Strictly Come Dancing – Week 7

Strictly Come Dancing 2013

What a great week of choreography and performances from our celebrities and their professional partners. Such a huge turn around from previous weeks of mixed confusions of flying cushion and dish cloths disasters – rather than content full Quicksteps and Paso Doble caping… this week clearly it was time to dance and that they did this Saturday night.

Entering into the 8th week of the competition it’s interesting to see now who have become the leaders, who have burnt out and who have been pushed out by you the voters. With one or two slow starters now starting to catch up it’s not surprising to see that it’s the boys now beginning to find their mojo and give the girls a run for their money.

I was devastated to see Rachel and Abbey in the bottom two having to go head to head in the dance off but sadly that is how it goes with this show. I don’t remember a year going by where there hasn’t been a shock illumination and this year it was sadly the loss of our most gorgeous Rachel Riley who was robbed of being able to continue in this great competition.

So let’s get on and see what ‘Dame Hardy’ here (as someone calls me) has her eye on this week with our yummy celebrities and their dance partners.

Ashley and Ola – Quickstep
This is the dance of the swans. And what do I mean by that? Quite simply you have to be uber cool on top but under the water you have to paddle like crazy and just how brilliantly did Ashley deliver that – with absolute perfection!

Absolutely brilliant, I just love it when I see someone improve…and in such a short time. This was the week Ashley not only delivered a fantastic dance but he nailed his posture. This great posture really then showed off a fantastic and very challenging routine. This was also a very fast piece of music which he could have easily forgotten his poise in. But he didn’t he maintained his swan-like-ness til the end. Fast music normally means you’ll more often than not look down to see what your feet are doing but he didn’t he passed with flying colours.

Susanna and Kevin – Waltz
Well I put it out on Twitter that I could smell a 10 for Susanna this week having executed a sensational Waltz but sadly she was only granted straight 9s by the judges! Was she robbed – absolutely and I have listed my reasons below for you all to view:

  • Expertly delivering difficult choreography
  • Fantastic chemistry between them both
  • The contents of the routine had so many challenges
  • She’d hugely improved her top line
  • She moved with grace, elegance and speed across the floor
  • Executed really great footwork
  • Excellent body contact was maintained
  • Well delivered fast pivots
  • Superb musicality partnered with brilliant choreography
  • They gave the music meaning
  • And an emotionally connecting performance which is what this show is all about
  • A no nonsense full on truly great dance performance

So worthy of a ten but hey… I guess they never gave Mark Ramprakash and I a ten until late on in the show – so this may actually be a good sign!

Fiona and Anton – Paso Doble
Watching Fiona perform early on in the show I actually thought she had improved and delivered a great Paso Doble. But as the night went on and I was able to see the other celebrities perform I started to see that Fiona may start to be in trouble with keeping up with the pack now. It was interesting to see the judges very opinionated about her dance, as when I reviewed it I was delighted to see there was a lot of Paso content rather than just entertainment waffle as seen from some in previous weeks. Great Separations, Twists and Flamenco styling and it was a lot more animated than any of her previous weeks. However, to help get more passion and drive in her performance we need to look at her footwork, as there was one major problem… no heel leads!!! It’s the all-important attention to detail now that will prevail.

Mark and Iveta – Rumba
This was the first week that I sadly thought our lovely Mark was going to land himself in the bottom two. This was a dance I felt he just couldn’t get into, but don’t worry a lot of the celebrities will go through this you just have to hope you survive until the next week and come back with force as we have seen from many celebrity performances of the past. Mark was lucky this time as he was saved but he is going to have to improve his movement and use of feet for example as foot contact with the floor at all times makes movement glide easier.
I always say to my students “please clean my floor with your feet darling and leave no dust behind” ensuring they fully use their feet or I may even place a piece of paper under their feet and it must stay there whilst they dance. Tough I can hear you say but they all love me when they can do it as it feels great to be able to really use your feet and dance.

