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Jun
05

Season 14 Dancing With The Stars Review

Posted by: yeuca | Comments (2)

Most competitive season 14 is now over. What a come-from-behind victory it was! Congratulations to Donald and Peta. Their Free Style Dance was fun, fun, fun. This is a great example of the teamwork. I gather the excellent idea came from Donald and the fabulous choreography was well executed based on Donald’s athletic strength. The contrast in the flow took my breath away, especially when Donald skillfully toss Peta around his body at gun-firing speed. Their Free Style Dance was fresh, thrilled and entertaining and we didn’t see this good Free Style Dance for many seasons. I am now a big fan of Peta’s and I hope she would continue her career with Dancing with the Stars. Did you predict that Donald would win and what did you learn from this season?

Technically speaking, I think Katherine excelled in musicality, preciseness, expression and artistic quality. Nobody could beat her refinement in her placement and her graceful movement. She is an all-around dancer, and definitely knows how to present herself.

I hate to say but William put too much stress on Latin dance and by the time of final round his dance became too predictable and stale. I recognized so many same steps repeated over and over. Keep in mind that less repetition, the fresher your choreography looks. For example, the step, “New York” is usually repeated twice. Instead, do one “New York” followed by something totally different. Make the change dramatic. Be ready, though, that you need to dance harder because the more steps you add to your choreography, the harder your dance becomes. Nonetheless, William certainly let all girls dream of dancing with a hot guy like him.

What impressed me most this season is Donald’s sincere statement to his partner. “I wanted the trophy for Peta.” What a humble and kind man he is! He wanted the victory for his partner, not for himself. His comment filled me with warm love for humanity. The trust and love to his partner truly produced a power and success in this season. That is what I learned from this season and this is a great lesson for me.

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Feb
28

Sexy and Beautiful Rumba Walk

Posted by: yeuca | Comments Comments Off

 I hope you had a sweet Valentine’s Day and could show off a hot Rumba at the Valentine’s Day Dance.  If you didn’t, keep reading.

Do you fit any of these descriptions?

You’ve got hip action all right.

You like to dance Rumba.

You know Rumba steps.

Any yet, you don’t look as good as you should and want. 

Whether or not you share the sentiments, it may be time to review how you dance the Rumba.  You may be thinking that you should look great in Latin dance as long as you have the hip action.  Beginners especially place such a big deal on hip action in Latin dance and pay very little attention to Rumba walk.  The hip action happens on the count, AND then how about the rest of the counts on 2, 3 and 4?  Yes, no hip action is produced and then what are you supposed to be doing?  That’s when you do Rumba walking.

Rumba walk is hot!  If you walk with the repetition of heel, toe-footwork, you will never produce sexy and beautiful Rumba walk.  Rumba walk is very complicated because there are so many elements you need to apply and demonstrate at the same time.  All the movements make sense eventually, but feel odd at first.  You may be losing your balance, speed, contrast and all the characteristics of Rumba if your Rumba walk is not executed in a right manner.  Even the hip action is just the result of the execution of the good Rumba walk but not for making you look sexy.

Incorporate the following exercise.  Stand side by side, holding your partner’s hand.  Start with the same foot and just Rumba walk until you reach where you want to dance the Rumba.  This Rumba walk should be the opening choreography and attract your audience’s attention right away.  If not, you still need to practice the Rumba walk more.  Please remember that this exercise should be done after receiving precise instructions from your coach.  All your efforts will go down the drain if you have no idea what Rumba walk is all about.  Knowledge is gold along with good coaching that will enable you to Rumba walk like a pro.

Once you acquire this muscular memory, you can learn steps, styling and choreography.  Most people learn the other way around.  One thing I can tell you is this.  You may forget the fancy steps, styling and choreography if you don’t dance for a long time, but it is not easy to lose your muscular memory.  Take the example of the process of learning how to ride a bicycle. 

I can hardly wait to see if your Rumba is sexy and beautiful AND HOT in 2013!

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Jan
22

Drama, Drama, More Dramam-Dancing with the Stars Review

Posted by: yeuca | Comments Comments Off

Happy New Year to all ballroom dancers and to 2012!  What is your New Year’s resolution, as far as ballroom dancing is concerned?  If you do not have any, I hope you will come up with one after reading this blog.

I would like to congratulate JR and Karina!  JR proved he is a true fighter even as a dancer.  He was full of fight from the very beginning and his win was not a coincidence or luck.  He danced to win.  He clearly showed us that if there is a will, there is a way.  Most people dance just for fun, but it won’t hurt to set a goal and work up to it.  You will find an amazing difference.  Just practicing does not make you a successful ballroom dancer.  You may, though, think your dance will improve as long as you practice.  WRONG!  You may be able to learn more steps to show off, perhaps, but it is not how many steps you know, it is how you dance!  I will write more about this topic some other time.  This is a very important issue and not many people notice the truth behind that jargon, “Practice makes perfect.”

Having said that, Rob demonstrated how important it is to practice under good instruction, and how fabulous he looked when he danced with a good partner.  Did you see how he grew even as a person when he got his confidence up?  I also want to commend his coach, Cheryl.  She chose Quickstep as a free dance and her strategy and choreography was perfect for Rob.  They danced a traditional Quickstep first and then move onto a quick paced free style with all kinds of tricks like, lifting, spinning, etc.  It was fun and well done.  It was a good example that all the effort had paid off.

