When judges look at ballroom or couples, what are they looking for? Actually, ballroom judges look for many of the same qualities that Ice Dance couples have.
The judges’ evaluation of performance is based on originality of the particular genre. Did the couple execute the dance and make it their own? Did they sell it? Was there chemistry between them? Were their respective personalities highlighted during the performance, along with their skills? Did they exude emotion? Was the performance real? Was it believable? Contenders must be actors as well as dancers.
Posture - One of the most important aspects. Good posture makes you look elegant and exude confidence. It improves balance and control, and allows you & your partner to connect. better.
Timing - If a couple is not dancing on time with the music, no amount of proficiency in any other aspect can overcome this. The music is boss
Movement - If the couple executed and coordinated the movements of the Feet, Legs, Body and Arms based on the Characteristic Style of the Dance in question.
Styling - This involves the dancers’ lines which include posture, full graceful extension of their legs, arms, center balance and fluid continuity, giving the look of big, yet flawless and seamless.
Evaluation also includes the couple’s individual and combined strengths as supporting partners. Did they hold their own on the dance floor, yet dance as a unit?
Musicality and Expression - The basic characterization of the dance to the particular music being played and the choreographic adherence to musical phrasings and accents.
Presentation - Does the couple sell their dancing to the audience? Do they dance outwardly, with enthusiasm, exuding their joy of dancing and confidence in their performance?
Foot and Leg Positions - The stroking of feet across the floor in foxtrot to achieve smoothness and softness; the deliberate lifting and placing of the feet in tango to achieve a staccato action; the correct bending and straightening of the knees in rumba to create hip motion; the extension of the ankles and the pointing of the toes of the non- supporting foot to enhance the line of a figure; the sequential use of the four joints (hip, knee, ankle, and toes) to achieve fullness of action and optimal power; the bending and straightening of knees and ankles in waltz to create rise and fall; the use of inside and outside edges of feet to create style and line all fall under this most important of categories.
Lead and Follow Does the man lead with his whole body instead of just his arms? Does the lady follow effortlessly or does the man have to assist her?
Floorcraft - In Ballroom dance, this refers not only to avoiding bumping into other couples, but the ability to continue dancing without pause when boxed in. It shows the command of the couple over their choreography and the ability of the man to choose and lead figures extrinsic to their usual work when the necessity presents itself.
Intangibles - Things such as how a couple “look” together, whether they “fit” emotionally, their neatness of appearance, costuming, the flow of their choreography, and basically whether they look like “dancers”; all have an affect on a judge’s perception and therefore on his markings.
Different judges have different preferences in what they want to see, and weight these factors differently. One judge might be especially interested in technique, while another wants to be moved by musicality and expression.
Concentrate on what you learned from the experience and use it. Dancing is a process. The more practice, the better the performance.
Of all the gifts that you can give a child, nourishing his/her imagination & creativity is perhaps the greatest gift of all, because each idea, each new way of looking at things has the potential to touch the world.
Childhood is a time of natural creativity and curiosity. But while many people grow up and lose this precious gift in the “reasonable” world of adulthood, those who maintain a connection with their creative self find a world of satisfaction and richness that can’t be measured.
While many schools are more open to fostering creativity through art programs, you as a parent can also help. In fact, it can start with you. What can you do to foster this vital capacity in your own kids?
1. Nourish your own creativity. If a child grows up in a household where the adults around him/her suffer from psychosclerosis (hardening of the mind), then he will likely come down with a bad case of it, too. Share with your child your own creations—poems, drawings, stories, even ones from your own childhood,if you still have them. Every day, vow to be a little bit whimsical and spontaneous: Create a funny voice, make up a silly dance, point out something around the house or in the neighborhood that you hadn’t noticed before. Encourage new ways of seeing the world and novel ways of doing conventional things.
