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.
Totally agree. But a lot of us are immature and most of us are not champions. So are we better off trying too hard (taking risks) or trying too little (being safe)? Because, being non-champions, we have not mastered how to do it just right I am of the opinion that risk-taking is what let's you learn how to tone it down and use concentrated energy to dance. Staying safe will not get you as far or as quickly.
I'd go further and say safe dancing often looks boring
I'm not saying people should dance out of control all the time. But competition is after all, a performance. It's got to come from the heart & flow free. Sometimes a technically flawed but full of energy & dynamic performance would win over a technically pure & controlled performance.
No - on 99.99% of people, that would simply be too much.
Mirko is a bit unique in being able to do more than most, while still not usually doing too much.
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?
This is a great advice for students, and something I've recently been benefiting from. But you can't always be in experimental mode, and you shouldn't take unwise risks - don't habitually do more than is warranted, and especially don't get into the general habit of doing more than your technique can support, especially if you are doing it to cover for deficiencies in technique.
Mirko and Alessia are one of the few couples usually justified in doing as much as they do.
That's why I said "sometimes" You can't do it all the time because then you wouldn't really learn how to do enough but you have to take risks, especially when practicing (I wouldn't take as many when competing of course)...
The one thing I disagree about is that Jonathan rarely does less - he does less than Katusha most of the time, very visibly so, even to someone like me... When a man does *visibly* less than the woman, to me it means he doesn't do enough to make it appear that she does as much as he's leading her to do. That's an unbalanced partnership to me.
I wouldn't consider Chris & Hazel safe dancing. Chris sometimes does crazy stuff, thus he's the big flower
Safe dancing at the highest level possible - watch Tim & Jo!
Absolutely flawless techniques. I find them rather boring. In recent years, they've gotten better & more speed & dynamic, but still can't surpass Mirko & Alessia. Now even lost to Jonathan & Katusha. Certainly going downhill in ranking.
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...
I would disagree actually. seeing Katusha dance with other men (taking lessons) I noticed the sahpe doesnt' look nearly as huge or even big compared to her with Jonathan. It is something he does with his body, completely amasing which results in a huge shape of the couple while both of them look like they are standing up straight. jonathan doesnt' look like he is doing much shape but his and katusha's frame is bigger than anyones. Again, Katusha doesn't have such a big frame with anyone else, even bigger men, so it is something both of them are doing.
regarding Hazel, I do agree with Chris that this is more of a competitive strategy... a woman often has a choice of going out of balance or into wrong alignment, but keeping the frame and stretch, or allowing her shoulders to distort but keeping perfectly together wiht her partner and on her feet. Hazel appears to be doin gthe latter, and while the "frame people" might dislike the photos slightly, I think a couple choosing the second option looks more striking (freer in movement cause less force is used to keep yourself on balance, more dynamic, nice movement) on the floor.
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.
What do you think of the first couple bars, before they come into closed dance position? She looks very graceful and feminine there to me.
As for the movement and musicality, I would say that is the flip side to the proper upper back alignment that some of the other posters see as "stiff". The overshaping that most ladies do these days seems to result in a bigger top line - but also puts their centers and feet out of alignment for movement. I much prefer Hazel's approach.