Old – DWTS 5-10-10

Looking at the whole picture makes the dance and the dancer. Everything we see counts because ballroom dance is a visual art much more than an auditory one when we’re judging. Music does contribute, however, and can make or break a dance because we as human beings are influenced by music in several ways–emotionally, by what we ascribed to that music (whether we hold fond memories or deem the music dated or awful), and how it influences us as a part of the whole presentation (if it helps tell the story or evoke mood).

Chad & Cheryl. Tango. My mark 8.
Great beginning. Sharp, passionate and no big snags. He’s suave and that’s wonderful on the dance floor but is it enough to win? Looking at the big picture, here, who really did the Tango? Cheryl, hands down. She deflected attention off Chad who could have had more attack, more Latin fire, more senuality.

Niecy & Louis. Waltz. My mark 7.
She danced this well, gracefully. But for this late in the season, the choreography wasn’t riveting or innovative enough. For me, so many things worked against Niecy and those clouded my ability to separate what she did as a dancer from the whole picture presented. These negatives included an unflattering costume, music that had a pedantic beat, one movement–a repeated swinging of her arm was not done with finesse and variety in its repetitiveness. A move where she threw her leg over Louis was awkward though later in the evening in the second dance she did it very well. Unfortunately after last week, this dance was a let down.

Erin & Maks. Tango. My mark 9.
Loved that leap and backbend. Wow. Great use of her length and extension. Passionate. Great great great! By the way, kudos to Maks for having Erin tuck her head into him instead of using the more traditional Tango head and torso position for the female that Cheryl Burke used earlier. It was easier for a beginning dancer and it served to establish a different sort of relationship. I really liked it.

Evan & Anna. Waltz. My mark 8.
I wasn’t sure I liked this performance or not. Yes, Evan has line and extension. This was well danced and lyrical. However, what Anna asked for was not in evidence. Carrie Ann nailed what was missing: “Lose yourself in it.” Evan needs to find something that brings out the emotion in him and he needs Anna’s help to do it. He needs to feel inside, move from the inside out, shape from there. If I were Anna, I would have taken the Maks route and had Evan forget waltz hold. He needed to look at her as often as possible, respond to her with that tenderness of touch and attention that so moved Carrie Ann when Chad used it last week.

Nicole & Derek. Foxtrot. My mark 10.
So beautiful and emotionally moving. Exquisite. Her best dance so far. She felt it and they had fun. So in sync. No head games going on that I could see.

Now we move into Round 2.

Chad & Cheryl. 60s Jive. My mark 7.
Saw the 60s, but didn’t see much Jive. So a question immediately arose, could Chad not do Jive? It was danced well for what it was, however, I simply didn’t enjoy it. I liked Chad’s costume but really disliked Cheryl’s.

Niecy & Louis. 9os Paso. My mark 6.
Although I’ve noticed Niecy’s weight all along, this was the first time that I felt her weight detracted big time. Sometimes Louis looked as though he was hauling her around. Some nice moments and some pretty awkward ones. Her face actually looked stoic in her attempt to look serious and dramatic.

Erin & Maks. 80s rumba. My mark 7.
She looked awkward to me and not comfortable. Makes me want to ask what I was seeing that the judges weren’t paying attention to and if perhaps judges coordinate beforehand that they will attempt to keep a contestant on a bit longer by how they score. To me Erin is always a little awkward and there is no way that she is up there as a dancer equal to Evan or Nicole. There is no contest there. Sorry. She doesn’t feel it and a lot of what she does because she’s not flowing it and feeling it looks piecy and broken up. The black tights heightened her thin legs and slight knock-knee. Instead of being flattering I felt black tights – like black shoes – drew attention to the imperfections of her legs whereas in the previous dance I didn’t notice that and thought her legs stunning.

Evan & Anna. Futuristic cha cha. My mark 10.
Great. Like this side of Evan. Inventive, musical, evocative and with a smattering of cha cha flavor. Evan had more fun with this and the theme helped him relax and express himself. I actually did see emotion in his torso and face. The futuristic emphasis served to deflect Evan from his technical perfectionism and allowed him to be lighter and tongue in cheek and that suits him. Humor may be one way in to the emotional qualities I want to see in this fine professional skater.

Nicole & Derek. 50s paso. My mark 10.
The best spoof paso ever! I was rolling on the floor and probably missed some of what Nicole did because Derek as James Dean was so hilarious. This was an inventive, humor-filled dance and both the 5os flavor and paso doble style were strongly in evidence. Such a well-matched pair. I’m really glad I recorded this so I can see it again. Thanks for the laughs, guys, and the great dancing too.