World Ballroom Dance Champions Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova

On this episode of Dance Teachers Academy Katusha Demidova and Arunas Bizokas. Recently retired at Blackpool 2019 and with a hint of the retirement coming on this episode? You be the judge.

Arunas & Katusha retire in Blackpool. Read more here.

But how do you become 10 time world champions? Find out on this podcast. Broadcast from the 30th Anniversary Emerald Ball they discuss how they work very productively together. Katusha compliments Arunas on his amazing ability to deal with a woman. They discuss their mottos “Stay in shape”and “Agree to disagree.”

They also discuss how they continue to practice and they like practicing. Jose and I particularly enjoyed the story they shared on this podcast of the unexpected challenge prior to their first World Championship win. They discuss their excitement at that time being in line to win the World Championship, only to wake up in a remote part of Alaska! By a traveler’s miracle, they still made it to win the World Championship!

Register for Arunas & Katusha’s upcoming North American Imperial Star Ball

Katusha and Arunas then share beautiful advice for instructors. They discuss the importance of balance in instruction. For example, to not overload the student with information so that they become paralyzed. They both agree that a good teacher must instruct with encouragement and prioritize what the dancer needs. Even Arunas likes to have inspiration and motivation before performance!

They discuss how competitors are sensitive right before competition, and this is important for an instructor to understand. Katusha is a very competitive person. You can see it in her marvelous and intoxicating green eyes! We had a wonderful laugh when she brings up a quote,”Dance competition is not a matter of life and death, its much more important!” In seriousness though her advice to enjoying the dance competition journey – Healthy competition is the key. We invite everyone to enjoy this podcast and enjoy their competition North American Imperial Star Ball in November too!

Enjoy watching the full Interview below!

What is the difference between American Style and International Style of Ballroom Dance?

A commonly asked question is what is the difference between American Style and International Style of Ballroom Dance? If you are looking to try Dance Vision‘s #dancevisionondemand subscriptions, you will want to know the differences between the two before you begin your journey.

American Style is most popular in the United States, whereas the International Style, which is also known as the English Style, is danced throughout the rest of the world. The American Style Smooth dances, Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango and Viennese Waltz, experience more freedom and expression. They may be danced in closed or open position, allowing for additional innovative tricks and creative arm and hand styling.

The International Style Standard Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep, and Viennese Waltz are danced only in closed position. The technique for both styles is similar. The American Style Rhythm dances, which are Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Samba, Mambo, Bolero and Merengue have a greater variety of patterns and are more suited for social dancing. The International Style Latin Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba, Paso Doble and Jive are more disciplined and technical.

The technique is different between the styles and changes throughout the years. American Style dancing has always been more popular for social dancing in the United States.

American Style Rhythm

A type of ballroom dancing, which evolved from social dancing and is now a fully recognized competitive style of dance. Rhythm style consisting of Cha Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero and Mambo.

Cha Cha

An exciting, syncopated, Latin dance, which originated in the 1950s as a slowed down Mambo, the Cha Cha gathers its personality, character, rhythm, basis, and charm from two major dance sources. It is a derivation of the Mambo through its Latin music, and it is also a stepchild of the Swing, as it is danced to a 1-2-3 step rhythm. The Cha Cha gets its name and character from its distinct repetitive foot rhythm. 

Rumba

The Rumba was originally a courtship, marriage, and street dance that was African in origin. The Rumba met some opposition from society’s upper crust because of the suggestive body and hip movements. The characteristic feature is to take each step without initially placing the weight on that step. Steps are made with a slightly bent knee which, when straightened causes the hips to sway from side to side, in what has come to be known as “Cuban Motion.”

Samba

The Samba is a lively Brazilian dance which was first introduced in 1917 and was finally adopted as a ballroom dance by Brazilian society in 1930. It is sometimes referred to as a Samba, Carioca, a Baion or a Batucado. The difference is mainly in the tempo, since the steps in all four dances are very similar. The style is to bounce steadily and smoothly in 2/4 meter. They say that the Samba was introduced in the United States in 1939 by the late Carmen Miranda.

Bolero

 Originally a Spanish dance in 3/4 time, it was changed in Cuba, initially into 2/4 time, then eventually into 4/4. It is now presented as a very slow type of Rumba rhythm. The music is frequently arranged with Spanish vocals and a subtle percussion effect, usually using Congas or Bongos. Originally a Spanish dance in 3/4 time, it was changed in Cuba, initially into 2/4 time, then eventually into 4/4. It is now presented as a very slow type of Rumba rhythm. The music is frequently arranged with Spanish vocals and a subtle percussion effect, usually using Congas or Bongos.

