Happy New Year everyone and I am very excited to be sharing more dance stories, challenges and hopefully more in-depth insights into what dance has to offer in 2013.
From our ‘Get Fit, Get Dancing’ in 2013 promotion, encouraging you to either call up your local dance school to go and learn to dance those steps you are so inquisitive about since devoting your Saturday nights to Strictly Come Dancing every week in 2012, to hopefully encouraging you to come and experience our celebrity endorsed, award winning Karen Hardy Studios in London yourself.
Whether it’s for an up and coming birthday surprise to signing up as a member of our exclusive club, I want to see you all having a go in 2013. And if you are nervous to take those first steps then why not click here to enjoy a complimentary 25 minute lesson with us and we’ll take all your fears away.
I will also enjoy sharing dance stories about the seasonal changes that dance enjoys around this world. From the most gorgeous and glamorous wedding season, which means it’s time to talk about that, palm sweating moment of ‘the first dance’ – to my thoughts and reviews of World Championship dance events.
But for now I am going to sit back and enjoy my last day snuggled up in my pyjamas with my lovely family on New Year’s Day and start to prepare for my big day tomorrow… I am going on a diet!!
Enjoy, be positive and get up and get dancing in 2013…
In 2013 I will be continuing my weekly blog discussing everything from our campaign to get you all back and in shape this January. With our ‘Get Fit, Get Dancing’ program through to the gorgeously exquisite and romantic Wedding Season where I will be offering my services again to aid our newly weds with my Top Tips for their ‘first dance’. (http://www.karenhardystudios.com/gift_wedding_packages.asp). Summertime will of course have you Salsa sizzling as we lead into our ‘Let’s Party’ Salsa Shagadelic (http://www.karenhardystudios.com/classes_party_nights.asp) season and before we know it we’ll all be back sitting around our TVs seeing the new Strictly line up for 2013… Wow how quick can a year go!!
But before we wish our lives away I’d love to give you an overview of the moments that caught my eye this season and finish with a summary of what may lie ahead this Saturday in the grand final.
First up had to be the oldest contestant ever on the show Johnny Ball. With jeopardy right from the word go seeing Aliona fall to an ankle injury a new professional was born on our show, another great beauty Iveta. But sadly even the expertise of our professionals sourcing choreography that would have everyones hearts a light as he took to the dance floor would not be enough to keep him in the competition.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, dare we forget a man who brought a real ray of sunshine, fun and laughter to our screens every week (with the aid of a dazzling shirt or two)… none other than the infectious Richard Arnold who clearly loved every moment on the show and formed a new friendship with his professional partner Erin. And what better way to be eliminated from the show than in front of a 6,000 live audience at Wembley. With meltdown moments of him completely forgetting his routine to pure delights as he truly found his mojo in Ballroom Richard most certainly left his mark in the Strictly history books.
From a showman to a diva… and dare I say one of the greatest divas I think we have ever had and that’s saying something when we think back to the Nancy Dell’Olio moments!! The gorgeous Jerry Hall surprisingly got the Strictly call. Ever swooshing her golden locks and disbelief of the judges comments and pure swagger on the dance floor was clearly not what you the viewers wanted… and so the queen of glam too left our screens quite early on.
The ever humble, ever trying, ever believing man who truly wore his heart on his sleeve was clearly broken as the judges decided it was time for our gorgeous Nicky Byrne to leave our screens. Nooooo I could hear you all screaming as his loyal and saddened fans could no longer save him. But the greatest moment for me had to be his Charleston when he stormed on the show and had me jumping on my Red Button sofa in disbelief that this was actually our Nicky and the man was dancing!!!
And, so to the most emotional exit of them all when we saw Lisa Riley gracefully, yet tearfully bow out of our show. A woman who continued the Olympic belief that truly anything is possible and brought us week after week of inspiration and smiles that could light the night sky. The magical moment we seek out every year is when the chemistry between a professional and a celebrity unites and I don’t think anyone would disagree that this partnership will not just be for Christmas but for a lifetime.
And so we come to this great 2012 Strictly Come Dancing final. Can I predict the winner?… Well for the first time ever “the computer says nooooo”. Whether I’m at a red carpet affair, on the school run or simply sitting around the dinner table with my family everyone is completely divided with who their winner is. From the mums clearly standing by the hunk of an Olympian Louis Smith, to those dance experts recognising the incredibly challenging demands James has put upon Denise Van Outen. Also clearly being recognised is Kimberley Walsh who has dug her heals in saving herself from potentially being a ‘Barbie Doll’ on the show to possibly showing the greatest (here comes the ‘J’ word) journey on the show to finally the dark horse herself Dani Harmer whose transformation from a little girl to a sensational woman on the dancefloor has completely left our nation divided.