Sophie and Brendan – Argentine Tango
Well Strictly Come Dancing really are mixing the dances up this year with Argentine Tango being danced normally in the semi finals or at least later in the show but this year seen being brought forward to just over half way in! So, this would mean the pressure was on for Brendan and Sophie to get all of their training strengths together and they really didn’t disappoint. With great choreography executed miles miles better than last week, intense foot actions, strong direction changes, great height challenges with the lifts and drops offering texture to this performance left us all content with their delivery. But could they have done more and do we want more from them…???? The answer has to be yes, firstly because the judges went on and on about what they wanted so they clearly see that Sophie has much more potential still but more importantly we can see they are both having a ball in the training rooms and we want to see this newly found friendship succeed on the dance floor and make fireworks for us all to enjoy. So I guess the best way to demonstrate what we are seeing is to relate it to singing…You see I feel fabulous singing in the shower but how that would translate if I had to walk out at Wembley, you could argue would be quite different.! So this is what Sophie needs to understands when she dances as she feels she is getting it right…but what we are seeing is not quite the same.

As I always say as my ‘Hardyism’ – feeling and doing are two different things. I feel like a young super model… Reality is quite different. Possibly a little more mirror work could help or to video herself and look back at it. Here’s to next week.

Ben and Kristina – Jive
This was the best dance I’ve seen Ben deliver. Light on his feet, fast, full of energy, entertaining and of course a sprinkling of that gorgeous smile on his face ….and not a sign of a pillow anywhere!!! He had such a fantastic action due to his strong quads and well trained ankles from Rugby training so the problem was not his feet but rather an optical illusion as it was a problem with his upper body with the arms needing to work separately and more free to his legs to give the image of freedom and lightness rather than the slightly heavy look that the judges implied he had. It’s a trick to the eye but it lightens the action when the arms are different to the legs. But once again I want to highlight a great improvement from Ben and slowly the men start to creep forward to challenge the ladies!!!

Abbey and Al-yash – Charleston
I loved to hear Craig say it was a Charleston with Bob Fosse influences – as it really was. With the Fosse famous moves including sideways shuffles, rolling of shoulders and turned in knees oh and never forget his demand of always a sexy look!!! Well these two well and truly nailed it. Oh and the new look hair of the cabaret bob was sensational!! What a way to come back from being in the dance off the previous week. I just love a competition and these two are not going down without a fight. I also have to pick up on her having the strength of mind to take on using a hat in her performance. She could have so easily just started with it on then thrown it off as most do when using a hat as a prop but the skill of actually dancing it on and off her head and interacting at the same time with Al-yash was excellent. Pure class and even though it did fall off in the end, taking the gamble of using it was excellent and really brought depth of performance with this dance.

Patrick and Anya – American Smooth
And closing the night with pure Hollywood glam was the shock of the night for me (apart from Susanna not getting any tens… I’ll move on I promise). And even with a slight dress incident at the end it was not going to ruin this incredible American Smooth by Patrick and our new professional young lady Anya. I love a surprise and this definitely was one. Having not been a big fan of Patrick’s in the past and ever believing the men are always slow burners this was never more so proven than with Patrick. This was an incredible entertainment packed dance with lifts and smiles to light up Broadway. It was slightly more gimmicky than I would have liked so I”d probably have given a 9.5 on the night… just to be difficult but it really was such brilliant dance and such a change, he really looked as though he had finally embraced dance. With great drive across the floor he really lived and performed the choreography to the full. The lift work was great but with the obvious wobbles but most of all I really loved the choreography on the steps by the band. Genius. Technically still a bit of gapping which has been an issue with Patrick before – but with this demanding choreography it’s a gamble needed to be taken and hope they can keep working on perfecting that all important body contact.

So next weekend it’s off to Blackpool, so exciting! A handful of lucky celebrities and their partners will be entering into the history books as that is what Blackpool Tower and dancing is all about. With the ballroom opening way back in 1894 nearly 120 years ago, people have been dancing on those floor boards for a very long time and they know what they are looking for up there!!! The celebrities are going to enjoy the glamor and the amazing pure showbiz atmosphere that everyone feels whenthey perform in Blackpool.

So remember dancing at Blackpool is all about performing, delivering entertainment with technical precision and exude energy at all cost as there will be one huge audience cheering them on…but most importantly enjoy every moment as it’s magical.

To learn to dance at Karen Hardy Studios or to buy a gift for your friend or loved one, contact emma@Karenhardystudios.com and we’ll have you all enjoying for yourselves the magic of Blackpool – very soon.

