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Every year UPenn does Dancing With the Professors, which is like Dancing With the Stars but makes the obvious substitution. I participated for the first time this year, dancing with my mom (she's not a professor but she is university faculty). We got second place. She did a great job and I'm incredibly proud of her.
http://youtu.be/Qbt5Nujco0c
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100 years of fashion, 100 years of dancing, 100 seconds. Awesome.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JxfgId3XTs&featur
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Not sure if this is racism or racial commentary. It's an amazing piece but I'm still a bit uncomfortable watching it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiNPp_PeAG4
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These guys were my favorite smooth couple for quite some time and I was sad when they retired. This was their competitive showdance routine the last year they competed. The style is Peabody: an old, obscure style of American ballroom that was really phased out in the 50's. It's almost never danced socially and very rarely competed.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F79PM5srh68
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One of my students made this video about a protest event in Washington. Please watch the whole thing.

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From the 1992 movie. Given how much ballroom dance has become an expensive and therefore upper class form of recreation, it's easy to forget that many of the styles originated in lower class communities. Obviously Latin dances are Hispanic in origin, but how many people remember - really remember - that swing dancing was originally an African American style of dancing? I love its inclusion in Malcom X and consider its placement highly appropriate. Everything about it from the music to the steps was part of a minority subculture which in turn became part of a white counter-culture which in turn was co-opted and became part of mainstream white culture after it was sanitized. Real Lindy hop fast, loose, and dirty (A Day at the Races and Hellzapoppin both have scenes that better depict what it was really like) but it was there.

I wish I knew when things changed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG0thNcL4IE

Edit: And, as [livejournal.com profile] kittydesade pointed out, today is Malcolm X's birthday.
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These two our Ruth and my new Latin coaches!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZkKcJjY7EE
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This is a performance Ruth and I did back in October. Took a long time to get it up.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0syaXBVICA
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Precious few music videos involve partner dancing. This one does and is tons of fun.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQuEnGvrvMU
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Best pro standard I've seen in the past twelve months!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APehecAchmY
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This is the pro-show from the CA Star Ball. It includes several pieces that I'd heard about (esp. the toilet paper routine in Part 1 at 11:05) and have been wanting to see for awhile. I highly recommend watching this if you get a chance.
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm16QbT2VdU&feature=sub
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOOxky3oPy0&feature=sub
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Nov. 6 and 7 Ruth and I had our first large scale competition since Clover, this past March. Although there'd been competitions since Clover (Philly Festival and Disco America with Ruth, DC Dance Challenge with Wynd) they were either uncontested or against only one or two other couples. As such, DCDI was our first real test.

I'm ecstatic to say that we crushed our wildest dreams, let alone our expectations!

International Standard
- Waltz - We'd danced standard waltz at Philly Festival and Disco America, placing second of second of two and first of two respectively. We reached the semi-finals (top 16) out of 105 couples.
- Tango - This was our first time dancing standard tango, having only added it three months ago. We reached semi-finals out of 100 couples.
- Foxtrot - Let me just say that standard foxtrot is the hardest dance I know of. Not just the hardest ballroom dance but the hardest dance period. Although I've been learning standard fox for close to a year, Ruth and I had only started training on it in the past three months. And we still got semi-finals! (out of 88 couples)
- Quickstep - We'd danced quickstep before at Clover, Philly Festival, and Disco America. Clover got nothing, Philly Festival we got first out of two couples, and Disco America we got second out of two. Unfortunately we didn't get any placements this weekend. Ah well, given our huge improvement in other areas, I call it a win. 101 couples.
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=4180873DACEEB0CE

International Latin
- Cha Cha - Just started working on Latin cha cha three months ago. Furthermore, Latin is the most heavily contested division in collegiate competition. We got a callback to the second round (top 44) out of 112 couples, so I'm pretty thrilled.
- Rumba - Like cha cha, just started this three months ago. Gotta say, I have had more trouble with international rumba than any other dance, particularly with the straight leg action that characterizes international Latin (as opposed to the bent leg that characterizes American rhythm). We got to the second round out of 111 couples.
- Samba - We got to the quarterfinals (top 26) out of 101 couples. Honestly, I have no idea how we did this well.
- Jive - No call backs. I can't complain; we've only been working on jive for two months.
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=81628B51FF95CCF3

American Smooth
- Waltz - Ah smooth, my favorite and, what I'd considered, my strongest category. We didn't get any callbacks at Clover and while we placed first at both Philly Festival and Disco America that was only against two other couples. We reached semi-finals out of 61 couples.
- Tango - Pretty much the same story as waltz. Our early rounds were pretty terrible, especially my timing, but we must have done well enough since we got past those lousy first rounds and did pretty well in our later rounds. We reached semi-finals out of 59 couples.
- Foxtrot - Now I'd always considered smooth foxtrot to be our best dance. This was the only dance we got callbacks for at Clover, and there we got all the way to the semi-finals. We came first out of two couples at both Philly Festival and Disco America. As such I was very surprised that we only got to quarter-finals this time, out of 55 couples. It's not bad, just not what I expected.
- Viennese waltz - No callbacks and, looking at the video, it's clear why. We weren't with the music, going way too fast. At Disco America we got third out of three couples, so clearly this is a dance we need to work at. That said, we're not competing it again until April.
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=4FADD8C50C2E80E5

American Rhythm
- Cha Cha - No results at Clover though we came in first of two couples at Philly Festival (Disco America was first uncontested). We got to semi-finals from 73 couples. One of our biggest strengths, I believe, is that our rhythm really looked like rhythm. Most people were just doing their Latin cha cha but leaving out fan and hockey stick; ours is pretty distinct and is actually rhythm, not just lazy Latin.
- Rumba - Same as cha cha with the same results: semi-finals from 73 couples. I think our rumba looks a bit better than our cha cha though Ruth and I still can't pull off romantic together.
- Swing - I actually think this is one of our best dances, and certainly best in the rhythm category. Set up is the same as cha cha and results were semi-finals from 74 couples. Although we have the attitude, our look is still a bit too social.
- Mambo - WE REACHED THE FINALS! Win! In the finals we got 7th, giving us a total out 7th place out of 47 couples. Our biggest strength is that we were actually doing mambo (unlike most couples who were doing salsa) and our timing was actually on 2 most of the time (mambo is danced off-time more than any other dance, even by professionals). The only other time we competed mambo was at Philly Festival where one of the judges marked us second even though we were dancing uncontested. I call this a huge improvement!
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=9FC6B1213E0D068D

Big thanks to Wynd for all her support over the weekend and for videoing everything!
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The first time I posted a poll dance video it was a novelty. Since then the novelty has worn off and it takes something truly special to get me to post a pole dance video (i.e. that pole dancing tango couple awhile back). A pole dancing ninja girl with a katana qualifies. Needless to say, NSFW.

http://www.break.com/index/hot-chick-is-a-pole-dancing-ninja
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Normally I'm not a fan of pro rhythm, especially compared to pro Latin. That said, at this event rhythm absolutely crushed Latin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkK6jIq6nRM
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Today I danced with Wynd at her first comp. I'm very proud of her.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ol6amoT7KM
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Awesome! That piano bar scene had nothing on this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5xIJAD-Mec
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