Gotta Ballroom Paperback – Feb 13 2008
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“The advice to newcomers of ballroom dancing is both comprehensive and helpful. A good read for experts and beginners alike."
Director of External Affairs for USA Dance
About the Author
Christine Zona is a former ballroom studio owner and competitor. She has danced professionally in the international standard and Latin divisions and in the American ballroom division and won several Rising Star titles. She is a certified teacher and adjudicator in American ballroom and rhythm, international standard and Latin, and theatre arts divisions and is a member of many professional dance organizations. Currently, she judges ballroom dance competitions, instructs dancers of all ages, and is the editor of Dance Notes, a national bimonthly publication devoted to ballroom dance (www.dancenotes.com). Zona resides in New York City.
Chris George is a professional ballroom dancer, teacher, and former competitor. He has competed in the American ballroom and rhythm divisions, winning a number of Rising Star titles. He is a former coeditor of Dance Notes and now serves as a contributing editor. Currently pursuing a career on stage as an actor, singer, and dancer, he has danced at the internationally renowned Moulin Rouge in Paris and performed on two national tours of the Broadway shows Kiss Me, Kate and The Full Monty. George resides in New York City.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced dancer, you'll find a lot to learn and like about how ballroom dancing (Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, and Viennese Waltz) is presented to you in this book/DVD combo package.
How do I know? I have a great collection of both ballroom dance books and ballroom dance videos that I've acquired over the years. What I like about this book/DVD is that it delivers the whole concept in a way that is logical and easy to understand. The feeling of each dance is described, as well as the footwork, body movement, alignments, and basic step patterns for both the leader and follower. You can read it, look at the photos in the book, watch the DVD, and then refine what you learned by reading that particular segment of the book again. For me, that's the best way to learn--even better than lessons.
While I like lessons, it's almost impossible to remember everything you learned via verbal instruction, and it's equally impossible to go into the depth that this book goes into. I recommend this book to beginners who really want to get themselves off to a great start, and I also recommend it to experienced dancers who want a reference and a bit of a refresher course.
If you could see my copy of the book, you could tell that I especially enjoyed the chapters on "Connecting Music and Dance," "Posture and Movement," and "Two People Dancing as One," by the amount of yellow highlighting. As I thumb through it, I'm reminded of the latest Snapple® commercial--I found some good stuff!
Since it is a university class, it needs to be taught differently than the way I would teach at a commercial studio. The students should be doing a significant amount of work outside the classroom. I think at a commercial studio, some students do all of their dancing at their lessons.
Your text and video will make it easier for them to work outside of the class. Without video or text in my previous classes, they would forget everything in between lessons.
Your book is a dream come true!
St. Cloud, MN
I bought "Gotta Ballroom" based on an Amazon.com customer recommendation, who had felt the same way I felt and yet found this Book-DVD to be different from the rest of the bunch. His recommendation was justified to a small degree, considering the rest of Ballroom DVDs I had seen were only dance-bite instructions. This Book-DVD would be good for you if you did not know anything about Ballroom dancing, wanted to go out to dance with a partner who did not know much about Ballroom either so both of you could have a good time.
This Book-DVD fell short of my expectations. The promised Dance details that I would not find in any other Dance instruction DVD were all superficial. For example, "Contrary Body Movement (CBM)" and "Contrary Body Movement Position (CBMP) were on the menu but only a perfunctory description was given without distinguishing them from each other, and without any discussion as to why these were important and when and where they were to be used.
"Styling" was also on the menu and again in a superficial way. Although they would discuss the "Rise and fall," "Swing," and "Sway," nowhere will you see your instructors show you how to use CBM, CBMP, or other styling techniques. Instead you'll see their stiff bodies mechanically performing simplistic steps of various dances, which by the way all have the patriotic title of "American" in front of their names: The American Style Waltz, American Style Foxtrot, and American Style Tango - even American Style Viennese Waltz! The steps are all simple minded, oversimplified, boring dance bites - the American Style!
The point I'd like to make is if you dance with your partner, you'd soon be bored to death using their routines. And if you go to a Ballroom to meet new dance partners there, rest assured that people frequenting Ballrooms are more sophisticated in their expectation of you to dance more intelligently than the American Style Waltz, Foxtrot, etc promoted in this Book-DVD.
Don't waste your time and money purchasing this Book-DVD; it's only slightly better than the rest of very low quality instructional dance DVDs that you can check out from your neighborhood public library for free.
So what Instructional DVD am I recommending to you if you happen to be a serious Ballroom Dancing enthusiast with discriminating taste and high expectation of your dance instructors?
I do have an answer for you but before giving it, let me emphasize that I have no financial interest in any shape or form in regards to my recommendation. I would like just to help people who, like me, are reading comments of previous customers in search of finding the best deal for what they're looking for.
Having said this let me recommend:
The Grand Ballroom, "Ballroom Dancing with Andy & Wendy Wong."
Here is their web site:[...]
Their DVDs come in different categories, Beginners, Bronze I & II, Silver I & II, and Gold I & II. If you know something about Ballroom dancing, I'd suggest that you start with their "Bronze I" series.
Their instructions methodically cover many subtleties of Ballroom and Latin dancing, such as musicality, rhythm, footwork, leg shape, Body Posture & Position, you name it; they've covered it well with multi-view demonstrations both for the man and the lady. Their Ballroom/Latin Dance Instruction DVDs are absolutely fantastic 5-Star productions. They indeed have earned my high recommendation. Following their instructions, you'll never dance on the beat but off the rhythm!