In his dance studio’s newsletter, Phillip Stephens, owner of Houston, TX’s Dance Place studio, says:
Hello to All:
We want to extend a warm welcome to our new subscribers. If you have comments or suggestions, would like to contribute any material to our e-newsletter, or just want to tell me what a bad writer I am, please don’t just “reply” to this newsletter. Instead, please send a new email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We may not print your submission. We may not adopt your suggestion. We will read your email and think on what you state.
We also want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who have devoted years of their lives to raising and nurturing children. It’s not an easy task, and we thank you for the years of sacrifice all of you have made.
The Dance Place offers some terrific classes, so go to www.the-dance-place.com and check out all the the listings. Salsa remains a popular dance to learn, and we have quite a few classes each week devoted to that dance. Ballroom dancing – which covers both the traditional Waltzes and Foxtrots as well as Tango, Rumba, Cha-cha and Swing – also remains highly popular. We offer Ballroom classes at various levels from Beginner through Advanced on several nights each week.
Michael Schedler teaches a Level 2 Ballroom (Second Steps on the Calendar), that takes place each Friday evening at 7pm. This is just before our 8-10pm Practice Party, so attending either this class or the 7pm Friday First Steps class (taught by Orlando Martinez) has you in place to stay and practice the moves you just learned in class. What a deal! And remember that we have another First Steps class at 7pm on Wednesdays that is taught by Susan Timani
Yours Truly (Phillip Stephens) offers a Pre-Advanced class at 8pm on Wednesday evenings. This class covers moves from the upper levels of Bronze American Style dancing. You should be quite comfortable with the fundamentals of dance before joining this class, which covers actions like Argentine Rocks Open Promenades with Free Turns, and Double Fans in Tango, Tripples Behind the Back, Sling Shot and Tuck-Spins in Swing and many other great moves. A pairing of Waltz and Foxtrot will be taught in May, and there will be no class on May 20th.
Phillip also teaches an Advanced Ballroom class at 9pm on Wednesdays. This class covers mostly Silver and Above moments, depending on the dance being taught. In May – no class on 5/20 – we will be covering American Box-style Rumba, putting together a nice grouping of steps that you’ll be able to use in any setting where room and music permit social Ballroom dancing – particularly at our Friday night Practice Parties or the USA Dance 2nd Saturday Social.
West Coast Swing night
Come on down here on Saturday, May 16, for a great evening of West Coast Swing dancing! The fun begins at 8pm and runs until midnight for a cover charge of $8 per person. We sell sodas, water, juice and the like, or you can bring your own bottle. Please: Dance Shoes only, and no food in the ballroom.
Take our “Educated Dancer” quiz featured at the end of this e-newsletter. There isn’t a prize, but we will publish a list of all persons who correctly answer at least 7 of the 10 questions in a future issue of this e-news service. Details follow the end of the DWTS commentary.
Commentary provided by Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Fellow and Examiner and Championship Certified Adjudicator Phillip Stephens. These comments do not represent the views of The Dance Place concerning the show, the professional dancers or their celebrity partners.
Note: With roofers, remodelers and painters in the house for over 2 weeks, I’ve gotten behind on my DWTS commentary. Though I did record it, I’ve scarcely had time to watch. Last night, I sat down to watch the April 27th show and discovered that the severe weather had caused satellite signal loss and not all of the performances were recorded. Not much I could do about that, so I just comment here on what I did get to watch.
I did watch the Results Show where our Houstonian-transplanted-to-Vegas Brent Burbon competed for a spot as a pro in DWTS Season 9. Sad to say that Brent has already been eliminated from the contest ,but he did give it a good go.
There was a rather odd assortment of costumes in the 4/27 show. I guess “naked flesh” must get viewer votes, but it was quite interesting that, in the show where the celebs designed costumes, everybody was more fully clothed than normal. I don’t know his age, but Ty Murray is in excellent shape and, as a person who goes to the gym without providing “bragging rights” to my trainer, I must note that Ty has a very fit-looking physique and arms that I and many of my fellow gym-attendees would give much to acquire. It was a shame that Melissa Rycroft has injured a rib and rib muscles and was unable to dance tonight, but – thanks to those voting viewers – she is still in the show.
Lil’ Kim’s Paso Doble makeup was a bit odd looking, don’t you think? How many of you REALLY thought that Tony, Chuck and Mark needed to be seen on national television parading around in women’s leotards and leggings? Did you notice that those 3 fellas didn’t shave the next night? What – is this “fur-on-the-face” look supposed to prove, after the fact, that they are “real” men???
Gilles & Cheryl – Lindy Hop:
A shoulder injury made lifts a bit difficult, causing them to look a little slow, hesitant and heavy. Lots of energetic kicks and flicks. Cheryl and Gilles looked a bit out of sync at times. Some of the kicks and flicks looked a bit frantic though I must say it is not easy for tall thin people to flick and kick at that speed with so little training and practice. For the routine’s difficulty level and Gilles dealing with an injury – I’d give it a 26 or 27. All three judges liked it. I thought the choreography was a bit too difficult and the performance came off as being just a bit “busy-looking” but this is often typical of Cheryl Burke’s choreography. They got: 9+9+9 = 27 – about right, and probably because the lifts looked heavy and awkward. As Michael Schedler noted – If his shoulder was injured, why did Cheryl insist on lifts that would be affected by worry about the shoulder?
Melissa and Tony – judged on practice tape of Jive
Due to her rib injury, Melissa could not dance. (She has a hairline fracture in a rib.) It amazes me that the pros keep insisting on the lifts and tricks when their celebrity is injured. The taped performance was pretty good but, without costumes and the adrenalin pump that is associated with performing to the audience, it was very lacking in pizzazz. I’d give it around 24 or 25. Bruno – taped performance lacking performance power because they were marking the routine. Carrie Ann – have to judge what they saw, even though it was marked, not performed. Len – same deal: have to score what they saw. They got: 7+7+7 = 21. I do wish they had made SOME allowance for the injuries.
