Promised Land _________________________________________________________________________________
Performed byElvis Presleyand reaching number 9 in the UK charts _________________________________________________________________________________
Original broadcast date30/01/1975Duration of dance - 2.30 mins (app.) _________________________________________________________________________________
Dancers: Babs, Cherry, Ruth, Sue _________________________________________________________________________________
A link to the dance:
Pan's People must have had a special relationship to Elvis Presley records, as his "U.S. Male" was the first track they danced to as a sextet on 30/05/1968. But only three routines to Elvis' songs are known of, and this is the sole survivor. "Promised Land" was written by Chuck Berry - or to be precise, the lyrics were written by him, as the melody is that of an American folk song, "Wabash Cannonball" -, and Chuck had released his own version back in 1964. The song tells of a journey from Norfolk, Virginia, to Los Angeles, California (the "Promised Land"), mentioning various cities of the American Southeast along the way.
The Pan's People routine also takes us on a trip through various locations, which can be seen in the background while the girls are dancing on a stage. Dee Dee was still suffering from a viral disease (she would be back the following week), therefore only four dancers took part in this performance. It's quite an unusual routine with the background constantly depicting varying scenes of highways and cities. I like how the camera often focuses on just one or two dancers (sometimes their faces are superimposed on the background) which gives us the chance to see their facial expressions.
Things to watch out for:
- jackets with names on (seldom seen)
- the jet to the Promised Land
- Sue's hair (!)
The routine has been wiped but fortunately the PVL has a copy of it which is now available on the blog.
It's quite a fast, partially even frantic dance, which sometimes seems to lead to a loss of synchronization. Nevertheless, I really enjoy watching it because I think the dancers put on a good show. The close-ups are also very nice. I will award
This one is a fast-forwarded journey across the USA all right. The rapidly shifting background and music do give it a rather rushed feel but the ladies do great work keeping up with it all and I do love the close-ups, unruly hair and the tops and boots. All four ladies are given good exposure here but for me Ruth seems particularly "into it" and would have got my DotD if such a thing had ever existed. Now I'll be a little churlish and say that I find the bottom half of the outfits a bit wrong-sized. I think with the boots perhaps little skirts or slightly longer hot pants would have looked more natural whereas these almost come across as your Auntie's panties (sorry ladies!!) All this is a bit picky though I admit and overall this one is fun to watch and I'm giving it 8.5/10 and many thanks to the PVL-recorder for its existence
Some Dancers who gave a good time, broke all the rules, played all the fools, yeah yeah yeah they blew our minds
Thanks for another of these rarities, Vin. I actually remember this one going out, reason being there were a couple of girls who were mad Elvis fans who used to sit behind me in class and in an attempt to impress them I used to pretend to like Presley, I didn't really...and still don't. Liked his fifties stuff but cabaret Elvis was rubbish. This cover was okay (though I much prefer the Chuck version) and I quite like the dance. Energetic though poorly rehearsed, they do lose synchronicity a couple of times if I'm to be overly critical here. Those Bridget Jones big pants were everywhere back then, usually in navy. Takes me back.
Just a mention about the blue screen, or was it back projection. Not sure. But back then the USA really did seem like "the promised land" to someone watching from strike blighted Britain. Seemed so futuristic and free. I travelled extensively there in the 80s. It's changed radically since it acquired a social conscience and as I've matured I've found Europe holds far more appeal to me now.
Video effects are once again employed to bolster the visual accompaniment with a background of scenes and roads from the good ole US of A. The rolling road images work best, especially the night ones as they add a further sense of movement to the dancers actions and also the night shots blend better with the dark outfits. When the background changes to daytime and more static angles it doesn't work as well and the camera trickery (just the basic blue screen we've seen before) is very obvious. The track itself is of course very late Elvis and added nothing to his catalogue sounding like a 100 other tracks he recorded.
As Dee Dee skipped this week we have a foursome but in a way it probably works better with the construction of the visual that Flick devised. There's time for everyone to get good close-ups which are more effective than the wide shots and in places there's virtual solo spots. There's a decent amount of fun-filled energy as well even if the soundtrack is nothing special. Cherry's long dark hair seems to fit the biker chick/hitch-hiker look particularly well so is my DotD. 8/10
Preferring Chuck's version I find the fast-paced scene-shifting lends this something of a rushed feel. It works best in close-up, while the girls outfits are also a bit of a mixed bag as has been mentioned earlier. Sue's hair steals the show but in truth I find myself distracted and pondering as to the locations shown on the background footage and if I've visited them. So just a 7 this time.
I never realised Dee Dee missed the whole of January with a viral disease, i just put it down to her dodgy ankle. Guess i really should blow the cobwebs off the Pans book and give it another read. As for this fast flowing routine, well ive always liked it. There are a couple of minor timing issues here and there, but not enough to detract me from giving it a decent score total. All four dancers look great, sexy outfits too.
This is a routine that I have never really hit high notes on. The outfits were excellent but the routine did not really do anything for me. It seemed to look like a dance one would perform at a dance school. There did not seem to be much thought into it; maybe this was marred by the busy video at the back which I find too distracting. I will award this dance seven out of ten and the best dancer awarded to Babs as she looked beautiful as always.
Everywhere, wherever you look, manipulation rearing it's head.
Only average fare from Elvis, I think his best years were long gone by now. Quite a good dance from Pans People though. I am undecided about the back screen effect. Some of the images work better than others, but I think the production would have been just as good without it.
I will score it 8 out of 10 and my DOTD would have been Sue.
Imagine a cool song involving the Brit singer's car breaking down in the original Birmingham. Nigh impossible! This is convincing Elvis territory of course but as with most of his songs I can't say it revs my Rover. It's a tough one for his compatriot to choreograph at the breakneck tempo and it does result in a bumpy ride along the freeway. It's all taken none too seriously - which is good - but some of the moves have a nagging feel of a 'doing the actions' type dance and to be honest the sights rather whizz past me with the scenery and don't leave much of an impression. I've no issue with the outfits though, I think there's just something in the psyche about navy blue...
I'm not previously familiar with this Elvis song, but its actually quite funky and a good 'road trip in a couple of minutes' theme. The routine has the tell tale signs of a rush job, some noticeable hesitations here and there, but overall i still think its an enjoyable one, i can watch Cherry and Ruth forever (even if Ruth is a bit OTT with those expressions here) in those outfits, but in terms of a solid DOTD performance i would have gone for Sue. Good, but with a bit more work could have been better 7.5/10.
I like this one and enjoy watching it, another thanks to the late PVL Ken for keeping it. One minor gripe the 70's green screen (or is it blue) technology distorts the girls feature at time. 8/10.
As there's no dotd (I probably would have picked Sue) I've gone for a spotted instead. About 64 seconds or so it gets a bit ragged as they attempt quite a fast combination of moves. I've done a slow speed dissection of it to work out why.
Cross arms and lift left leg
Ruth misses the start of the combo Point with left arm and lower leg
Babs misses the point Point with right arm
Babs half heartedly does so, Cherry's ahead of everyone Crouch down
Ruth's back Hands in the air
Ruth and Babs are lagging but do it Hands down
Clap and bend left leg
Cherry misses the bended leg and Ruth half heartedly does it
I've no idea about timing but it looks like Sue gets it right with Cherry just missing the last leg movement.