2. Avoid judgments, criticisms and comparisons. Evaluation kills creativity. If a child feels that his/her creations will inevitably be subject to judgments (“You forgot to put a door on that house”) or comparisons (“Put more color in your drawings, like your brother does”), he/she will either stop producing altogether or will simply make what other people want him to make. Uniqueness will be replaced by cliches.
3. Honor your child’s individuality. Accept his/her creations with an open mind, even if they seem flawed or incomplete. Remember that the creative process is an uneven one, consisting of dead ends, misconceptions, errors and the occasional brilliant flash of insight. By allowing the entire process to occur unimpeded by your prejudices, you can honor your child’s creativity and make it that much easier for her to find the right way to express him/herself.
4. Don’t force him/her to do something. There are those who prefer to package creativity and market it like a new toy. But creativity can’t be pushed and prodded. In fact, pressure can cause creativity to go into a permanent state of decline. Your child may go through long periods of seeming stagnation only to burst through with renewed vitality. Be patient!
5. Provide the resources they need. You can’t be creative in a vacuum: Children must be exposed to materials and experiences that trigger ideas and feelings. But remember, it doesn’t take much to spark a child’s creativity—building blocks, a cardboard box, a puppet, paper and crayons are often much better than the latest superhero action figure or electronic doll in encouraging creativity. Try the following simple-to-do activities at home:
- Invent-a-Machine. Give your child all boxes of different sizes, glue, scissors, variety of buttons, knobs, pipe cleaners, string and other household items. Suggest he/she create his own machine or other construction (older kids may want to add battery operated bulbs and motors).
- Pencil Talk. Take a large sheet of shelf paper, some pencils, markers or crayons, and have a “conversation” with your child. The catch: You can’t talk; you have to draw what you want to say. This might even turn into an ongoing visual dialogue or a pictorial story lasting several days. Ask everyone in the family to join in.
- Messing-Around Center. Set aside a special area of the house (a corner of your child’s room is a good place) where your child can engage in unstructured creative activities. Stock the area with art supplies, clay, science-kit materials, building blocks, percussion instruments, puppets, dress-up clothes, music for spontaneous dance.
- Composer’s Corner. Has your child shown an interest in music? You might buy or rent an inexpensive piano or even an electronic keyboard. Set up a corner where he/she can create his/her own melodies. How about recording his/her songs or giving a concert for the family?
- Loonie Link-Ups. Invite your child to cut out pictures from magazines, and then take five or six unrelated pictures and make up a story that links the pictures together in a continuous narrative. Once you get things started, have your child tell his own stories.
- Big Box Blow-Out. Get a large cardboard box from an appliance store and let your child decide what he’d/she’d like it to be. A spaceship? A house? A puppet theater? Let her/him paint or draw his own designs on it.
- Record-O-Rama. Provide your child with a tape recorder, camera or camcorder, and let her create her own “stories” from the sounds and sights she puts together. Give him/her the opportunity (if he/she wishes) to present his/her production to the family.
- World-Making. Using figurines, miniature buildings, plants, and other small shapes and materials, your child can create little towns or worlds; these can be set in a sandbox, on a sheet of plywood, or in a quiet corner of a room.
- Silly Squiggles. Draw a simple abstract shape on a sheet of paper and ask your child to make up different things it could be (e.g., a straight line might be two ants carrying a piece of string, etc.); have your child create his/her own silly squiggles.
- Kookie Questions. Ask your child whimsical questions that evoke creative responses: What if everyone had an extra eye in the back of his head? What if dogs could talk? How would a cat dance or sing? Invite him/her to create her own questions.
- TV Tales. Turn off a TV show (one that tells a story) ten minutes before it ends, and take turns making up your own endings to the plot (if you wish, you can record the remaining segment and compare your endings with those of the TV screenwriters).
- Smudge Sightings. Go outside and look at the clouds, and together search for “pictures” in the billowy shapes. Other places to look for images of things: smudges on walls, scribbles on sheets of paper, the bark of trees.