One of the questions that I hear most frequently from people inquiring about dance lessons is “How many lessons do I need to be able to dance”? The short answer is many! I must admit that this is the only question that I, a professional dance teacher still have difficulty answering because of how “naive” the question itself is. You see, learning how to dance is a process not a destination. I get a little queasy when I hear a new student anxious to put a number on something that is so individual and not very quantifiable. CONTINUE READING
Ever since Max Kozhevnikov had stopped dancing competitively, he has been performing shows all around the world with the lovely Beata. I must say that their shows are extraordinary! They are not the usual Latin and Ballroom shows that mainly run through their competitive dance routines. Instead, their shows are filled with many genres of dance mixed together and lots of acting. In a way, Max and Beata are revolutionizing the way dance shows are performed… WATCH BOTH VIDEOS
In the syllabus levels of a Latin and Ballroom dance competition, there is a series of dance steps that couples must adhere to and dance only the steps that are appropriate for their level. Having been competing in the pro/am (teacher/student competitions) syllabus levels for the past 2 years, there had not been a single competition where I did not spot at least 1 out-of-syllabus incident. Is there someone on the floor monitoring this? For most competitions, it looks like there is not sufficient oversight.
Most would agree that couples often need to grab the judges’ attention in order to get noticed and place well in Dancesport competitions. Couples that incorporate dance steps from the higher levels will often have an advantage because they will be more visible on the floor. They would be performing the faster, more intricate, some would say more interesting dance routines. This is not fair to the couples who stick to the rules. One of my competing students had also spotted couples dancing “all these cool” moves in her category and began implying that I should be letting her do them as well. “No one cares for the rules, Leon”, she said. Here I am, a professional dance instructor who teaches his students stick to the syllabus and I found it hard to justify why the syllabus rules matter (other than that I stick to it for myself as a teaching method). Mind you, these pro/am students pay very well in competition fees to at least expect a fair competition system in place. CONTINUE READING
The World Super Stars Latin Dance Festival is a yearly event held in Japan that hosts the best dance couples in the world. All the couples do about 5 solo show dances. This year was particularly amazing in the quality of shows. Perhaps, aside from the only new partnership of Slavik and Anna (who were still quite amazing for being so new), all the couples seemed to have gelled together really well.
This year’s line up included:
1. Michael Malitowski and Joanna Leunis
2. Riccardo Cocchi and and Yulia Zagoroutchenko
3. Slavik kryklyvyy Anna Melnikova
4. Sergey Surkov and Melia
5. Franco Formica & Oxana Lebedew
6. Maxim Kozhevnikov & Beata
Here are some of my favorite dance performances from the 2009 Latin World Stars Dance Festival:
Michael Malitowski and Joanna Leunis – Samba:
This dance video should remind everyone why they started dancing in the first place– to have fun! Danny (No, I don’t personally know him) and his partner are having so much fun together that it seems as though they are about to crack up at any given second. In addition, their dancing here is pure lead and follow. Notice how they are not thinking about anything, they are FEELING each others’ movement and interpreting the music. This is the way dancing was always meant to be. I challenge you to go out dancing next time and have as much fun as these two. Enjoy!
The subjectivity of Dancesport competitions can cause the results to vary greatly. As a dancer, you can only control how you dance. The resulting placement is in the judges’ hands. Therefore, being attached to results is quite futile and may lead the dancer to feel drained and frustrated.
It may even make him/her question whether or not to continue dancing at all. For instance, doing well in one competition makes you feel ecstatic. However, at the next competition you do not make the finals and you cannot help feeling miserable. Your emotions swing from one extreme to the next, leaving you feeling unfulfilled and disappointed. CONTINUE READING