Slavik Kryklyvvy & Elena Khorova – Rumba, 2007

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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” As we all know Dr. King was a genuine leader that inspired others to fight for civil rights and a harmonious community in the South: a place where Black and White people could coexist in peace. Although there remain some racial tensions around the world, Dr. King’s dream became real; Black people received equal rights compared to White people. Dr. King was a leader, inspiring person, and to many people, a savior. In this Rumba performance I think of the humanity and leadership of the man especially that makes the woman flow and move in a certain way. I also love the costumes that highlight the strength of the female dancer, and finally I love the mood of this dance: such gentleness and yet opens eyes to what truly makes us human. This dance makes me feel every part of my body and how each part- fingers, hands, wrists, etc.- moves in sequence with each other.

The man does a fantastic job in leading Khorova for a variety of reasons. Each movement that Kryklyvvy makes directly affects  Khorova in a way that makes both dancers look unified as one complete person. For example, when Kryklyvvy is behind Khorova and doesn’t physically pick her leg up, but rather slides his hand up her leg from the upper thigh to the tips of her ankles, that signals to the female dancer that she must slide her legs all the way above her head. Another example is the beginning of the routine. Khorova is in one stationary position; she doesn’t move at all, unless Kryklyvvy moves a specific body part a certain way. For example, you will see first how the male dancer moves his hands in a way that makes the female dancer rise her legs to stand completely straight. Second you will see Kryklyvvy simply take Khorova’s arm and stick straight out. Overall, if the male dancer moves in a certain direction, or directly moves any part of his body, the he will also indirectly affect the female dancer in the way she moves hers.

One other thing that I truly love about this piece is the female’s costume. It is evident that one of Kohrova’s strengths is the ability to lift her legs in every direction possible. The dancer is very flexible. Her costume is light blue with the right side completely exposed; her legs, back, and mid section above the bust. This costume truly shows the strength of Khorova’s talent because her legs, right and left, are exposed. Even though the left side is still shielded, many see how both bare legs move throughout the performance.

Finally, I love the overall mood of this routine. It’s very humanitarian and shows the gentleness and romance we possess as humans in general. We are given a life with a beating heart and body parts that all fuction in a certain way that make up our beauty and imperfection at the same time. 

USA Dance 2010 – Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva

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This video is like no other. Although I stated in previous blogs, “This video is like no other; you must watch for, whatever reason,” I felt as if to recognize the uniqueness in each video without in reality showing what was truly special about each video. However, this ten minute clip in my opinion shows the relationships between two people that everyone will encounter in their lives: serious relationships- marriage-, rocky relationships- ex boyfriends or girlfriends or enemies-, and neutral friendships- friends or best friends. This video highlights each one and may be generalized, but I wanted to talk to all you how this video has affected me, after the past couple of hours what exactly happened between me and my best friend, Chris.

Chris is a good friend- a brother practically- that I will always keep in my heart. I developed strong feelings for him, even though I knew our relationship would remain at a friendship level, and I was hurt for a long time. The first routine by Fung and Muravyeva shows my dream that never, and will never, come true: a serious between Chris and I: not quite marriage, but just a serious relationship. The dancers glide across the floor. Everything is perfect: no problems. The dancers flow with the music at every exact beat and the music symbolizes the life both people lead: happy and healthy.

The second dance is much rockier and rougher. Both dancers move at different paces- even though in reality moving at the same pace- but have an attitude in which they want to move in different directions. They have different goals, mind sets, and paths in which both must follow. Evident in Muravyeva, I feel she represents my emotions; I want Chris to move one direction with me in life, but Fung leads his own life- he leads the tango in he competition- and I must comply: follow his lead and accept his choices, as well as the fact our friendship will all it’ll ever be. One thing that truly caught my eye was in the middle of the routine, the music slowed down. I thought of the first dance- a dream- that would never come true. I played my heart, because the music then speeds up and Muravyeva must move faster and struggle more with Fung’s lead. The hopes and dreams only cause more heart ache within her soul.

