Well! This has probably been one of the toughest ever competitions to judge and vote for! Every team that entered performed so wonderfully and were all so deserving for different reasons…how is it ever possible to choose??
Our judges have been working hard all weekend to score all the routines out of 10…it was a tough job! Unlike some other dog sports, ‘doggie dancing’ (or Canine Freestyle, to give its proper name), isn’t just about finding the fastest doggie or the doggie who can stay still the longest or who can walk in exactly a certain position…and you might think it’s just picking the doggie who can do the best tricks and the slickest moves - but this isn’t a Tricks Contest, either!
No, Freestyle really celebrates the partnership between a doggie and their human. So it’s not just about doggies doing fancy stuff by themselves – it’s about the doggie & human moving together. But not just like perfect robot machines either! – they have to show a bond between them and a sense of creative teamwork. And although it’s called “dancing”, it’s not really about the human doing fancy dance steps – it’s more about the doggie and human mirroring each other, moving together ‘as one’. (A quiet, simple routine where the doggie & human really move together, with feeling, can be just as, if not more beautiful to watch, as a complicated routine, jam-packed with tricks but with the human just marching stiffly around, directing their doggie. One of our favourite routines which showed this beautifully was Kirby dancing to ‘It’s A Wonderful World’, with his human – the ending almost made Hsin-Yi cry!)
And of course, on top of all this, there has to be a sense of FUN – so that the doggie & human have to look like they’re enjoying themselves! Again, in no other dog sport are you judged on “how much fun you’re having” but in Freestyle competitions, you actually get points for this! Also, unlike other dog sports where beginners can often start on leash, in Freestyle, doggies & humans are only attached by the invisible leash between their hearts – so they can wander off anytime and it is only their great bond that keeps them together…
…and then you have to bring all these things together in just 1 ~ 2 minutes!!
When you think about all these points, it is a pretty amazing feat what all our dance teams have accomplished. Although my contest was really “just for fun” – our teams have still had to meet all these challenges…it was certainly not an easy job! So you should all be incredibly proud of yourselves.
In fact, one of our judges actually IS an official Canine Freestyle judge for real trials & competitions in the state of Victoria, Australia – and she was very impressed by all the DWTDS dance teams. She said: “I think all the competitors have made a magnificent effort and congratulate them on their courage to enter the competition and to enter with breeds that are difficult to train and motivate. All looked like they were having fun and that is what it’s all about!”
Now, before I announce the winners, I must say thank you again to our wonderful prize sponsors for their support & their generosity - Superstudio Pop Art Pet Portraits, Kyra Sundance & the Sundance Dog Team, Around A Hound Collars and Designer Duds for Dogs.
- and also a big thank you to my blog friends, Jed & Abby from Merryland, who have generously sponsored Mirror Ball Trophies for all the winners!
…the judges have made their decision…
…announcing the Dancing with the Doggie Stars - Grand Champion for 2011:
Prana the Dachshund!
And here, for you to enjoy again, is Prana the Dachshund & her human performing their winning routine, to Lowrider :
(talk about having fun! I thought Prana’s tail was going to wag right off! )
Our judges have also very kindly spent time providing comments for each & every team -
- Mango the Mastiff - Unexpected music for a big dog – but it worked well / Great choice of music, the bigger dogs move slower so this music makes them graceful. Thanks for making us laugh too / I love the costume and the choice of music, which suited Mango well
- Dexter the Labrador - Some lovely heeling & fast catchy music / Another fantastic choice of music to show off Dexters enthusiastic jumping / Dexter is very attentive and animated.
- Penny the Mix-Breed - Some nice moves in this – very nice bow at the end / Love the spin into the leg pull through move / Penny has some advanced moves, which were executed wonderfully. I love the pair bandanas that Penny and her human are wearing
- Lassiter Chase the Sheltie - Good use of matching the words of the song to the moves – loved the disco ball / Lassiter shows a lot of focus / I can see wonderful relationship between Lassiter Chase and his human. Also, the props are very original
- Kasha the Great Dane - Some creative use of the furniture / What does Mama mean you guys don’t dance? Love the creative use of the chair to give height advantage / Very elegant!
- Beryl the Greyhound - Nice costumes / Love the costume, and Beryl – love your bows. / I love the way Beryl’s human talks to her! Also, the bow move was nice
- Frankie the Pig-Dog - Love the way he drops / Such an enthusiastic dog with some natural talent. I think you should take things further with him. / The way Frankie lies down is so charming!
