Ballroom & Latin

Strictly review: Week 3

Each week our Ballroom and Latin American dance tutors will dissect the highs and lows of the weekend's Strictly Come Dancing episode. This week tutor Nick Breakspear casts his critical eye of proceedings. 

Movie week on Strictly saw Daisy Lowe present her quickstep. The quickstep is one of the two most popular ballroom styles among social dancers. The fast, rhythmic music is exciting and often full of positive emotion. Those new to dancing are encouraged by the fact that in the quickstep they can get around the room after learning only a small number of figures; experienced dancers like the fact that they can dance in that style with less experienced ones relatively easily. Socially the quickstep is often used as a "mixer" dance, to introduce dancers to each other who may not have previously met.

On Strictly the movie theme elevates the effect and importance of hair, makeup, and wardrobe, and the requirement of the movies portrayed sometimes tests the choreographic teams: Tameka Empson's tango was a weak match to the movie and the music, and Will Young's Bollywood salsa was an interesting but unsuccessful attempt to combine two styles that proved immiscible. Ed Balls's extreme samba was nearer the mark, although one had to look hard to identify his bota fogos, voltas, stationary walks, and rolling off the arm, so subordinate was it to his Jim Carey styling.

Daisy Lowe's quickstep to A Spoonful Of Sugar from Mary Poppins, however, was a perfect combination of quickstep variations (hops, skips, jumps, running, shunts, pivots, and pendulum, some of which Morley level 2 dancers will recognise) and cockney Charleston. Ms Lowe certainly had the confidence of her professional partner, since one mistake in her routine could have had far-reaching effects. Her timing was excellent, her feet were fast, and she was as light as candy floss. Mary Poppins's dietary advice may be suspect but Ms Lowe was, as the eponymous character remarked of herself: practically perfect in every way. As Dick Van Dyke must be regretting he said (if indeed he ever actually did): Gawd bless yer, Mary Poppins!

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