Ghetto Child _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byThe Detroit Spinnersand reaching number 7 in the UK charts _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date11/10/1973Duration of dance - 2.33 mins _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Babs, Cherry, Dee Dee, Louise, Ruth _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
The history of The Spinners, as they are called in their homeland, goes all the way back to 1961 when they first hit the US Top 40 with a track called "That's What Girls Are Made For". Even though they continued to release singles during the 1960's, they only managed one other Top 40 entry until 1970, when a Stevie Wonder composition called "It's A Shame" on Motown Records put them back on the map, even making it to No. 20 in the UK. However, their name had to be changed to "Motown Spinners", as there already existed a folk group called The Spinners in Britain.
In 1972 The Spinners switched labels and signed to Atlantic Records. With the help of famous producer and songwriter Thom Bell, their eponymous debut for Atlantic became a smashing success with four singles charting in the US Top 40. The first one was "I'll Be Around" which peaked at No. 3 in the US but missed the UK charts. The second, "Could It Be I’m Falling In Love", was also well-received in the UK where they were now called the "Detroit Spinners". But it was the fourth and last single from their debut album, a tune called "Ghetto Child", which earned them their first UK Top 10 hit.
The Detroit Spinners belong to the rather exclusive list of artists whose records have been danced to by all three of our troupes (a few others are David Bowie, Diana Ross and The Stylistics), which proves that they enjoyed enduring success and popularity in the 70's and early 80's. Of course their biggest success in the UK was the "Working My Way Back To You/Forgive Me Girl" medley in early 1980 which Legs & Co. performed to.
Pan's People danced to "Ghetto Child" on the TOTP show from 11/10/1973, which is unique because it is the only episode hosted by Kenny Everett that still exists (apart from the 31/12/1988 edition which he co-hosted). Though the broadcast version was wiped, the BBC has kept the unedited original in its archives (including a few mishaps and restarts). On occasion of 2012's Kenny Everett evening on BBC4, a special 30 minute version of this show was created, which included the routine for "Ghetto Child", enabling the public to watch this performance for the first time since its original broadcast.
"Ghetto Child" is highly regarded by fans of classic Pan's People. The setting might be very modest, but the girls look just breathtaking in their red suits. The routine features a balanced mixture of Pan's trade-mark synchronous dancing and haunting solos by each of our favourites. Besides, it's become famous for its extensive rear shots (as seen above!).
When I saw this performance for the first time last year, I was instantly hooked. The routine has an almost mesmerizing effect on me and I can't quite explain why. Probably it's the combination of simplicity and beauty which Flick managed to create so perfectly here. The BBC4 showing was definitely one of the highlights of 2012 for me!
This is the only classic Pan's People offering in this month's special, and I wonder how it will perform compared to our forum favourites from the latter Pan's years. I do hope this will gain a few high marks but as always all I'm asking for are your honest opinions. My own rating is not a surprise:
10 / 10
As Dancer of the Day, Louise just pips Ruth here.
You are a genie
And all I ask for is your smile
Each time I rub the lamp
This Dance appeals to me too and I think it comes down to the lovely deep red outfits and the use of light and shadow here, which really seems to resonate with the plaintive tone of the song. I do like the song too and this helps but it's really the ladies in red who carry this performance and I think the back views really work too. As for DotD I am going for Cherry, who looks perfect with her voluminous dark locks but I concede I could have awarded it to any one of the other ladies if Cherry was not so good at hypnosis and I was not such a helpless sap. The score is 9/10 and no clumsy fractions from this punter
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Vin you are spoiling us - and I'm struggling to sum it up differently to you. I absolutely love this one and it could easily be my favourite of all time if I did not prefer faster dances- I had seen it before the bbc4 showing but I lobbied everyone in the office and friends to watch the episode just for this and it got great feedback from non pans fans
I love :
the dark red suits- sexy but covered up
shadows on the wall- perfection
forward facing single file line with solos to one side
a slow song not particularly dancy is transformed
the song and the meaning and theme of the lyrics
a great why I love Pans routine
camera work and lighting
Dislikes - nothing
dotd Babs although she isn't better than the others here it just would not work for me with 5 dark haired dancers
a desert island ten (higher than a normal ten)
Im not really a fan of the song, but im very much a fan of those snug fitting `in all the right places` red trouser suits. I agree that those shots were the ladies are gyrating there perfect figures with there backs to us are very alluring and maybe they require a second or third viewing. Excellent use of lighting and the shadow effects, infact the choreography in this is very well thought out. For my DOTD, i will select `Cherry.
Im tempted to throw you an oddball score rating Vin just to see what you do.
I can't think how to sum this up differently to BB, namely that it's to sum up differently from VV - as well as BB's list of likes.
