Has Competitive Dancing Improved I`ll say it has.Find your way to the World Professional Latin and Ballroom from the Royal Albert Hall in London 1963.I doubt if the winners would have got past the first round today. The Posture was lousy. And that dropped right elbow might be forgiven . In those days the man`s right hand used to be below the ladies left shoulder blade instead of as is today where the the ladies armpit is resting on the man`s wrist just above the thumb.
There is no comparison .Compare any clip from around the 60`s ( they are black and white ). Then Google Dapenda`s Channel. You will be looking at Bizokas and Demidova dancing a Waltz International Style to Brian Watson singing Amore Musica. It is very noticable about the man`s right elbow being held much higher which gives a bigger right side when compared with those olden days. As for the Latin. In the 60`s was pretty ordinary and in some cases laughable. Imagine men wearing tails and the ladies in a dress which resembled a Bell Tent. And that Cha Cha and Rumba Has it improved. Just look for yourself.
So you are convinced that Irvines , Eggeleton et al, wouldnt make the finals ??.... are you nuts or what !!!... Will concede that Latin took a different route, thats why it looks "different ".. however, the skill etc was there, and matched the requirements of the day .
And, what, in your considered opinion,in Standard, is better today ?
Then consider this... True talent can be transplanted to any period of time ( good costuming or bad has little or nought to do with execution.. window dressing at best )
Terence. I know you have looked at some of the clips otherwise you couldn`t have come up with the names which I didn`t mention. In one under, Ballroom Championships in the Sixties. The Walks and the Reverse Fallaway into a Throwaway in the Tango by the winners No 2 would not today make a judge put his pen to paper, ( count 16 bars in ). Then there was a Latin Final which can be found under World Professional Latin and Ballroom Championships 1968 . The same couple in the Cha Cha were not good by any standard, The just didn`t have the technique of todays dancers, and their interpretation of the music left a lot to be desired. No I am not nuts. Neither do I wear rose coloured glasses. I would say that untill Richard Gleave and Michael Barr in Modern and Alan Fletcher in Latin came on the scene poise and posture use of the knees for the modern style and musical interpretation in both wasn`t there. I shudder when I see how they used to cling onto each other in their Pivots with very little knowledge of where the head should be . Google Dapenda`s Channel and look at " Arunas Bizokas " and compare today with yesterday. As I say again. Those early Champions would be hard pressed today to get out of the afternoon sesions at Blackpool
There has been much discussion of late about phrasing in todays dancers.. they seem to be more obsessed with the "smaller " picture than the larger one .
No.. I didnt read the article, but when you state NO one from before the 70s would make a final, then I find that statement absurd .
Todays "style " has become cookie cutter and predictable ( standard ) and the Latin, is a caricature of stage proportions.. it has lost its way in definition and character ( this is not just my prof opinion.. many top prof feel the same way )
As to techn,...of course it had to change in latin ,due to the absurd nature( in some cases )it became ! .
And do you believe that all the current top pro,s are more perfect in techn ?.. I dont think so .
Terence. Now you are being clever with your choice of words. The era mentioned is the 60`s. You bring the 70`s into the equasion by writing before the 70`s. Technically that is correct , or is it. Lets stick to one era and one style for this moment in time. Google The " British Latin and Ballroom Dance Championships 1963 ". The Latin Cha Cha by couple 59. It is pathetic. Would you in even your wildest dreams say otherwise. And in the Quickstep the same couple 69. Just take a look at those Scatter Chasses. Would that head position and the poise win today. I doubt it. At the end Bob and Doreen didn`t look that crash hot either. Again I say that dancing has improved so much that both you and I would look like a couple of Social dancers at a Saturday night hop dancing the way we used to, rather than a couple of comp dancers..
First, Bob and Doreen.. you need to remember , they were in their prime in the late 40s and early to mid 50s.. of course they didnt "look " the same.. but.. class comes thru .
And , you picked out one couple who were, for what ever reason, put into the final. As I said.. the Latin HAS changed, no one is denying that.. more to the point, is the new paradigm shift something for the better ? many think not .
