Tag Archives: Dance

My Top 5 YouTube Dance Stars

Over the last few years dance videos have literally exploded onto the internet and practically taken over YouTube. Of course, there’s the ones from big shows like Britain’s Got Talent (BGT), So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), Dancing With The Stars, Strictly Come Dancing, America’s Best Dance Crew, Got To Dance and so many more. But this blog post will showcase the biggest, most breathtaking dance videos that you won’t see on your TV. There’s thousands of them out there but these are the ones that blew my mind. My top five YouTube dance sensations!

NUMBER ONE: Chachi Gonzales. You won’t believe it but this girl is only 17! She’s an American dancer who won America’s Best Dance Crew with I.aM.mE in 2011. She’s now gone solo and has nearly 442,000 subscribers on YouTube. Her choreography is effortlessly cool- think girl next door with an urban edge. It’s hard to pick just one video but I definitely recommend watching her ‘Ciara- Like a Boy’ routine as well as this one which has over 8,000,000 views.

NUMBER TWO: DancingWithYT. This YouTube channel showcases some of the best young dance talent from jazz, lyrical and contemporary to hip hop and street. Many of these young dancers went on to feature in Dance Moms but there is one girl in particular that caught my eye. At only seven years old, her flexibility, strength, expression and musicality exceeds all expectations of a girl her age. Her acrobatics are unbelievable. With over 1,500,000 views, here is Asia Monet Ray.

NUMBER THREE: OfficialHHI. This is the HipHop International YouTube Channel and it posts all the videos from the annual World Hip Hop Dance Championships. There was one crew last year that blew all the competition out of the water; the megacrew ‘Royal Family’ from New Zealand. Choreographing for that amount of people must have been a nightmare but the end product is exceptional. Their timing is so precise for that many dancers on one stage and has a huge impact. The musical arrangement is also genius with tracks from Drake’s Started At The Bottom to Big Bad Wolf by Duck Sauce. And keep an eye on the tall dancer in the middle who is phenomenal.

NUMBER FOUR: WilldaBeast Adams. Another American dancer and choreographer who regularly uploads his latest creations and tutorials to go with them. This arrangement to Beyonce’s Upgrade You has nearly 11,000,000 views.

NUMBER FIVE: Emily Sasson Choreography. Emily’s videos have exploded onto YouTube and get hundred of thousands of views. She’s YouTube dance royalty! Here’s one of her routines to Ester Dean’s Drop it Low featuring Lil Wayne.


My Top 5 Dance Blogs

This week I decided to branch out and look outside the window of my own blog page and celebrate some of the other dance blogs out there. Each is very different from the other but all make it into my top five favourite dance blogs.

NUMBER ONE: http://dubstepbeats.wordpress.com/

Now this is a page that you really can’t ignore. I mean Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 21.51.04seriously, they post hundreds of incredible videos each day. Each one showcases some really mind-blowing dubstep dance but this one of two young lads is one of my favourites. I think it’s just their raw, organic talent and the kids in the background don’t seem to bat an eyelid! UNBELIEVABLE!

NUMBER TWO: http://dailydancer.com/

Ok. So if it’s an insightful look into the world of dance you want from a Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 22.23.33blog then perhaps this one isn’t for you. But if you are the type of person who trawls the internet for funny cat videos and vines of people making fools of themselves then this is certainly going to be your cup of tea. This is quite literally, pure genius. A rather energetic chap posts daily clips of himself improvising to numerous well known songs. Im going to say his dance style is unorthodox yet innovative… watch it and you’ll see what I mean.

NUMBER THREE: http://bloodsweatpointeshoes.wordpress.com/

This is a really poignant insight into the life of Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 22.00.36an inspiring ballet dancer. It is a shockingly honest first person account to the point where I was quite taken aback by the blogger’s openness on her struggles with injuries and an eating disorder. Really fascinating and I’m sure a diary style blog that dancers everywhere will be able to relate to.

NUMBER FOUR: http://www.dancespirit.com/

So this isn’t strictly a blog, more of an online magazine with Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 22.05.21LOADS of contributors. But I love it. It has everything from great “how to” articles on ballet moves, choreography and tap steps etc as well as posts on dance fashion- because every dancer wants to look good while they’re performing- whether that’s on stage or in rehearsals! Plus it has really responsible writing on health, fitness and nutrition. Definitely worth spending some time browsing the site!

NUMBER FIVE: http://dancetabs.com/

Finally for all you cultured lot here is a blog that reviews ballet andScreen Shot 2013-12-13 at 22.13.42 contemporary shows up and down the country. The experienced critics that contribute to this blog really know what they’re talking about. Gallery pictures are stunning and features engaging interviews with people involved in dance companies from all over the world. A refreshing blog seeing as the publication of quality dance criticism has faded over the last few years.



The BIG Debate: Is Dance a Sport?

Is Dance a sport?
YES!! It’s part of the National Curriculum for Sport and PE lessons. NO!! Because it’s not one of the sports in the Olympics. These are just a couple of frequent arguments I hear on this topic. But which side are you on?! This post attempts to answer the question which has been tormenting dancers for years… WARNING: some of the answers, including “Dance is just a hobby, it’s not a sport”, may be infuriating to dance lovers worldwide!