Until next week,

Karen Hardy
World Masters, International, United Kingdom & British National Champion of Latin American Dance
Winner Strictly Come Dancing 2006
Carl Alan & BDF Award winner for services to dance
Director of Award Winning Karen Hardy Studios
www.karenhardystudios.com

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13. November 2013 by Karen Hardy
Categories: Karen Hardy, Karen Hardy Studios News, Personal Karen Hardy Blog, Strictly Come Dancing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Strictly Come Dancing – Week 6

Strictly Come Dancing 2013

Patrick and Anya – Quickstep
Praises were given all round this week from the judges but Len was bothered by the lack of body contact. I am really glad this has started to be a topic of the judges’ conversation as in previous years body contact has come up much earlier! That said, I really liked Patrick’s approach to his dance this week, I actually felt he was competing for the first time in this show. It is essential for him to deliver great choreography, frame and body contact as soon as possible to catch up with the others and there may be a glimmering chance following this great dance. However, the more Anya pushes with more complex choreography the easier it is to break the frame… Hmm, we all love a gamble mixed with a dilemma!

Fiona and Anton – Charleston
Interesting, the judges were really quite picky on Fiona’s timings this week and looking back I could see they weren’t quite ‘in sync’ with each other but there were not sooooo many timing errors as made out! However, more noticeable to me was that their choreography was quite quiet in general and just needed a real rocket up the bottom to give it some va-voom. It needed to be more wild and then the ‘out of sync’ timings wouldn’t be so evident. The slight look of over-concentrating was evident but understandable as anyone taking on a Charleston needs their wits about them! Gorgeous foot swivels throughout this dance showed me this most elegant lady mastered the pure basics of this dance.

Ben and Kristina – Paso Doble
If ever there would be a strong dance for Ben to come out and own, it would be the Paso Doble. But sadly his efforts didn’t quite please our ever-demanding judges! With his chest and hips being criticised this week I am sure this legend of the rugby field must be pulling his hair out by now. Seeing great choreography starting to be taken on by Ben and him really starting to move more and more each week on the dance floor I think it’s time to give him a little praise (even if I am slightly biased with this rugby specimen). But of course, the more he starts to move now the more he will be open to criticism! So, hip shaping and chest activity is essential in Paso or there is a danger of looking stiff. Also he must start to use heel leads which will help him to drive across the floor with more strength.

Sophie and Brendan – Jive
Not a great week for them with Bruno saying it was ‘heavy and leggy’ and Darcy saying her knees were bent all the way through. But more importantly was, what were those two ‘lifts’!? I’ve picked up on something strange as ‘Mystic Meg’ here! These two have hit it off soooo well but it is necessary for the ‘cruel to be kind’ approach from Brendan to kick in now, else I fear there will be disappointment looming. But how do you tell a friend that they really have to up their ante, when you know they are trying so hard already? Our stunning Sophie really needs to attack the movements so she can feel muscle pain in movements not just cardio exhaustion!

Natalie and Artem – Viennese Waltz
Wow first 10s of the series! BUT as spotted too by Len, their Viennese Waltz was more of an American Smooth Viennese Waltz, meaning there was way too much separation dancing and not enough in hold as is demanded by this dance. There is an argument here though that where the judges are always clear in dropping marks when it comes to lift work being executed in wrong dances, but get the choreography as wrong as this, and there is a debate that this should get penalized equally and most certainly not given a ten! However, often overlooked is the pressure the professionals are under to deliver the right choreography and possibly here the creative mind simply took over the execution of a beautiful Viennese Waltz that was required. What was interesting though was how the audience and judges were tricked by the emotional song choice and the entertainment of the movements but only Len picked up on the fact that it actually was not a Viennese Waltz.

Mark and Iveta – Paso Doble
Well it’s a first for me to witness a ‘Disco Doble’ but surprisingly they managed to get the essence of this dance across, using good shaping, strong walking (needed more heel leads) and great basic choreography content. The twist with the music of introducing the disco element for entertainment may have been just slightly too long and gave cause for the judges to criticize. They also sadly used the slow beat rhythm too much so it ended up looking slightly stumpy, it possibly needed sa few more syncopation steps rather than one beat timings to really give it mmmpphhhh! But I still like them xx

Ashley and Ola – Tango
Come on Ashley let’s get this head position sorted out as it is spoiling some truly awesome choreography and these judges won’t stop criticising it if he doesn’t. But I am not going to let that over look the fact this was a brilliant dance, with brilliant choreography full of great content and REAL dancing, I completely loved this! So the stronger Ashley can get his legs working, the better the top line will be as legs do the work not the head on the dance floor. And, he must make a note that he will struggle later on should he stay in the competition when he goes up against the pro boys with the ‘top line’, as the celebrity girls don’t have so much pressure with this top line challenge!

