, to some degree in terms of going to watch, and to a much higher degree in terms of going to dance. Since the show is barely touching on the identities of the pros and largely ignoring their histories, it's not like they need famous dance pros - what they do need are effective teachers who can build a lot of skills in a student in a short period of time.
  8. swan

    swan Member

    The problem is the 5 weeks before the premiere, the pros have to dedicate their time as well. W/ that in mind, the show could not air until mid July (all the pros returning from Blackpool & train the stars for 5 weeks). I'm not so sure if summer program on TV works this way. They've got some 'season' schedule thing going there...

    There are enough recently retired pros who are good 10 dancers. In fact, it'd be entertaining to see Gary or Diana McDonald being on the show ;)

    Anyway, I don't think getting 10 dance coach was the main issue. Even Charlotte pulled it off decently in the latin division. Most European pros are 10 dancers to begin with, and later on in their career, they'd dedicate to 1 style.

    The main issue really is the actual celebrities! We need to keep getting big name, popular celebrities to keep this show interesting to general public. A lot of them probably have their own scheduling problem. The more popular the Star is, the more summer projects they have!

    As much as I'd like to see the big name ballroom stars, I think the the TV audience would like to see more of the 'Kelly calibre' :)

    I agree with Chris that they've got to do better w/ Music selection next time. Samba for one - there're so many good ones & 'hot' ones out there, and what did we get in week 4? They seem to equate Samba w/ Las Vegas show! Ai-Yai-Yai! Paso is difficult, but recently, there're different Paso music, though not popularly known, is still way better than that Eye of the Tiger piece :)

    I'd say 50% of the music selection were actually acceptable, even though people think that it's cheesey elevator music or even wedding reception (wasn't that the recent Times article classifying this show as the June Wedding reception?)
  9. Big10

    Big10 Member

    In fairness to the producers, I can understand the tension between staying "true" to ballroom competition style, while at the same time making a program that is entertaining to the general audience here in the United States. In this country, the only regular television exposure to ballroom is the stuff shown on public television (not the big-money networks) around New Year's. If you guys didn't talk about Blackpool on this forum, I would have no clue what time of the year that competition happens, because I have seen ZERO mention of it from the major media in the United States.

    The tension faced by the producers is evident in the musical choices, as well as the selection of the dancing professionals. There is no doubt in my mind that the professionals were chosen just as much (or more) for their physical appearance versus their teaching skills. The marginal improvement in the celebrities' skill that a better-yet-average-looking teacher could make (especially given such a short period of time), would have much less impact on the ratings than having the best-looking professionals.
  10. tacad

    tacad New Member

    Absolutely true Big 10. I would add that there are cool, hip, modern musical selections that would work better than their musical choices. It would have added to Ashley and Joey's paso doble to have a paso doble version of Eye of the Tiger. Or a paso doble version of some other crowd pleasing song. And that would work fine as far as entertaining the American public.
  11. alemana

    alemana New Member

    Yeah, for samba there are tons of interesting hip choices. At the Manhattan Rising Star Latin final, Gwen Stefani's "If I Was a Rich Girl" was the samba selection. Loved it.

    I saw Van Amstel in the lobby at Manhattan, airily dismissing questions about the show.
  12. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Sorry, I've been out of town and so unable to defend myself.

    "Flash and trash" in ballroom-speak means flashy steps without solid technique to support them. It means going for big moves like dips and lifts and drags and throwing one or the other partners on the floor rather than fundamental movements that express the basic qualities and characteristics of the dance. I find Alec's choreography, when applied to a dancer of Kelly's level, to be very much full of "flash and trash" and not to be showing a lot of actual ballroom partner dancing.

    And I still can't stand to look at her dancing.
  13. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    I hate to keep "dittoing" you, Laura, but I feel the exact same way.
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I agree, too, MQ. 8) What I like to see is dance moves executed well, however simple the moves may be. Complex moves executed badly? Painful to watch, IMO. :?
  15. randomMysh

    randomMysh New Member


    That's what was so appealing about John's dancing, IMHO. Charlotte gave him classic, non-flashy moves that were appropriate for his level and let him show how hard he's been working on the basics. If I were studying ballroom right now, I'd take all the lessons I can afford with her after seeing that. All the others? Not really.

    I think they should have actual ballroom people picking the pros based on the teaching ablility. I mean, some of the "pros" on the show were amateurs, weren't they? They might be good dancers, but if you're going to focus on the celebrities as much as they did, wouldn't you want good teachers rather than just good dancers?
    Same goes for the music. The people picking the music obviously did not understand ballroom. I think they were working too hard to make the music a "crowd pleaser", and completely ignored the danceablility of it.

    All that said, I think it's really awesome to have a ballroom show on TV.
  16. Laura

    Laura New Member

    None of the pros were amateurs. Alec & Edyta only "turned pro" last year, but they've been teaching for a lot longer than that. Thing is, though, that they've been teaching kids in a youth dancesport program, where they can teach them by rote and scream at them if they don't listen. Teaching and choreographing for Pro/Am adults is a lot different.
  17. discovery

    discovery New Member

    I would add to this that non-dancers or beginning dancers (i.e., most of Dancing with the Stars audience) will like flash and trash over basic quality. To them it's just more exciting and they don't have the refined eye to see the difference. It's only dancers who sit and talk about "basic quality".

    It's like I remember as a kid just loving McDonald's and how it was so great whenever we got to go. Now I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole (most of the time anyway); my tastes have refined. Ask any kid whether they want McDonald's or Ruth's Chris and you can bet they'll pick the Happy Meal over the Filet. Dancers have a more refined taste with regard to dance than the general non-dancing public. It's not even necessarily better it's just refined.
  18. Laura

    Laura New Member

    I can't agree with this statement, no matter if you are talking about McDonald's vs. Ruth's Chris or "Dancing with the Stars." The food at Ruth's Chris is better: higher grades of meat, cooked to order rather than mass-cooked and then reheated by microwave, fresher and healthier side dishes. There's nothing wrong with either place, but to say that one isn't necessarily better than the other and it's all just a matter of degrees of refinement is an over-simplification. Same for the dancing.
  19. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    My feeling is that starting to learn about an aspect of dancing goes hand in hand with beginning to notice it's application or lack, and the resulting consequences, in others.
  20. BrookeErin

    BrookeErin New Member

    better AND refined 8)

    and RM, you wouldn't want at least one lesson from Alec? ;)
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