DWTS 10-31-11

Costumes and buffoonery. Halloween fun. Werewolves howling into the night. Maidens in distress. Ghosts and goblins, oh my!

I love Halloween. I love dressing in costume and the transformation it brings. But who wrote the Dancing with the Stars’ script for Halloween night? Where were the fairy princesses? Where was R2D2 or the hunky football player or the masked crusader? Where were the wizards? See that’s what it’s about for me. Magic.

I didn’t come here to write a downer analysis. These men and women all danced their hearts out. But what happened? Can you guess? The magic was in the Group! Shows what teamwork can bring. Team Paso, for me, performed a group dance that was THE Halloween Spectacular. More of that on the show, si vous plait.

My analysis:

David and Kym. Cha cha. My mark 7.
Improved and still, he was voted off.

J.R. and Karina. Tango. My mark 8.
Technique good. Definitely tango. However, ghostbusters lacked attack, sharpness, precision and the music didn’t help because it went against what tango is. These two were out of sync and much didn’t gel for them.

Nancy and Tristan. Jive. My mark 7.
Okay, this one’s a doozie. A Hospice nurse told me that when Nancy performed the jive, the nurse turned to her husband and said, “Nancy’s not kicking her legs out like she needs to.” The nurse knew jive in just that simple way and she knew Nancy wasn’t doing the jive – not really. But Nancy told the viewing audience that she was doing the jive and not only that, that she felt she had done a good job. So, what do you do with a student like this?

Nancy puts up a good front. She’s tough. She’s not going to let the judges get her down. Her toughness keeps things out. That quality while great in some respects keeps Nancy dancing the way she’s been dancing. When someone shows me that kind of response, I sense fear underneath. Now that fear can be masked – by toughness, anger, and denial. No one wants to be “bad.”

So without commenting much if I were Tristan, I would show Nancy a DVD of a good jive done by Nicole Scherzinger or someone like Nicole or Kyle Massey so that Nancy sees what a jive looks like when done well by a competitor like she is. I’d ask her if she wants to get better at jive and the remaining dances she will perform so she can grow in the language of ballroom dancing, a language that she is learning. I’d invite in female pros to work with Nancy each day and leave it at that.

Rob and Cheryl. Tango. My mark 8.
Bums and energy. Yikes! Let’s not criticize here. It’s a fine line between helping and harming.

When Rob performed in the group dance, I saw this involvement and sheer joy. I wondered what had ignited that. Perhaps being in a group enabled Rob to let go of his self-consciousness so that he could truly experience the joy of dancing. He went into a space of being the music and the dancing and forgetting about him. I saw this again about three-quarters of the way through the tango – when it was a bit too late. If I were Cheryl, I’d get Rob to make contact with that space in him – where he is for it and see if he can find it each time as he begins each routine.

Ricki and Derek. Paso Doble. My mark 9.
Weird, intriguing and a paso doble. Gorgeous lines and shapes and movements. Ricki’s face was, however, often blank and because I saw her as Little Red Riding Hood I wanted to see her fear or terror or feistyness as a character. What was this character supposed to be feeling throughout this dance?

Technically superior to other contestants, Ricki shapes well – she’s great in the big broad moves and Derek uses that gift of hers. Derek can then fly about the stage doing the spins and pyrotechnics. Ricki becomes the accompanist while he’s the virtuoso. APPLAUSE here! Derek not only knows craft of choreography, he knows how to use his female celebrity partner’s strengths. I, however, want more. Yes, dancers do tend to want that. I’d like to see Ricki finding more fancy footwork she can do – some small movements to contrast the big broad ones and perhaps, something virtuosic she does. With the broad there is it’s opposite. I know Ricki has this and I’ll be looking for it next time. 🙂

Hope and Maks. Samba. My mark 7.
She had fun and it helped her to rehearse with Teddy – his spirit helped her. Sometimes when someone comes in and seems to do a better job with someone than we feel we’re doing, jealousy then anger rears its ugly head. In this case Maks was allowed to be the coach he can be and the added bonus was what Teddy brought in. Hope flowed more in this and it looked like she loved it. That’s dancing too.

art by m.a. stinson