Samba & michalek – perfect combo :)

Samba & michalek – perfect combo 🙂

Originally uploaded by swan lake samba girl via mobile.

… and Desmond Richardson of course (in the background)! I swear they seemed to be moving faster tonight — the Michalek dancers I mean! Maybe it was just an effect of the fast, fun Samba of the Midsummer Night Swing event, or maybe it really was sped up a bit, especially in some of the middle parts?… Hmmm… Maybe it’s just that I’ve seen the exhibit so many times now that I have no perspective anymore! Anyway, something about it made it especially spectacular tonight, and it’s definitely growing on me more and more each time.

And then I got home just in time for the horrible results on STYTCD. I’m so upset about Anya. She is a really beautiful, rhythmic dancer and I’m really going to miss her on the show. I don’t know how the other two female contestants performed tonight, but I do know that as far as ballroom goes, Anya Garnis is one of the very best in this country. Oh well, what can you do? Good news is that Pasha and Danny will be touring 🙂 🙂 🙂


  1. Just what I feared! What is WRONG with the American TV audience? How could they possibly put Danny and Anya in the bottom three couples? Are they blind? Were Danny and Anya too elegant and balletic for the viewing public? Were their dance routines not bizarre enough? Did they look too normal? Thank God the judges at least saved Danny tonight. But then they picked Lauren over Anya (just for the record, it was a split decision.) Why? I thought Anya was far superior to Lauren (and a few of the other women as well). What am I missing here?

  2. Hi Bob — well, I think I’m going to write a post on it at some point, but I’m thinking maybe part of the problem, at least regarding Danny, is that the majesty of ballet doesn’t show up that well on film (or TV). There was a discussion a couple of weeks ago on Apollinaire Scherr’s “Foot in Mouth” blog about why ballet is not as popular as some of the other “high” arts, such as opera, and Paul Parish, a writer in San Francisco said he thought perhaps it was because ballet couldn’t be recorded very well. I had disagreed but now am perhaps re-thinking that. When I saw Danny do that grand jete across the floor at the beginning of their foxtrot routine, I thought Oh My!!! That looks just like David Hallberg’s grand jete! But then I also realized, gee, it really looks so much more fascinating in person; everyone who’s never seen something like that in real life is really missing a lot of the magic. And from what I saw of last week’s pirouettes, I thought the same thing. Ballroom’s different — its charm shows clearly on TV. I think we need good filmmakers to think of ways to reveal the beauty and magic of ballet on film (which is part of why I’m so enthralled with this Michalek exhibit). Also, Danny’s now going to get to tour with the show, so audiences everywhere will now be able to see him dance in person, which I’m thrilled about!

    As for Anya, I have NO IDEA why audiences and the judges didn’t love her. I assume it was Mary who voted to keep her, because she’s been such an Anya supporter all the way through. I didn’t see the final solo dances, so I can’t judge the judges, but I don’t know why the audiences kept putting her in the bottom three to begin with. No idea.

  3. The point you make, Tonya, about ballet not being able to be adequately captured on film or video is an excellent one and may help explain why more people who are exposed to ballet in those media do not rush out to buy tickets to a live ballet performance. However, I also suspect that a large sement of the TV audience simply prefers hip-hop or jive to ballet and that ballet (for reasons that escape those of us who are certified balletomanes) will never attract a mass audience.

    Regarding Anya, I did not watch some of the earlier shows in the competition so I don’t know if there is any special history with respect to the relationship between Anya and the male judges, but I am pretty certain that it was Mary who cast the minority vote. Earlier in the show, Mary told Danny and Anya how great they were, said she didn’t understand how they ended up in the bottom three couples (in the audience voting) and stated that
    “they would not go down on HER watch.” I did see the three final women’s solos and while Jamie was excellent and did, in my opinion, deserve to stay in the competition, there is no question that Anya was superior to the other woman – Lauren – in the bottom three. And I say that without any bias, because I have no familiarity at all with Anya’s accomplishments as a ballroom dancer. But now that I know that she is one of the best ballroom dancers in this country, where can I see her performing her own special art?

    PS I also want to congratulate you on your excellent posts on the Michalek “Slow Dancing” exhibit – you made those videos come to life for me and made me feel guilty that I have not yet trekked into the city to see them.

