Ballroom Greats Week. Some of the champions and teachers invited on the show this week really helped the contestants grow as beginning ballroom dancers.
Chelsea & Mark. Paso. My mark 8.
Well-danced. For a moment, I saw Mel B in Chelsea and I’m sure Shirley Ballas contributed a great deal to that. This was a Paso, choreographically, looked like other contemporary pieces I’ve seen before on Dancing with the Stars so I had no idea where Len’s comments were coming from with regard to finding the dance confusing..
Chelsea dances extremely well. She matches Mark. She looks like a pro. If I want anything from her it’s that she be more true, more expressive from the inside out, more able to show herself – vulnerability and emotion, and take up the energy a notch so I get more earthy passion. The theme presented musically reminded me of Mad Max. The music was hard driving but not emotional or Latin. It was cold and distancing, hard to connect to and difficult to convey except by being clean technically and sharp in attack.
So going to Len’s comments, to start out the music presents confusion because the dance is Paso Doble, a rhythm and Latin style, but the music only has the rhythm of Paso with the driving quality of it. Mark put in paso steps and Chelsea came out in that style for that music. I was at 8 for most of the dance then swung up toward 9. With that difficult driving music, They did the best they could.
Kendra & Louis. Tango. My mark 7.
Kendra is still very much a beginner. Her posture needs addressing and some of her footwork was inelegant. She has no idea how to present her foot daintily. I can’t pretend here. She looked rigid with fear in the beginning of the piece. She’s a big block, especially in her shoulders and upper body. She doesn’t understand the refinement essential to dancing. She got better midway and wore a facial expression of ecstasy. What’s important here is how Kendra felt – that she could sense Louis even a little and that she began to enjoy dancing.
Kirstie & Maks. Jive. My mark 10.
Honestly, I bawled my eyes out through this whole dance. What a winner! The acting – the story – the dancing… amazing! Donnie said it all. Though Kirstie’s jive was small, she did it. Maks showed us another element of the style – the faster, wilder, bigger jive. I noticed that the music sounded one part Jive and 99 parts salsa – so Latin. For that these two fit. For a T.V. show, entertainment with technique wins it. Kudos to Maks, who I feel fulfilled his potential as choreographer and fulfilled the couple’s potential – finally – bringing in Kirstie’s acting, humor, delicacy. Kirstie was bewitching, seductive. I loved it. Obviously, I’m from the Donnie/Bruno camp.
Ralph & Karina. Quickstep. My mark 10.
I bawled my eyes out again. Must be all the hours I put in on my ballroom dance screenplay. Ralph and Karina’s number was so well danced, entertaining, perhaps their best dance so far. They had fun and so did I. I’m not sure how much further Ralph can go. He has dark circles under his eyes, which signal to me something out of balance. He is also a lightweight, almost as though he’s not fully in his body. He needs to commit to himself inside and find his own power, a way to nourish himself inside and out. But I loved this dance.
Hines & Kym. Tango. My mark 9.
Hines really came into his own and I felt he connected to an awareness to work from inside himself. Luca definitely helped him. Hines seemed more grounded and that’s warming to me as a viewer. He danced well. However, for tango, Hines didn’t have the sustained passion and fire – the attack and surprise of this powerful dance. There were also points in which I saw the beginning dancer without the articulation and refinement that comes from years of dancing. But this Hines enjoyed more and brought more of himself to the floor.
Romeo & Chelsea. Samba. My mark 8.
Though this dance improved as they went and Romeo had fun and can really move in a sexy way at times, Romeo’s upper body sometimes doesn’t go with his lower body. I noticed his arms still not articulating fully, a sign of a beginner. I also saw his body unable to move as a unit, almost as though part of it is as yet uninhabited. Much of the time Romeo moved unconsciously, shaking his booty – yes, but unaware how to use his energy to connect to Chelsea and also reach us.