The final dance represents friendship: all that our relationship will ever be. In every way I am thankful to have Chris in my life because he has shown me paths I never knew were crossed. Chris has also shown me the power to believe and move on. This dance shows how we will support each other through struggles we face on our own paths, directions, and ways to move, yet we always will find each other in the end. His lead I will follow and his steps toward the next move of our routine will depend on where I have last placed my body, so we may both move forward.

These three dances reflect so much as to how much I’ve gone through in the last few hours. I would strongly recommend watching these three routines, and not even think about relationships. At a dancer’s, and spectator’s, perspective, notice the differences between each: the costumes, mood changes, and facial expressions throughout the ten minute video.

2013 International Standard Waltz Competition, Italy

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2013 WDSF PD World Standard | The Final Presentation Waltz – YouTube

Fluttering on clouds, and dancing on nothing but air, these waltz professional compete to the death for a gold at the 2013 WDSF held in Bassano, Italy. Every couple does have its differences: choreography, coach, and style to waltz. However, one thing that you notice is grace and fluidity through out every couple that dances. Even though these couples are from multiple countries such as Italy and Russia- two different cultures- the requirements are still the same for the dance and every dancer incorporates their unique culture to Waltz.

            We all remember the dance learned in sixth grade: box steps everywhere.  The boy’s right hand was on top of the girl’s left shoulder blade. The girl’s left hand was placed, and squeezed, at the boy’s bicep-tricep dorsal muscle. Finally, the girl’s right hand and boy’s left hand were joined together, held up high for the world to see. This was, and is, the basic position of Waltz. Waltz is nothing like Latin or Swing dancing. The movements are much more fluid, and firm, at the same time. What I mean by that is both dancers are locked in a frame that holds them together allowing certain motions to take place that make the dance more upright and graceful at the same time. As the dancers are locked in a frame filled with grace and fluidity, their costumes contribute so much to the mood of the dance itself.

            A typical Waltz costume shown in the video for the men is a tuxedo with almost a hanging part of clothing in the back- a skirt I think it’s called- with black dance shoes and a tie at the collar. However, the ladies are what make everything colorful and exciting to watch. When I see professionals dance Waltz I’m taken back to the 1800’s when the dance was formed. The female costumes are poofy with exotic colors that make spectators feel as if they’re watching an element float in the atmosphere, flow into the ocean, or burn with passion across lands. These costumes are spacious and wide. There’s no other way to describe them. One other thing that I notice about this competition, and Waltz in general, regardless of costumes and frame, is the upright attitude and lack of personal expression seen more evident in dances such as Latin or Swing.

            There is much expression in Waltz don’t get me wrong. Facial expressions are still evident and specific movements that dancers favor are present. However, I feel because dancers are caught in a metal frame when expressing their elements, they are unable to move freely. The frame is the dance. Compared then to Latin and Swing, although there is a partner and there is a certain frame, dancers are able to move more freely away from one another and still maintain within the standards of International Latin and American Swing.

            In conclusion I adore this competition, and Waltz in general for two reasons. The framing allows the dance to have a mature, fluid, and graceful motion, and the costumes are theatric, the dance always takes me back to the 1800’s, every time. 

 

Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollmann “How to Save a Life” 2009

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a3RY8UbE0w

“And I would’ve stayed with you all night long,

Had I known how to save a life.”

 

These lyrics to this song, “How to Save a Life” by the Fray, describe everything in this dance. At first when I watched this routine I thought, wow this is a very fast west coast swing. Yes, dances of the same count may have different paces because they have different stories to tell, but this almost looked like a hustle. As the routine continued to progress, there were a couple of things I noticed about it: the story that I made up in my head: how friendships are and an analysis of relationships in life, the different moves that Frisbee and Mollman perform throughout that were eye-catching, and what specifically about the routine was an attention getter, whether it was the story behind the dance, the attitude, or simply the entire performance. I believe that every spectator has his/her own thoughts about what was unique, however this performance is not like another West Coast. Frisbee and Mollman know what swing is, and know specifically how to make each appearance special in it’s own way.

This performance told a story of relationships and the trust in each unique connection between the people we have in our lives. The song played, “How to Save a Life,” is about a man who lost his girlfriend or wife, and now she found someone else. At first they started off as friends, but now that their relationship has nose-dived, he’s lost and doesn’t know where to go forward with his life. In the dance both dancers are very close to each other, and the dancers create a vibe/feeling about how the characters have feelings for each other, or have some sort of past. There is most definitely a friendship, where trust, commitment, and loyalty have all fallen into place, or have been put forward. And, in this situation, trust, commitment, loyalty, are all three key components in a relationship of any kind with all of us in life.