Mambo

The spicy Mambo as we now know it grew out of the Danzon (national music of Cuba), and grasped the imagination of the American dance scene at the close of World War II. Later, fast Swing-Jazz and upbeat Latin music joined in to form the updated and uninhibited Mambo. The Mambo is a spot dance and the steps are quite compact.

East Coast Swing

This dance is frequently referred to as Triple Step swing due to the rhythm of the basic triple step. This dance consists of six and eight count patterns, which require a rock step back by both man and woman to begin. It is a circular dance that is danced with a bounce and is very 
grounded and not high in the legs. This bounce requires the dancer to stay very smooth and not jump around much. East Coast swing is the base for all swing dances.

West Coast Swing

This dance consists of six and eight count patterns, which are done in a slot. The woman no longer rocks back as in East Coast swing, but instead she always walks forward on count one. This dance is usually done to medium tempo swing music, frequently slower than East Coast swing. However, those who achieve a high skill level in this dance can and do dance it to faster tempo music. This dance has no bounce and a very smooth feel. Rarely will you see high kicks or moves which require the dancer to leave the floor.

Merengue

The Merengue is a popular dance of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and is a truly lively Latin dance. There is an old tale about a very brave and famous military officer who was wounded in battle and developed a limp. A celebration dance was given for the great hero returning from the war. Rather than embarrass their hero, who limped on his wounded leg while dancing, all the men present favored their leg as well, & thus the Merengue was born.

American Style Smooth

A type of ballroom dancing, which evolved from social dancing and is now a fully recognized competitive style of dance. The Smooth style allows the dancers to be in open positions allowing for a very “Fred and Ginger” style.

Waltz

The Waltz appeared as a fashionable dance in Bohemia, Austria, Bavaria and other parts of Europe in the late 1700’s. Danced in 3/4 timing, the recurring, even beats of music send the dancers whirling around the floor enjoying the thrill of the Waltz movement.

Tango

The American Style Tango is a progressive moving along the line of dance using body movement. A staccato movement of the feet and flexed knees highlight the dramatic style of the Tango.

Foxtrot

The Foxtrot remains the most popular social dance in the world today. Little did Harry Fox realize that his trotting on a New York stage in 1913 would become an overnight success. The Foxtrot is the foundation for many of the social dances that followed. It is enjoyed by all age groups for its ease of movement and smooth style. Foxtrot music is played by most social dance orchestras and is one of the easiest dances to learn in the American Style.

Viennese Waltz

This dance originated in Mid-Europe some 400 years ago. The music is fast in tempo and sends the couples whirling around the floor–first one way and then the other.

International Style Latin 

Latin American dances are danced to a Latin American beat. “Latin” is the term for International Style, “Rhythm” is the term for the American Style.

Cha Cha

During the 1950s, the Cha Cha was made famous by many Latino bands such as Xavier Cugat and Prez Prado. Cuban in origin, the Cha Cha rhythm is found in much of today’s popular music.

Samba

The Samba originated in Brazil and, unlike the other Latin dances that are stationary, it has a traveling action around the floor with lots of spins and controlled bounces.

Rumba

The Rumba is Cuban in origin and is often referred to as the ?dance of love?. Sultry and romantic, the music is a mixture of African and Latin rhythms.

Paso Doble

The Paso Doble is a theatrical Spanish dance that characterizes the man as the matador and the lady as his cape. Based on Flamenco dancing, the character of the dance is arrogant and passionate.

Jive

The Jive is a very fast, acrobatic, lively dance made popular during World War II by the swing music of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller.

International Style Standard 

You may hear the terms Standard, Modern and Smooth in relation to the Ballroom dances and wonder how they differ. They all represent the dances with the man holding the lady in his arms and moving around the floor. The term “Standard” has replaced “Modern” as the name for the International Style dances. 

Waltz

Danced in European courts in the mid 1700s, the romantic Slow Waltz is an offspring of the faster Viennese Waltz in 3/4 time. The rhythm was gradually slowed down over time as songwriters of ballads and love songs chose to compose in a slower and more comfortable tempo. This dance has continued to rise in popularity at anniversaries, graduations, and weddings.

Tango

The Tango originated in the bordellos of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is done in a slightly different manner than other dances. The hold is very different, with the lady’s arm under the man’s, which creates a tighter hold for a quick staccato action and stylized poses (not to be confused with Argentine Tango).

