Watching videos of your favorite dancers is great for relaxing and getting inspired by your idols. I’ve created a list of 8 Latin videos you need to watch on YouTube. They are videos that made me cry, be in awe, or made me move my hips along.
Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite. Also, keep an eye out for the Ballroom list – it’s going to be published soon!
1. Slavik Kryklyvyy & Karina Smirnoff
My all-time favorite video ever is Slavik and Karina’s rumba from 2004. It is a representation of pure beauty, innocence, with the right amount of sensuality.
2. Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis
Michael and Joanna are known for their unique style of dancing, bold & sharp. This cha-cha shows very well their innovative artistry, even through their song choice.
3. Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko
This is probably the most powerful dance I have ever seen. Everything is exquisite, starting from the incredible performance, stunning costumes to the last 10 seconds of the video.
4. Sergey Surkov & Melia
Sergey & Melia represent, in this rumba, the dramatic side of this dance. Lara Fabian’s song is a masterpiece on its own, but Sergey and Melia manage to bring to life the story in a way that simply gives you goosebumps
5. Stefano Di Fillipo & Dasha
In this rumba show, we can see a very delicate Dasha, almost like a porcelain doll. Stefano dances and handles Dasha with such care as if he doesn’t want to break this precious being.
6. Victor Da Silva & Anna Melnikova
This mystical showdance choreography – “Izzïs”- of Anna & Victor is incredible. Anna manages to show the power of a woman in such an inspirational way and Victor supports her with such strength.
7. Bryan Watson & Carmen
This is probably the most emotional “Last Dance” video I have ever watched. It is close to impossible to watch this video without crying. The “legendary” feeling this video gives is out of this world: the Empress Ballroom, Bryan and Carmen crying, the rumba, the audience clapping for minutes. The energy in that room is so powerful you can even feel it through a screen.
8. Blackpool Dance Festival 2000 Pro Latin Final
In this video from 20 years ago, you can see some of the biggest legends of this industry competing for winning one against each other in the most prestigious dance competition – Blackpool Dance Festival.
The legends: Jukka & Sirpa, Bryan & Carmen, Alan & Serena, Paul & Hanna, Louis & Karina, Ralf & Olga, Mathew & Nicole.
And as a little extra, we cannot end this article without mentioning Donie Burns & Gaynor Fairweather. They are true legends of the Latin-American dancing world and an inspiration for many great dancers who came after them.
There are so many other great videos out there! If you enjoyed this article, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make another article with YOUR favorite YouTube videos.
Make sure you also visit Dancesportlife Academy to check our library of courses and camp lectures with some of the best teachers in the world!
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Faster, Stronger, Bigger…Better?
Evolution is a process you can’t stop. Sometimes it is a faster process, and other times can be slower. You can predict where it can go, or it could take you by surprise.
Every aspect of our life is influenced by the contest we are living in. The cultural changes affected the trends in every form of art.
The same goes for the art of bodily expression, such as dancesport.
In the ’80s, it was customary for men to go on the floor in a Latin-American competition wearing a lycra catsuit, maybe even pink or yellow. Or in ballroom, in the ’60s, ladies were “carrying” such a voluminous hairstyle that today would be not only funny but really impractical, considering the fast head actions we have in our routines.
Nevertheless, we’re not going to focus on fashion or style in this article but take a dive into the tendencies of making our dancing becoming stronger, faster, bigger. But is that better?
Speed is relative. We need to have a reference point to define whether something is fast or slow. When you are on an airplane, you don’t feel you are 800km/h because you are on the plane flying along with it.
So what do we refer to when we talk about speed in dancing and what is the reference point that makes a dancer fast or not? What catches our eyes and makes the difference between a dancer to another one is the contrast.
“There is no fast without slow” great teachers from England used to say. But what does this actually mean?
If you dance everything fast, it’s the same as if you would dance everything slow. A performance will stand out if you can show contrasts. Play with syncopations, use an articulated rhythm, and play more with your body’s different parts through isolation.
Sometimes just a quick head rotation is enough to take a dull figure into something much more alive. You can create sharp leg actions or use a different rhythm than your partner’s. Another example is that you can emphasize slows and quicks by delaying and holding much more the slows to be faster.
There are many possibilities to show a “faster” dance, but escape from the idea of making everything quicker just because they told you that you have to be fast.
“Strong” and “powerful” are considered synonyms, but they can mean different things.
Strength is the ability of the body to overcome resistance. Power is the ability to exert as much force as possible in the shortest amount of time. To make it simple, Strength + Speed = Power.
Without any doubt, our modern dance style requires strength for many reasons:
- We need it to resist an increased centrifugal force in ballroom, due to a bigger upper volume of the couple and a higher rotational speed;
- We have to keep the hand connection when sending a strong input to the partner;
- The leg actions have to create a powerful yet controlled movement on the floor;
- Our core should be active so that we can have a perfect posture.
But when we see a man’s shoulder line in standard suffering an immense tension, we don’t appreciate it. When in Latin-American dancing girls have such strong arms, we say that it’s not feminine. So what is the line between being not powerful enough and being too strong?
To answer this question and understand what is best for our performance, we must get the audience’s perspective. A pleasant-to-watch couple must have a good body structure, powerful movement, and excellent body weight control.
Each one of these aspects requires a different kind of strength. The tone of the core muscles and ligaments will be responsible for your body posture.
Then we need the muscles’ explosive power to make a good leg drive or stop a fast action, thus creating contrast.
Thirdly, we must always control our body weight through continuous muscle work, which involves flexibility. That lets you have an exceptional ability to use eccentric, concentric, and isometric muscle work, creating that smooth body action that we all are searching for.
“More is more.”