Abbey and Aljaz – Rumba
What great comments from all the judges but I am guessing that so many of you at home either didn’t agree else forgot to vote as I was so shocked to see her in the bottom two. That said every year there is a surprise dance off and it was sad to see this year it would be Abbey going up against Rachel and oohhhh – too early on in the show! Luckily for Abbey though it was Rachel who had to take the blow and for the record it was most certainly a few weeks too early!! One comment from Darcy however, was Abbey needs to ‘smoothen out the transitions between moves’. Noticing only a couple of wobbles I think it is important to understand this dance is really difficult as there are four beats and only three steps which means the extra beat needs to be filled with dance. Sounds easy but for a beginner it is very hard and wobbles are always visible in the early days. More hip actions and the settling will use the music up and aid with easing out the wobbles.

Dave and Karen – Jive
Ok so this was the first time I could see dance content and this would be the basic steps of Jive to open his routine. With Chasses scattered everywhere and good Rock steps at the beginning I at least felt this was the week Dave was dancing. Well done. Of course the delivery needed to be much stronger and the trick of Karen to put lots of Chasses in would help ease Dave’s nerves and struggles to master some complex steps needed in this dance. However, he actually showed me he was really trying to dance this week. First time ever he got my vote! Onwards and upwards now Dave.

Susanna and Kevin – Charleston
Praise all round from the judges and her pure joys on the dance floor, which are evident every week, were acknowledged by the judges as it partnered this dance soooo well. This was definitely the perfect dance for Suzanna partnering her natural character of energy as well as her facial actions reacting to each move she delivers. Throwing herself into this really well we were dealt a performance of pure entertainment which is what this Saturday night of dance entertainment is all about. I don’t have any criticism for her as she delivered everything needed of this really difficult dance after only such a short time of learning. Her co-ordination and musicality was excellent. A pure delight to enjoy watching each week.

Until next week.. And if you want to give the gift of dance to someone you love this Christmas, click here.

Karen Hardy
World Masters, International, United Kingdom & British National Champion of Latin American Dance
Winner Strictly Come Dancing 2006
Carl Alan & BDF Award winner for services to dance
Director of Karen Hardy Studios
www.karenhardystudios.com

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11. November 2013 by Karen Hardy
Categories: Gift Lessons, Karen Hardy, Karen Hardy Studios News, Personal Karen Hardy Blog, Strictly Come Dancing | Leave a comment

Strictly Come Dancing – Week 5

Strictly Come Dancing 2013

With the rhinestones and glitter of the Strictly Come Dancing show ever dazzling and the Strictly Come Dancing Professional costumes ever shrinking, the theatrical words and wisdom of the wise men judging and the musical sounds of the band ringing out… it deems the arrival of the Christmas spirit ever grows nearer. And I’m truly hoping you will be giving the gift of dance to a loved one this season.

So talking about our loved ones, I am watching with the greatest of interest to see where your hearts are voting as this sensational show is beginning to unveil itself! With some very clear front-runners, some professionals truly getting their choreography concepts all wrong and some celebrities who no matter how much they try – just simply… can’t dance, it’s in true Strictly Come Dancing style we begin to see some very interesting ‘dance offs’ and tears are destined to flow!

Welcome therefore to the ever-frustrating learning curve of dance and one of the greatest reasons why this show is such a great success. It’s time for the real hare and tortoise race to begin. As the slow burners start to push further on pulling on the strengths they have acquired from their basic fundamental training from their mentors and our hares take time out to rest due to exhaustion from all the tricks and entertainment some professionals have gambled on, we watch with interest to see who will appear over the hill to fight for that rare and most sought-after title…

Natalie & Artem – Samba
With great praise again from the judges and of course Craig ever picking on technical elements, I think more importantly for me it’s to see just how clever Artem is going to get with his choreography now. It’s clear this beautiful woman on the dance floor can deliver the moves but I am hoping that we are going to be treated to show stopping choreography never yet seen on Strictly Come Dancing before. Stop worrying about nitty gritty technical terminology Craig Revel Horwood, start demanding greater choreography…please! (Double bounce action in Samba is for the real professionals!!!)

