Tango and Fox Trot -
Trot - Danced
in the park, Very real world, only a few "clutch&sway"
type moves with excellent frame..very much what two people who've
just met, but both have had lessons, would dance.
- Danced in
the dance studio during a lesson. This scene was well planned,
placing it in a dance studio leaves room for a bit more theatrical
choreography. It is clear that both Matthew and Jennifer have
danced in the past. Both frames were very strong and when performing
the Cambio(man lunges back and sits on bent left leg as woman
lunges into him, hips forward), Matthew's upper torso,frame and
stance was straight and strong. Jennifer's poise was great
through out the dance. The only step executed that made
me cringe was a grapevine step where both travel to the mans left
while crossing the feet forward and back. A common lead mistake
was made which is leading the woman with the arms and hips instead
of with the body. In all smooth dances, the grapevine pattern
should be lead with the full body, if the man executes his steps
properly and holds his frame, the woman's lead will be clear and
she will have no question regarding follow. Let
me clarify that this step can appear very easy, but when
done properly is really quite advanced.
all - While I was completely put off by the stereotypical FLAMBOYANT
dance instructor, and the Tango was for the most part theatrical,
I felt Matthew and Jennifer represented dance very well, perhaps
the best I've seen in quite a while. I'm sure they sparked quite
an interest in the Tango.
times 2 -
with Tia Carrere - I
wanted to applaud when I saw Arnold get on the dance floor.
While Tia is rumored to frequent the Tango Bars in L.A., You
would not imagine Arnold to be much of a dancer. The steps were
for the most part theatrical but kept fairly simple. To the
untrained eye I think Arnold probably did a Great job. To myself
he seemed a bit stiff and as though he did not feel comfortable
in his Tux. I would have had taken him outside, smoked a fat
cigar, taken a belt of tequila and told him to "relax his
toes while going through the steps"..to this I imagine
he might reply "Screw You!"...and I'm cool with that.
It Sounds funny but relaxing your toes is an amazing
technique which helps to relax your whole body when feeling
tense or learning new steps on the dance floor. This man has
my utmost respect..a self made, highly successful business man
and actor, I would have liked to help him reflect the true renaissance
man that I'm sure he is.
with Jamie Lee Curtis
- First and foremost, Dug him in the white dinner jacket! Due
to the highly established characters, I found this scene very
funny. Jamie Lee Curtis created a hilarious role spanning from
the nervous house wife having a pseudo affair to Dorris (counter
part to Borris). The dancing in this scene was a bit less polished
than the previous dance scene. Both looked a bit stiff and I
very much got the feeling they where both walking through the
steps and if anyone was leading it looked to be Jamie. As the
credits start to role you see Jamie throw herself down on the
ground as Arnold pulls her across the floor..this is where I
decided they were hamming it up on purpose, I watched it until
it faded and loved every second.
all - I don't believe these scenes were meant to "Dazzle"
anyone, they were most likely put in for some entertaining depth.
Who wouldn't be surprised to see Arnold Schwarzenegger dance
a Tango. I do feel, however, that in the light of promoting
men to dance, I would have liked to work with Arnold a little
bit just to take the edge off.
Samba, Paso Doble, Viennese Waltz
note - I am not going to discuss every
dance, that would take forever. I will simply be giving
my overall thoughts below.
and foremost, this movie is Australian and actually about
ballroom dancing. One might think it to be a blown-out of proportion
comedy about dancing. The fact is that it is not far from the
truth. While the camera angles and strong characters make is seem
almost cartoon-like at times, the portion referring to the competitive
circuit is pretty close to home ( I am not referring to the scandal,
but instead the outfits, ego's and drama). Don't get me wrong,
I love this movie and have it in my video collection, in a lot
of ways Strictly Ballroom shows us that other countries take competitive
ballroom dancing very seriously.
Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice are the two main characters. I found
Paul to be very light on his feet throughout the movie, almost
Jazzy and in the Latin dances you really need to be more "Heavy"
and "Grounded". His character calls for this so it is
not an attack on Paul's personal dance habits, just an observation
on the characters dancing. I was very impressed by the gentleman
who plays Tara's father. He was very well grounded and solid through
out his upper body, great Latin poise. The best dance in the movie
is the final Paso Doble, the costumes where incredible. The Paso
Doble is a dance which represents a bull fight. The man is the
Matador, the woman, the bull. I would have liked to see Paul and
Tara fall into each other (metaphorically speaking) a little more...dance
as one instead of two. Finally, a note on choreography, the dance
finale has Paul sliding on his knees, around and in front of Tara...great
move..however, Paul then just stands up............!! I wanted
to see him pull up with a victorious STOMP as his arms are thrown
over his head..showing his dominance in this challenge.
is a foreign film with English subtitles. The story line
is fairly slow and the filming style is what I would categorize
as 'artsy', but the dancing is pretty fantastic.The Argentine
Tango is very different from the International style normally
seen in American movies and on the televised competitions. It's
a very passionate dance and those who follow it are passionate
about dancing it. I had to force myself to sit through the slow
sections of the movie but the payoff is worth while if you appreciate
this dance as much as I do.
The dancing was great, a combination of theatrical and real world.