Ty & Chelsie – Salsa
One of her practice outfits sure made her look “hippy” – don’t these people ever look in the mirror before the film crew shows up? Ty’s spray on tan was a bit much, but he was a good sport. He did a right nice job with the Salsa – especially for a cowboy who don’t ‘zactly do Salsa on a horse – only looking a bit stiff now and then. He was quite agile and was very good with the timing. I thought it was a right Sassy Salsa! He would get 27 or 28 from me! Carrie Ann – Raved about his performance. Len – noted his inconsistent performance, but also how much he did improve. Also – rather rudely, in my opinion – said that, if Ty didn’t do better in the group performance, he should hit the trail. Bruno – noted lack of perfection and lack of hip action. They got: 9+7+8 = 24 – too low for that “wow” performance. Len needs to hit the trail, if you ask me!
Note: Len has been rather rude in the comments he’s made all season. Someone should remind him that we are not watching Pros – we’re watching celebrities! Also, he should remember that we’re trying to ENCOURAGE people to take lessons, not run them off.
Due to the storms Monday night, the machine didn’t record Shawn & Mark, Lil’ Kim & Derek, or Chuck & Julianne.
Group 1 – Team Mambo
Chuck & Julianne, Shawn & Mark, Tony with Lacey stepping in for Melissa
Do you all believe Lacey learned that Mambo in just a couple of hours? My feeling is that they had to suspect that Melissa wouldn’t dance and Lacey had to practice before the final decision was made. Chuck looked like a fish out of water. He did the choreography, but it was stiff and awkward looking. The guys in their “girly” outfits were just a bit too much, especially with the white legs. Len thought it was fantastic, especially Lacey stepping in with, ahem, (hahaha) just 15 minutes of practice. Carrie Ann thought the music overpowered the performance. I would give they around 24 points. Got: 8+8+9 = 25
Group 2 – Team Tango
Gilles & Cheryl, Derek & Lil’ Kim, Ty and Chelsie
In the performance, they had the guys without shirts on to open, then Derek did have a jacket on. His dance position was not terribly good – too open on the left side and shoulder lines were bad. Ty had pretty good form and a very good top line. He was on time, looked pretty good in the Tango character and did a nice job of performing the choreography. Gilles was too open on the left side and, though he did a better job in some ways, still looked a bit frantic. As a team, they did a very nice job and I’d give this around 27 points. Bruno raved. Got goose bumps? Carrie Ann thinks Team Tango “takes it”. Len – noted blunders by Lil’ Kim, bad footwork from Gilles, but said that Ty “nailed it”. Got: 9+9+10 = 28, which is 1 point higher than I thought they’d get.
Note: As you all know by now, I get a bit frustrated with the costuming for this show because I don’t think some of it is appropriate for representing the elegance, charm and sophistication of Ballroom Dancing. Beyond that, I’d like to say that some of the practice outfits worn during rehearsals that are to be filmed and aired across the nation are just weird – I really don’t understand why they want to dress that way for TV. Worse is that they often look like they haven’t bothered to bathe or fix their hair and some of the guys don’t even shave. Ty usually looks pretty good, and Gilles is mostly OK. The rest of them? I’m far from being a fashionable trend-setter, but I simply can’t imagine going away from home looking like that!
In the Results show, Team Tango danced again, looking a bit better than in Monday’s performance.
Tony was begging for another chance for he and Melissa.
Chuck’s cheeky cha-cha? From the bit they showed – which was presumably one of the highlights of the routine – I don’t see how he could improve enough to continue.
Len was just too critical about Shawn’s Samba. What is up with him this year? Does he need to see a proctologist? Should we send him some preparation h?
Makeup notwithstanding, Lil’ Kim did a knockout Paso Doble – 9+9+10
The “Ballroom Dancers of Genius” bit was REALLY entertaining and well thought out for each of the contestants character.
Chuck gets to go home – yeah!
Genya Mazo’s frame and position. was not good for quickstep, but he did say he hadn’t done it for quite a while
Afton DelGrosso was much better and had a good bit of pizzazz and finesse
Mayo Alanen and Anna Demidova Jive. His head bothered me and his kicks seemed a it wild. She did a very nice and polished job. Anna is best of the 4.
Educated Dancers Quizz
This was sent to me by a former schoolteacher teacher who now does home tutoring. His name is Michael Gold, and some of you may know him from his dancing with various persons and filming at competitions for Front Row Video.
Take the quiz, then send your answers to email@example.com and we will eventually publish a list of people who get at least 7 answers correct. (Michael Gold will be the “judge” for this, as it is his area of expertise, not mine)
You have until Monday, May 25 to submit your answers.
Which questions can you answer? No cheating by using Google or whatever. Go from memory only.
1. Is America a democracy or a republic?
2. What Englishman and English writing were a big influence on our Founding Fathers?
3. What system(s) of government did ancient Athens have?
4. How did Socrates die? Who was Socrates?
5. Where did the modern battery come from?
6. Can you prove that the area formula for a triangle is correct?
7. Why is 3^0 = 1? (That’s: Why is 3 raised to the zero power equal to 1?)
8. What math makes cell phones possible?
9. What are Mill’s Methods?
10. What is a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem?
Michael Gold says: Just wondering how well-educated we are and what we are taught in public/private school. And which questions did you learn the answers to in school and which after you got out?
I learned most of that after high school. I learned the answer to maybe #6 in school, but that’s about it.