The Battle 2009 Solo Contest

Here is the final for the solo dance portion of “The Battle.”

Here’s a second video which includes short snippets of the prelims, and a different, closer view of the finals

Dancers include Jo Hoffberg, Juan Villafane (black & red t-shirt and gray pants), and Bobby Bonsey (white short sleeves and red tie).

The winner is Juan Villafane hailing all the way from Argentina.

The thing I noticed the most is that these finalists rarely fall back on the Charleston basic.  Instead they make use of a wide variety of  jazz steps which they employ with varying degrees of emphasis.

I’ve always found it difficult to watch contests with multiple people dancing at once.  I recently discovered that when a solo dancer starts into basic Charleston,  my attention wanders elsewhere.  This occurs even when I’m watching a contest on video multiple times, trying to concentrate on one dancer.

I will say that I really enjoyed watching Juan dance in this contest because I think Juan is become particularly adept at dancing through his ideas.  Juan has also toned down the use of acrobatics and stunts, and concentrates on just dancing through his movements consistently during the contest.   I think that heightens the overall impact of the more spectacular stuff.

Bobby Bonsey takes a different tact and I think this contest illustrates the problem with that approach.   He’s a little  too erratic compared to Juan and he doesn’t flow from one idea to the next.  Instead he’ll change gears suddenly to follow the melody line of the song or interact with the other dancers.  That would make sense in many cases, but here, it’s just very jarring to me as a viewer.

Bobby also tries to “challenge”  Juan as you can see at 2:49 and 3:49.   But he pushes his luck on that last one and gets pwned by Juan at 3:56.  The contest was pretty much over with that spot.

Lost in this competition is Jo Hoffberg, who dances well, but not spectacularly enough to draw attention away from this little bit Alpha male-ing.  Although I’m not sure interjecting herself into this mini-drama would have been a good idea either.  It’s a tough place to be as a competitor.  I’m not sure what else she could have done here.

Good show over all.  Congratulations to all the finalists and to Juan for winning.

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