Posts Tagged ‘Dancing’

Get ready to have your mind blown!


 
How cool was that!? Have you ever heard of them before? I haven’t looked up any of their other videos, so if you have some super ones on file, please share!

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(After re-reading this post, I just have to warn you that I may have gotten a little carried away… But hopefully all the videos are entertaining enough to make up for that, and you’ll be patient enough to stick with me till the end!)

If you’ve been subscribed to this blog for awhile, you’ll know that I really enjoy dancing. I might not be the best dancer in the world (though I’m convinced that if I had some training I’d be pretty good), but I love watching other people dance. I don’t watch a lot of dancing shows like So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing with the Stars, but one show that I’ve been with since the beginning is America’s Best Dance Crew.

This show takes various dance crews from all around the nation (and sometimes from other countries) and challenges them to complete various tests – dancing in new styles, using props, creating a story, etc. The show is currently in its seventh season, and even though it’s not what it once was, I can’t bring myself to not watch it.

Why I Like It

This show focuses mostly on hip-hop styles, which I think are vastly underrated. I have respect for anyone who dances – ballet, tap, ballroom, b-boy, etc. But I don’t think it’s a two-way mirror. A lot of people don’t respect street dancing like they do “regular” dancing. This show helps showcase this type of dancing and exposes a lot more people to it. It’s a beautiful thing.

This show also brings various crews from around the country right into your living room. Some of these crews have been through a lot – homelessness, car accidents, death of family members. You feel for these people and you want to see them succeed. All they want to do is live their dream – and can we blame them for that? If you’re a writer, I’m sure you know exactly how they feel.

I also really love the hosts. Judges can make or break a reality TV show, much as has been done by American Idol for me. There’s a panel of three of them and JC Chasez (from N*Sync) and Lil’ Mama (a rapper, singer, dancer) have been there since day one. The first four seasons started out with Shane Sparks (whom I loved) but he was naughty and got in trouble. He was replaced with Omarion, but I think he was naughty and got in trouble too. Finally, ABDC seems to have scored with D-trix, who was a member of the season 3 winning group Quest Crew. JC is like the Simon of the show, since he’s probably the most honest. BUT he’s not mean, he just says it like it is. He’s about the only one who gets booed at, but I think what he says is the most constructive advice the crews get. He’s definitely my favorite.

And lastly, let’s state the obvious: the dancing. These people are incredible. I have so much appreciation for what they do, and it’s just insane how good some of them are. I’ve learned so much about different styles and terminology from watching this show. Everyone, from the champions to the crew that may have been kicked off in the first season, are all so, so talented.

My Favorite Crews

Like I said before, I’ve been watching this show for seven years. The first season is still my favorite, but I’ve since fallen in love with various crews throughout the whole series. Here’s a few videos of some of my favorite performances. If you’re interested, I’ve provided a link to compilation videos so you can see all of the routines from that crew.

JabbaWockeeZ – “Ayo Technology” (These guys are the season 1 winners and are generally considered to be the best crew to ever have graced the ABDC stage.)
Compilation Video


Kaba Modern – “Sensual Seduction” (Although it’s really, REALLY hard to pick, these guys are probably my favorite crew (season 1 runner-ups) and this is probably my all time favorite performance overall. I’ve probably watched it a hundred times.)
Compilation Video


Fanny Pak – “Get Your Freak On” (This one was absolutely incredible and definitely one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. They were season 3 third place winners.)
Compilation Video


Vogue Evolution – “Calabria 2008” (I love this crew because they are so proud of who they are. And voguing is just awesome in general. They came in fifth place on season 4.)
Compilation Video


We Are Heroes – “Vogue” (This crew was the first ever all-girl group to win (season 4) and there were all sorts of emotions when I saw them take that trophy. These girls are fierce, and they can do anything a guy can do!)
Compilation Video


I aM Me – “S&M” (This crew won season 6 and are by far the most creative crew I’ve ever seen.)
Compilation Video


 
(Okay, that was A LOT harder than I thought it would be. Some of them have SO many good performances.)

ABDC Season 7

Season 7 has so far been much better than some of the previous ones. I’m invested in a lot more crews, instead of just one or two, and I’m actually wowed by performances each week. There were a few seasons there right in the middle that I just didn’t care about.

