Dancing with the Stars – 9-19-11

Here we go, a new and I can tell – exciting – season of Dancing with the Stars!

On the first show of the season, I was razzled and dazzled by Carson’s joy and commitment, the emotion on Ricki Lake’s face, the joy and expansiveness of J.R. Martinez’ waltz, the precision of Chaz Bono’s footwork. I could go on and on.

What worked for these dancers? Conviction, commitment, confidence and intention. What were some of the celebrities’ intentions, spoken and unspoken?

“I’m here to have fun…”

“I want to learn…”

“I AM a dancer.”

Carson so embodies who he is as well as how much fun he’s open to having. Every ounce of him exudes his joy of being. And that is how he dances. How many of us would like to be as secure as he seems? So many descriptive terms come to mind: tickled pink. fun-loving, joyous.

But let’s move onto the dance analysis part of my post:

Metta (Ron Artest) L.A. Lakers forward and new pro dancer Peta. My mark 5. Cha cha.
As most of you know, Metta was voted off first. However, he had good rhythm and enjoyed what he did. He had enthusiasm and personality, although he did not always look especially limber. There were moments where I could tell he wasn’t a professional dancer by how he used his arms and the ultra wide stance he sometimes took. However, the dance with Peta was entertaining. Metta was not afraid of being on the stage before a huge audience. He had presence and was committed to each step. He didn’t hold back.

So what happened? He went first. When the judges marked him so low, they “officially” told us he wasn’t good. There were so many good dancers this time, someone had to go off.

Rob Kardashian and Cheryl. My mark 6. Viennese Waltz.
The baby brother of Kourtney, Kim and Khloé, Rob has been on the E! reality TV show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” since 2007. This means he has a sense of himself and is used to being on television. He was graceful, especially in his arm movements. For a beginner, he was doing some of the rise and fall of waltz, which is so nice to see because many beginners dance the waltz flat-footed. Viennese Waltz is usually much faster than a regular waltz and that can make the dance more fatiguing and difficult. Inspite of this, Ron did not hold back. He danced full out and seemed to enjoy the time with Cheryl.

Kristin Cavallari and Mark. My mark 6. Cha cha.
Though she seemed a tad nervous to me, she is a natural dancer with musicality and good rhythm. I saw cha cha steps. She goes off center sometimes and loses her posture and stance. She dropped her energy a bit throughout the dance which might be another way to say she isn’t yet consistent in her performance. If she had Metta’s presence and confidence, I would have given her a higher mark.

Chynna Phillips and Tony. My mark 6. Viennese Waltz.
She’s natural and elegant. To me she’s uncomfortable though, not always at ease in this dance. Tony started her nice and slow and so she was able to show her lyricism. She seems a bit swayback with pelvis tucked back, which can often affect balance and line. She’s balletic and Tony’s choreography suited her. After what I had seen in the performances before her though, this dance didn’t sing nor feel emotional, involving or thrilling. However, the judges weren’t in agreement with my observations – obviously.

Nancy Grace and Tristan. My mark 6. Cha cha.
For an attorney with no ballroom training, she was natural and unaffected and definitely showed commitment to doing the dance. I saw cha cha. Her intention to have fun was absolutely obvious. She had the moves, natural rhythm and musicality. She just isn’t an entertainer so she doesn’t shine – yet. Her energy is quiet and contained. If Tristan can help her come out of herself, develop attack so there’s differentiation in her steps and an edge to her dancing, she’ll be more enjoyable. She doesn’t know how to connect to the energy inside her first of all, nor extend it out to those of us watching to engage, involve or wow us.

David Arquette and Kym. My mark 6. Viennese Waltz.
Very enjoyable. He’s musical and involved but was a bit choppy, unclear, unsettled and thus stuttery. David does have presence and charisma so there is definite potential. To me, David wasn’t grounded. He may have been in his head going over and over what was coming up. Nerves can sometimes cause us to loose focus. If Kym can get David to relax and feel more comfortable inhabiting his body, that may help. Using Bruno’s analogy, if David can embody a character for each dance and be in the physicalness of that character the entire performance, that will help David sell it.

Elisabetta Canalis and Val. My mark 5. Cha cha.
She’s definitely musical. However, she was also loose without performance nuances – those highs and lows – and the attack that can make choreography special. It was my feeling that she was the weakest dancer of the evening since she is used to audiences, but somehow didn’t bring that to her performance. She seemed almost to be dancing at a party socially. She didn’t shape her movements creating lines and color. As a model that may come naturally to her – eventually – if she recognizes that it is an enormous part of dancing.

Hope Solo and Maks. My mark 6. Viennese Waltz.
For a soccer player, she handled the dance well. She’s musical, has a good sense of herself and has definite presence. She looses her upper back, which distorts her body at times. It may throw her off balance, although when she’s glued to Maks he might help her past that. I applaud Maks for keeping the choreography simple and clearly Viennese Waltz. The choreography suited her. She is feminine with a stunning beauty, strength and assurance. Lovely.

Carson Kressley and Anna. My mark 6. Cha cha.
Great energy and personality. Very enjoyable. Carson is musical and very present. He had so much fun. What he didn’t have in grace and dance skill, he more than made up for in entertainment value. Plus a performer makes me feel good when I’m kinesthetically connecting to a personality like Carson who exudes confidence and self-assurance. This was one time that I felt, so he’s not precise… who cares? I loved it. I found Carson personable, funny and extraordinarily relaxing.

J.R. Martinez and Karina. My mark 7. Viennese Waltz.
J.R is musical, committed, graceful, and he enjoyed what he was doing so we enjoyed it. He comes off as radiant and personable and that is attractive. Karina kept the choreography simple and J.R. was very involved. He doesn’t yet know how to open his arms like a seasoned pro, but even that wasn’t bad. Quite romantic. Definite potential here.

Ricki Lake and Derek. My mark 8. Viennese Waltz.
Beautiful. Quality. Ricki was musical and emotionally expressive. She had good posture, shaping and line. The dance flowed. The number appealed because of its romantic quality, and both performers felt what they were doing and were in sync. They had quite a wonderful connection.

Chaz Bono and Lacy. My mark 7. Cha cha.
Musical, entertaining, in sync. Chaz had fun. To me Chaz was precise and had amazing command of his feet for a beginning dancer. He can really dance. Great potential here.