March2012

Let’s Do It – We went to it!

Last Friday night, we were privileged to be invited guests to see Anton & Erin perform in their new show, Let’s Do It. This is their 3rd touring stage show, and having been to see the previous two, can definitely say this is the best yet! It has a wonderful mix of entertainment, with sensational music from the London Concert Orchestra, wonderful singing from Lance Ellington (he sings on Strictly) and of course plenty of dancing from Anton & Erin – supported by some rather flexible and enthusiastic stage dancers!

We love big band music, and the show is full of it – to be honest I could have happily just closed my eyes and listened to the wonderful sounds all evening! Hopefully the audience around me wasn’t too put off by the fact that I was almost dancing to every note – which was difficult considering my knees where close to my chest and I seemed to have grown two extra arms!

I must just break off from talking about the show, to mention a little bit about my Basingstoke experience. To start with, the town planners were obviously from the local area as it seems no real thought was put in to placing suitable signage in and around the town. Perhaps they just don’t want visitors? Eventually, we did find the car park for the Anvil Theatre; however we then seemed to lose the theatre. It seems as though a shopping centre has been built around The Anvil, and once we exited the lift on the ground floor all we found were shops. No signs – nothing. Kelly thought it best if we followed a couple that looked as though they were dressed up for the evening, a sure sign of theatre go-ers, but unfortunately it turned out they were just off to Sainsbury’s. After a swift turnaround, we tried the opposite direction and found a group of pensioners ambling along towards an ambient glow in the distance – this of course must be the right direction as Anton groupies are very easy to spot. Anyway, we eventually made it to our seats, albeit built for very small people, and settled down to see the show. Leaving was just as difficult, but I won’t bore you with any more details. Needless to say, next time I’ll remember a handy A-Z or get Google Maps working a little better on my phone!

Back to the show! Erin dazzled us with a vast array of dresses, and happened to mention that she got through over 500 dresses on the entire tour. 500! Anton of course boasted that he needed only one suit – made especially for the last series of SCD. It hadn’t got a lot of wear on the show, (a point Anton humourously pointed out!) so it was in perfect condition for the tour!. Having known Anton & Erin for such a long time, and seen them dance on many numerous occasions, the dancing aspect of the show was entertaining, but not the highlight. No, the best bits were when they swapped the dance shoes, for microphones and began to sing! I never knew they had it in them but they really have found their voices, and those sketches really do make the show a true variety performance.

Once the show was over, we had the chance to meet with them backstage and spent the best part of an hour and half catching up. It’s great to see such good friends doing so very well, but it does mean that any time with them is extremely short and 6 months of chat has to be condensed into a little over an hour. Anton informed me that talks are already underway for a 4th tour next year and we plan to organise a Dizzyfeet Dancing outing to see them, when they visit Portsmouth. So maybe next time you’ll be able to join with us in enjoying the all singing, all dancing spectacle that is Anton & Erin!

 

And finally…. Well done to Judith Edwards who won our Anton & Erin competition! Two very fancy signed pictures are on their way to you!

 

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Simple is Best

 

A coach of mine once said to me “Keep it simple, stupid”.

At first I thought there was someone behind me, but sadly, he was talking to me. Initially I was a little put out, almost angry. How could my foxtrot, one of THE best foxtrots out there, warrant that kind of comment? I was expressing myself; twisting and turning, shaping and moving – dancing my little heart out. But, he was of course so very right. (He was also not the kind of person that you argued with)

Whilst this was just a throw-away comment, it is actually so prevalent to almost all areas of our life. Don’t worry, I’m not getting all deep and meaningful – this is a blog about dancing so I’ll keep it on point!

If we take it in a dancing context, you can learn all the most fascinating and fabulous steps on offer, but true dancing in its most pure form is beautiful movement, put to beautiful music done in harmony with your partner (a beautiful partner preferred, but not essential…!). Quite often we miss the point and want to over complicate or make our dancing too intricate; resulting in a loss of what is most important – actually DANCING. A lot of you reading this blog will have been to a dance at some point, and whilst taking a break from your dancing endeavours you will observe the many other bodies, vying for position on the crowded dance floor.