And so, from the sublime to the ridiculous…

Dave & Karen – Salsa
Darling please… One must at least try to learn even the simplest of the basic steps of any dance! I can overlook being off time (maybe) but witnessing no dance content and absolutely no rhythm I begin to waver on my life long belief that ‘anyone’ can learn to dance… Maybe there is one un-trainable soul in existence. Having impressed Bruno by being ‘out of time’ all the way through a dance it was a sight for sore eyes witnessing it going oh so wrong. But again you – the audience – spoke, and in true traditions of Strictly you just couldn’t resist voting for that sprinkling of entertainment over the better dancers… but just how long are you keen for this year’s ‘dance disaster’ to survive?

Patrick & Anya – Salsa
Wow, this is most certainly not what any keen professional, fighting to prove herself in her first outing on Strictly would want, but what a great Strictly Come Dancing professional she was, who at the very last moment had to change their entire routine due to Patrick’s injury. With a dance that demands twisting and intertwining, complex choreography and arm-ology… having to change the choreography did leave it a little flat, having to take it on with one arm. All a bit weird but they survived another week. Pulling on his strengths of being an actor and having to remember a script, I am sure it was that skill alone that helped him through. Great team work though and much better dancing was enjoyed in his dance off!

Rachel & Pasha – Paso Doble
With Bruno announcing it was a vegetarian Paso Doble, I could on one hand sympathize with her huge commitment to mastering the facial affects for this dance… but this is not Britain’s Next Top Model, being all about the look. Much, much more importantly this must be about the movement of the dance. Seeing Rachel slowly improving each week I was sad to see too much focus on her facial affects when simply continuing to work on her movement would have sufficed. This is a woman who needs warmth and feeling in her dance movements and with this dancing being a passionate dance of love, jealousy, envy and obsession there was a lot of potential for her to have developed her dancing much more than she actually did. Thank you for giving her another chance though. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for next week.

Ashley & Ola – Jive
A very clever design of choreography here by Ola, who, by using a lot of Chasse repetition was able to give this dance a lot of va-va-voom, speed and excitement. Focusing on one simple, basic skill and offering a routine full of energy and appeal, another great week was enjoyed. Oh – and I even noted a small improvement in his head position.

Sophie & Brendan – Cha Cha Cha
The judges were a little divided on this partnership this week, with both Darcy and Bruno commenting on a Cha Cha Cha being harder for taller people with longer legs! Hmm… Not quite sure I agree here – whether you have short or long legs it’s rather (as I have mentioned previously) that she needs to get much more assertive with her action, or there is a danger that a slightly lethargic look will start to appear as the competition starts to get harder. This is definitely an elegant lady on the dance floor whose home is going to be more in the graceful and sophisticated style of Ballroom.

Abbey & Alyash – Foxtrot
Still a stunning couple on the dance floor and with a most divine dress adorning Abbey’s elegant poise on the dance floor, another great performance was enjoyed. Great musicality, excellent use of choreography. We were given a great moment of dancing for a celebrity with her professional partner. However, I am becoming ever-aware of the judges not yet picking up on their gapping! Now, we all know once the choreography is mastered, the timings secured, the technique understood and frame locked in, it is essential the mastering of the body contact must be upheld. Let’s hope that with the judges continuing to overlook this, it’s giving them a little more time to perfect an even greater performance.

Fiona & Anton – Quickstep
Still holding in there for another week and even securing some quite high marks it was hysterical to hear Anton’s comments once a role of marks were delivered, which he has not seen in quite a few years! Even more pleasing is that we all know the demands a Quickstep has to offer, and just about managing to keep up, Fiona was able to deliver an elegant performance. Again I urge the celebrities to take care on the ‘over-acting’ side of matters but rather to just master the art of movement on the dance floor, as once she stopped to wipe Anton’s brow there came a scatter of errors before she was back up and dancing! Later on in the show errors such as this will not be forgiven, so watch out!

Mark & Iveta – Waltz
It was lovely to see the judges enjoyed this performance so much, but a few comments about Mark’s frame and posture were noted. So with my ever laser-like eyes looking into why things can or do go wrong, it’s clear to see that it is time for our lovely Mark to master the art of CBM (Contra Body Movement). This is a skill of moving outside or in and around your partner with out disrupting or breaking the frame. The art of rotation or freedom of the body will need to be mastered, and I am a little worried that Mark may struggle with this. Freedom and flexibility of the body is essential as this competition unfolds.

