Thursday, February 2, 2012
Lifts or Not? The Controversy in Competitive Ballroom Dance
Yet "Dancing with the Stars" Judge Carrie Ann Inaba is notorious for policing the “no-lifts” during dance performances. While the dance instructors vehemently deny feet or toes were off the floor, eagle-eyed Carrie Ann chooses to differ; hence points are deducted.
Why is the case? While lifts are permitted in other genres of competitive dance, such as Ballet and Contemporary, they are rendered as a definite "no-no" in Ballroom Dance Competition. This has been an on-going controversy since competitive dance was created.
Ballroom Competitive has its own format which restricts the contender to three dance steps. They have one minute and thirty seconds to execute their routine. Both feet must be touching the ground at all times. Any attempt to defy this ruling can and has resulted in disqualifying the contenders.
Lifts are not allowed because ballroom competition can have 14 couples on the floor at a time. Every couple has their own routine. Lifts are not safe because they fragile in terms of balance if someone bumps into you.
There is, however, show dance, in which the couple are allowed to include any style of dance which they feel best demonstrates their proficiency, including lifts with set rules:
A maximum of three lifts are allowed during each performance.
Lifts are only permitted in the transitional elements between dances.
Each lift may not exceed 2 measures of music or 15 seconds in duration.
DWTS has one couple at a time, but they are still not allowed to do lifts because they are supposed to dance regular ballroom, not show dance. Technique on the floor is more important.
Currently, Ballroom Dance Competition allows an approximate fifteen-second open choreography both at the beginning and end of a dance routine. Within this tight window, one lift might be executed, hence returning to the “contact” dance segment of the routine, which separates competitive dance from the regular dance showcase.
Integrating lifts into the Competitive World of Ballroom could be either a milestone or a setback. Most contenders might welcome more lifts as an extra perk, but also realize that weight control and center balance would then play a heavier role, since every step and movement must be in sync, connected and flawlessly executed.
But some argue that while lifts can enhance most genres of dance competitions, they would defeat the true concept of what Ballroom Dance Competition represents, the focus on technique and stage presence rather than flash and dazzle.
Toni Redpath gives excellent insight into the lift policy