Pretty Maids All In A Row

Some guys are so lucky. It’s unfair.

I mean they somehow get those gorgeous ladies. Am I talking about the film above(Pretty Maids All In A Row, 1975)? Huh? If you want to think so. That’s fine with me. But, really, I am talking about the Italiano guy. His name is Stefano. Yeah he is hunky. Yeah he is a great dancer. Yeah he is an Italiano. But two gorgeous partners in a row? It’s unfair ! I mean unfair to other competitors.  When it comes to competitive dancers, although they are all good at the top, its not easy to find a couple that I like very much both of them.

OK. So the subtitle of this blog is:

Promising Partnership of  Stefano Di Filippo & Olga Urumova

Stefano Di Philipo, who used to dance with Anna Melnikova in Amateur International Latin division, is now dancing with Olga Urumova in professional division(sice sometime in 2009 — but now they are actively in competitions). The new partnership looks awfully good.

Stephano Di  Filippo and  Olga Urumova dance Cha Cha below.

To be able to truly appreciate a couple’s dancing,   I feel that the music has to be right to fully show what they are good at.  Often this is difficult in competitions, and the competition clips show a couple only for a while . Therefore, a show dance is when a couple can show off their artistry.

Now here comes a really well-done Samba. Great choice of music ! (Thus the couple shines)

It’s done so well musically – it does lead me into trance state. Wasn’t that the whole point of aboriginal(or origin of)  music & dance? Perhaps.

Now, to fully appreciate a couple’s chemistry, I must examine their rumba.

Their rumba is so in sync with the music, you can’t help but melting into it. I do feel they have really great chemistry — This rumba feels so classical in the song, and this is the way I like it. So kudos to them for another great choice of music.

Now for those who are wondering what I meant when I said he is a lucky guy, check it out below.

Stefano Di Filippo and Anna Melnikova (his ex-partner) doing Rumba below:

Lastly, regarding the question – how to be a lucky guy,  I hope you get it by now. Be gorgeous,  and dance extremely well, you may get lucky. I mean lucky in dancing.

Huh? You want to know about getting lucky in love? You are in a wrong blog, dude. Get out of here. Use Google and just type it in.


As a ballroom dancer, I don’t get to watch ballet often at all. But every time I watch, I am totally absorbed by the beauty of the art. But then I start to think ——–

I do not complain a lot. Even about the weather of the city that I live in. Cleveland weather? Not bad. It’s not the best, but it’s not the worst, I say. Then think about it, we don’t have ballet company here. I need to leave this town.  I am so envious of other cities that offer such beautiful thing. When will I be able to ——-?

Latin Ballroom dancers tend to think ballet as some other form of art. But in fact there is such a similarity between ballet and Latin style of ballroom dance that Western world has developed.

Below is a quote directly from Youtube.

“Oh how we rob ourselves when we dismiss Ballet as boring or irrelevant! The controlled passion, the grace, the flowing sensual beauty that is contained in an inspired performance rivals anything we have created. Truly, the beauty of motion and the human form are revealed in the precise, yet always individualistic forms of great performers and performances.” (Youtube commentator)

Below: Alessandra Ferri In Ballet Carmen

For those readers who are wondering why I am interested in this clip (Original Choreography by Roland Petit), please go to my previous Ballet Carmen blog.

Question — How Can I Improve My Rumba Dramatically in 7 Days (?)

Answer — Sorry there is no way you can do it.

Better Question —- Is There Any Possible Way To Improve Rumba However Long It May Take ?

Answer —– Read below.

Yes, I lied in the title. But, if you thought I had such a secret of getting it done in 7 days, and you thought if I was going to share the secret with you, you must be out of your mind. 🙂

But at least I got your attention. So here is a sure fire approach that you need to take, and I will give you my full guarantee: Yes your rumba will surely get better in some time.

This is for intermediate level dancers who are already familiar with their basic moves and concepts, although beginning dancers should be fully aware of this.

1) Learn Correct Latin Technique: One must thoroughly understand the principle of body action, weight transfer for perfect control of the dancer’s body. There are many videos that teach Latin technique (separate from syllabus moves). Spend some money on tape (DVD) if your instructor hasn’t mentioned these important principles to you.  Or better yet, find an instructor who can teach you this.

2) Mastering footwork: Remember body action initiates footwork. Also you must use standing leg for movement of the moving leg. (This is very important ! But I can’t go into elaboration here. Listen to the commentator on Blackpool Dance Festival videos.)

The most clean footwork comes from understanding and using correct body movement technique. Plus years of training. Ladies, if you can duplicate Shirley Ballas’ footwork, you will be an envy of everyone on the dance floor. In the clip below, Corky Ballas makes the instruction so enjoyable here. Corkey and Shirley have also one of the most memorable rumba dance performance on their rumba(Rumba Variations) instructional video, but it’s not on youtube. Anyway I am putting the following Cha Cha clip so that you can watch her beautiful foot action. And look for more in my future blogs. Or perhaps buy their video and put into your video library.

3) Make It Musical: (This is rather hard question for even advanced dancers.) To start with, first, you need to be on time. Once you are on time, then develop further articulation by 1) Understanding how body movements are to be divided according to the beat (for example one, and, a(ah) are all different when counting during the dance movement). 2) Listen to the music or feel the music during the dance; there is no dance without the music. Knowing how to extend/shorten or which part to emphasize comes from understanding of the music.