So, here’s a quick rundown on my favorite crews. Let’s see if I can correctly guess the winner, too. 😉

  1. Fanny Pak – They decided to return for a second chance but were just kicked off last week. I’m really on the fence about that because they’re one of my all-time favorite crews. However, I’m not sure they should’ve come back in the first place. They had their chance, you know? It was nice seeing them again, but their previous routines have stuck with me a lot more than these recent ones.
  2. 8 Flavahz – There was a group on last year called ICONic Boyz. They were a crew of very young (like, maybe 12-year-old?) boys. They were good, but they weren’t great. However, they did happen to come in second place. Their dancing was on point, but the routines were just lackluster to me and I don’t think they should’ve made it that far. 8 Flavahz is like the girl version of ICONic Boyz, but they. are. amazing. Seriously. I’m just blown away each and every week by how incredible their routines are. I honestly hope they win. Here’s a clip of my favorite one so far:  
  3. Most Wanted Crew – This is a crew made up of dance teachers, and I love everything that they represent. They’re an incredible crew, but they’re hit and miss with me sometimes. They need to be amazing every week to win, but I think they probably have the best chances of doing it. I guess time will only tell!

Have you seen this show before? Did you like any of the videos above? Which one was your favorite?

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about how I lost 30 pounds playing video games. Today I wanted to review the video games and try to convince you that just about anyone can use them in order to do the same thing.

(Please note that I’m writing this as an owner of a Wii.)

Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party 3

Materials: dance pad (controller is optional)

Basics: to tap the arrows with your feet in time with the scrolling arrows on the screen

Difficulty Level : easy

Review:

This game in particular is good for people with all sorts of dancing abilities. To play this you do need some rhythm, but there are four difficulties overall, making it very easy to start out slow and gain expertise. With DDR, practice definitely makes perfect. Please note that this game will not teach you how to dance. (Rats!)

As far as the actual software goes, I had some trouble in the beginning with the dance pad continually scrolling through songs. I eventually had to exchange it, but everything works perfectly now. The pad can still be very sensitive, but I just step off of it when I’m not dancing and use the controller to choose songs. I bought a secondary pad that’s a little bit different in style than the original one and although it works just fine, I prefer the first one.

Game play is very fun and there are several options you can choose from. You can pick songs and dance, participate in a competition, or even go along with one of their exercise routines. The different levels of difficulty make this more competitive and challenging. There are lots of songs to choose from and there are a variety of genres. As an added bonus, some of the songs play the music video while you dance.

When it comes to exercise, this is a great game for cardio/aerobic workout. You’ll be able to strengthen your legs and calves a little bit, but not much else.

Just Dance 2

Materials: controller

Basics: hold the controller and dance like the people on the screen

Difficulty Level : medium

Review:

This game is a little more challenging than DDR as it actually requires you to dance. This is less about being in rhythm, and more about copying the moves you see on the screen. It requires more skill than the other game. Unfortunately, you don’t have the option to choose difficulty levels on this one, so it might take some floundering before you get good at it.

Software for this one is pretty basic, as you only need the controller. Sometimes I feel like I complete the moves correctly, but the game doesn’t necessarily pick up on that.

This game is also pretty fun. There are some really good songs and moves, but there are a few duds, too. You’re score from a red “x” (which means you didn’t do the move at all), to an “ok,” to a “good,” and finally a “perfect.” This is good because it allows you to get partial credit, so to speak, but I also feel like sometimes you get less than you deserve. There aren’t so many options on this game as there are on DDR, and I only play the regular version. This is a riot to play with a group of people!

When it comes to exercise for this game, you can essentially get a full body workout. You use your legs to jump around and move, but you’re also using your arms with the controller. Some of the songs have a lot of choreography for your arms, and they start burning in no time! Some of the songs are a bit more technical, and you can even workout your stomach muscles! Also great for cardio/aerobic work.

Just Dance 3

Materials: controller

Basics: hold the controller and dance like the people on the screen

Difficulty Level : medium-hard

Review:

The moves for this game feel a little more challenging than the ones for the previous edition. It still requires more dancing skills than DDR. Again, no difficulty levels, so expect some trouble in the beginning if you’re not used to how this game works.

Like I said before, you only need the controller to play this. I feel as if they’ve improved the technology a little bit, because it seems to pick up on your moves better than the older version.

This has the same scoring system than the other game and it picks up on your movements better, which is definitely to your advantage. There are more options and more ways to score, which makes it more enjoyable. There are more dud songs on this one than the last one, but some of the song choices are right from the top 40 and are really fun to dance to.

When it comes to exercise, this is the same as above. You can work your arms, legs, and stomach muscles when you really get into it. You make this quite intense and get your blood pumping!

I highly recommend these games for exercising purposes if you’re not good at going to a gym or holding yourself responsible for working out. They make exercising fun and addicting. I’m a firm believer that anyone can play these games, albeit they may take a little bit of practice. The games run for about $30-$50 each, but when you compare that to a gym membership, you can see it is well worth it.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll make sure I answer them!