Your eyes will be drawn to the couple from a few tables up who seem to just glide around the floor, not looking rushed or hurried in any of their steps and seeming to move with such ease that you could be forgiven for thinking they were on roller skates! They even hold each other in such a way that would have you believe they aren’t two individuals dancing together at all, but just one, beautiful body such is their harmonious movement and togetherness.

They of course are 2 separate people, and have probably danced together for a while. But, I can assure you that longevity isn’t just the cause of their superior movement and look. No, they will definitely be doing the simple things right – and keeping it that way. Of course we need steps and patterns to put to the music and a bit of variety is essential to keep things interesting and fun, but there’s nothing quite like basic steps and variations done well.

So, next time you’re at a dance don’t try to over complicate things and get too clever, just keep it simple and you won’t look stupid!

 

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What’s Wrong with the state of British Dancing these days! What’s Wrong with the state of British Dancing these days!

To be honest, I haven’t got a clue if there is anything wrong; I just wanted a nice catchy title for my first guest blog.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Paul Elliot and I am a ballroom dancer. That hasn’t always been the case; I didn’t start when I was three; I wasn’t taken to lessons by my mom and I didn’t have to  form a partnership at the age of eight with a girl who probably hated boys as much as I hated girls. 

No, like the majority of most other boys between the ages of five to infinity, I played football, cricket and spent almost every spare minute down the lane on the green trying to pull a discarded bike from the canal. The thought of *dancing* would have sent me screaming to a padded cell or game of British Bulldog(whichever happened to be the closest). Oh yes!

It wasn’t for the lack of opportunity. During my teen years, my parents were accomplished ballroom dancers (they had medals and everything) so it wouldn’t have been a complete surprise if they’d have coerced (or forced) me into it. 

 

I can’t remember how I started dancing; that’s not entirely true, there was a cha-cha competition when I was a lot younger but  my current passion for dancing started with a Salsa evening for Mrs E’s birthday. For the latter case, I just can’t recall where I saw the advert. What happened was destiny; we did really well; we got an invite to go to more salsa lessons (which my wife accepted on our behalf before I could say no).  That class progressed into Latin and then Ballroom; my salsa improved to the point where I was asked to run my own class. We outgrew our class and changed classes, started doing regular social dances/practices and attending the various events around the area. Eventually we added James and Kelly’s classes into our busy schedule.

 

I think that the message that I am trying to get across is that dancing is a wonderful pastime/hobby/fitness regime and that if you’ve stumbled upon this blog by accident then please try it. You don’t need to be a couple; obviously that would have the inherent advantage of always having a partner (that’s not always true – but that’s a subject for another rant…sorry blog). Singletons are always welcome. Schools run classes for all abilities including complete novices.

 

Also if you’re one of the group of people that only attend one class a week, can I urge you to try the weekly social and put those moves that you’ve learnt into practice; it’s the best way by far to improve. Try not to be too nervous (we’ve all been there), just get up on the dancefloor and do your stuff. Don’t worry about being in the way of more experienced dancers, they’ll dance around you. If you get the chance try dancing with other people, this way you’ll begin to learn how to lead or follow. Believe me your regular partner will appreciate it.

 

So get out there: join a class – go to practice sessions. I’m glad I did. In fact I wish I’d have done it when I was a lot younger and so does Mrs. E!!!!!!!!!!!

 

My next topic will be “Sequence Dancing: Good or bad for your ballroom?” 

 

Bye for now 

Paul 

Facebook: P Stuart Elliot

Twitter: @pStuartElliot

 

PS You may have noticed the inordinate number of semi-colons in this post. Well that down to the fact that I’m also an author. My book Perseus Middleman: Thaumaturgic Adventurer is available for the Kindle (and Kindle apps) for less than the price of a fancy coffee. So if you think you might like a humorous yarn about a 17-year old wizard to be and his quest for a mythical city of gold and the girl of his nightmares, download it now! Go to Amazon.co.uk and search for PERSEUS MIDDLEMAN 

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A little bit about me – Sarah-Jayne

 

Well I’ve been asked to write this blog about myself and my dancing, but the tough part is where to start! I suppose the beginning always works well – so here goes…

 

 

 

My name is Sarah-Jayne and I started dancing at the age of 3, firstly attempting ballet and tap but not being the most petite child it wasn’t really suited to me! It was then that I followed in the footsteps of many of my close relatives and tried Ballroom and Latin and loved it! I was painfully shy as a child and I can remember, even now, sitting out at the end of my dancing classes when they did the party songs because the other children were too loud and I was petrified.  (Thankfully now I’ve grown out of this – although, if ‘I am the music man’ comes on it still haunts me!)  

