Sunday, March 2, 2008

America's Ballroom Challenge

When Zirpu and I tell people that we ballroom dance, people immediately ask if we have have seen So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing With the Stars. I've seen one episode of each, and Zirpu hasn't seen either at all. I am only vaguely interested in the dancing, but the "judge reviews" really turn me off and that is the real reason why I don't watch them (and many others, like Survivor and American Idol). The shows have brought people into the studio though; for example, one guy whose background is in traditional Indian dance started about a year ago when he got interested in ballroom while watching "So You Think..."

However, I am interested in America's Ballroom Challenge, which is the broadcast of the World Professional American Smooth and Rhythm Championships shown on PBS. The Ohio Star Ball is a weeklong event in November, including workshops as well as many competitions. Jasmine Guy and Ron Montez (and Marilu Henner and Tony Meredith last year) had to pretend that they were "coming back next week" for the next phase of the competition, when it really happens all in one evening.


Andrei Gavriline and Elena Kryuchkova [unfortunately no video from this year yet] won the whole event. I thought that they had relied too much on gimmicky costuming, particularly in the International Latin comp and in the short program, and then for the amazing show dance they did their costumes almost hid their bodies. Andrei, who is quite tall, uses his long legs to create great lines. In comparison Elena seems very short (it's hard to tell if she's short compared to normal-height people), but she can make her legs look almost as long as his. Inspired by Elena, I'm going to work on creating a long-leg look in my own dancing.

I am so uninterested in competing in dance that I can't even imagine why someone would do it. A few of my studio friends compete, and for one of them in particular competing only seems to create stress and take away the fun of dancing. She's one of the most competitive people I know, but she always seems drawn and worried before a big event. I can't imagine competing in front of hundreds of people, even if I were good enough to do so. Of course, I just want to dance well enough to not panic when a stranger asks me to dance - so far, I can follow well enough to get through an unknown step.

I like to watch the professional competitions and the exhibitions, and be inspired by what I see.

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