Susanna & Kevin – American Smooth
A fresh ray of sunshine was enjoyed as Susanna lit up the screen with her beautiful smile and burst of canary yellow gracefulness from her gracious gown. But, with Darcy commenting that, “Susanna maybe lacked a little confidence with the lifts,” I actually warn otherwise. Susanna has so much confidence and commitment to whatever she delivers I fear she is always slightly thinking too far ahead of herself and not taking time to complete the moment which Kevin has intended. Finishing a move to its completeness is an essential skill required to progress into the next action with accuracy. I fear with her thoughts looking to be jumping too far ahead at times, it can sometimes look slightly unfinished. Master the moment of the movement and you will succeed, ‘oh Padawan’. (Sorry, a vision of Susanna in Star Wars suddenly came into my head!)

Ben & Kristina – Quickstep
I’m in total support of Len feeling the business on the couch lasted too long, saying he’d prefer the professionals to choreograph longer routines from now on. But what we have to assess is – are the celebrities unable to learn the steps created by the professionals or are the celebrities being distracted elsewhere and not getting the hours of training time required to fulfill the ever demanding desires of the judges and public at home?

In general I think there is a large amount of overkill on entertainment and not enough dance content (fearing I am starting to sound frumpy and not hip and with it) but I can’t stress enough the power that dance has to offer if delivered well. An essence of props and storyline always offers a twist to the flavouring but who really wants a cake full of just jam and sugar icing with no sponge?

But hey, that said, it was great to see Ben coming alive on-set and if it takes a simple smack round the head by a pillow to wake him up then so be it!

So, until next week my lovelies, I look forward to seeing what’s going to unfold on the dance floor as the competition ever gets tougher!

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02. November 2013 by Karen Hardy
Categories: Karen Hardy, Personal Karen Hardy Blog, Strictly Come Dancing | Leave a comment

Strictly Come Dancing – Week 4

Children In NeedPlease accept my sincere apologies for not being here for this week’s Strictly Come Dancing blog report and my weekly Choreography Corner reviews on It Takes Two, but I was thousands of miles away interacting with an incredibly committed team of Chinese in Beijing. My challenge… to choreograph for a most talented team of dancers a six minute, high flying, fast performing, show stopping routine, to compete at the British Championships next May in Blackpool.

Being overwhelmed by their incredible joy of team bonding, interacting, assisting, supporting and genuine care for each other’s success in the group, it made me reflect on the dying art of ‘human interaction’ around the world. With next month enjoying the annual success of seeing the mad things that so many of you will get up to supporting Children in Need, I’m voicing my opinion on the growing need to encourage and secure the age-old tradition of human interaction for children and adults alike.

From bike riding marathons to bake-a-cake mess-athons, company collaborations and family contributions, Children in Need seems to create a reason for so many of you to go back to such old traditions requiring human interaction, when wanting to raise money for this very special charity. So why do it only once a year?

Feeling annoyed at myself at how I have let a simple computer game take over our household and despair that I’ve now become the ‘ogre’ of the home for putting a ban on any computer interaction during dinner time, it makes me think that we can’t just say ‘no’ but rather, take the proactive approach of introducing a distraction to creatively guide family and loved ones away from these insightful, yet annoying technical gadgets and gizmos.

And, with Christmas just around the corner, how many of you are already being swayed by computer companies with vast marketing budgets, to buy the latest and greatest computer crazes, which we all know will guarantee your loved ones a moment of delight on Christmas day? But will it not mean that those times of Christmas laughter will be lost, Grandad giggling with his grandchild forgotten, family board game ‘barnies’ gone forever?

Well, I’m going to put it out there as an owner of a dance business, and who witnesses daily the delights that dance can bring someone, that we are destined for a disaster – in the wise words of Craig Revel Horwood! With absolutely no means to compete against million dollar computer companies and their advertising budgets but rather someone who quite simply craves dance, I’m sewing a seed this week in my blog in the hope that you will give someone a very small gift of a dance experience this year in someway or other.

And, if you think I’ve truly lost the plot, promise me one thing – you’ll go buy some popcorn kernels, cook them with your children, source a last remaining DVD rental shop, treat yourself and family to a pot or two of ice cream and rent or buy the incredible movie WALI where you will discover that it is ‘dance’ that saves the world!

Click here to buy your loved one the ‘gift of dance’ at Karen Hardy Studios or dare I say whilst playing your computer game, take a moment to track down your local dance school that is probably just around the corner from you and you didn’t even see it!

