Motown… Soul. Getting into the Motown groove like well, Smoky Robinson, The Temptations, Martha – all of them have it and it showed on Dancing with the Stars.
It’s class. It’s rhythm. It’s what Gladys Knight has. She could have her own show now and teach all of us how to walk, move, stand – shine with presence – in contact with the part of ourselves that knows everything is Love.
What I said last week still goes: contrast and color – each DWTS celebrity growing, discovering, and as ballet choreographer George Balanchine said, “Giving 110 percent” – even if at times the judges perceive it as over the top.
Maria & Derek. Foxtrot. My mark 9.
Exquisite and very Foxtrot. Maria is perky, light-hearted and looks as though at any moment she’s going to pull a prank. In this, she often matches partner, Derek Hough. In this dance, she was also sophisticated and, how can I put it? She dances on one level emotionally, she’s good, but I need more.
She created beautiful lines with Derek, had great frame for Foxtrot, and I saw lots of detail in the choreography. Unfortunately, she comes off as a tad superficial, like she’s not really “in it.” So, as good as this performance was, they didn’t sing. What do I feel was happening? I think she wasn’t comfortable with the style and she didn’t quite get it, so she couldn’t make the dance hers. The technique can be perfect and yet, the dance itself can be empty. I’ll put this one on Derek… more contrast and color, please. If I were him, I’d spend some time having Maria play with nuances – with finding something that resonates and moves her deeply. Use it in a way that it’s kinesthetic and she can use it to share it with us. I’d also play with tension, with strong and light, effort and ease, slow oozing languid and quick, clipped, sharp.
Roshon & Chelsie. Rumba. My mark 10.
Incredible. Sensual. If I were their coach I would be so proud of their investigation and commitment to this dance. What depth and dimension. The dance had dynamics, emotion – at moments sustained and extended and at other moments, sharp. This is what I mean by contrast and color. I saw the romance of rumba, the engagement of two young lovers in rumba style. I have felt some from the beginning that the show had decided who will win – or at least the top two – and Roshon has had an uphill battle ever since. I felt for Chelsie because the way the judges slammed them didn’t make sense to her. What Len saw as jerky, I saw as dynamics. I saw a style of choreography.
Hip Hop? Huh? There was no hip hop on my T.V. screen.
The replay on Tuesday I watched with my Dad. He’s not a dance person at all. He said, “I think the judges are a little bit over-exaggerated.” I have to agree. I didn’t see overexaggeration. I saw two young people giving heart and soul and sweat to compete at a level with mature adults and that is profoundly difficult when you’re not a mature adult. I thought they did rumba. Roshon could soften some of his moves and infuse them with a bit more ease for this dance. It’s a fine line between creating dynamics and staying in the romantic sensual style of this Latin dance. These two used everything I write about. As far as I’m concerned, “Good job, young ‘uns.”
Katherine & Mark. Chacha. My mark 9.
Fun. Well danced, performed with gusto, and had the feeling of show dance chacha. So why give an 8? Because it was an average dance and I wasn’t moved. Was the performance so riveting that I couldn’t take my eyes off Katherine? No. Was there soul – Gladys Knight lightning? Not especially this time. Yes, there was energy. They danced up a storm. But with Katherine’s gifts as a dancer and Mark’s as a choreographer, for some reason I wanted more and I believe that this far into the season, I need to see it.
Now it has seemed since the beginning of the season that the judges love these two and they will probably win whether they have soul or not. So what do I want to see to show me that these two are the top? I think that has to come from Mark – from what he choreographs for them – from what he sees in her. Then she has to embody it. He needs to create a dance that will convey the style and help Katherine let us in – to get at least a glimpse of who she really is. Dig deep, Mark and Katherine. Dance at the edge where the fey appear to poets and dreamers. If you can do that with a fast cha cha I’ll be the one in Ohio watching with tears in my eyes.
Donald & Peta. Foxtrot. My mark 9.
While the dance didn’t have the finesse of Maria and Derek’s foxtrot, it had great musicality and power and in many ways, I connected to them more. So enjoyable to watch and to feel along with Donald. What pizazz! He knew he messed up but he continued and got back into it. I’d have Donald work on the nuances – the little details – smaller gestures, lighter more refined movements that contrast with the big broad moves where we’re allowed to see in – where we connect with his heart and soul.
Melissa & Maks. Viennese Waltz. My mark 9.
Loved this – almost gave them a 10. Loved the choreography, the mood conveyed – the slow floor spin, the extension of her arms up – so meaningful. Now that’s what I mean: Maks saw into Melissa’s being and brought it out – brought her out. Beautiful lines. She could see how she could relax into dancing more, continuing to explore the way she did to bring her to this performance. Really good work.
Jaleel & Kym. Chacha. My mark 9.
Such feeling – such fun! These two relate so well. Jaleel had the rhythm and spunk. The contrast is starting to be there and that’s wonderful. A man who is so light on his feet, who is suave and laid back like Jaleel has to learn to bring the opposite feeling too – to create texture and color. Words that suggest this and invite movement are thrust and push. The contrast is the difference between hurl and toss.
William & Cheryl. Rumba. My mark 8.
There’s a first time for everything & this is a first for me… I’d write here what Carrie Ann and Len said. William may have mastery of sex appeal; however, there is much more to dancing than that. Cheryl – lets give this man some intelligence with your gift for choreography, because right now if he were a woman he’d come off as a dumb blond. More content and more real dancing, please. Snuggling and running one’s hands up and down the partner’s body is NOT dancing, and basically, beyond taking a step here and there, that is what William did.