- Christmas, Happy, Pinky & Jingle-Bell the Mini-Schnauzers - Good ending / Impressed that the dogs calmly wait till their name is called. Good jumping up on the back move at the end / It’s amazing that their human controls all four dogs well and lets them dance in turn peacefully! There were some very cute moves too.
- Tucker the Great Dane - Nice kicks / Hehe, another “high leg weaver” from the Honey School of Dance. Love the “Bang you’re dead” move. / I love that popping and barking move!!
- Oreo the Sheltie - Lovely leg weaving / Those reverse leg weaves are advanced. Nice. / Those moves were in nice tempo and matched the music!
- Tucker the Service Dane - A lovely compliment to Catherine’s dancing / What a gentle beautiful dog. Absolutely love the slow foot over the foot move which is a good visual with a large dog / That is a lovely costume Catherine is wearing. Also, I can see that Tucker always supports her by being with her
- Nala the Italian Greyhound - Nice circle work / An enthusiastic wee dog that quite obviously loves doing this / Nala’s moves were so quick that I sometimes missed where she was
- Lexi the Great Dane - Nice backing at the side / Very cool routine, (we hope to see you live!) / Yes, I can see Lexi enjoyed it a lot! Those pearl necklaces are so elegant.
- Ludo the Sheltie - Good matching of music – liked the flower prop / Lots of hard tricks in here / Can I steal that roll-over move with your human spinning?
- Prana the Dachshund - Great routine / A cool routine for a cool wee dog. Awesome side to heels for a long dog too. / This is a wonderful, well choreographed routine!!
- Megan-Joy the Golden Retriever - This dog is having fun / Lovely to see the enjoyment Megan-Joy gets from doing this / Eight takes!? That’s amazing! I definitely encourage you to keep on doing dancing
- Griffen the Dogue the Bordeaux - Nice marching / Good match of actions to words and right on time / The music matches the speed of Griffen’s moves. I love his human’s costume too.
- Lance the Corgi - Great tricks / Clever routine and good choice of moves for Lance / Lance can do so many advanced moves! Very impressive!
- Lacey the Great Dane - Nice use of box / Getting a pat on the bum isn’t as easy as you make it look :-) We know, we have tried. / This is awesome!! Lacey has a lot of potential to be a great dancer like Honey!!
- Hauwii the Small Musterlander - Liked his leaps / Yep jumping moves are Hau’is trademark / Those jumping moves are cool! Yes, the music matches well with Hauwii.
- El’bow the Mastiff - Very funny to watch / A roaring success, this made us laugh so much / Oh, it was so much fun! I love El’bow’s humans moves – very unique!! Also, El’bow was eager to dance throughout the routine, even though his humans says he is lazy!
- Shiva the Mix-Breed - Some great tricks in this routine / Impressive “on the spot” high jumps. / I think Shiva’s human is a great dancer. I am impressed how high Shiva can jump!
- Barbie the Greyhound - Liked her crawl / We think this was still awesome attention after 7 takes / I couldn’t help watching Barbie’s eyes
- Lucille the Great Dane - Liked the ending / Good timing on the paw moves at 1.01, better to make them slow and exaggerate them for visual effect / Lucille’s paws are huge!! I had to sympathise with her having had to stop dancing while she was picking up dropped food.
- Jackal the Beagle-Cross - Good use of props / We were holding our breath for the final salute / The choreography is very original. I have never seen a doggie dancing like this. Jackal looks like a real soldier!
- Kirby the Mix-Breed - Lovely interaction between handler and dog / Beautiful interpretation of the music and loved the pauses for dramatic effect / I didn’t know a small dog like Kirby can dance gracefully like this!
- Emma the Great Dane - Lovely choice of music – can really see the bond between them / This touched our hearts, Emma’s obviously no way ready to retire yet / Emma, you don’t look like a 13 year old Dane!
- Bella the Mix-Breed - This dog enjoys her dancing / Bella is so focused and obviously loves doing this /
like the move Bella’s mom moves her body from one side to another while Bella moves her head in the same way.
- Pepper the Kelpie-Cross - Lovely routine / All the tricks fit the theme beautifully and Mum danced nearly as well as Pepper. / It was unfortunate that the space was too small to show off Pepper’s tricks. Both Pepper and her human were cheerful throughout the routine, which was nice
- Luna the Mix-Breed - Good use of the umbrella / Luna obviously likes that 2 paws up High five move / Luna and her human are really brave! Literally dancing in the rain!!