 

 

 

From a young age I began to take part in competitions and was very fortunate (thanks to my Mum and Dad) to be able to travel around the country competing on a regular basis, me and my dancing partner were inseparable and we did well throughout our dancing career together – the 5am wake up calls covered in fake tan and stupid amounts of hairspray and glitter will always stay with me!   In my teens I also began competing in disco, street dance and rock’n’roll  – again all of which involved a lot of fake tan and tons more glitter! I must’ve cost my Mum and Dad a fortune but at the time never ever realised this, one lesson I learnt from my Mum at a very young age though was if I ever cried because I didn’t win something I would never ever go back.. a very valuable lesson, as it was about taking part not about the winning!   Throughout this time I stayed with the same dancing School and owe a lot to my fabulous dancing teacher Muriel. Dancing has really helped make me who I am today… a far cry from the child who wouldn’t speak to anyone!!

 

 

 

After taking a break from dancing at 18, I soon realised that I really really missed it and when Strictly appeared on our screens I couldn’t sit still for any longer and needed to dance!  But there was one slight problem… I didn’t have a clue where to go, but as you will probably guess from reading this I discovered James and Kelly and my love of dancing came flooding back straight away!

 

 

 

I have been having lessons with James for four years now and yet I still look forward to my lesson each week! He has really really helped me develop as a dancer, I can’t quite believe how my dancing and in particular my technique has improved and neither could my Mum, she came to watch me recently after not seeing me dance for many years, and couldn’t believe it was her little girl!  Even though James is a tough task master at times each lesson is accompanied by lots and lots of laughs – he really is a wonderful teacher!! 

 

 

 

So the next stage of my dancing journey is about to begin…. some of you may have seen me helping out at beginner classes, however I don’t get to help out as much as I would like at the moment as I have a small matter of completing a 10,000 word dissertation!! But come the 1st May I know James is eagerly waiting to swap my University books for a Ballroom Technique Book and this will be happening.  I’m very excited to be teaching some of you from the Beginner classes in Private lessons and hope you are enjoying these as much as I have! I am also very much looking forward to becoming a fully fledged member of the Dizzyfeet Team and its expansion to take over the world!!

 

 

 

So that is me… I’d like to personally thank James and Kelly for giving me the opportunity to become part of the team and I hope I can do them proud! My aim is to be meeting lots more of you soon and I really hope I can help to make people love dancing just as much as I love it!

 

 

 

Sarah-Jayne x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Do It, with Anton and Erin

So, I was thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if you got the chance to win things just by reading this blog and making a few clicks. Literally no effort – just read and click.

I had a look in our dance cupboard to see what we had that could be a potential give-away, but apart from an old shoe brush and a beige towel in an otherwise empty lost property box (I think it may have originally been white) there wasn’t a lot on offer. Then it struck me! In a couple of weeks Kelly and I are off to see Anton & Erin in their new stage show, at the Anvil Theatre in Basingstoke. They have already been a little more local, in Bournemouth and Portsmouth but unfortunately we weren’t able to see them there, so Basingstoke it is. Not been to Basingstoke much – in fact other than the train station en-route to London, I’ve never actually visited.

Anyway, PRIZES!

What I thought we’d do is get some personalised merchandise from their show and perhaps a signed photo or two for you to pop on your wall. Just think, it could be worth something on eBay in a few years! All you have to do to be in with a chance to win our very first Dizzyfeet Giveaway is the following:

Simply subscribe to this blog by clicking up the top where it says ‘Subscribe to blog’. Current subscribers will be entered automatically.

And that’s it. Just reading and clicking! You’ve got until midnight on March 12th to enter and I’ll announce the winner the following day. You can then choose your personalised message and we’ll get your pictures and merchandise to you after we’ve seen the show on the 16th! I’ll let you know how good the show is in a future post – if it’s anything like the previous two stage shows, I’m sure it’ll be fabulous!

You don’t hear a word from me for months and then BANG, 2 posts in a week! It’s lucky I’m already sitting down….

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