Another Blast from the Past

January 29, 2009 at 6:00 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I just couldn’t resist this old school look at ballroom! It always amazes me how far we have come in such a short time.

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

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Superstars of Dance-Where did it go so horribly wrong?

January 28, 2009 at 8:17 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Superstars of Dance, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

I’ve been mentioning the last few days that I wanted to talk about what went wrong with the promising NBC dance competition, Superstars of Dance. Today I finally have a bit of time to delve into the subject.

I was so excited to learn about this unique type of competition when it was announced, and like many fans of dance, I was glad to see the show premiere in early January. From the ads that had been on tv and the internet, this truly looked to be a revolutionary idea for dance competition. Unfortunately, the show fell far short of my expectations.

Mind you, I don’t dance myself, at least not at this sort of a level. I can find my way around a dance floor at a club or social setting, and my husband and I can do the jitterbug. We’re learning more in the smooth and Latin stylings through the lessons at Ballroom Dance Channel and on my IPod, but most of what I know about dance, I have learned from paying close attention to shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. I may not yet be able to dance a perfect New Yorker, but I know what it looks like, and can tell you if it wasn’t done well.

One of the most disappointing things about this show for me is how loosely the word “Dance” was used for the performances. Nigel Lithgoe could have just as easily called this “Superstars of Gymnastics” or “Superstars of Martial Arts” in many cases. In my opinion, this program suffered from a lack of actual dance performances throughout most of its run. The Shaolin Monks are very entertaining, but that was not dance so much as synchronized martial arts. The same argument could be made with many of the ballroom couples, as well. Standouts Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis were a breath of fresh air in the first week, but were inexplicably replaced by what looked like the duo from “Quick Change” in the first season of America’s Got Talent. Again, they were very entertaining, but I didn’t see the content I needed. In the finale, the duo from Team Australia danced a jive, but I really do expect full extensions and precise footwork if you are considered to be a superstar in your type of dance. Argentina stood out above the others, and I believe the judges were correct in awarding them the gold medal.

Another area that was sorely lacking with Superstars of Dance was the camera work. I do not understand for the life of me why the producers and camera operators were handling filming in the manner they did. I am tuned in to a dance program; please, show me the DANCING, not the crowd. I don’t care what the people in the third row think when I’ve just missed an incredible movement that made the audience go wild. I don’t need to see a dancer’s face when what I should be looking at is their footwork or how they have moved through an extension.

I believe this show has tremendous potential if the audience can be persuaded to give it another chance. There are areas that need to be addressed before that can happen, however. The potential exists; both So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars needed some time to develop into the quality programs we now enjoy each season. Can Superstars of Dance be saved? Please let us know what you think!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Ballroom News and Notes, January 27

January 27, 2009 at 8:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

Welcome to this week’s edition of ballroom news and notes. This week saw the finale of the new show “Superstars of Dance” on NBC. Michael Flatley said they would see us for season two, but I’m not so sure. Many fans of all forms of dance were deeply disappointed in the program. Check back with us later in the week for analysis on what could be done to fix this show, which had a promising concept, but ultimately failed to deliver.

The Dancing with the Stars Winter Tour is drawing to a close. Here are your remaining dates, and again, if you have a chance, please go see this amazing show. Remember that the Ballas-Hough Band is performing at clubs in some of the venue cities, in case you want to catch the talented Mark Ballas and Derek Hough showing off their other great talent!

Tuesday, January 27 Greensboro Coliseum Greensboro, North Carolina
Wednesday, January 28 RBC Center Raleigh, North Carolina
Thursday, January 29 Verizon Center Washington, District Of Columbia
Friday, January 30 Mohegan Sun Arena Uncasville, Connecticut
Saturday, January 31 Mohegan Sun Arena Uncasville, Connecticut
Monday, February 2 Dunkin Donuts Center Providence, Rhode Island
Tuesday, February 3 Wachovia Arena Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Wednesday, February 4 Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Long Island, New York
Friday, February 6 Prudential Center Newark, New Jersey
Saturday, February 7 Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City, New Jersey
Sunday, February 8 Wachovia Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

As the tour nears its conclusion, that means we are getting close to cast announcements for Season 8. One recent rumor has been that Kevin Federline would be joining the show, but Hollyscoop has word from his rep that the rumor is not true. Another star has all but confirmed his appearance on the show, Donnie Osmond. Donnie let it slip that he was in talks with the show’s producers on the Bonnie Hunt show set to air on Tuesday. Who would you like to see on this season’s run? Let us know in the comments below.

