Dance: Gambling Man
Choreographer: Maggie Gallagher
Music: “Gambling Man” by The Overtones
Description: 2 wall, 72 count intermediate line dance with 2 tags
“Gambling Man” is a cute little song, with a snappy rhythm that has no significant stops in it. Its phrasing makes things a bit awkward for choreography, and I am sure it must have been tricky to put together a meaningful 36 count beginner dance to use as a split floor (although at least two people appear to have done so).
Maggie Gallagher’s dance definitely kicks things off in the right direction, with an unconventional but fitting touch-kick followed by a nearly relentless stream of steps. This fits nicely with the bouncy feel of the music, and none of the steps are unreasonably fast. The matching of rhythms to steps is a bit haphazard, but I think overall they work well. Much of the dance is taken up by weave-like steps, which might be a bit repetitive, although they are broken up with some more interesting steps. For example, after the 1 1/4 turn in counts 11-14 (which probably comes as a bit of a surprise the first time you try it after so many dances that would only turn 3/4 at most), counts 15-18 meld a coaster step and a lock step together, followed by what are effectively four “slow” steps formed by a pair of 1/4 cross step-holds (although I suspect these generally get downgraded to cross step-holds) and a pair of kick-steps, and all of these steps together really give some contrast to the dance – what I believe ballroom dancers refer to as “light and shadow” – before going back into some more weaves.
The only bits where I am a bit “meh” on are nearer the end: after the mambo 1/2 turn, pivot 1/2 turn in counts 49-56, having the toe struts turn back the other way doesn’t flow well with me – either of the steps on their own is good, but they just don’t join together the way the earlier steps do; and in the last four counts, having the weave go into a 1/4 turn followed by a side rock takes liberties with the momentum of the dance, especially in linking the end back to the beginning of the new wall.
In fact, the best links between the end of one wall and the beginning of the next are on the tag walls, where the slow jazz box (accompanied by a repeat of the mambo 1/2, pivot 1/2 the second time around) helps once again to add contrast to the rhythm, but also brings the momentum around to where it should be in much more natural motions.
I like “Gambling Man”, and I think it’s a fun dance, just with a couple of places where the steps before and after don’t seem to belong together. Despite that, I think it’s one worth learning (or even just trying on the floor if you’re feeling brave) and I’d call it another success for Maggie.