Dancers in Basketball costumes at the Welsh Street Dance Championships 2013

Dancers in Basketball costumes at the Welsh Street Dance Championships 2013. Photographer: Laura Kenyon

I posed this question to a number of different people of varying ages and sporting backgrounds. The responses I got from the general public in Cardiff city centre predictably reflected a divided view. Some said “yes, of course dance is a sport” while others laughed saying “gardening is physical, does that mean gardening is a sport?!”.  While the shoppers on Cardiff’s Queen Street were both informed and entertaining, I decided to get the opinions of two sporting professionals. One, a British and Irish Lions and Wales international Rugby Union player, Alex Cuthbert. And the other, a dance teacher and choreographer who has danced her whole life, Cheryl Loxton.

Alex, a six foot six inch, one hundred and four kilogram rugby union player, understandably had a sceptical view of dance as a sport. But even he couldn’t deny that both Rugby and Dance have similarities. Have a listen.

Picture courtesy of Alex Cuthbert 

Meanwhile, Cheryl has grown up competing in dance competitions across the UK and is now a fully qualified dance teacher. She says that dance possesses all the necessary qualities to be classified as a sport.

Picture courtesy of Cheryl Loxton 

This subject of what constitutes a sport can really provoke some fiery debate, especially from those who are passionate about the activity that they participate in. So it’s a brave person who can tell a dancer that Dance is essentially not a sport. Sport England themselves recognise that defining what is and what isn’t a sport is tricky business. They do in fact recognise Dance as a sport and refer to the Council of Europe’s European Sports Charter 1993 definition of sport:

“Sport means all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels”

For many people, what it ultimately comes down to is… is there that element of competition? If not, then dance is an art and not a sport.

Tweets on "Is Dance a sport?"

Tweets on “Is Dance a sport?”

Well I would point out that dancers regularly compete in competitions across the UK and here’s a list of just some of them:

  • Imperial Classical Ballet Awards
  • ISTD Janet Cram Awards (Modern Dance)
  • Marjorie Davies Tap Awards
  • UDO’s European & World Street Dance Championships
  • The All-England Dance Competition
  • UK Street Dance Championships
  • Association of Dance Freestyle Professionals competitions

Saying that, these competitions are usually “amateur”, using the word “amateur” very loosely considering the amount of training many of the competitors have had. When dancers enter the professional world, this is when the competition element often ends. Dancers perform on stage, at events, in music videos etc and routines take on a purely aesthetic purpose. Is dance still a sport then? It’s lost it’s competitive edge so many would so no. Yet often dance shows will be critiqued in a similar way that a football team’s performance is analysed and critiqued by the pundits. So in that case, are Dance and a sport like Football so different after all?

Clearly it’s a contentious subject. This is clear from the volume of online discussions on this topic ranging from internet debate forums to other blog posts like debate page Is Dance a Sport? , the TeenLife blog post The Great Debate: Is Dance a Sport? , Huffington Post’s article Is Dance a Sport or an Art? and Eugene Daily News post Dance As Sport.

But what all people do seem to agree on is that it requires an exceptionally high level of physical fitness and athleticism as well as intricate technique. Some styles of dance are also more easily associated with sport and these are often the more physically explosive styles that incorporate elements of gymnastics, for example street dance, break dancing and freestyle. But even dance styles such as ballet and contemporary require huge amounts of physical exertion and the body to be at the peak of muscular strength. When you compare the physiques of the average professional ballet dancer with that of a pro darts player, it’s difficult to comprehend why darts would be a sport and not ballet. This is the view of one person on social media:

Facebook user on "Is Dance a Sport?"

Facebook user on “Is Dance a Sport?”

So overall, lots of people have mixed views on the status of Dance as a sport. And what it comes down to is people’s subjective vision. What do you think? Have your vote in my poll at the end of the post. Still not sure? Then have a watch of the following video to see what a handful of people in Cardiff think.

WATCH Incredible Crews Battle it out for the Welsh Street Dance Title

Welsh Street Dance Championships 2013

Welsh Street Dance Championships 2013

Guest judges

Guest judges from ‘Flawless’

Last weekend I travelled down to Newport to see the best street dancers in Wales compete to earn their place in the World Championships 2014 & European Championships 2015. United Dance Organisation saw around 1600 people turn out to cheer on the dancers aged from five all the way up to adults. The guest judges from Flawless even added a touch of celebrity to the occasion. The atmosphere really was phenomenal. After growing up competing in a quiet auditorium where audience members politely clap at the end of routines, it was refreshing to hear the crowd really get behind the dancers. The venue literally erupted when a crew switched up their track to a tune everyone knew. But most of all, I was shocked by the pure originality of the choreography and the outstanding overall quality on show.

But don’t just take it from me, watch for yourselves. Here’s my ‘best of’ compilation for the morning competitors of the Welsh Champs.