Until next week, where I’ll be back with my Strictly Come Dancing news and reviews… (and from a very philosophical me this week) go and get dancing!

Karen Hardy
World Masters, International, United Kingdom & British National Champion of Latin American Dance
Winner Strictly Come Dancing 2006
Carl Alan & BDF Award winner for services to dance
Director of Karen Hardy Studios
www.karenhardystudios.com

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24. October 2013 by Karen Hardy
Categories: Gift Lessons, Karen Hardy, Karen Hardy Studios News, Personal Karen Hardy Blog, Strictly Come Dancing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strictly Come Dancing – Week 3

Strictly Come Dancing 2013

Well I’m in mixed views this week as it is quite clear there is a strong team breaking away from the pack and doing really well and in general they seem to be the ladies! So I’m homing in on the boys this week as some need a slight kick up one’s botty!!! Come on boys, keep up…

First Up – PATRICK & ANYA – FOXTROT
I’m still not convinced by Patrick. He started so well looking uber cool at the piano but then when he gets to dance it all seems to come to a hault. It’s as though he panics from one steps to another and this is further proven by him looking at his partner too many times for safety. Patrick has the looks and the potential but he has got to give it a lot more drive across the floor. This is a case of practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. It must become muscle memory then he will feel confident and in control.

DAVE AND KAREN – PASO
Well what can I say, when Bruno said the dance was ‘beyond description’ I completely agreed with him. Yes entertainment plus and what I love is Karen’s commitment to be by his side all the way. I didn’t actually recognize any Paso Doble at all but rather a look of standing at the cook waiting for his cake to be baked…with his tea towel!!! Oh dear not really sure there is much advise I can offer here other than I know the nation will love you!!!

MARK & IVETA – AMERICAN SMOOTH
I was interested to hear Craig’s comments “he was ruining everything with his hands”. It’s a tough one this as I think Iveta’s plan here is to keep Mark neat and compact whilst she is continually filling him with more and more dance knowledge each week. Men using their arms is one of the most difficult things to actually teach but as Mark continues to improve his arms will become an extension of his body and movement. Mark needs to keep learning how to drive across the floor now and as he is getting more confident with heal leads this will aid in his movement.

BEN & KRISTINA – RUMBA
At last the sign of Ben blossoming. It’s small but it’s a start. With Kristina draped all over him and still creating the ‘red herring’ affect drawing our eyes to her rather than to regard what our handsome hero is up to is very clever. That said he has got to start getting his mojo on the move a lot quicker now!!! The judges and public alike are all the same, ever demanding and ever wanting more. He needs to dig in and get using those legs rather than still looking slightly like a mass moving around the floor. Hips need releasing, head needs to start acknowledging the audience and most importantly ‘chest needs exposing’!!!!

JULIAN & JANETTE – JIVE
One thing I feel Julian is going to be constantly struggling with will be timing. I can see in his performance he can either be the showman or a man ‘on time’ but being both is proving a challenge. He has got to learn to count and dance at the same time. Training for this would be to get him to solo dance and count his timings out loud over and over again. He nailed the energy this dance demands but at the cost of its counts. “Multi-tasking!” I hear myself screaming out!!!

ASHLEY & OLA – SAMBA
It’s interesting when it comes to the Samba the professionals like to use the basic, most famous and recognizable steps more so than any other dance. But with this song that was quite slower than the normal tempo Ashley’s technique was sadly exposed as a result. He is going from strength to strength but he is going to have to get his head in the right position now and get greater strength in his ankles!!! Love the direction he is going in though!! Don’t fear the lowering of ankles to gently rest the heels on the dance floor takes decades to perfect… not a couple of weeks.

So after all that have you and your working friends got the Strictly bug and would love to have a go yourself? Well you can. Call Karen Hardy Studios on 0845 567 1155 to find out how you can step onto a dance floor, adorning a spectacular costume and perform in front of friends and family. Our very successful Strictly Come Dancing themed party nights will have you dancing the night away.

Until next time….

Karen Hardy
World Masters, International, United Kingdom & British National Champion of Latin American Dance
Winner Strictly Come Dancing 2006
Carl Alan & BDF Award winner for services to dance
Director of Karen Hardy Studios

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15. October 2013 by Karen Hardy
Categories: Karen Hardy, Karen Hardy Studios News, Personal Karen Hardy Blog, Strictly Come Dancing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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