Dancing with the Stars 10-5-11

I ended my analysis of Dancing with the Stars last time by mentioning how this show is a popularity contest and not necessarily about the best dancers.

When even the judges influence viewers by ignoring certain aspects of stars’ performances and in a sense coddling some stars while not coddling others, it only contributes to a dancer with Kristin Cavallari’s potential going off while a less gifted star stays on.

Most of the celebrities on the show are beginning ballroom dancers and they need honesty, praise on aspects of the performance that isn’t overblown as I feel it was with Rob. The stars also need feedback on where they’re weak as dancers/performers/entertainers and need work.

How the judges choose which dancers to coddle and which to berate sometimes is beyond me. And I don’t mean the judges are dishonest. I mean they sometimes don’t disclose everything. Those dancers who want to learn something may not get what they want when this happens too often. Then again, one hopes the stars know DWTS tends to be a contest about fan base more than technique and performance.

My analysis:

Rob and Cheryl. Foxtrot. My mark 6.
Some nice moments in this and Rob has a boyish charm. What’s not to like? It’s not about like. It’s about how beginning non-dance types tend to move, and I always see the beginning dancer in Rob. He steps and walks instead of dancing it sometimes. The movement doesn’t flow through his body from his core at times. He’s arms, legs instead of a whole body with movement illuminating him from within through his entire being.

Rob is a low key casual kind of guy. Again, what’s not to like? It kind of feels good to be on that energetic level. I mean, he pushes himself just enough and no more. I don’t believe he knows that is how it comes off though. So, it was a “nice” job, something for a man at his level to feel proud of. I think he enjoyed himself and that’s what dancing is all about. He could articulate his fingers and hands. He could incorporate the sway and lilt of foxtrot more. He could bring a whole lot more energy and passion to the dance floor and still be suave and debonair.

Chynna and Tony. Rumba. My mark 8.
Lyrical and exquisite at moments. Chynna is beautiful when she dances and looks wonderful with Tony. Sometimes however,  Chynna doesn’t  know how to use her energy to create connection and flow in stillness and between one phrase and the next. If she can create that, carrying an aura from beginning to end she’ll be stunning, and in my opinion, one of the final three.

Chaz and Lacey. Rumba. My mark 7.
This time Chaz didn’t seem to lead. He used his arms to fling Lacy away, not incorporating his body – his body looked still. Then he got into it and I’d see the hips of rumba and the involvement of his totality. His facial expression confused me and I was never sure what emotion Chaz was feeling or trying to convey. He didn’t seem his usual self.

Kristin and Mark. Samba. My mark 8.
Kristin danced incredibly well alone. She was genuine and involved. She can really shake it. Pretty amazing performance for a beginner. However, she was voted off so I won’t say more.

Carson and Anna. Tango. My mark 8.
Quite a style here. Flamboyant and attacked. Although Carson doesn’t have finesse in using his legs sometimes and he doesn’t always bring his feet back under him to pass through center, he’s so committed to what he’s doing that I’m engaged. I saw the rapt beginner and entertainment professional. Colorful and nuanced performance.

JR & Karina. Rumba. My mark 9.
An emotional and poignant performance. JR is able to really inhabit mood, feeling, character, theme. His emotional state infused everything. He partnered Karina well, always maintaining the intensity of emotion. However, I have to agree with Len that I also must mark on what I see.

This week I actually saw more of a beginner level look about JR than last week. I don’t know why except that JR may have more facility doing faster dances. While I saw the movement start in JR’s center, he lacked fluidity in the chest sometimes. He also didn’t always extend as fully through his arms as he could have, continuing the impetus from his core, the center of his body, through his body and into his arms and hands.

Nancy and Tristan. Waltz. My mark 7.
Lovely and musical, however, some stilted bits. Nancy is constrained physically in many ways so her lines are shorted. She’s very feminine so she could use that much more. Tristan needs to show her how to enhance her look and if he can’t, he could bring in a female pro dancer or coach to help her. If Nancy can come out of herself more, if she can extend her lines more and sustain fluidity that will help raise her marks, I think.

Ricki and Derek. Rumba. My mark 9.
Smooth and exquisite. They were in sync and felt this dance. I so enjoyed the nuances: lyrical soft juxtaposed with the fast turns and other little touches. I still want Ricki to learn to sustain movements when she moves in place though. There are always ways to grow.

Hope and Maks. Cha cha. My mark 7.
I have to say that I reacted quite strongly to Maks seeming to want to change who Hope is–wanting to force her to be someone he sees as sexy that in some way is not the Hope Solo I see. The costume only added to this distortion of Hope’s potential for me as I kept feeling, “harlot” and I don’t believe that’s what Maks wanted.

A choreographer can go in a couple of directions. Use what’s there – the dancer’s natural gifts – and enhance and bring them forward. Maks didn’t do that. Another choice is to raise the bar for a dancer – push a dancer to embody a role and interpret choreography no matter how different they may be from the dancer’s natural self or natural tendencies. I believe this was Maks’ intention. I question whether that’s the choice to make for a beginner. It’s certainly the way to go with a high caliber artist, and since Hope is a top athlete Maks trusted his gut that he knew Hope well enough to get her to inhabit his choreography.

Hope is sensual. A big woman, she does not have the more  traditional kind of femininity and beauty. With a little more work, I think she can get past her stuttering walk, which has to do with how she uses her legs and feet in her sport, a sport that requires quite a different use of legs and feet than dancers use. With quite a bit more work, she may discover who she is as a performer. She already has the charisma and facial expression.

David & Kym. Rumba. My mark 7.
To me David hardly did rumba and that was partly the choreography. I didn’t see hips for quite awhile. What he did he managed well, allowing Kym to show off the styling for rumba. I’m afraid I didn’t see half of what the judges touted him for because I wasn’t seeing the hips and kept noticing a stiffness to David and that beginner way of using his arms.

Kym was quite flashy. Because she moved so much David didn’t look like he was doing any real dancing until well through the routine. What can I say? They don’t really engage me and I’m not seeing the qualities in David that the judges see.

We all go through hardships and either deal with them or do not. I’m seeing how that hardship and emotional devastation has affected David’s muscles and the combination of looseness and stiffness in how he inhabits his body. I can also see how he feels about himself. It’s subtle. I’m amazed at times that he’s able to perform carrying the emotional weight he’s got inside him. It’s clear he loves his family. I wish him the best in continuing to find the support he needs.