As to finalists of ANY era, there is always the possibility that someone has an " off " nite , it happens to the best .
PS.. i was an asst.trainee teacher in Bobs school(briefly)in 52/53?
Terence. Your memory is failing. Bob danced with his wife Margaret Baker who so tragically died. For some five years or so whilst he was going through the courts he didn`t compete. He then danced with Jeanne Walker and then Eve Barnet before meeting with Doreen who was partner and wife to Bob Ramsey they had just returned from S Africa. This was after 1956. Do you remember what happend to Margaret Baker.That would have been about 1952. I did not randomly pick one couple. In the 1963 youtube clip number 59 in the Latin was Bill Irvine. In the Modern number 69 was also Bill Irvine who won both the Latin and the Modern. By todays standards it was not good as anybody can see for themselves..
Right.. i had forgotten the previous ladies ( guess i had more to do with Bob )
You get no argument from me on Bills, and 99% of the rest of " latin" proponents.. everyone seemed to ignore walters ideas in respect of frame and hold.. does the word prance come to mind ?... it went down the "road" of ballroom ,and never came back .
There are on youtube film clips from Pathe News reels going right back to the 20`s. The further we go back, by todays standard the less impressive the dancing is. Any rise and fall was done through the feet only. They had no idea of how to use the knees at all .If the judges in those early days in competition had seen a couple bending their knees to and angle of 45 degrees in the Waltz and the Foxtrot they would have disqualified them. I put this on once before. According to Frank Ford who was the first ever Star Ballroom Champion. In 1931 a German competitor arrived at Blackpool for the British. The Tango at that time was very much along the style of English Old Time, very Foxrotting. He strode on the floor with a crisp sharp type of action not seen before. He came absolutely nowhere. But the next day was saturated with requests . Would he demonstrate his Tango in their Studios. Frank who supplied this information was actually there. The Tang as we know it today had its beginning right their.
Steve. I dont know if you are aware but with todays technology it is possible to have an athlete of any sport in an elecrtonic field performing their sport. On a computer it is possible to pick out exactly what a person is doing wrong or right. In our Dancing with the Stars it was shown how former World Boxing Champion Danny Green was not doing a lift correctly. The computer picked up that the knees weren`t being used as they should be. I saw the same on a soccer player who didn`t have the correct shape on one of those overhead kicks they do when they have their back towards the goal. I think they might have gone as far as they can go techniqually in dancing. If there are changes it will be the music that brings it about. The Rumba . As we dance to music that was once considered and still is not thought as suitable by the traditionalist. Have you seen a clip of a couple doing a Rumba sung by Shirley Bassey called The Greatest Performance of my Life. Or Enya singing Only Time. My favourite is Paul Killick dancing to Colm Wilkinson singing Till You Came Into My Life. If you do want a tune where skill is needed try any of those three.
When we are comparing the greats in dancing, we should remember that it's the dance STYLE and not the ability of the dancer.
As Terrence - and Don, about 2 years ago - argued that the past greats with their devotion and attention to detail would still be in the top 12.
Recently I saw a short clip of Stan Dudley and Christine Norton, dancing the Waltz. I still could see the charisma this couple created. But the STYLE in those days consisted mainly of foot and leg action.
I remember when Stan danced in the afternoon heats, in the Royal Albert Hall, London, UK, in lounge clothes, wearing mauve suede shoes. It sounded like the Blackpool roar, from the spectators, when Stan walked onto the floor.
In the evening I saw Wally Laird dancing modern ballroom. When he danced past one section of the crowd he was getting a cheer. Walter was laughing each time he past that section. Walter was also in the Latin and had to dash to the changing rooms for the Latin section recalls. In those days the Latin was not danced in separate sections like it is today.
Walter told me that that was the night he and Lorraine decided to concentrate on Latin, because he could only make the end of the tunnel, and they had to watch the dancers performing in the recall.
I suppose the stark contrast you're looking for would be most easily seen by watching a clip of Vernon and Irene Castle, who were accounted to be excellent dancers in that time period, then watching a clip of any smooth dance champion from the past three years.