There are multiple movements that Frisbee and Mollman that are quite eye-catching, but also just impressive in a west coast swing. In the post, “More,” by Usher and Alex Vargas, the dance’s special feature was the time changing and different tempos through out the routine, performed by the same dancers. Here, Frisbee and Mollman take dancing to a whole different level. For example, Mollan performs a move where she slides on her knees in front of Frisbee, and then Frisbee pulls Mollman up, but Mollman is forced on her tip toes when she stands up again: only her legs are used to help her up. Another amazing move was- that actually reminded me of a rumba hesitant walk- Mollman freezes in place, Frisbee moves forward, and Mollan moves backwards alone. In that moment, I thought of a rumba, although Rumba and West Coast Swing are two completely different things.

Overall this performance was a pleasure to view because this is one of the fastest west coast dances I have seen and I believe that if the viewer has an open mind while watching this routine, he/she will depict unique things as well. Definitely a keeper! 

Swing Diego 2007 Jordan Frisbee and Tatiana Mollman- Pump It

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB_B_e1y7vc

            Above this text is a link that leads to Jordan Frisbee and Tatianna Mollman’s performance at Swing Diego in 2007, performing “Pump It” by The Black Eyed Peas.  I chose to write about this routine for a variety of reasons. One, the music and tempo are fast-paced and make the appearance very lively. Two, the movements performed in this routine have a lot of “pump” to the song that make the routine more enjoyable to watch; the “pump” is in the dancers, the dance, and the lyrics: it’s everywhere! And finally, the dancers themselves correlate their movements so well with the song, as if the dancers can predict what the audience want to see as the dance moves through the song.

West coast swing is a dance that has six beats per basic and the triple steps built in the step may be difficult to achieve if you’re moving to a fast-paced song. However, Frisbee and Mollman are professionals and know how to grab the audience’s attention. Throughout the dance the two move in synchronizing motion side by side or down a parallel line. As the two move down the line, their upper bodies are still, including their heads: only the feet move.

There are so many examples as to how pump is embedded in the genetic codes of this dance: the song, the lyrics, the dance itself, and of course the dancers with incredible attitude that make the performance come to life. One example is the song itself. “Pump It” by The Black Eyed Peas has many over-emphasized sounds such as the guitar strumming and when the singers say, “pump it,” their voices are projected louder compared to when they sing the rest of the song. Second, how the dancers use the specific moments in the song in order to make a dance come to life with specific singers, either being male or female. For example, in the middle of the routine the song goes, “hey can you check this out right here,” said by the male singer, and Frisbee takes advantage of this by sliding across on the other side of Mollman, because he’s a male dancer and is making a connection between the dance and the lyrics. Another example is after Mollman does multiple spins and a female singer says, “la da di da…,” Mollman slides across Frisbee to make another connection between the dance, dancers, and music itself.

Frisbee and Mollman move in synchronization so well: feet, arms, body movements and body rolls, as well as with the beats of the music. Again, the song has specific, over-emphasized motions, whether it’s the lyrics, beats, guitar, etc, the dancers make every connection possible and have the audience satisfied with whatever is happening. For example, throughout the song there are loud beats. Frisbee and Mollman will strike their arms in the air as they continue to move their feet. That way, the beats are shown through the movements of their arms and the guitar is still shown, through the movement of their feet, since only their feet move when in a line together.

Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko, ChaCha

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Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_-r5iWVDA8

This dance was performed at competition. If you click on the link above, or simply copy and paste the link into the address bar on the computer, you will see this couple (Cocchi and Zagoruychenko) were very open and concise with their movements toward one another as well as within the dance of ChaCha.  Throughout the dance, I also noticed that the dancers were most likely performing one of the most expanded  cha-cha dances I have seen.  And again, specifically with this dance, attitude was key everywhere from the beginning to the end.

