old – DWTS 3-29-10

There is a great crop of dancers this time and the pros will have to up the anty with attention to emotional quality, stylistic nuances and inventive well crafted choreography that shows celebrities off in new ways while giving the judges the quality they look for.

I remain impressed by Pamela Anderson’s ability to create an aura that she carries throughout her appearance on the show. Damian is cashing in on that with the choreography he provides, though I have yet to see any surprises like the ones provided in past seasons by Cheryl Burke, Derek Hough and Mark Balas on this show.

Shannen and Mark. Jive. My mark 7. Though Shannen improved as the dance progressed, she is not always fluid. I would have liked to have felt more delight from her and strangely from Mark. I kept feeling that the dance was difficult. I enjoyed the choreography quite a lot; however, the performance felt like it had divisions or sections to it rather than flowing seamlessly as one piece.

Aiden and Edyta. Foxtrot. My mark 6. Edyta used Aiden’s charm and he was smooth enough to show us the quality of this dance and capture the essence of the foxtrot, which can be a really tricky dance with its shifting rhythms. I’m with Bruno: “Aiden, believe you can do it.” From the rehearsal before, I could see that Aiden cares a lot about this competition and how he performs. There is a vulnerability in him that Edyta could capitalize on in future choreography.

Evan and Anna. Jive. My mark 8. They did wonderfully with the steps and energy really up. Despite the great performance, I’d like them to be into each other more, whether its the type of tenderness he shows Anna and the way she relates to that, falling into him or accepting his hand. When people really like each other, they have these little gestures, facial or body expressions they use. I hope Anna will help Evan push the envelope so we see a new kind of performance from him. He’s right. He’s done solo work so he can capitalize on this opportunity to work with a beautiful woman and wonderful dance partner.

Niecy and Louis. Foxtrot. My mark 8. Sometimes when I review my notes, I wonder why I marked in a certain way. Niecy is so musical and exuberant. What a zest for life! It brings up the energy of the competition. They have a great relationship and I feel that. Ease and charm ooze from her. I agree with Carrie Ann, I felt Niecy needed to go bigger sometimes. In a different style, Niecy is going to need to show something we haven’t seen before in order to stay in the competition, and unfortunately, that may not even keep her scores high enough. She’ll have to convey light and dark, sharpness contrasted with softer movements, vulnerability and bravado, personality, drama and subtlety. I look forward to seeing what this couple will do.

Jake and Chelsie. Jive. My mark 8. Great chemistry. He’s a wonderful dancer–expressive–and he thoroughly enjoys what he’s doing. I love them as a couple who are so different from the others. They relate in a way that shines their connection. Jake isn’t always sharp and sometimes lacks attack and I felt him a bit sluggish for jive, but Chelsie choreographed this very well. It suited them.

Buzz and Ashly. Foxtrot. My mark 4. Rather stilted. He’s a senior and though that doesn’t mean seniors couldn’t place high in such a competition, this time around, the age shows.

Nicole and Derek. Jive. My mark 10. Choreography exciting and boy can she dance. Those long legs capture attention so she might look at how to show them off in a variety of ways. I’m looking for more spontaneity in feeling and expression in the moment from her. It’s obvious that they’ve rehearsed. I feel she has a lot more to her and want to see it come out. Right now, Nicole is quite controlled. I look forward to seeing how this couple grows throughout the next few weeks.

Erin and Maks. Foxtrot. My mark 7. I love this couple when they’re in each other’s arms. They were so smooth and she is so graceful then. I think it looks like she has had some previous dance training, perhaps ballet. It’s interesting to hear the comments from the judges. I noticed that she takes her arms behind her head when she raises them overhead and her hands break the line. At times, I thought her use of her arms less graceful. There is also something going on in her chest and upper back that gives me a feeling of strain, not all the time but it’s there. I also sense this in and out feeling: she’s graceful then she’s not. Subtle. It may be because she’s tall and a tall body is more difficult to handle quite often.

Pamela and Damian. Foxtrot. My mark 7. She’s elegant and sensual. She sells it and definitely embodies her characters. This couple have a great connection. Despite all the plusses, for some reason I became a little bored with the choreography and noted a bit of stiffness in her upper back. Breathing, elongating through the chest and allowing movement to come from the center out could help, as well as working side to side through the ribs and under the arms, discovering the movement possibilities there.

Chad and Cheryl. Foxtrot. My mark 6. I expect a lot from Chad because I saw a preview that showed his potential. In this dance, he was pedantic, stiff and uncomfortable. He wasn’t able to really feel the dance and music. Yet he does have a presence, a certain elegance, and definite sensuality. These two definitely have chemistry. I hope Cheryl can turn this around so it works for them.

Kate and Tony. Jive. My mark 4. She’s still standing and that’s quite something for a beginning dancer so filled with fear that she basically shut out her pro partner in rehearsal. I encourage her to have more patience with herself and to allow herself to trust that Tony knows what he’s doing and will help her on the dance floor.

Someone has to go home. A steady fan base will help some of these celebrities. Because there are some great dancers early on, the beginners are going to have to realize they need to keep a more relaxed attitude and just enjoy the experience. What will the fans go for this season? I hope it’s the whole package. May the best dance team win.