Foxtrot

The Foxtrot is one of the most deceiving dances. It looks very easy, but is one of the most difficult dances to do. The dance originated in 1913 when a vaudeville performer by the name of Harry Fox performed a little trot which appealed to the social dance teachers in New York and thus the Foxtrot was born. It has gone through many changes since that time, and is now comprised of more soft and fluid linear movements.

Viennese Waltz

The Viennese Waltz is a fast Waltz which originated in Austria. Joseph Lanner and Johann Strauss wrote the first waltzes in the early 19th century. In the middle of the 20th century, the German, Paul Krebs choreographed the Viennese Waltz style to which we dance today. The dance enjoyed a great deal of popularity not only in Europe, but also in America, and has been used in many Hollywood productions.

Quickstep

As the name implies, the Quickstep is a very quick and lively dance, comprised of hops, skips and kicks. The dance began as a quick version of Foxtrot mixed with the Charleston, and musical “Jazz” influences.

Other Popular Social Dances 

Argentine Tango

The Argentine Tango is a beautiful, improvisational social dance that has developed over the last century in the City of Buenos Aires. It is a true dance of leading and following. Many find Argentine Tango quite challenging, commanding an advanced knowledge of dance skills for partner dancing. Argentine Tango, with it’s dramatic character and use of leg and foot actions, uses slower music and progresses counter clockwise in the line of dance.

Night Club Two-Step

Night Club Two- Step, not to be confused with country two-step, is one of the most practical and versatile social dances ever conceived. It is designed to be used with contemporary soft rock (“Love Song”) music. This type of music is common just about everywhere, nightclubs, radio, etc. The rhythm of the dance is very simple and rarely changes from the 1 & 2 count. This simple romantic dance fills a gap where no other ballroom dance fits. It gives the dancer, either beginning or advanced, the opportunity to express and create without a rigid technique being required. It’s attractive, romantic, and a real asset to learn since it will be used often.

Salsa

The word Salsa means sauce, denoting a “hot” flavor, and is best distinguished from other Latin music styles by defining it as the New York sound developed by Puerto Rican musicians in New York. The dance structure is largely associated with mambo type patterns and has a particular feeling that is associated mainly with the Clave and the Montuno.

Hustle

The Hustle (Disco) is a member of the Swing family, and is like the West Coast Swing in pattern. It has a distinct flavor, utilizing Disco style music & revived partner style among nightclub dancers in the 70’s. Hustle is danced to the contemporary pop dance music of the last 20 years. It is a fast, smooth dance, with the lady spinning almost constantly, while her partner draws her close and sends her away.

Country Western

Country Western encompasses many dance forms or styles, which are typically danced to country-western music, and which are stylistically associated with American country and/or western traditions.

GET YOUR FREE TRIAL to #dancevisionondemand NOW

Now that you are aware of the differences, no matter if you prefer American or International style you can try them all on Dance Vision on Demand! It’s the perfect time to try our 30 day FREE TRIAL and learn from the comfort of your own home or anywhere on the go with our Dance Vision on Demand app!

How To Share The Beauty of Dancing And Inspire The Audience

I am as mesmerized with this couple on and off the floor. 

Victor and Anastasia are extremely popular with audiences. They engage with the audience and their love of people really shines through when they perform. 

The generosity of these Dance Stars is evident in that they took the time for this Dance Teachers Academy Podcast after touring 6 cities in 10 days, flying from Japan and instructing at The Congress which was a part of The 30th Anniversary Emerald Ball!

V. Fung & A. Muravyeva teaching at the 2019 United States Congress.
“Musicality through Body Motion” with V. Fung & A. Muravyeva
2019 United States Dance Congress

The conversation starts with Victor expressing that one should have passion for what you do, whatever you do. His passion is dancing which he views as an art form with a sport element. 

He discusses how his mindset has changed from wanting to beat everyone and be number one to sharing his art form.

The discussion is so interesting also as Victor and Anastasia explain how they have taken the point of leading and following out of their dancing.

Rather their partnership is more of a conversation. That they are dancing together at the same time and expressing themselves. They meet in the dance, and meet in the motion, both partners capable of doing their own part and maintaining their best individuality. Anastasia feels she has learned the most from experiencing this type of dancing with Victor.

Victor and Anastasia share this concept with dancers they coach, some of those dancers being their fellow competitors! They help their students identify what they are good at and help them to create that as their signature. Also, Victor and Anastasia explain the competition floor should be instinct through practice. And that teachers should always be encouraging.

We go deep into mindset on this interview with their 

  • “No limitations”attitude. 
  • What you think is what you project. -Your mind decides how your body is going to react.
  • Dancing can be a cure for many things. 
  • How we touch creates different energy and how touch is so important! A simple touch brings so much happiness to our partners ( Anastasia wrote an article about this.)

In speaking with these two, the depth of their dancing is so intimate. 

Enjoy this terrific interview!

Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova Retire in Blackpool

Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova have been the World Professional Ballroom Champions for a stunning 10 years straight and have won the British Open title 8 times. During Blackpool 2019, Arunas and Katusha announced their retirement from competitive Ballroom.

You can learn from these iconic champions in Dance Vision’s Technique Library!

HOW DANCING CAN REVERSE THE SIGNS OF AGING

Josie Lee & Francesco Bertini .

What are your thoughts on the idea of how dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain? We came across this incredible article on Medicalxpress and truly believe in this 110%!

As we grow older we suffer a decline in mental and physical fitness, which can be made worse by conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. A new study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and dancing has the most profound effect.

Read more HERE!

We all know the benefits of physical activity for any age so what better way to reverse the signs of aging by doing an activity you love! Start or enhance your dance journey with Dance Vision!

How A Song Can Inspire A Dance Masterpiece

While competing at the 30th Anniversary of the Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships, Felipe Telona, Jr sat down with Jose & Aimee of Dance Teachers Academy. Felipe speaks honestly about the challenges of partnership dancing and how to avoid “The Captain Kirk Effect” on the dance floor. They also discuss filming instructional videos for Dance Vision where he and Carolina discuss creating energy.

When asked what’s his favorite dance, he doesn’t have a response because music is what inspires him. While watching the musical act on an episode of Saturday Night Live, Felipe heard a powerful song called “Goodbye My Lover” by James Blunt. It was this song that inspired him to create an artistic and moving dance number with Carolina Orlovsky. It begins with him getting shot to death and his spirit returning. floor 


“When you have that song that you play and all the sudden you just feel it, you become one with…Boom! That’s it. Magic time. “

Updates to the American Smooth Elements for Closed Syllabus events at NDCA recognized Events.

Benefits of Investing in Proper Dance Flooring

Investing in a dance/theatrical flooring system is an important part of a dance studio for the safety of dancers. The flooring system allows for the instructor and students to perform and practice safely. The subfloor and floor surface are crucial parts of the displacement of energy.

A study was designed and conducted in 1988 by Ducker Research Co., Inc., of Birmingham, Michigan, amidst growing confusion and concern about sports injuries and their relationships to different types of indoor sports surfaces. This study was conducted to analyze the incidence of floor-related injuries on maple sports flooring and synthetic sports flooring. 

Conclusions from the Incidence of Injury Study were:

— A total of 967 sports floor-related injuries were
reported, of which 37% were attributed to maple flooring
and the remaining 63% to synthetic flooring. Based
upon these findings, there is a 70% higher incidence of
floor-related injuries on synthetic sports flooring.
— The average number of floor-related
injuries per case study on maple flooring is
7 per year, while on synthetic flooring the
average number is 12 injuries per year.
— Based upon 50 case studies, more floor-related
injuries occur during basketball than during any
other type of activity. This includes both competition
and practice.
— The attitudes reflected in the comments of some
respondents support the finding that more floor-related
injuries occur on synthetic than on maple floors:

“The higher injury count on synthetic flooring
is due to the lack of absorption. When players
are suffering from aching feet and knees, they
practice on wood for a few days. This helps to
alleviate the problem.”
— Athletic Trainer
College/University

By investing in proper dance flooring, you will be able to protect dancers from injury, fatigue, soreness and their overall health and well being. If you are in the market for new dance flooring, Dance Vision’s DanceFlex Hardwood Floors offers the most practical and economical flooring available. Your body will feel the difference!

Removable: DanceFlex is 100% floating and removable! If you move, you can lift the floor and take your investment with you! The one of a kind, clip and groove system, means there are no nails. The clips are totally invisible when fitted to the back of the boards. This floor can be installed directly over practically any level sub-floor.

Maintenance: DanceFlex is pre-finished, easy to clean, keep clean and requires very little maintenance. A dry dust mop daily and damp mopping every two weeks are all that is required to maintain the beauty and performance of the DanceFlex floor. The factory-applied polyurethane finish seals to the hardwood for superior durability and provides a hygienically safe traction coating which will not support the growth of bacteria or mildew.

Installation: The DanceFlex clip system is the easiest system to assemble. While many owners install the floor themselves, some do hire a contractor to do the installation. Our floor comes completely pre-finished, a typical installation takes less than two days with no fumes or odors to disrupt the operation of your facility. The floor is available for use immediately after the installation.