The clear and concise movements between these two dancers continue from beginning to end. For example, the couple will pause for a couple of beats in the dance, and then strike a pose in order to move to a position ready for the next movement. Also, two specific examples are the following: you will see Zagoruychenko move in and out, and then out more with her butt sticking out from Cocchi in the middle of the dance. Each movement that she performs, out and out again, is very defined and clear as to where she goes and when; anticipation from the audience is clear. Another example is also evident. Towards the end of the dance, the couple performed a very interesting movement that I have never seen in Cha-Cha. The woman wrapped around the man, as he performed clear hip movement. Each hip movement was equal to one more wrap around the man, and that is clarity in any dance movement: equality. The couple performed equal and defined movements between one another, but they used their space was an outstanding sight to observe as well.

The space was taken over by this couple, and like no other cha-cha dance I have seen performed in competition. Throughout the routine the couple danced all over the floor, from angle to angle of every spectator and from space to space around the wooden floor: attention getters. Throughout the routine the couple started in at one part of the room and went back to their original spot a countless amount of times. As you watch the video you will see judges on the edges of the dance floor, watching each couple and trying to get the most versatile view possible. As Cocchi and Zagoruychenko move across the floor, one of the judges backs away with his clipboard and readjusts his glasses. This makes the couple fearless and daring, which is important for anyone in competition to have: attitude.

This couple is the definition of attitude. Pointing at each other, and at the audience, they are attention getters and know what the spectators and judges want, as well as how to make competition nerve-wracking. What I personally loved at the end was when the music ended, Cocchi slapped Zagoruychenko’s butt, which shows sass, and represents the interpretation of cha-cha: a playful, informal dance.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this dance for a variety of reasons, and this routine showed me a variety of things about cha-cha: expansion, more clear, concise movements, and of course, more attitude, expansion on both parts of the dancers. I highly recommend you watch it! Enjoy!

Jordan Frisbee & Tatianna Mollmann::2011 US Open Swing Dance Championships

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66ME7lIXBSc

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At the US Open Swing Dance Championship in 2011, Jordan Frisbee & Tatianna Mollmann performed a West Coast Swing routine to the song “More” by Usher. The routine starts off slowly and to a guitarist, but the dance then speeds up, the music gets faster, and the modern version of the song comes on. What’s interesting about this routine is the music will have a slow tempo, speed up, and have a slower tempo than the original beat at the beginning of the song. The audience is drawn into the dance and everything comes to life when more than the dancers move; the music moves as well, and there’s a better connection between the dancers and the music, which is an outstanding, unique site to watch.

 

            Frisbee and Mollmann have much connection between one another in this dance. For example, throughout the routine you will see Mollmann twirl multiple times- sometimes faster or slower than others- as Frisbee holds her arm up, having a perfect lead. Another example is the body rolls between the two dancers: both are synchronized. In other words, Frisbee leads Mollmann in a way that the two either move together in the same direction or in the opposite direction. Personally I love the body roles in this routine because West Coast Swing requires a straight, upright back and movement of the feet that connects with the knees, hips, and so on and so forth. As the feet move, the back forms a body roll during a basic step, and I feel that these daners purposefully added more body rolls to the routine in order to make the performance more interesting and enjoyable to watch for the audience. One other thing that personally jumped out at me in this dance was the four small “jumps” more toward the end, on four beats of the song. Mollmann faces away from Frisbee, both are standing upright, and are parallel to one another. I personally thought this was an awesome move for two reasons. One, normally in US Open competition dancers will be straight faced and stick to the unprecedented movements of the dance. Here, both dancers were making the most of the performance and added some pop to the routine in order to draw the audience, and judges, inward, to have some fun. Two, the jumps make the audience remember that although there is a connection and a lead between the two, and there is one single unit, the unit is still made up of two different people, regardless of a lead, regardless of a routine, regardless of a connection, and I loved how the two expressed individuality, which I have never seen in a dance routine, and I believe that is what makes it so authentically unique.

 

            In conclusion, this dance elaborates on every element of West Coast swing, although many of them have not been listed here. The connection between the two- and yet the indivualism of each dancer- that forms a unit, the body rolls, and most importantly, the attitude: both dancers smile, point at each other, and lip sing the song, which makes the routine even more exciting to watch.