(And if you really, really don’t think you’re cut out for these games, please see the video below for some inspiration.)

We’ve entered a new year and a lot of people have resolutions on their mind. One of the most common ones? Lose weight.

Almost two years ago (wow, has it really been that long?) I started down a road that eventually allowed me to shed 30 pounds. It wasn’t hard or excruciating, and it didn’t cost me tons of money in diet pills, gym equipment, or personal trainers aptly named “He Who Shalt Strip You of Your Fat and Your Dignity.” And guess what? I did it by doing what 90% of my generation does best:

I have to share my DDR dance matts with the cat. But I don't think she knows that they're not for napping...

Playing video games.

Here, let me start at the beginning.

I’ve never been a skinny kid. I’ve struggled with my weight and how I looked, but it wasn’t always the biggest deal for me. The only time I really cared was in gym class (okay, WHOSE idea was it to do a “team” exercise where we all had to go up and over a 20 foot wall??) or when I wanted new clothes (very few things are more depressing than finding THE perfect outfit and  then having to put it back when it doesn’t fit). When I got to college I dropped 20 pounds because I was walking uphill every day. I was in the farthest dorm and most of my classes were on the other side of campus. Whoo hoo! No Freshman Fifteen for me! Well, then senior year hit. I moved into an apartment and made some friends who had a car. Oops.

When I got home, I was at the heaviest I’ve ever been. I didn’t like how I looked, so I decided to make a change. But how was I going to do it? I’ve tried going to gyms before, and they just don’t work for me. I could work out by myself – design my own schedule, or do some exercises on my own every day. I’ve tried that before, and it gets boring really fast.

So, I decided that I wanted a Wii and that I wanted to get Dance Dance Revolution (DDR). I played it a few times at a friend’s house when I was in high school, and I was addicted to it. I remember how much it made you move and how much it made you sweat if you got really into it.

I got the game and immediately started working out – at least one hour a day. Most of the time I danced for longer than that – it was so much fun! I did try to eat better, too,  though I couldn’t entirely give up junk food. I mostly stopped eating red meat and tried very, very hard not to snack between meals. It only took a couple of months, through the summer and into the fall, and bam! 20 pounds less.

That’s the success story. Here’s the after story.

I got lazy. I stopped working out because DDR wasn’t fun anymore. I was at the point where I was too good for the level I was on and not good enough for the next one. I would get so frustrated when I made one mistake that I would just give up and turn it off (competitive much?). I didn’t actually put any more weight on, but I wasn’t as active as I was and I definitely wasn’t losing any more.

Fast forward to last summer. A friend had the video game Just Dance and I tried it out while I was at her house. It was different from DDR, but it was just as fun. I decided to pick it up for myself and try working out an hour each day. This worked for a while and I actually dropped another 10 pounds.

Then I got lazy again. Double oops. (Actually, in reality, I just got too busy to exercise, what with work and writing and editing and reading and internet and…okay, excuses, but they’re valid. Kind of.) The good thing is that I’ve kept off the 30 pounds that I initially lost. But now it’s time to crank up the volume.

If you’re keeping up with this blog, you’ll know that part of my New Year’s Resolutions is to lose another 20 pounds (preferably by summertime). My ROW80 goals include exercising at least half an hour each day. I now have Just Dance 2 and Just Dance 3, as well as DDR: Hottest Party 2. I can switch between the three games and I rarely get bored.

Smaller pants size, here I come!

 

(P.S. For those of you in ROW80, or those of you with resolutions, who have weight-loss goals – how are you doing it? Do you go to a gym? Exercise each day on your own? Or do you play video games, too? I’m going to review each of the games mentioned above in an upcoming post, and hopefully I’ll be able to convince you to give at least one of them a try!)

I have the greatest amount of respect for people who can do things that I’m hopeless at. Now, I’ve got some rhythm and I’m not too bad at learning choreography, but I’m not a dancer in the sense that it is what I live and breathe every day (I’ll reserve that for writing).

I love dancing so much, though. It’s a beautiful art form. I especially love when a dancer can tell a story just by the way he or she moves. The video below is a wonderful example of this.

 

You might have recognized Harry Shum Jr. there – he’s Mike Chang from Glee. He tweeted (@iharryshum) this video yesterday and I just fell in love with it. He’s got some awesome facial expressions, and I really enjoy his acting (especially when he’s being silly). The whole group featured in this video is amazing though, and I just loved the story telling and the message of the entire thing.

Hope you enjoyed it! Merry Christmas. 🙂