- Lincoln the Great Dane - liked the human dressed in black – they complimented each other /watching the “how we made it” shows just how far you have come / I enjoyed the behind-the-scene part! I could see that so much effort had been put into this routine
…we have the Viewers’ Choice Award!
Thank you to all the people who voted for their favourite team - we had over 100 votes (!) and every pup got votes, so you have certainly been keeping us busy in the last few days!
Especially as you know Hsin-Yi’s Maths is just terrible (she doesn’t even count her change in shops because she is too embarrassed by how long it takes her to work it out!) - Hah! I think it serves her right for saying rude things about my 3 brain cells – when it comes to Maths, she’s probably only got 1 working brain cell!!
So Hsin-Yi has been getting dizzy from counting up and adding votes and checking everything twice to make sure she hadn’t counted it wrong! But even with Hsin-Yi’s rubbish Maths, it was soon easy to see that we had a clear winner – a doggie & their human that got more votes than anybody else as the favourite team…
…announcing the Dancing with the Doggie Stars - Viewers’ Choice
Prana the Dachshund (again!!)
Congratulations to Prana and her human for their awesome teamwork and wonderful routine!
But wait! We’re not finished yet!
I would also like to give the Best Costume Award to Jackal the Beagle-cross for his & his human’s matching costumes & props (which his human had built all by herself) in their amazing ”K9 Military’ theme routine – what a great effort!
And I would like to give the Best Use of Props Award to Pepper the Kelpie-Cross for her & her human’s wonderfully original, clever use of – er – “cleaning stuff” in their routine (even if Pepper did end up with a slightly unhealthy obsession with feather dusters! )
And now…I would also like to give a few other special awards. All the teams were amazing in their own ways and really all deserve an award! But there were a few teams who had to overcome some very special challenges and their dance routines are a wonderful achievement, ‘Against All Odds’…
Mango the Mastiff for heroically continuing to dance, even as he was fighting the Seizure Monster and then the horrible side-effects from his seizure medicines…
Megan-Joy the Golden Retriever for finding the courage to overcome her extreme fearfulness and the confidence to “get out there and shake her stuff”!
Tucker the Service Great Dane for being the best partner anyone could ask for and giving his human a new way to enjoy her beloved dancing…
…and last but not least, I would like to give the Terrific Teamwork Award to Christmas, Happy, Pinky & Jingle Bell, for being the only team in the whole contest to have FOUR doggies working together – if that doesn’t show ‘terrific teamwork’, I don’t know what does!
Could all the winners please email me your addresses so I can arrange your trophies & prizes?
But as I said, all the teams deserve an award so I will be sending a little something to each & every one of the teams who participated. So could EVERY TEAM please send me your postal address? My email is: bighoneydog (AT) gmail (DOT) com
* Hsin-Yi has disabled the “Right-Click” function on my blog (I’ll explain why in another post!) – so you won’t be able to save any of the images from this post – but if you’d like to have your award to put on your own blog, just let me know and I’ll email the image to you!
Thank you so much everybody – all our dance teams, our ‘spectator doggies’, our judges, our sponsors and everyone else who has helped to make my Dancing with the Doggie Stars contest such a success!!
I hope you have all enjoyed it as much as I have and had lots of fun!
And now, me & Hsin-Yi are going to do a bit of this…! Hee! Hee!
* I know we’re awfully, awfully behind with visiting blog friends (I think our Google Reader is on over 200!) and we will try our best to catch up as soon as we can but Hsin-Yi says her brain feels like mashed potato now and she needs to have a bit of a break from blogging & blogs in general - so we might not be around for a while. Hope you’ll understand!
My humans are also doing quite a lot of travelling these few weeks so they will be very busy and we won’t always be home (Hsin-Yi actually spent most of last weekend in airports & on Big Flying Machines, trying to get all the entries up & finish my DWTDS Finale post on her laptop machine, with poor internet connection and not able to get to photos or YouTube video links properly…plus she had a horrible fever & flu sickies and had to breathe through her mouth like a goldfish the whole weekend…oooh, major stressy!! So I’m sorry for all the delays! ) – so I hope you’ll bear with me if I can’t come to visit much or reply to messages very quickly!