Pre-Order 10th Anniversary DVD

Thanks for 10 Years of Learn To Dance

10 Years OldAs many of you will know Learn To Dance turned 10 on Friday 29th April.  We couldn’t have achieved this without all of you; from those that come multiple times throughout the week to those that we only see occasionally.

We had a great time at our anniversary party and the DVD is currently available to pre-order for the special price of £10.

One thing that didn’t make it into our performance was a guest spot from Immi, but don’t worry we captured it on video for you to enjoy below.

This is ‘Montem’ Style!

[UPDATE]: We have had to remove the photos/videos from this post we’re afraid.

This is Gangnam Montem Style

Earlier this month we were approached by Montem Primary School in Slough to come into the school and teach a group of students a choreographed dance for a family supper they were holding on Thursday 29th November 2012. The idea of the family supper was to bring together the different communities within the school, everyone brings a dish and the students provide the entertainment.

We were asked to suggest a song that would engage the children and provide a fun and lively routine.  Gangnam Style has become the most popular video on Youtube (over 805m views at present) and our routine had already proven popular with our Zumba regulars so we suggested this to the school and they loved the idea. Continue reading

Strictly Training Video analysis

BBC Strictly 2012 Line-upSo Strictly starts in a little while and all the training videos have now been released.

I’ve decided to analyse them all in one big post rather than 14 individual entries so that you can directly compare all of the pre-show training. Continue reading

Strictly Come Dancing Week 2 Rehearsals

So week 2 of Strictly is upon us, and there’s a new round of training videos to pour over.  I’ve watched training videos on It Takes Two from Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as well as the above video for my comments.

This year they have removed the dance off (stupid idea if you ask me) so it’s all down to audience votes to get someone off the bottom of the table, everyone’s going to have to work hard to entertain this year.

.@lulushouts and .@TheBrendan_Cole in their dramatic #scd reh... on Twitpic
Lulu & Brendan Cole – Foxtrot

Lulu and Brendan are doing Foxtrot this week, the first video (from Wednesday) looked a little loose but, as Ian Waite points out, she’s managing her heel turns quite well.

I’m concerned that Brendan appears to be choreographing more parts of the routine out of hold – given Lulu’s struggle last week with remembering the routine I would really recommend giving her the safety of hold.

The video above though shows a nice section in hold and hopefully Lulu will do much better this week.

.@RobbieSavage8 and .@StrictlyOla in their elegant #scd rehea... on Twitpic
Robbie Savage & Ola Jordan – Foxtrot

Robbie needs to be much smoother with his rise and fall, and needs to track his leg action better – also less stomping would be ideal.

Thursday’s training starts to look a little softer but still a lot of work to do.  The kick action (with Ola kicking towards Robbie) looks pretty bad at the moment if I’m honest.

Should be an ok Foxtrot though, Robbie will be safe for a week at least.

The elegant Edwina and Vincent in their #scd rehearsal  on Twitpic
Edwina Currie & Vincent Simone – Foxtrot

Nice arm extensions developing but does need to be aware of her free hand at all times.

There’s a large gap between them during training and they really need to try and keep the body contact during hold.  

Final video above looks a lot better but it will come down to popularity and I’m not sure how hers is.

.@strictlyjordan and .@MissAlexjones looking great in #scd re... on Twitpic
Alex Jones & James Jordan – Foxtrot

Alex looks a little uncomfortable in hold at the moment, she does need to give herself a bit more space in the frame.

A common problem for the ladies is the arms getting tired and then ‘hanging’ on the guy, let’s hope James’ workout routine for her starts to pay off.

Needs to make sure she doesn’t lift the foot off the ground like she does at around 10 seconds on the video.  I still think Alex has a long way to go but should survive tonight.

.@JDonOfficial and .@KRihanoff in their #scd rehearsal  on Twitpic
Jason Donovan & Kristina Rihanoff – Foxtrot

Well after his great start to the weekend it’s good to see a wonderful Foxtrot developing – just keep the bum in Jason when you step back!

Thursday’s training video shows Jason is still struggling with keeping his bum in.

Looking very good in the above video though, could keep his position at the top if he keeps this up.

