So apparently we all seemed to be on the same page about the dances done the other night: the consensus is “It’s too early for the jive & the quickstep!!! Why on earth did they make the couples do it so early???” Well, we’ve always said that DWTS, try as it might, will never be a “real ballroom competition”. And I don’t really think it should try to be, since its objective is different: it’s an entertainment program for ratings, rather than a serious competition for skilled dancers. However, there is one page in the “real ballroom” book that DWTS could stand to copy a few things from: the order in which the dances are done.
Many of you have probably already heard most of this next spiel from the comments sections of a few other posts this week, but I’m going to go into greater detail here. When learning how to ballroom dance in the “real world”, there is a certain order that the dances are taught in, and each successive dance you learn tends to build & elaborate on the technique you’ve learned in a previous dance. Most teachers will start with the cha-cha – comparatively, the easiest of the Latin dances. It introduces Latin hip action, and the beat sets the trend for moving on the 2 (which also happens in the rumba and mambo). Plus, the beat is common enough that cha-cha can be danced to just about any upbeat song on the radio. It’s a good, relatable dance to start with. DWTS was right to start out with it in week 1. As for the ballroom dances, the first dance taught is usually the standard waltz – the “slow one” in 3/4 time. It’s slow enough for beginners to keep up with, and allows them to focus on new concepts like rise & fall, rotation, line of dance, and holding a good frame. It will also set the framework for the Viennese waltz (which will come much further down the line), since it’s a sped-up version of the regular waltz. DWTS actually got it right in seasons 1, 2, & 8 – the first week, the couples did either a cha-cha or a waltz. Two dances of equal difficulty that are fitting first dances for beginners. Read more..