About 20 competitors participated in a workshop conducted by John Wood on 9 Jun 96 in Singapore. It was an eye-opening lecture which benefited all dancers. John Wood stressed on three major points which the judges are looking for in a competition. They were STYLE, MOVEMENT AND MUSICALITY. A couple is judged the moment they walk onto the dance floor. They must show confidence, poise and style.
The lady must be gracefully presented to the audience before the start of the competition. The man must walk tall and look smart and confident.
The next thing the judges will look for is elegance and smoothness of movement while still maintaining the style and the hold. The couple must be able to move across the floor in a smooth and unhurried manner without all the jerks and hiccups. They must be able to move naturally without any constraints or difficulties.
The final point which the judges will be looking for is musicality. The couple must be able to dance happily and expressively to the music.
An inexpressive couple who dance very well will lose to another with better expression and better interpretation of the music. John Wood also stressed on the changing pattern in the QUICKSTEP.
He deplored the rocket and the runs and scatter chasses. He said all these steps are very dangerous and they are the cause of many accidents at the Blackpool Dance Festival.
He advocated the return of the Step and Swing in the Quickstep. He wanted to see more swing in the Quickstep choreography.
He demonstrated some figures like the natural turn, the spin turn into the running finish, the quick open reverse turn into the double slip-pivot, and an overturned throw away oversway. He also showed the running spin turn and the turning lock. All these are basic figures but they are danced to the quick rhythm of the Quickstep.
Not all teachers agree with John Wood. Some feel that without the skips and the hops, Quickstep will lose its uniqueness. But, when John Wood is judging, it is prudent not to show your rockets and your skips and hops! Just STEP and SWING!
It was an hour and a half of useful tips for all competitors and we had a hilarious time with John, who interspersed his lecture cum Workshop with endless jokes and jibes.