Personally, I think Ricki has the most potential and could become thebest dancer of the three.  So what went wrong and what can we learn from that?  Do you remember the Tango that Derek and Ricki danced, featuring the movie “Psycho” by Hitchcock?  What an unforgettable dance and choreography that was!  The silhouette enhanced the effect of the nature of the dance, didn’t it?  I take my hat off to Derek and praise him for his artistic choreography and talent.  Ricki really impressed and entertained the audience, as well.  Her posture was graceful and her performance was precise.  That is what she needed for her “Free Dance” to win.  However, she danced Quickstep and Salsa, which is a quite interesting but difficult combination.  It could have been better if it was a combination of Tango and Salsa.  I know a couple who take only Argentine Tango lessons, but no other dance.  Mastering just one kind of dance may open a new prospective and it could be a good strategy for some people.     Quest your strength and pursue it.

Do you agree that we clearly saw three different dramas?  The woman who struggled with her weight problem all her life, the shy young man who came out of his shell and earned confidence and grew up, the war hero who survived the war and a tragic accident, and yet is fighting even now for his victory in life.  What kind of drama do you have?  Whatever it is, one thing I can say is that dance is a great tool to positively change your drama!

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Nov
21

Can you beat BLUE ANGELS?

Posted by: yeuca | Comments Comments Off

I recently had an opportunity to watch a Blue Angels’ performance.  This time, I saw a lot of similarity between the Blue Angels and ballroom dancing and hoped you guys were also watching them fly.  Beauty, accuracy and speed are just a few of attributes to mention, but I wonder if you noticed how closely they were flying together?  They are absolutely unified, demonstrating perfect partnership.  Are you showing that kind of partnership when you ballroom dance?  Most beginner dancers usually fail to do so, but even experienced ballroom dancers, as well as social dancers, seem to have problems acquiring this critical technique.

A man said to me once, “If I dance close to my partner, my knees hit hers and hurt her.”  Another man said, “She may be embarrassed if my body touched hers.”  Their dance postures attested to their missing connection.  I could almost put another person between the man and his partner.  His posterior was sticking out and he was communicating with his partner with his hands and arms, as well as his legs and mouth!

 The connection in ballroom dancing is imperative to communicate with your partner.  This connection is obtained mostly (there are exceptions) through each other’s right side of body, especially through ribcage.  Without this sort of connection, you cannot carry on the performance well.  You will find yourself dancing much better if you master this skill, particularly when you perform intricate steps and figures.  You will feel you are not losing balance or dancing behind the music and speed you need to maintain in a sequence of difficult choreography.  It is a must to acquire this skill by the time you reach ‘Silver Level,’ but I regret to say there are so many social dancers who know silver level steps but lack this critical skill.  Some people make a mistake and associate the connection with dancing cheek-to-cheek, which is danced in place embracing each other.  A partner dance, like ballroom dance, requires technique of balanced ‘invitation and initiation’; even though the couple upholds the connection and never loses speed and flow.  That clearly shows the difference between dancing cheek-to-cheek and dancing with connection.  The connection enables us to dance in unified form without dragging or pulling our partner.  The technique is quite difficult and you need good instructions on this subject.  It is well worth while to have private lessons for this purpose.  I don’t want to discourage you but it takes time to achieve this goal.  I see you are casting me a baleful look.  I am only urging you not to give up if you cannot gain this skill right away.  This skill itself is actually a part of the essence of ballroom dancing.

Now, do you think you can beat the beauty of the Blue Angels and fly on dance floor unified with a partner?

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Sep
04

Are you a SKATER or a BALLROOM DANCER?

Posted by: yeuca | Comments Comments Off

Have you ever ice skated or roller skated?  You come in a skater rink and start skating counter clockwise.  Everybody and his brother keeps skating the same direction over and over.  I see the same practice on a dance floor.  Why is that?  I know you need to follow the dance traffic, otherwise you will bump into other couples and you will be in trouble.  I understand we may follow some kind of rules unless you own a 2500sq feet dance studio in your backyard.  However, I would like to warn you how this mistake can cause you to form a bad habit.

When you develop a sense of counter clockwise direction, you get used to making slight turn at the four corners even though the step you are executing may not be a turning step.  Your quarter turn may end up being three quarter turn due to your extra weight shift, which may take you to a long wall, instead of LINE OF DANCE or vice versa.  Most likely, you are giving your lady partner unclear signal and may put her in a backward position longer than necessary.  The worst enemy, though, is monotonous and boring choreography.  Dancers!  We are not Grey Hound, running on the race track!

Here are solutions.  Be aware of four corners.  (Did you even realize there are four corners on a dance floor?)  Practice dancing into the corners and performing picture lines at the corners.  Dance when many people are taking their rest, especially after popular music or fast dance music. When that chance arrives, take advantage of using the whole floor and demonstrate your well- thought choreography.  The problem about that strategy, though, is music.  You may want to practice Waltz but the next music may be for Foxtrot.  Just ignore it or use iPod for you and your partner.

Good grief… there is nothing easy, is there?  However, when you learn the beauty of floor craft, you will be well rewarded as a ballroom dancer.  Beginners and intermediate ballroom dancers ask your instructor and have her make a special sequence of steps for you before you develop the “counter clockwise brain wash.”  Still worried about bumping into other couples?  In order to avoid the sort of collision also requires a cool technique that you eventually need to learn.  Right now, just use “Hesitation” with your style.

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