Well, that should do it for this week. If you need a ballroom fix during this winter season, please come visit us at Ballroom Dance Channel or check us out on ITunes

Superstars of Dance The Finale

January 26, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

Welcome to Ballroom Dance Channel’s coverage of the finale of Superstars of Dance. We have a lot of ground to cover in just one hour, crowning a winner in solo, pair, and large group categories, along with the overall title, so let’s get started. Apparently, however, the producers feel it is more important to showcase a rather long recorded number by Michael Flatley over the work of the remaining dancers tonight. Hmmm, is it possible that the show runners have noted the numerous complaints that there is simply not enough dance content on the show?

Team Australia is up first with their large group. They have chosen another contemporary piece, but I am enjoying this one far less than their previous performances, and I’m not sure why. Tonight, the judges are locking in scores, but we won’t see them until later.

Team USA’s remaining soloist is Robert Muraine, and he is first of the soloists. This man just confounds me. The human body is not meant to do what he just made it do, and I think I’m in pain watching him do it.

Next is Team Russia’s lovely prima ballerina, Maria Kotchekova. As expected, Maria did a lovely job. Maria, in case you read the review, bravissima, my friend! Maria is one of my followers on Twitter, and I follow her as well. I’m proud to have had some time to visit with her, and hope that she is the gold medalist tonight.

Our last finalist is Anapali from Team India. As with the others, she did a beautiful job tonight. They are announcing the winner right after this last performance, and the finishing order is as follows:

Bronze: Team USA-Robert
Silver: Team India-Anapali
Gold: Team Russia-Maria

Congratulations, Maria! You represented the world of ballet wonderfully.

The Shaolin Monks of Team China are the second large group to perform tonight. This team is very entertaining, but I am going to say the same thing I have said all along, I don’t consider this to be dance. It is a highly specialized art form, but it isn’t dance, and should not be part of this type of competition.

Now we’ll go through the duets, all of which are ballroom couples, but none of which would be holding their own in a competition like Blackpool based on what we have witnessed so far. Team Australia is first with a rollicking jive. I guess I’m just spoiled though, because I keep watching and catching the lack of extension and completion of movement from the male in this pair. He’s been clipping his leg movements short all the way through the dance, and it is disappointing to me to see that in a competition of the caliber that this show should have been.

Next is Team South Africa in the duets. This couple has smoking hot chemistry, but I have the same complaint as last time again…if her feet are never touching the floor in a dance movement, how is this not just Superstars of Gymnastics? Their performance was stunning, I just don’t really think it was dancing. This is a problem overall with this show, in my opinion.

The last pair is from Team Argentina. They are clearly the couple that deserves the gold tonight, as it was the only clear and well done demonstration of dance. Here are your rankings for pairs:

Bronze: Team Australia
Silver: Team South Africa
Gold: Team Australia

The judges are consistent tonight, clearly praising actual dance performances. The last performance of the evening is Team USA’s Groovaloos. As usual, they blow the competition away in both skill and entertainment. Here are the scores for the group competition:

Bronze: Team Australia
Silver: Team China
Gold: Team USA

I have to say I think the judges got this wrong, or they titled the show incorrectly. Team China is less skilled in the art of dance than Team Australia.

Team USA wins the overall trophy, and this concludes our show. I’ll follow up tomorrow with my thoughts on the show as a whole, and what would need to change for the program to get to a second season.

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Our readers have had this scoop since Christmas!

January 26, 2009 at 6:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

Our readers know all about our mobile apps, but we thought you might want to read the official press release. We’ll see you tonight for coverage of the finale of Superstars of Dance, and throughout the week we will discuss what went wrong with this promising show.

WORLD’S FIRST INTERACTIVE BALLROOM DANCE LESSON APPLICATION LAUNCHES ON APPLE IPHONE

Learn to Dance from Pros like Tony Dovolani with Lessons in the Palm of Your Hand

LOS ANGELES, January 26, 2009 – Ballroom Dance Channel, the premiere online and mobile destination for ballroom dancing lessons, announces today the world’s first mobile application that teaches users how to ballroom dance like the pros. Available now for download on the Apple iPhone, the ballroom dancing application features the industry’s biggest names from shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” teaching the basic steps of the most popular dances.