But just to repeat, this just goes to show how well a slowey can translate into a really nice dance. The lines and formations, and the standing-back to let the solos take place are perfect.
Louise's smile at 1'39" is just wonderful. Ruthie is lovely and Dee Dee is divine throughout.
I like Ryan's suggestion that the rear shots 'require a second or third viewing' hehe - I'd suggest a few more than that!
Also, the fact they've all got similar length hair works well with the rear shots too.
9/10 and Babs for DotD, as her glowing blond hair just stands out so well.
The costumes are very nice and the different use of the lighting works well as does the dance as a whole. However, the song isn't for me and it is probably largely for that reason that this doesn't really wow me.
It's Dominated by arm-waving, I guess that, this a dance routine that audiences can join in with, as they watch the professional dancers at work, & n case you miss anything, there looks like a wall projector screen that their arm shadows appear upon.
The red pants-suits look rather curious, & of course, featuring the mandatory flares, befitting of the time period, at times it looks like a catwalk parade, as the ladies take turns to give us a twirl, as they sashay along the stage.
Props are once again out of usage, but that doesn't really matter, for what we have is an enjoyable performance, despite a bit of quirkiness.
This is a delightfully inventive routine. I love the transition from the troupe line to the solo parts, the shadow scenes are nicely executed and add to the tone of the song. And the costumes too! Just a pure delight.
DotD: Was going to be Ruth, but that smile by Louise at the start of her solo steals it.
Detroit Spinners giving us chapter and verse on the harsh realities of being a Ghetto Child and Pans People certainly spin their way through the track. But I liked how they paced the routine, which seemed to go well with the harmonies and the outfits, well they were something else. 8/10, Dotd Cherry
Perhaps the first review of the New Year? This is a wonderful piece to a song I'm fond of because as I've said before on here, I quoted from the lyrics in my uni entrance exam - and they still let me in! The low lighting and then the shadow effects are a wonderful contrast, and there's nothing like it in any of the other dances. Pans at their very best. Unsurprisingly 10/10 and I'm not going to name a favourite dancer because they're all wonderful!
I find this a palatable soul number. It's a pleasant tune despite the theme of social injustice. The routine left me cold when I saw it on 'Kenny Everett Night,' and thinking how much I prefer Legs & Co. I do appreciate it more now though, it worked well as an experiment. I can't say I like the flared trouser suits that were so in vogue. In the totally bare and dark set the uniform crimson provides warmth rather than sexiness or vibrancy. It has a wintry feel to me, it took place during the dark evenings and the shadows give it a certain chilliness. They have no connection with the song, that I can discern, but somehow it does all go together well. I've half a mind to speculate it was inspired by the power cuts with shadow play in front of candles and torches one of the few modes of amusement available some nights!
Excellent routine to a great song. The dresses probably look a bit dated now but I won't let that hold it back. Louise is my DOTD I just love her close up at 1.40, really a beautiful lady. routine an 8
Quality song and a good routine, the shadow bits didn't quite work for me, but that's a minor fault and I do like this one 9/10. Dotd: A fine performance by all the ladies but if I had to choose one I'd go for Louise.
The song is a pretty good one ,routine is good although the lighting and background do seem a bit dismall ,although im sure it was meant to be because of the ladies shadows ,anyway a 8.5 from me please vin
A fairly sedate routine this one. I like each of the ladies getting a short solo piece of "expression" to a part of the song, then the dancers all merge in a line and this pattern is repeated until we hit the chorus. During the chorus the dimley lit set is then illuminated from below thus projecting large shadows onto the back wall, nothing inkeeping with the song but a nice touch all the same. The red outfits are unusual but add a touch of colour to an otherwise minimal visual.
I like the song and the routine stands out enough to make it a 9/10
DOTD is pretty hard to choose so i'll go with Ruth
I find the song quite bland and unfortunately that does impact a little on how I view the dance as well.
We have some formation dancing interspersed with a few solos and it is all quite nice but nothing that was going to extend dancers of this quality too much. The use of shadows works okay, but this isn't anywhere near my favourite Pans routines so I will only be giving 7.5 out of 10.
DOTD for a routine like this is difficult, with everyone wearing the same thing and largely doing the same thing, but Ruth seems to catch my eye the most.
Some interesting ideas in this one which display why Flick was the master at coming up quickly with choreography that utilised the medium of television and the camera so well. A line of dancers viewed end on and as the line moves across the screen so a soloist is revealed as the vocalist changes. Then for the chorus we have a shadow-play of out-stretched arms as if grasping for hope amidst the darkness of the ghetto, after which Louise gets her moment starting with a lovely close-up shot.
On the surface it all seems simple but in fact the choreography is rather complex and therefore despite the fact I am not keen myself on the costumes worn (they obviously fit the bill as far as silhouettes are concerned) I find I must at least give this one 8/10. DotD Louise.