We can agree with this statement in many circumstances, but is it the case for dancesport too?
If we see how they used to dance back in the ’60s, competitive dancing didn’t seek huge lines and big volumes. Today though, it seems impossible to compete with a small upper part or without a big drive action.
But not all dances fit into the same box, each dance having its own character. One above all others is tango. Why should tango be big? Tango’s roots are not from a theater. On a stage. It wasn’t meant to impress people. Intimate, passionate, sad, angry, painful, elegant, but in a challenging way between man and woman, a search for each other against someone else’s will.
So, can we maintain some of this character in our competitive performance? I don’t think we should say “can we” but “we must”. Top couples do that. That’s why we love to watch them. That’s why we can also appreciate their different styles.
Of course, we can’t forget that to win a competition we have to show all the required aspects that judges are looking for, but we can’t completely go off track just seeking bigger movements.
Nowadays the dancing level has drastically increased. A few decades ago, only top couples could perform well. Today, already from the younger categories, we can see great dancers from the ⅛.
This is due to the mechanism that created good teachers that grew good students, generations to generations throughout the years. Today it’s not difficult to get information, to be able to practice, go to famous teachers.
But the new generations have an essential duty on their shoulder: to improve dancing without losing the original character of each dance.
Fashions change. We will see outstanding performances in the future for sure. But keep in mind that better doesn’t strictly mean more. Faster, stronger, and bigger than before should not be the guideline for the improvement.
Unleash your talent without losing proportions, the character of the dance, musicality, and, most of all, your partner.
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What Do Ballroom & Latin Dancers and Drag Queens Have In Common?
If you did not watch until now “RuPaul’s Drage Race”, close this article (just kiddin’, finish reading it first!) and go watch it. “RuPaul’s Drage Race” is an American reality competition television series where drag queens showcase their vast pallet of talents.
As a dancer, I am attracted to anything glittery or that has to do with entertainment. Therefore, I fell in love with drag queens’ artistry, and I couldn’t stop noticing some aspects that dancers have in common with them.
“Lipstick, Powder and Paint”
Both dancers and drag queens have incredible skills with makeup. Everything is over the top, and the reason is that both types of makeup are based on stage makeup.
In stage makeup, you need to exaggerate your facial features because the stage lighting is super strong.
Dancers even borrowed some of the tips and tricks drag queens use to make their facial features more feminine. They use a lot of highlighter to lift the cheekbones and contour to define, enhance, and sculpt the face’s structure.
Another tip dancers borrowed from drag queens is “baking”. Applying a heavy amount of translucent powder will set your makeup and prevent you from sweating on that dance floor.
Now, add some glitter and some XXL lashes “and 5, 6, 7, 8”!
“Walk, Walk, Fashion Baby!”
Both dancers and drag queens are incredible at knowing how to carry themselves, especially in high heels.
And while we’re on the fashion subject, I am pretty sure that no other performers have so much glitter, lycra, lace, and Swarovski stones on their costumes. The flamboyant costumes are simply pieces of art. They have to attract all the attention!
PS: That’s why when a dancer or a drag queen has a show, you always see them with the most oversized suitcases.
Another skill that drag queens and dancers have in common is knowing how to dress according to their figure or create the illusion of the shape they want to have. And they do that through the materials they use on their dresses, the stoning patterns, or where to add volume.
“Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent”
Could you please point out a dancer or a drag queen who isn’t dramatic? Because I couldn’t find one.
This amount of drama also enables us to be super charismatic and cheeky. Drag queens are known for their sarcastic but tasteful comments, while good dancers will always know how to be playful on the dancefloor.
Both dancers and drag queens, being performers, know how to play different roles and how to truly embody those characters while dancing (or singing!).
Oh, and shhh…a little secret, as we already mentioned drama, we all can’t help ourselves to sharpen our ear to a little bit of gossip (a.k.a “spilling the tea”).
We are all strong characters. Doing drag or dancing requires a lot of willpower, courage, ability to face critiques, professionalism, dedication, and PASSION.
To end this article, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from RuPaul:
“Drag doesn’t change who you are. It reveals who you are.”
It applies so beautifully to our artform as well because when you dance, you do not become somebody else. It’s just your personality that is blossoming!
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23 Things Not To Say To Your Dance Partner
You and your partner in this activity together, and you should treat them the same way you want to be treated. Respect is essential in a partnership. This means that some things are better left unsaid .
Disclaimer: This article is made you put a smile of your face. But, leaving all laughs behind, I encourage you to discuss anything that bothers you with your partner, as long as you pay attention to how you say it. Communication is necessary if you want a healthy partnership.
Now, here are a few things that you might want to not say to your partner:
1. My last partner was leading me much more smoothly.
2. You look like my last boyfriend/girlfriend.
3. Sorry I’m late this morning; I had a wild night out.
4. Don’t worry; I don’t think we’re going through the next round.
5. Your fake tan smells kinda funky.
6. Oh, the comp is tomorrow?
7. You remind me of my mom.
8. I am better than you.
9. I am still am dancing with my ex-partner too.
10. I don’t really like dancing; I am here for the boys/girls.
11. Ugh, I hate learning technique!
12. I saw your dress in a video from the 80s.
13. Why is it taking you so long to learn that? It should be so easy!
14. My dad doesn’t like you.
15. Maybe you should quit dancing. It’s not for you.
16. See that couple? Make sure you hit them in Quickstep.
17. I don’t trust your thinking.
18. Ugh, your boyfriend/girlfriend annoys me.
19. I don’t care what we do in the next comp.
20. You studied with that teacher?! He/She is the worst!
21. I can’t stand you today.
22. I’ve worn these pants four days in a row.
23. I really want this step in our routine, but I am sure you can’t do it
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