The whole time I’ve been watching Dancing with the Stars, I’ve thought to myself, why don’t these guys come up with instructional videos so that the folks at home can learn to do what they are watching? Finally they are here! Dancing with the Stars pro Louis Van Amstel has produced an eight-disc DVD set that covers eight dances: foxtrot, waltz, cha cha, jive (swing), tango, salsa, samba, and rumba. In addition, a music CD is also included in the set. These DVD’s start with the basic step and are fully suitable for the complete beginner. However, these videos go on to show a complete dance routine for each dance. Each disc is about 30 minutes in length. All dances can be learned in your home in a space about the size of a typical living room. Having a partner is helpful but not necessary.
When I first heard about these videos, I thought they would be very technical and perhaps too difficult for novices. I was wrong! The approach is all about having fun! Louis presents the material in a casual style for folks who want to learn a routine fast without a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo. Each dance routine is indeed attractive and easy to learn. It’s kind of like if you were going to be on the Dancing with the Stars show and what you need is to be taught an attractive dance routine fast! Louis calls the routines perfect for a "fun night out."
In my opinion, these videos are not the best for current, serious ballroom dancers who are already engaged in lessons. Why? They are aimed at getting beginners from point A to point B in a hurry and in a very fun and relaxed way. In these videos, Louis does not follow a standard syllabus. Instead, he creates a custom “Louis Dance.” Most current or prospective serious ballroom dancers would likely be better served by videos that teach by the syllabus and that include all the technical mumbo-jumbo. In these videos, Louis follows neither a strict “American Style Syllabus” nor a strict “International Style Syllabus.” Instead, he shows 6-10 figures in each dance and then chains them together to create an attractive routine that a beginner could master without much frustration.
Who are these videos for? These videos are great for beginners. If you are planning a wedding or a cruise, these videos are perfect. If you and your partner wish to practice for a fun night out, these videos are for you. You’ll get great routines in a hurry. Anybody who is new to partner dancing who wants to have fun will enjoy these videos.
Though aimed at beginners, even advanced dancers will enjoy the styling exhibited by these top competitors. For example, Irina shows four or five different and attractive arm styling options for the “New Yorkers” figures, which are danced in the cha cha. Both of the instructors have world-class competition records too long to list completely. Most dance videos are a bit dull, but these videos have the pizzazz you expect from a big budget production.
We think we offer the lowest price on the web for this product. As of 1-14-08, this eight-disc set was selling for USD $119.97 on Amazon.com.
About the Instructors
Along with being an Emmy nominated choreographer, Louis has the following competition record: seven-time Dutch National Amateur Champion, European Amateur Latin Champion, World Amateur Latin Champion, Grand Slam Professional Latin Champion, World Professional Showdance Champion, Professional World Latin finalist.
Irina Boubnovskaia has the following record: Dancing with the Stars national tours (2006-2007), Ohio Star Ball national televised competition (2000-2005), World Cup Professional Latin Rising Star Champion, United Kindom Professional Rising Star Runner-Up, Blackpool Dance Festival 3rd Place Professional Rising Star Latin, Embassy Ball Professional Latin Champion, United States Open Professional Latin Finalist, United States Professional Rising star Latin Runner-Up, Canada Open to the World Amature Latin Champion, Manhattan Dancesport Amateur Latin Champion, six time United States Amateur Latin Finalist (1998-2004), Open Russian Youth 10 Dance Champion (1996-1997).
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