Caught mid move, .@danlobb and .@KatyaVirshilas in #scd rehea... on Twitpic
Dan Lobb & Katya Virshilas – Salsa

I think the trainers in their first training video are seriously hampering his movement – try to train in more appropriate gear Dan, it’ll help tremendously.

I’m not sold on lifts in the Salsa, especially this early in the series, and I’m worried that the routine may be a little too complex for Dan at the moment – he’d look better spending more time in hold.

All a bit too big and Dan looks a little messy if I’m honest.

.@PashaKovalev and .@chelseehealey at the start of their #scd... on Twitpic
Chelsee Healey & Pasha Kovalev – Salsa

Chelsee straight away on Wednesday showing how great her hip action is, this could be special.

The Thursday training doesn’t really show us too much, though you can start to see some nice sharp turns developing.

Friday’s preview is looking really good, still a few bits that need tidying up, and I’m assuming she’s supposed to do something different with her legs during the spin lift.  Should be another good week for Chelsee though, but I can’t understand why they picked such a slow clip for the video above?!

.@audley_Harrison at the start of his #scd rehearsal  on Twitpic
Audley Harrison & Natalie Lowe – Salsa

Bit concerned from the Wednesday training video that it seems a little bit pop dance rather than salsa dance.

A very nice hip action but Audley needs to ensure he keeps them moving all the time, not just when he’s standing still.

Routine seems to have a good turn of speed, but how much of that is just Natalie we will have to wait and see.

Anita and .@Robinwindsor at the start of their fun filled #sc... on Twitpic
Anita Dobson & Robin Windsor – Salsa

Not seeing much in the hip department, another routine that initially seems a bit too pop dancey!

I feel that Anita is going to need to loosen up her body a bit otherwise she may just be a ballroom bunny. For me the routine just feels a little slow and not quite dynamic enough, but they could just be marking it out in rehearsals.

.@rorybremner and .@Erinboag in their energetic #scd rehearsal  on Twitpic
Rory Bremner & Erin Boag – Salsa

Rory is going to need to watch his free arm and his shoulders, as Ian says it just seems a bit too jerky.

Looking better on Thursdays training video but still needs to work more on keeping his shoulders down. 

Sections where they’re in hold do look good though so let’s hope the majority of the routine is in hold.

.@THERussellGrant at the start of another memorable #scd rehe... on Twitpic
Russell Grant & Flavia Cacace – Salsa

After their training video last week, which left me very worried, then their excellently entertaining Cha Cha I think Russell is one you just have to wait for the performance from.

I’m seeing a feather boa, could be risky given Nancy’s problems last week, but Russell brings more camp than I thought possible in a Salsa.

.@mcflyharry and .@AlionaVilani in their dreamy #scd rehearsal  on Twitpic
Harry Judd & Aliona Vilani – Foxtrot

Harry needs to make sure he doesn’t allow his elbows to go behind his shoulders when in hold and also needs to stretch away from her to give them both space.

Other than that he’s looking quite good but I prefer my Foxtrots to more swing music than pop music.

.@HollyValance and .@artemchigvintse in their #scd rehearsal  on Twitpic
Holly Valence & Artem Chigvintsev – Salsa

Holly really needs to work on keeping her eyes up. They haven’t really shown a lot of her training but she needs to ensure that her arms are accentuating the movements of her body, not replacing them.

Nancy and .@TheAntonDuBeke in #scd rehearsal on Twitpic
Nancy Dell’Olio & Anton Du Beke – Salsa

Only one thing’s worse than the stomping around the floor, and that’s the waddle in her Cucaracha, seriously Nancy would be better off not moving her hips than doing that!

Her movement is far too deliberate, I would have expected her to be able to move a lot more naturally than that.

Nancy is in very great danger of being the first home, especially after last week’s fiasco.  Video footage above shows improvement in her Cucaracha hips, but still far too deliberate in her Mambo section.

For me I’d say that Nancy and Edwina could both be in trouble this week, I think Russell is too much entertainment to go out in the first few weeks.  There is still a lot of work required from quite a few of the celebrities though.

Jason Donovan & Kristina Rihanoff – Cha Cha Cha

I’ve often considered acquiring a neck brace to torture my students with, Jason’s performance tonight may make my mind up for me.

