"Collegiate Competition" and "Many Amateur Competitions" or "Ballroom Newbie Competitions" could all be interchanged in the title today, but seeing as how I just judged a collegiate comp last weekend, that's my title.
Why I Didn't Love You
- You can dance International Rumba on time, but not either style (American or International) of Cha Cha... or American Tango. Please explain. No seriously, tell me how this happens.
- Body contact trumps good frame? Dancing in body contact is super helpful, but if it messes up your frame (like everyone's shoulders are now in their ears and the guy's left hand is behind the lady's back), you all need to take a small step away from each other for awhile, build the correct muscles up, and figure that top-line out.
- The walk-on with the arm out. This has perplexed me for years. You can read more about it here. Please, just walk onto the floor.
- The really elaborate invite. I love a good invite to dance. It's so classy. But sometimes, your invitation to dance gets a little crazy. Best advice? Keep it simple, stupid. And the part that sounds really mean? Don't let your personality show too much. Not there anyways. It's kind of like walking-onto-the-floor thing. Just get into frame, y'all.
- Your footwork is a constant mystery. Heel leads on 3 in Waltz, toe releases in Rumba, or just flat feet through entire dances: if your footwork isn't correct, your basic movement usually isn't either.
- International isn't American and vice versa - there's no Crossbody Leads in International Cha Cha and Rumba, there's no Closed Promenade and everything is in 8s in American Tango, American Waltz has Open Position, Jive and Swing have totally different chassés... I could literally go ON and ON. And I'm available for private lessons.
Why I Loved You
These critiques are more fun for everyone.
- Your unbridled enthusiasm. While most professionals are passionate are their dancing, it's been tempered by years of participation and politics, and your passion is palatable. Watching you in the ballroom, I literally feel like bouncing up and down and yelling "DANCING!" while hugging all of you.
- Your love for dancing. Have you ever had a friend who you thought loved you too much? I sense dancing might feel that way about you sometimes. It's intense and great and a little bit scary, therefore all the more exciting to see.
- You dance like no one is watching. Keep doing that, and apply it to all things.
- Team work. While ballrooming is a two-person sport on the floor, your ever-expanding teams and the support you give to one another off the floor is endearing.
- Even if one of you looks like you're going to throw up, the other one looks so patient and supportive. Partnership, man: you're nailing it.
- The occasional count-out-loud. Beginners are always fun to watch dance, NOT BECAUSE WE'RE MAKING FUN OF YOU, but because we were all there once. But the lead counting out loud? MY FAVORITE. The follow counting out loud for the lead? My second favorite.
- The facial expressions. In case I wasn't sure you were having fun, your face is clearly expressing your enjoyment.
- The proud parents. While my Facebook feed was basically everyone changing their profile and cover pictures for two days, I also saw many of you tagged in pictures from your proud-as-a-peacock parents, who were clearly bursting at the seams to show off how well you clean up, how fancy you are, and what good genes you obviously inherited.
- The social dances. Again, almost scary with the level of enthusiasm and energy level, and as long as I spectate from afar, it's clear you love dancing with each other. All of each other. Politicians have something to learn from your inclusion and acceptance.
- The intercollegiate love. Yeah yeah, it was a competition, but there's some serious love between teams at these things.
- The same sex partnerships. Maybe I'm biased, but I especially loved the guys dancing together. Because it's just what you do. Who cares who leads or follows? Knowing both parts makes you a better dancer and it was great to see that in action.
- Your total awareness of the junior peanuts dancing around you that were half your size. I know they're hard to see and I threatened you beforehand with cancellation of callbacks if you specifically hit my kid and her partner, but you had it all under control and gave all of them a wide berth.
In case you thought reading this was lame, here's a fun picture:
And another one: