Champions of the Dance Floor Contest Review Back

Mar 9, 2014

By Tracey Bivens

"You better tell the truth Tracey. Don't get on the internet lying about that contest!” was the last thing said to me as I entered my car that evening to go home. "I won't!” I responded back.

 

Versatile Productions of Detroit, Michigan presented there 2nd Annual Champions of the Dance Floor competition Saturday night at Andiamo's restaurant in Warren, Michigan. The weather was cold but close to 900 curious seekers came to check out the Walking, Graystone, Ballroom and Steppin categories.

 

There are not enough words to embrace the hospitality of Harvey Dobbs and Versatile Productions as they join the ranks of contest promoters and dance set providers on the Detroit dance scene. Customer service, asking for input, following up on details and practicing humility are mainstays with this organization.

 

I do not believe any attendee of this function will say that they were purposely inconvenienced in any way by the organization. Of the few snafous that Dobbs and company could address i.e. room temperature, clearing people from blocking the cameras, etc. I saw every attempt to try and please all those who were in Andiamo's Saturday night.

 

Now for a short list of You Might Want to Consider

• Versatile Productions may want to consider having a large scale dance contest at a venue like Burton Manor. Every seat is a good one for viewing contestants, the food is okay, parking is free and it has a dance floor that allows for powder if needed without stipulations. Also, the lobby can accommodate multiple vendors.

• Versatile Productions may want to consider using a projector that allows for the judges of their contests to use "clickers.” Clickers will show instant scoring after contestants compete. (I will expound upon this later).

• Versatile Productions might want to consider having two walking contestants perform at a time as opposed to one. Too much slow music brings down the mood of the crowd unnecessarily.

• Versatile Productions might want to consider enlisting the assistance of local celebrities, radio station promoters and other sponsors to help offset some overhead costs. Contest entrance fees, the so so food, and expensive drinks were kind of taxing as some discussed amongst themselves.

 

Highlight of the Evening

There is something infectious about the Pharrell song "Happy” that had the WHOLE ballroom on their feet smiling, laughing, jerking and hand clapping during a break in the competition.

 

Courageous Performer of the Evening Award

Sherry Gordon who danced in heels on a well-publicized foot injury, that she is battling on a daily basis.

 

Okay here it comes...that Ballroom Dance Category

Contests are supposed to be displays of talent that extends beyond the basic skill set. The ballroom category in comparison to the other categories gave us skits, stunts, mini music mixes and basic skills display. There was much disappointment in this category because the new and creative skill set in Detroit Style Ballrooming was clearly not displayed Saturday evening. The category should have been called the "So You Think You Can Dance” I saw Salsa, Tango, Cha Cha, Hip Hop, etc. I also felt as though I was watching old footage of Demetrius Jones, Bobby Williams and Kevin Collins routines and mannerisms that THEY made famous. There are too many You Tube videos to reference of other dance genres to be using other people's "stuff” to death that most of us have seen for years.

 

This brings me to my next point. Everybody is not contest ready who possesses a skill set of basic dance abilities. I saw people "choking”, counting out loud, missing steps...I was embarrassed. When it comes to contests, especially for men, you have got to do more than plant your feet and "direct traffic.” Contests in Detroit back in the 80s and 90s had men executing different dance patterns. Kevin Collins made sure to be Kevin Collins and not look like Al Butch McClendon. It was insulting for someone to say you "danced” like somebody else back then. Contest time would come and women like Tonya Johnson would pick up one foot and be led into a series of spins on the other while being "drilled” into a sit spin only to come right back up after about 15 revolutions. That's skill. Sherry Gordon would spin like a top and allow herself to be flung in the air and make it look easy landing in Demetrius Jones' arms. Where are the creative juices and skill in 2014? You may say, "Aww Tracey..don't be hard on them. They are trying.” Hey...all I'm saying is if it ain't ready to come out the oven...it's okay to put it back in to finish cooking. All I'm saying is stop pressuring people to get in contests who are not ready.

 

Musicality

I don't know what it was this year but there was some music being played in the Walkin and Steppin categories that had people scratching their heads. Future contestants...if your music is NOT familiar to your audience...they are not going to understand or appreciate your dance.

Bobby Green as the host for the evening, alongside DJs Rockin Rodney Mack and Michael "Sandman” Sandelin, was the kind of no holds barred no nonsense guy who kept the evening moving with his brash humor and adherence to his strict time guidelines.

 

The Winners

Walkin

1st Place-Drew Alexander and Trina Perryman

2nd Place-Ed Donaldson and Sherry Gordon

3rd Place-Feo Duncan and Candace Hinton

 

Graystone

1st Place-Drew Alexander and Ann? (not Hunter)

2nd Place-Ed Donaldson and Sherry Gordon

3rd Place-Anthony and Lillian

 

Ballroom (sorry...all names are being phonetically spelled for now)

1st Place-Corn and Lauren

2nd Place-Norma and Sherrod

3rd Place-Londale and Eric

 

Steppin

1st Place-Drew Alexander and Trina Perryman

2nd Place-Maurice Thomas and Ann Hunter

3rd Place-Feo Duncan and Candace Hinton

 

There was booing as the Steppin category results were read (isn't there always?) There will be talk for the next two weeks as to how Maurice and Ann received standing ovations and thunderous cheering by the audience after their performance yet came in second. Before I could get to my car, the conspiracy theories ranged from "Drew and Trina used to be in Versatile Productions and that's why they won so much” and "THEY wanted Drew to sweep everything this year so he won't have to compete next year.”

 

All I can say about that is...controversial contest results never change.

 

Versatile Productions has received the torch to carry on the legacy of organizations that are now gone. There are no dance organizations in Detroit today that boasts the number of young people that they attract. They have the respect of pioneers and neophytes on the scene and they also have love of all the dances. At the end of the evening...Versatile Productions really are the ones that came in first place!