The setting is placed around the production of a stage show, so
the theatrical is very much expected. Most other countries are
far less inhibited about men dancing then we are in the United
States, this movie makes that clear with men dancing with women,
women dancing with women and men dancing with men, all for the
love of the dance. I do not consider myself professional status
when it comes to Argentine Tango. I am, however, very familiar
with the style and attitude, and have been trained by Argentine
Professionals. If you are not expecting to hang on every word
but would love to see some great dancing, This movie should please
Single Time Swing (Jitterbug)
Authentic! No smoke or mirrors with this swing scene. If you have
never seen this movie, don't be mislead, Despite the title "Swingers",
there is only one dance scene and it's about 10 minutes before
the closing credits.
This is a great movie about a bunch of LA transplants who cruise
the local hot spots in search of some "Pretty Babies".
I think this was a great example of the fun a man and woman can
have on the dance floor without feeling conspicuous. This dance
is so real time that you can occasionally see the camera mans
shadow as he walks around the dance floor. The characters Mike
and Lorraine (Jon Faureau & Heather Graham) do a bang up on
the dance floor. They are doing fairly basic steps with lots of
single & double turns and look to be having a great time.
You'll notice other dancers doing flips and more acrobatic type
combinations. This is common in the swing scene and very danceable
but I warn that you exercise caution and patience if you choose
to learn these steps. Get instruction from an experienced dancer
before you attempt to throw anybody anywhere.
Dancing: Mambo, Cha
Cha, Fox Trot & Merengue
the movie Patrick Swayze states that he was trained with Arthur
Murray, I would not doubt for a moment that he was indeed
trained by Arthur Murray..at least for this film. Arthur Murray
is basically the original and probably still the largest ballroom
dance school in the country.
primary dance in this movie is the Mambo. The instructions Patrick
gives Jennifer through out the movie are all correct. The most
unbelievable aspect of the film is that someone as gawky
as Jennifer's character could learn to dance a complex Mambo routine
within the time frame she was given ( if anyone picked up on
the exact time frame, please let me know )
dances were the Cha Cha, Fox Trot and Merengue, mostly danced
as background shots. All of the secondary dances were for the
most part danced to the correct timing with real world steps.
I did notice that any shot with no dialogue was on or close to
correct timing, any shot with dialogue combined with dancing threw
off the timing..possibly an editing error.
the Cha Cha scenes impressed me simply because they were on correct
time to the music. Very often the Cha Cha is danced with the rock
(or break) on the One, but it belongs on the Two
as danced in Dirty Dancing.
am often asked about the Dirty in the Dancing...
I was still in the studio when this movie came out and clearly
remember people coming in asking to learn that style...bit to
personal to learn from a stranger if you ask me. However, while
I prefer to tone down the pelvic thrusting just a tad, this style
of dancing can be a blast. Bobby Brown or myself would refer to
this style as "just a little bump and grind"...and there
aint nothing wrong with it! While it may appear simple, you'd
be surprised how confining it feels dancing this close to someone.
You need to have a strong center of gravity, a polished sense
of rhythm and some frame.
with me: Salsa, Cha
Cha, Paso Doble, Samba & Rhumba
to a close personal friend, I have a deep appreciation for the
Cuban culture and their music. In this movie Rafael (Chayanne)
comes to the US from Cuba and meets Ruby (Vanessa Williams). The
plot works around a dance studio in Texas, so there are many scenes
with numerous dances and various levels of dancers. The studio
scenes are some of the more flattering representations I've seen.
While a few characters where a bit loopy, the general ambiance
was warm and friendly...no flamboyant, scarf throwing dance instructors
to be found.
Williams impressed me. Her character is an instructor working
toward reentering the competition circuit and while I was seeing
Allot of familiar sharp competitive styles from other dancers,
her style was a bit more smooth and rhythmic, not quite as calculated.
Vanessa clearly is a dancer and she worked it in this movie.
I would like to add that in regards to wardrobe and music, this
movie painted a flattering picture of the competitive dance circuit.
The music was soulful and upbeat, very modern. The wardrobe, while
certainly flashy was surprisingly tasteful for both the men and
the women. Kudos to the fashion/wardrobe designer of this project.
Those unfamiliar with competitive dancing may think I'm nuts in
regards to the wardrobe. All you'll need is to watch 2 or 3 airings
of a Dance Sport competition on public broadcasting to see what
I mean. The outfits in this movie aren't just Flashy, they
have some style.
favorite scenes are in the Cuban night clubs. (sorry for the funky
image to the right, club lighting made for bad photo opp's).
Cuban music has a very strong passionate flavor, it does not just
sing a song, it tells a story. I truly appreciated the clear distinction
this movie made between dancing to compete and dancing to dance.
Chayanne is great, his characters dancing style is far from traditional
but a blast to watch. The dance floor in the Cuban club is like
a community and some of the dancing is not something anyone could
walk into and feel totally comfortable. It is, however, very real
world and would only take a few visits for someone who knows the
salsa/mambo rhythm to feel right at home.
all: Both dancers where great and portrayed the difference in
dancing style wonderfully. All competition scenes where done tastefully,
and as mentioned earlier, with flashy style. All Cuban club scenes
were very fun and danceable with a few nights exposure. The dance
studio scenes where not over done and pretty true to life..(the
same people there most of the time and the dance parties).
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, I will certainly be purchasing
the sound track. I expect the CD to have some great Cuban cha
cha/salsa tracks as well as those modern Samba songs used in
Soon (aka..as soon as
I get around to it) - Scent
of a Woman, Shall we dance - Please feel free to email with
a movie you would like to have critiqued.
world choreography: Most commonly movies throw in dances that
are not truly leadable. I refer to this as theatrical dancing.
Good real world choreography , in my opinion, means the
movie/choreographer did justice in representing a dance that could
truly be lead in a real world situation.