“We have seen an amazing resurgence in the popularity of ballroom dance, and wanted to take advantage of the unique platform that the iPhone provides to reach fans all over the world,” said Scott Flacks, COO Ballroom Dance Channel. “Building on the success of our Web site, we are excited to offer the world’s only ballroom dance mobile application. iPhone users can practice basic steps anytime, anywhere on their mobile phones for less than a dollar.”

The mobile application will teach users the beginning step for four of the most popular dances: the Rumba, Salsa, Waltz and Samba. The cost to download the first step is $.99 and users can download the entire lesson for $4.99 at the Web site, http://www.ballroomdancechannel.com. The mobile application features instruction from some of the hottest names in ballroom dance and television from “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance” including Emmy nominated Tony Dovolani and Elena Grinenko teaching the Rumba, World Salsa champions Yesenia Adame and Paul Barris teaching the Salsa, Nick and Lena Kosovich teaching the Waltz and Snow Urbin and Artem Chigvintsev teaching the Samba.

“Dancing is my passion and through Ballroom Dance Channel I’ve been able to share that passion with the world,” said Tony Dovolani, Two-time Open Rhythm World Champion and “Dancing with the Stars” Pro. “There are so many people that want to learn to dance but might not have the time or money for professional lessons. With this iPhone application, anyone can learn the basic steps of some of the most popular dances with lessons right in the palm of their hands.”

Users can select from two different high-quality interactive video styles either dancing “with” a male or female partner or watching the steps and following along. The professional dancer will show the basic step for each dance with the full lesson available online. Additional lessons for new dances including Swing, Foxtrot, Bolero, Tango, Mambo and Cha-Cha will be available in the coming weeks. The application is available for download at the Ballroom Dance Channel iPhone App Store.

About Ballroom Dance Channel
Ballroom Dance Channel.com (BDC) is a groundbreaking online and mobile destination for anyone seeking to learn exciting ballroom dances. Veteran television executive and creator of the Food Network, Jack Clifford and “Dancing with the Stars,” Tony Dovolani have joined forces to bring intricate ballroom steps to the masses. BDC provides on-demand, step-by-step instructional video lessons for popular dances including the Rumba, Cha Cha, Salsa, Tango, Waltz and more! Users have the ability to stream dance lessons taught by award-winning, professional dance instructors who have participated on several of the current dance television shows. BDC also provides the latest dance news and event information and gives users an opportunity to share their personal experiences and interact with famous dancers and instructors through the site’s online social networking feature, BDC Social.

One of my favorite dances ever…

January 23, 2009 at 7:13 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Hey Everyone,

Just thought I would share my favorite dance with you today, since America’s Ballroom Challenge starts next week. Many of you will recognize this piece, I’m sure!

Have a great weekend, I hope you’ll join us on Monday for the Superstars of Dance finale. If you have some free time, why not look at Ballroom Dance Channel and learn to dance to surprise your sweetie on Valentine’s Day. If you prefer to take your lessons on the go, try our apps at the ITunes Store.

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Behind the Scenes at our Samba Shoot

January 22, 2009 at 10:54 am | Posted in ballroom dance, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We thought you might like a look at the filming of the samba, now available in the App Store as well as on Ballroom Dance Channel!






Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Getting to know Snow Urbin

January 21, 2009 at 7:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

I thought you might like the chance to get to know our female samba instructor, Snow Urbin. I was lucky enough to work with Snow on this shoot, and she is such a beautiful woman, both inside and out! I thought sharing this interview we did with her would help you get to know her a bit better:

Remember, you can dance with Snow as your instructor both at Ballroom Dance Channel or via our ITunes App.

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Ballroom News and Notes, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009 at 7:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

Hope this post finds you all well. We have just a few areas for the Ballroom News and Notes segment this week. First, we’d like to send our condolences to the family of Pedro “Cuban Pete” Aguliar, who passed away at the age of 81 on January 13th. If you’d like to read more about this remarkable man, please read this piece from the LA Times.