With this competition being so closely contested I am going to leave you with my Top Tips on How to Be A Sensational Judge
1. Have absolutely no expectations as the competition begins
2. Judge using your head and your heart!
3. Look out for those crucial technical skills required
4. Be tough if there is a choreographical error
5. Ensure you can feel that all important rhythmical tick
6. Be entertained!
7. And most importantly never be influenced by…. loved ones…(grandchildren included;)
But most importantly enjoy this truly incredible grand final. Our professionals will be very near the end of their creative minds and their energies are on reserve now from having kept their celebrities in the competition this long. Our celebrities will be exhausted from never ever knowing what this show would truly have taken them through over these past weeks. Scream at the TV, gather your friends and families around for the night, top up those glasses of champagne and be ready for one truly incredible spectacular of a final…
I’ve loved sharing some of my Top Tips with you this season and can’t wait to share a whole heap more dance discussions from disaaaaaasters to delights on what dance truly does have to offer each and everyone of us.
Karen Hardy Studios was launched offering everyone from beginners to champions, children to chairman the opportunity to dance. So if you are deciding over your new years resolution I hope ‘Learning to Dance’ will be one of them.
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year
So who stole the show for me this week and what did they inspire me to talk about as my weekly Top Tip during this Strictly Come Dancing season? Well, it actually ended up being two celebrities – one male and one female with the first up being the sensational Denise Van Outen.
As I have mentioned previously being the front-runner is a hard and challenging journey to take on. Coming out week one with an incredible dance performance and then having to hold that position has been tough I am sure but in these last few weeks remaining it is vital that she doesn’t just hold her position but rather makes even more distance between her and her fellow competitors if she is in for a chance of that very rare Strictly Come Dancing title!
So with an incredibly beautiful song choice, a gorgeous ball gown fit for an Armani catwalk and yes of course her male testosterone counterpart steering the ship we were able to enjoy a most beautiful American Smooth. In this dance the lift work plays a large role as typically seen in the past, celebrity attempts at lift work are often cumbersome, out of sync, or just too simple to be even worthy of a mark. However, the lift work attempted by Denise was exquisite. Not only that but it is down to pure team work and sheer determination by both halves of the partnership that would allow for this incredibly accurate and flawless performance by this duo.
Next up and one I never expected to be praising so highly had to be Nicky Byrne with his Charleston. This is someone who for me has possibly improved the most so far in this competition from week to week. Some celebrities started well but have really stayed the same each week and just put a different dress on, whilst others have simply not been able to handle the pace and pressure either dished out by their professional partners or the hard hitting judges! Either way ‘it’ as the history books says “Takes Two To Tango” and here again you can see a couple who have knuckled down, focused and delivered live on a Saturday night TV one of those performances that will be remembered in the history books for a long time to come.
With the most incredible lighting and set design, fantastic upbeat music, simply stunning costumes and two of the biggest smiles on the screen that night, this team went to battle to prove they still have what it takes to be considered for the final. That choice however will of course be down to you and how you vote over the next week or so but for me this night highlighted again that success on this show is about earning each other’s respect and going out to do battle together as an unstoppable team.
And so my Top Tip this week is that no ballroom dance competition or performance can be won alone! Many a lone dancer may think he or she are the successors of a partnership but unless you are aware that it takes two of you to win gold you will be forever striving for the impossible. Ballroom dancing is about the art of communication between two people and the effect that what you have communicated has on those looking on. Don’t be fooled even the layman can see if there is magic in a partnership.
Have a great week everyone and here’s to the weekend ahead.
P.S Have you bought your Christmas dance experience at our studio yet for that special friend or loved one this Christmas? If not click here and we know you will make someone very very happy this Christmas http://www.karenhardystudios.com/gift_packages.asp
(That said I hope you don’t mind me squeezing in a little Christmas mention of I hope one of your presents this year will be a memorable dance gift experience at Karen Hardy Studios where you even get to have your picture taken with my original winning Strictly Come Dancing trophy? Click here if you are tempted to find out more … http://www.karenhardystudios.com/gift_packages.asp
OK back to more serious matters! So, with Richard Arnold and Erin Boag’s dance journey turning into the Mr and Mrs of the series it really was a tearful moment to see them exit the show – but what a way to go. With a 6,000 strong audience all up and cheering them on it was sad but the correct time for them to bow out.
The competition now will really begin to see the professionals digging their heels in. They’ll be pulling out their most secretly guarded choreography and spending hours to ensure the right song choice is made all in the attempt to win your vote.
