Heelwork to Music in the UK

Christmas fun show Kings Somborne -7 december 2014.

Head Judge Jan Debnam


In general terms the routines in Dances with Dogs were rather disappointing. For the most part the handlers were not dancing – some not even walking in time to the music - while some handlers danced, but their dogs were not doing their part. The rounds in which the there was a recognisable dance on the part of the handler, and the dog was working to a reasonable standard, were rare.

In addition, the class is called “Dances with Dogs”. If I am dancing with someone I expect to co-ordinate my moves with theirs and for us to show a degree of partnership and synchronicity. Very few of the rounds gave any impression of a partnership dancing together.


1st -Ali Hayes and Ragus Double o Seven (Norwich Terrier). Score 20.05.

One of the few round with both handler and dog dancing – well done!! Consequently this was an interesting and enjoyable round to watch. I think Ali moves up into Novice now, and deservedly so. Ali has obviously done a lot of work to make sure her dog partner works independently, allowing Ali to choreograph and use her arms well. A good variety of footstep and arm movements, with synchronicity of moves between handler and dog. Good use of space.

2nd - Donna Wallington and Pippie Squeak (Lakeland Terrier) Score 18.25.

One of the rounds where the handler was doing most of the work. Pip did enough to keep the dance alive, but the overall performance was prejudiced by the need to give large hand signals that were not in the character of the tango. Good tango though!

3rd. June Selway and Honey Bee Buzz (Cross Breed) Score 13.95 and 4 Ralphie Russell (Crossbreed) Score 12.20.

No dance at all on the part of the handler in either of these rounds, which was a shame. Honey was more up for the performance on this day, hence the higher mark. The moves from both dogs need to be more developed and less dependent on hand signals, freeing June up to do her part.


1st. Jackie Field and Atastar Fairy Tale (Standard Poodle) Score 17.5

A fun round, giving a strong nod to a certain striptease. Jackie was making a good attempt to dance, but was dropping out of character from time to time as her canine partner’s focus drifted. A good fun concept to watch.

2nd. Jackie Field and Caragcennens Sir William (Miniature Poodle) Score 17.4

The character of the dance is less well defined in this round than in Jackie’s other routine, which cost her marks under musical interpretation. The prop was not well integrated into the dance and consequently did not assist the overall impression. Again Jackie was doing her best to dance and had evidently thought about her choreography as well as that of the dog.

3rd. Barbara Bigg and Catcombe Crystal Connor (Golden Retriever) Score 16.6.

Barbara gave us a very recognisable tango – well done! On this occasion Connor was a bit flat and not really committed to a performance. The choreography includes a good level of synchronicity in a really good concept. But I wonder if the pacing is wrong for Connor, who may do better with a more flowing style with more movement.


1st. Cathy Bates and Ruskath Lyrical Image (WSD) Score 22.05

Some good ideas for synchronised moves. Cathy does a convincing Macarena and uses the available space well. Sybil was responsive throughout. I would like to see them dance together more, rather than apart.

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