In happier news, Ashly Costa (Delgrosso) has announced via her Facebook that she is expecting her second child with husband Mike. Congratulations, Mike and Ashly! I had a chance to visit with Ashly over the summer about her time on Dancing with the Stars, look for that interview to run soon.

Moving on to other bits from Dancing with the Stars, rumors circulated over the last week that Cindy McCain has been asked to join the show and turned it down, and that Misty May Treanor would be returning to give the competition another shot. I am hoping the Misty May rumor is truth, and expect that we should start to hear a lot more rumors over the next two weeks or so. If the prevailing trend for cast announcements holds, look for the cast announcement as soon as February 9th. The final date on the tour is the 7th, and the 9th is exactly one month from the show’s spring premiere. Keep in mind that is far from official, just this blogger’s best guess. Ballroom Dance Channel is NOT affiliated with the show!

Speaking of the tour, I’ve heard that Karina Smirnoff has hurt her knee and has been missing from recent performances, but this is only what I’ve heard from others that have attended tour dates over the last several days. Here’s hoping the injury isn’t serious and that Karina will be back to performing soon! Here are your remaining tour dates:

Tue, 01/20/09
07:30 PM
Sommet Center
Nashville, TN
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Thu, 01/22/09
07:30 PM
St Pete Times Forum
Tampa, FL
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Fri, 01/23/09
07:30 PM
BankAtlantic Center
Sunrise, FL
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Sat, 01/24/09
07:30 PM
Amway Arena
Orlando, FL
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Sun, 01/25/09
07:30 PM
The Arena At Gwinnett Center
Atlanta, GA
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Tue, 01/27/09
07:30 PM
Greensboro Coliseum Complex
Greensboro, NC
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Wed, 01/28/09
07:30 PM
RBC Center
Raleigh, NC
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Thu, 01/29/09
07:30 PM
Verizon Center
Washington, DC
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Fri, 01/30/09
07:30 PM
Mohegan Sun Arena
Uncasville, CT
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Sat, 01/31/09
07:30 PM
Mohegan Sun Arena
Uncasville, CT
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Mon, 02/02/09
07:30 PM
Dunkin’ Donuts Center
Providence, RI
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Tue, 02/03/09
07:30 PM
Wachovia Arena
Wilkes-Barre, PA
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Wed, 02/04/09
07:30 PM
Nassau Coliseum
Long Island, NY
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Fri, 02/06/09
07:30 PM
Prudential Center
Newark, NJ
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Sat, 02/07/09
07:30 PM
Boardwalk Hall
Atlantic City, NJ
Samsung Eternity Presents Dancing with the Stars the Tour

Superstars of Dance draws to a close on Monday, January 26th, and we are assured that a ballroom couple will win the pairs competition. We will then turn our attention to America’s Ballroom Challenge, which begins on PBS on January 30th. Here is the entire show schedule, please check your local station for times:

Episode 1: January 30, 2008
Episode 2: February 6, 2008
Episode 3: February 13, 2008
Episode 4: February 20, 2008
Episode 5: February 27, 2008

We’ll be recapping the show here on Ballroom Dance Channel, and if you are a fan of ballroom dance, this show is sure to delight! That should do it for this edition of Ballroom News and Notes. If there is something we should be covering here and we aren’t getting the job done, please let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to visit Ballroom Dance Channel to take lessons from well known pros such as Tony Dovolani and Nick Kosovich at a price you can afford!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Superstars of Dance, Semi Final Part 2

January 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Posted in Superstars of Dance, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Hey Everyone,

Please welcome our guest blogger, Sammi, covering tonight’s show! She does a great job at TV Grapevine, covering a variety of shows, and is kind enough to be helping us out tonight as well. Sammi has also done interviews with several of the DWTS pros, and writes features for us at Ballroom Dance Channel Social.

Hello, and welcome to part two of the Superstars of Dance Semi-Finals! Tonight we will see more dancers try and prove that their country is worthy of winning the trophy. They will once again competing in the solo, duet and group categories. The top three in each will move to the finals next week.

First up is the group dance from India. It is a very fun Bollywood dance; I like how they are very traditional, yet are still able to keep it modern. Beautiful!