Russell may have performed ‘the campest Cha Cha Strictly’s ever seen’ but Jason wouldn’t be far behind after that start.  Some nice hip action though, but he does get out of step on his Natural Top.  His backward locks could be a bit softer but there’s a lot of energy there and a very good first dance.

I’m going to give him a 7.

Craig: 8 “Bonsa, beauty” and a few other Aussie phrases that I couldn’t quite understand!
Len: 8 “Best dance of the night”
Alesha: 8 “Fantastic”
Bruno: 8 “Jason Donovan is in Cha Cha Charge…now Strictly’s in business”

Total Score: 32

So top score of the weekend, don’t quite agree with it myself but Jason has definitely come out of the blocks flying.

Nancy Dell’Olio & Anton Du Beke – Waltz

Two big egos, one dance, plenty of humour, though I don’t think the feather boa was part of the routine and unfortunately it’s pretty much ruined the whole performance.

A complete mess I don’t feel it’s fair to even give it a score, I think Craig especially will be harsh.

Craig: 1 “A word of advice darling, forget props all together”
Len: 4 “Too long messing about on the settee…the actual bit of dancing is good…do a straight dance with her”
Alesha: 3 “You are the glamour puss on Strictly this year…we’ve all been there, you go wrong, you carry on”
Bruno: 4 “I was looking forward to the story telling…turned into a disaster”

Total Score: 12

Edwina Currie & Vincent Simone – Cha Cha Cha

Edwina had quite a good hip action developing in training so I hope to see more of that tonight, not sure on the outfit they’ve put her in though.

She needs to avoid picking her feet up quite so dramatically, and the floor spin for Vincent is definitely a departure.  A lot of repetition in the routine which is a shame.  It’s a little bit forced at times but you can’t compare her to Ann Widdecombe thankfully.

It was fun but only a 5 from me I’m afraid.

Craig: 2
Len: 5 “Great fun and you danced it with full-on confidence”
Alesha: 5 “Pitched that perfectly…actually quite a good bit of rhythm”
Bruno: 5 “The old cougar got to dance with the toy boy…bit flat footed and messy, but fun”

Total Score: 17

Chelsee Healey & Pasha Kovalev – Waltz

After seeing her initial training video Chelsee was my early front runner, please don’t let me down tonight!

So far so good, there’s just something about the way Chelsee holds herself when she dances, and she has a wonderful top line.  A few stumbles here and there but this is one of the best first dances I can remember, so far she’s living up to my early expectations.  Very well done Chelsee, almost perfect but the few stumbles force me to give you an 8.

Craig: 7 “The whirling dervish…slightly frenzied…phrasing absolutely excellent…few balance issues throughout”
Len: 6 “Started off with great elegance…don’t expect from a young girl…near the end turned a bit manic”
Alesha: 7 “Beautifully feminine…still kept the romantic side of it…probably more of a booty shaker”
Bruno: 7 “I know there were a few stumbles…you have the ability naturally to extend your line…takes people years…you do that beautifully”

Total Score: 27

Very surprised by that, I thought she was by far the best dance so far this weekend, and the 6 Len…hmmm!

Alex Jones & James Jordan – Cha Cha Cha

So no explanation for the change in dance order, maybe the BBC just decided they fancied a change (Alex and James were originally scheduled to dance last night but were swapped with Holly and Artem at the last minute)?

Not sure on the ‘sexy’ start, doesn’t strike me as Alex’s personality and actually this routine’s start shares a lot with James’ Rumba routine with Cherie Lunghi (only notice because I recently helped a wedding couple recreate it for their first dance).

Alex’s leg action doesn’t look as sharp as it could be and she’s taking too big a step for my liking, there’s also a bit too much of her standing around rather than dancing.  Just a 6 from me.

Craig: 4 “One foot should remain on the floor at all times…looked incongruous…very starchy, very stiff”
Len: 6 “Parts that were really good…few that were nearly good…first time out, excellent job”
Alesha: 6 “I thought it was fun and flirty…got the package, just got to really believe in you”
Bruno: 6 “Believe in yourself, go for it all the way”

Total Score: 22