  4. Hi, Tonya –

    You don’t know me, and I’ve just stumbled on your blog. But I love it! Living in Southern California keeps me more isolated from New York sensibilities than I’d like, so I always enjoy your stories and photos. I chose this post to respond to because I really loved watching Anya perform on SYTYCD and was so disappointed by her ousting, though more on the part of the judges than the public. I’m not terribly surprised the voting audience didn’t respond to Anya and Danny, honestly. Here’s why: They were, by far, the most poised, beautiful, and classy pairing this season, likely in all the seasons, and were such a joy for me to watch. I always felt like they should be in a black-and-white movie. (Except then we’d miss out on the fabulous color of Anya’s costumes and dresses!) But I’m 34 years old, about two decades beyond the general voting population. That’s not to say my peers don’t watch and love the show; they do, but they don’t vote. In general, kids are more attracted to flash like Anya and Danny’s jive than say…a sophisticated hip-hip routine, a really powerful contemporary dance (I liked this one best, actually, and thought Anya made one heck of a contemporary dancer), or a foxtrot.

    What I was surprised by was the judges’ decision. I’ve watched this show since the first season, and back then, it was about finding America’s favorite, but also a solid and skilled, dancer. The judges had a lot more control over who was up for elimination, and they seemed to steer the voting toward skill and artistry over personality. Not so much this year. And the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to see tours and money as the push, rather than the art. Don’t get me wrong, I love money and success. But this show was tremendously popular its first year. It didn’t need to sacrifice beauty for dollars. (And it’s not just Anya. Several of the early oustings seemed really off to me also.) I wish the judges had kept Anya, especially over Lauren who’s never impressed me at all. If the public voted Anya out next week, so be it. But at least, the judges would have given the voters the very best crop of dancers they could. This way, it just seems like they made an uninspired cut. (Not Mary, of course. She sticks up for the talented ones, so good on her.)

    A word about Anya’s solos: I liked them all and never quite understood what the judges’ problem with them was.

    And P.S. I love Pasha, too! Boy, we all do. Fingers crossed that he wins the whole thing!

  5. Hi MA — thanks for commenting! And thank you for your insights. I totally agree. I didn’t know if it was just me. I’ve been enjoying watching Pasha and Anya dance for a long time now, plus I have been a big fan of American Ballet Theater (Danny’s former company) — so I’m aware of those potential biases, which is why I haven’t blogged a lot about the show this season. But I’m glad others feel the same way! I don’t know what the judges were thinking either — I really didn’t think they were going to cut her. I know ballroom dancers are generally not used to solos, but I thought she did well with hers, and the judges even acknowledged that.

    That’s a really lovely thought: Anya and Danny in a black and white movie — they are kind of Astaire and Rodgerish! Hmmmm. Maybe something for some filmmaker to think about! I’ve watched all of those old movies, and I love the dance sequences. I wonder if that would be lost on young audiences today? I really hope not…

    Anyway, thanks for commenting and for your very nice compliments on my blog!

  6. They are Astaire and Rogerish! I love all those old movies too and did even as a child. But that style seems to be a vanishing art…sort of like letter writing. And with the exception of Mary, the judges on this show don’t seem committed to reintroducing it, though I think they were initially.

    You never can really know all the machinations on these shows, and usually I just shrug and think, “oh well, that’s Hollywood. I guess they think it’s good TV.” But in this case, it makes very little sense to me because, from a strictly entertainment-value standpoint, Anya is good TV. She has a good story, she’s pretty, she’s funny, she’s well spoken and humble. Yes, she skews older (I can’t bear to call her “old”; what is she…25?), but she’s even a little flashy. (I mean, come on…leopard prints, tassles, and Tina Turner? That’s fun!) Besides being a good dancer, she’s a good character, and even kids like a good character. But they can’t jump on Anya’s bandwagon if the judges let her go. I wish this show employed a more objective voting standard and did away with the personality critiques. If the judges gave scores like on “Dancing With the Stars” and the show limited the numbers of votes from each phone number, the results might be very different.

    But…whatever. I go on about justice and art, but really, I’m just selfish. Since seeing their first audition, I’ve harbored not-so-secret wishes that Anya and Pasha would get to dance together on the show. Now that my hopes have been dashed, I feel a little foot stomping is in order.

  7. Hi Tonya,

    I love your blog. It’s wonderful to hear about Anya and Pasha pre-SYTYCD. The pictures are fabulous.

    I, too, was/still am distraught over the judges cutting Anya. I feel their reasoning made no sense. So after some thinking I created a petition in regards to having Anya and Pasha dance a hot latin number on the finale show. I know a lot of fans wanted that to happen if Anya had made the Top 10. Imagine how awesome that would be. And after reading your blogs, you’ve witnessed how awesome they are. So, I was wondering if would at all be possible for you to get the word out there about this petition I started? I know it might not work but it’s worth a try.



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