BBC Video // 2006 // 87 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // May 31st, 2007
Ok get ready to dance and lose yourself in all the glitz and glamour of my
-- Len Goodman
He's the head judge for Dancing With the Stars in America and well known as a British dance instructor and champion. On ABC he is the ringleader of the three member judging panel, often saying things that are harsh to the contestants (though never as outrageous as Italian judge Bruno). Len Goodman is certainly the man I would want to take ballroom dancing lessons from, and now thanks to Dance with Len Goodman I get a taste of what that would be like. This show was originally produced by the BBC in 2006, and features simple basic steps for the Quickstep, the Cha Cha Cha, the Tango, the Rumba, the Waltz, the Samba, the Foxtrot, and the Jive.
This is a slick production, shot on a ballroom set probably used for the BBC version of Dancing with the Stars. Each of the eight dances has its own section, and you can either watch all of them one after the other or chose a specific routine. Len describes the attitude of each dance, and has two professional dancers show the basic footwork and hold. There is a concentration on the men's steps when he covers the foot sequence, and Goodman merely says "Ladies you do the natural opposite." For a true beginner this may prove slightly frustrating, but the nice thing about DVD is you can pause and repeat. He shows a couple of variations, but mainly keeps things to basic elements. After the instruction the two dancers perform the dance more elaborately in a full execution on the ballroom set. Len Goodman is known as the Simon Cowell of Dancing with the Stars, but here he's a sweet natured instructor offering tons of encouragement. He's fun and engaging to listen to, and his passion for the art of ballroom dancing comes across nicely. I could see this disc being of particular interest to fans of Dancing with the Stars, because it gives you hints on what to look for in each dance as you watch that show. Advanced dancers will find this all far too basic and stripped down, but at least there are elaborate examples to view which might prove more engaging for the true dancer.
Technically the DVD is as basic as the dance instruction. It's presented in a clear anamorphic widescreen with a simple stereo mix. Colors are clear, and everything looks nice without too many digital errors to distract from the program. The entire lesson runs eighty-seven minutes, and the only extras are some audio tracks to provide music for practice. It's interesting to note this is a one man show, and the dancers never speak about what they are doing. Dances are shot well, although the moody lighting makes them harder to see once the dancers are giving examples.
All in all this is a pleasant dance introduction disc, and Dance with Len Goodman should be something Dancing with the Stars fans should seek out for more information about each dance showcased on that series. It's a chance to see Len Goodman doing what he does best, and he makes a great host even if the dance lessons move too quickly to really help out the novice. BBC Video gives us a nice solid presentation, and nice to have this title finally available in America. Don't expect to see any regulars from the ABC show other than Goodman. All the dancers are ones I have not seen before, and the sole focus is on Len. He lectures, but never puts on his own dancing shoes. I'd love to see that, but I guess we'll have to wait for a sequel to see Goodman take the floor and show us what a dancing star really looks like. The presentation is good, the leg work is a little hard to follow, and the attitude is sweet and encouraging. I give Len an "8"!
Review content copyright © 2007 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: BBC Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* 8 Audio Dance Tracks
* ABC's Official [i]Dancing With the Stars[/i] Site