The celebrities will also really start to feel the heat now. As having come so far no one will want to leave the show without that Strictly trophy in his or her hands. Be ready for a last few weeks of pure frustration, heartaches, highs and lows and shrills of delight – basically everything that makes this show first class brilliant viewing on a Saturday night (even if I am in it myself – are you pushing the BBC Red Button to see me on the night?… I hope so.)
And so to my reflections on this years Children in Need Strictly Come Dancing night at Wembley and maybe a Top Tip or two to see your dancing continue to progress. For me it was an absolute sensational showdown. With Lisa Riley opening the night with a Car Wash big splash bringing 6,000 people to their feet in a standing ovation for a truly razzle dazzle opening – to Michael Vaughan closing the night with that all time great New York New York infectious song with Tiller girls and all.
With this week being all about ‘Supersize’ we were not left disappointed seeing everything from Victoria Pendleton ‘flying’ a bicycle, a spectacular and gigantic supersized Samba skirt draped on Kimberley Walsh with incredible lighting effects being played on it. James flying in on a rope like Indiana Jones (more like Tarzan if you ask me) and Denise Van Outen an Egyptian Queen being carried onto the floor in true Egyptian style accompanied by four gorgeous strong men it was entertainment SUPERSIZED….
So what could my Top Tip be this week… well it’s an old traditional one which quite simply means if you are going to take a gamble, a leap of faith, a first time attempt DO IT LARGE! Technically this week Wembley saw most contestants throw anything even partially related to quality or skill out the window. But to compensate for it tricks on grand scales were put in their places, which arguably were just as difficult to deliver as heel leads in a Waltz!
Therefore if you are reserved about your first night out under pressure to invite someone onto the dance floor to boogy with you – make a big old moment of it and make sure you look the bomb and have a huge smile accompanying it. If you are going to your first ever dance lesson, do it in style, have dinner and a large glass of wine and thoroughly enjoy the entire experience and if you are taking a gamble at choosing the dance floor to be the place to kneel down and ask your lady to be the wife of your dreams make sure you make one heck of a scene as you do it. As in return come incredible reactions of surprise, elation, celebrations and pure respect for your convictions. But little would anyone guess that under it all you were a big babbling mess completely falling apart!
Dance tall and be counted this season…
Speak again soon.
With unusual tingles going down my spine as I walked on set this week ready for the Red Button production, I am sure those uber addicted fans of you know exactly why week 6 always gets me in a ‘right old pickle!!’.
The fear and tremor that comes flooding back to my mind is of that meltdown moment when Mark Ramprakash and I got all caught up in our microphone in our Hot Hot Hot Salsa dance. Being on live BBC primetime TV didn’t help either and being forced to stop halfway through the dance basically shattered my nervous system! But having Sir Bruce Forsyth himself there to save the day gave us one last chance to dance again!
But just how near did celebrity Michael Vaughan come to re-enacting our week 6 meltdown moment – some six series later? Way too close for comfort in my eyes as we witnessed live on air his meltdown moment forgetting all the choreography and seeing Natalie desperately trying to put him back on his steps. Thank goodness for their incredible lifts that gave them the chance to recover and be back in the game. (And all with Ramprakash himself sitting front row on the night – what is it with the number 6)???
But there were to be more travesties on the night with the beautiful Kimberley Walsh landing in the bottom two for her Viennese Waltz, going up against the great Fern Britton who had finally found her mojo… even though it was sadly one week too late. Feeling pretty convinced that she was the one to be leaving the show, Fern left our screens in a glory of fuschia pink. With a Salsa hot and sizzling and full of that confidence we had been screaming for since week one, a cleaning lady she was not but rather a radiant delight of fun and enjoyment as she danced determined to finish having a ball. Tears from ‘The Terminator’ during their finishing goodbyes with Tess was a true testament to just how much respect and friendship builds between these wonderful professionals and their celebrity partners.
And to finish this turmoil weekend of dancing had to be the uproar between the judges over Louis Smith’s Waltz!! With one judge announcing he shouldn’t be accenting a strong beat in this dance (when he should), another saying his head was moving around too much (when his choreography dictated that) and a need to point your toe more by another judge (when we don’t in ballroom for fear of hyper-extending and destroying the line) I was left totally confused by them all. With a beautiful strong body line, graceful movement around the floor and an air of elegance truly capturing the character of this dance I was left shocked that a 6 was scored by ‘The Revel Horwood’ when the real problem was his timing issues! Come on grumpy it should have been a 7 at least.
So my Top Tip this week is really quite simple… when all goes wrong just keep on going. When you’re feeling you’ve lost, go out in style and leave your mark. And most importantly… you can please some people some of the time but you can’t please everyone all of the time… so just do your best every time!!!
Speak next week.