Argentina: 8
Australia: 7
South Africa: 7
USA: 8
Ireland: 7
Russia: 8
China: 8
Total: 53

Sadly, this means India is out of the Group Category since they scored lower than the previous three group couples.

Australia is up next with their duet performed by Henry and Giselle. They perform a fun, sexy samba that has fun lifts and just a ton of excitement.

Argentina: 8
India: 9
South Africa: 8
USA: 8
Ireland: 8
Russia: 9
China: 9
Total: 59

This means Ireland is now out of the Duets Competition. I’m sad because I really liked them a lot.

Ireland’s soloist Bernadette Flynn (and one half of the duet team) is up next to reclaim Ireland’s glory. I love how she incorporates ballet into her step routine. She is a very classy, beautiful dancer.

Argentina: 8
India: 7
Australia: 7
South Africa: 8
USA: 7
Russia: 9
China: 8
Total: 54

Since she scored lower than the previous three couples, she will now have to say goodbye.

South Africa’s soloist Mamela performs after the commercial break. She does a ballet routine that is done to soft music and drums. I love how she incorporates African storytelling into her dance. Lovely.

Argentina: 7
India: 8
Australia: 8
USA: 8
Ireland: 8
Russia: 8
China: 8
Total: 55

She is the lowest scoring soloist thus far, so she is eliminated.

China’s final team–the group dancers–take the stage for one last chance at the trophy. It has a real samurai feel to it with lots of martial arts, gymnastics and step dancing.

Argentina: 10
India: 9
Australia: 9
South Africa: 10
USA: 8
Ireland: 9
Russia: 10
Total: 65

This leaves them in second place and means South Africa is out of the competition.

Georgia and Eric represent the USA in the Duets Category. They did not do so well the last time, and are hoping that they perform better tonight. They are dancing in jeans, which is different but the dancing? The twisting lifts, the foot lift into a flip the way he can balance her—fabulous!

Argentina: 8
India: 7
Australia: 7
South Africa: 5
Ireland: 8
Russia: 8
China: 7
Total: 50

Unfortunately, it is the end of the line for this couple.

India’s second soloist Mythili performs after another commercial break. Her dance is very slow in the beginning but then gets faster as it goes on. She has nice footwork and arm extensions.

Argentina: 8
Australia: 7
South Africa: 7
USA: 8
Ireland: 8
Russia: 8
China: 8
Total: 54

Sadly, she is going home just one week shy of the finals.

Argentina is represented for the first time tonight with Carolina Cerisola’s solo. She can really move her body and seems very comfortable and confident out there.

India: 7
Australia: 6
South Africa: 4
USA: 8
Ireland: 10
Russia: 10
China: 8
Total: 53

Argentina is now out of the solo competition, which means Russia, USA and India are the top three soloists.

After the dancers talk about their cultures, dance and the friendships they have formed, China and the USA’s groups do a dance off. It will not be judged and is not part of the competition–its just for the fun of it. It was actually really cool to watch. I’d love to see them come up with a combined group dance because both groups are so talented.

Russia’s Duets Team Pasha and Aliona attempt to dazzle the judges with a magical ballroom routine that would make Penn and Teller and any ballroom couple very proud. They are just incredibly talented, entertaining and fun. It is easily my favorite routine of the night.

Argentina: 7
India: 8
Australia: 6
South Africa: 3
USA: 8
Ireland: 10
China: 9
Total: 51

Sadly, it is not enough to keep them in the competition. I really liked the uniqueness of it so I’m disappointed to see them go.

Argentina, Australia and South Africa are the final three Duet Teams.

The final dance of the night is Ireland’s Group Dance. It starts off very soft and calm, but then goes faster and believe me when I say that these dancers are some of the best step dancers I have ever seen. WOW! What a way to end the night!

Argentina: 9
India: 9
Australia: 8
South Africa: 8
USA: 9
Russia: 10
China: 9
Total: 62

This means that they are tied with Australia and the judges will have to decide who stays. (Australia and Ireland cannot vote) In the end, Australia stays and Ireland is completely out of the competition. USA and China will be joining them in the Group Final 3.

Totals:
Australia: 414
USA: 413
Ireland: 409
South Africa: 401
India: 391
Argentina: 344
Russia: 342
China 286

Next week, tune in for the Grand Finale to see who wins Superstars of Dance! Goodnight everybody!

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