Here is an excellent intro by the renowned world-class instructor Barbara McColl during a Rumba lecture.

I can’t get into musical interpretation parts: Many lectures are available – especially Blackpool series.
Hopefully I will cover this subject in more detail in the future. Come back ! Or subscribe to my blog.

4) Pay Close Attention to Partner.

You can’t do it alone. Remember to dance together with the partner when dancing.

How can we increase awareness of partner during the dancing? Firstly, here is an excellent advice by renowned Luca Baricchi. The lecture is regarding International Standard, but the essence applies to Latin dancing, too.

Go to —>“How to really connect with partner” (opens in a new window)

Then, especially for ladies, here is an excellent article. It’s written for Argentine tango, but essence of following applies to any partner dancing.

We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he


I found this beautiful poem quoted in an article of blog “Still Life in Buenos Aires”. Check it out!

Go to —> “Descending Tango” (Opens in a new window) : This is an article not a lecture clip.

Years ago they were saying Ballroom dance may become Olympic sports. Then they did not have enough people dancing from all over the world, and did not get enough support. I believe that, still there is a movement.

But I simply propose to include Ballroom dancing as an outdoor sport. Everyone will immediately recognize that it is going to be a physically challenging sport – you may have to endure burning sun, freezing wind, or rainstorm – plus you don’t need to have a dance hall. Suddenly ballroom dancing may become popular for young kids who do not want to be indoors, or for people who can’t afford to build dance halls. All you need is speaker and a pair of (sturdy) dance shoes. I personally find it rather difficult, but, hey, think about it. If one can dance anywhere and everywhere, do we really need “heaven”? Below I found very nice Cha Cha and also Cuban Salsa Master showing off their dancing outdoors. Indeed in warmer parts of the world, dances are performed often outdoors. But perhaps not so much socially. Hey you ! Get off the computer now and get out and dance !!!!

In the below Stephen White and Rebeca Ovadia of A Social Affair Dance Studio, perform a Cha Cha for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Very nice routine, too.

In the below, David Huo, from Beijing, China (won the Cuban Salsa champion) shows off his wonderful dancing style, amazing! (young lady is great, too!)


Anna Karina, one of the most beautiful actresses ever.

Anna Karina

She sings “Ma ligne de chance” in the below video. It’s a re-edit. Pretty good job done. But the original song is from the film “Pierrot le fou”.

OK. So let’s talk about dancing. One of my favorite film is “band of outsiders”.(Directed by Jean-Luc Goddard)
Anna Karina stars with Danielle Girard and Sami Frey.

Such an interesting film to watch even now. It was made in 1964, but it feels so fresh. Most impressive is beautiful and innocent heroine, Odile (Anna Karina). There is this dance scene – I just learned that the dance is “Madison”. So here is the film clip, followed by instruction for the dance.

A clip from a film Bande a Part (French, 1964)(Band of Outsiders) with the ever charming Anna Karina dancing with Danielle Girard and Sami Frey.

Sequences are side steps – jump – shuffle – swing (roughly). Lesson 3 includes styling tips.

Madison Lesson 1.

Madison Lesson 2.

Madison Lesson 3.

Fantastic !

Subtitle: Why International Tango, and Why Not Argentine Tango

I am a social dancer. What does that mean? — I go social dancing. — That means swing dance, hustle, west coast swing, salsa, merengue, bachata, etc. But I haven’t really gotten into Argentine tango. So why not Argentine Tango? I know a lot of non-ballroom dancers say — Argentine Tango is more genuine style. First of all, Argentine Tango and Ballroom Tango use different style of music. For some music, you may do either, but depending on the mood of the music, one style fits better than the other. But what makes me prefer one over the other? I say it’s personal preference. Then what makes me prefer one style over the other?

When I looked at the following video from 2000, I had an answer.

It’s because of those great dancers who danced international style tango so beautifully and I just can’t get over them.

Plus I feel International Tango is a whole lot more macho. Let me explain. How do you express the mood of Heathcliff and Catherine (Wuthering Heights), or Carmen and Don José (Opera Carmen)? The word “romance” can not replace the word “passion” in this case. In many ways, they are two different animals. And I think “passion” is what International Style Ballroom Tango is about. The clip is from ca~2000 Japan.

See if you can find:
Luca Baricchi & Loraine Baricchi
Augusto Schiavo & Caterina Arzenton
Massimo Giorgianni & Alessia Manfredini
Fabio Selmi & Simona Fancello
Timothy Howson & Joanne Bolton
Alan Shingler & Donna Shingler

“Rumba is —-A Vertical Expression of Horizontal Desire” —-(Recent Saying)

Background: I met Allan & Vibeke a few years ago at a lecture they gave during a dance competition. When I observed Vibeke’s walk during her lecture, I realized I have not seen such beautiful walk ever (she was just giving lecture !). I became her fan immediately. (I was already a fan of Allan Tornsberg and Serena Lecca.) Unfortunately it was not easy to find videos of Vibeke Toft dancing with Allan. Now I have found their dancing together, thanks to youtube.

Allan posted a recent dance with Vibeke (2010) on his Facebook. Facebook does not make it easy to embed video here. But if you don’t have facebook account, you can go here to watch high quality video.

One can see that expression of (especially) passion through rumba dance is a separate matter from athleticism which is common on the competition floor these days. It does not come from exaggerated facial or body moves, either. All I can say is that when one sees great dancing, one can feel it through heart. So glad to see this amazing dance.