Lifts Are So Fun!

I always love the last, “free form,” dance on DWTS because everyone gets so into the lifts. They’re so much fun to learn as an adult; you feel like you’re a ‘real dancer,’ a ‘big person’ once you master a few (of the easier ones for me). Or at least I do because they’re so balletic, my ultimate dance passion. It’s so fun to watch all these giggly adults on the show, and in the studio. I think that’s why Dance Times Square’s student showcases became so popular; concentrating so hard on ballroom technique, as is required for the competitions, can get really monotonous; lifts are exciting, new and performancy.

I was really amazed by the level of difficulty of all the free form routines tonight. Those continuous assisted cartwheels that Helio and Julianne did blew me away — that he did them properly, I mean (I know Pasha and … geez, who did he do that routine with, Lacey??? … well I know Pasha and someone did them on SYTYCD, as did Benji and Heidi the season before, but it doesn’t surprise me that they were all splendid perfection!) I tried it with my old teacher, Luis, he wanting to put them into my Latin combo showcase. No way I said; not a sight anyone should see, believe me!

I really really really wish, though, that DWTS would have had ballet dancers appear on the show to teach the lifts. I had to go outside of my regular ballroom studio and learn from someone with a substantial ballet background; ballroom dancers aren’t used to lifts and, though they can do them, they’re difficult for them to teach. When Helio did that turn with Julianne laid out over his shoulders, he didn’t spot at all and I was afraid he was going to get dizzy because he turned several times. Plus, spotting just makes it look more polished. Ugh, another missed opportunity to have the greatest dancers in the world on the show 🙂 …

I was disappointed, though, with practically all of the ballroom routines tonight. I thought Mel and Maks’s was boring choreographic-wise, although Mel did well with the dancing … actually maybe that was a conscious decision on Maks’s part — to fill the choreography with basic after basic after basic (really, there was a lot of bronze-level stuff in that routine), and no tricks, so that she could just excel with the actual dancing. Still, I think for TV performance-quality, the pro needs to come up with something better than that. Marie and Helio’s routines I felt were choreographically more interesting, but Samba and Jive are their two hardest dances respectively. Marie did particularly unwell with Samba, and Helio’s Jive was fun because he put so much attitude into it, but, as Len said, he messed up the toe heel swivels and footwork in some places. I thought his Jive kicks were good though — those are hard. Well, Samba and Jive are my two hardest too so I sympathize…

Ugh, I dunno, I guess it’s anyone’s trophy really. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the Lincoln Center Christmas tree lighting tonight:

New York City Ballet performing teensy excerpts from Balanchine’s The Nutcracker on the balcony of the New York State Theater. Above is Megan Fairchild doing the Sugar Plum Fairy variation.

The tree is lit! There were SO many people there; I couldn’t believe it, especially since it was raining off and on, at times pouring even. There was a sea of umbrellas out on the plaza at one point. Unfortunately, I couldn’t ever find Kyle Froman since it was so packed out there. I’ll have to go to Barnes & Noble and check out his book this weekend. I looked for it at Books A Million in North Carolina, but they didn’t have it; had hardly any dance actually 🙁

Katy, from Burlington, says hello.


  1. Actually, it was Abi Stafford who danced the SPF solo at the tree-lighting festivities.

    Kyle’s table was located in front of Avery Fisher Hall.

  2. As usual, you offered a very perceptive critique of the dancing tonight. I thought that after the great performances last week, tonight’s routines were on the whole somewhat disappointing. Still, it was pretty clear tonight that Mel and Helio distanced themselves even farther from Marie (her free style “dance” was bizarre, to say the least). But ah, the audience factor! If Marie ends up winning this year’s competition, the producers really have to do some serious thinking about changing the judging/voting format.

    The tree lighting at Lincoln Center was fun (watching it on TV, I was astounded at the size of the crowd). But just for the record, that was Abi Stafford dancing the brief Sugar Plum Fairy solo, not Megan Fairchild.

  3. Oh I thought it was supposed to be Megan! I couldn’t hear ANYTHING out there. I also didn’t know it was on TV, Bob — I should have just stayed in and watched. Philip, that’s so weird — I was standing right in front of Avery Fisher too, although I didn’t get there until about 5:20; he might have packed up by then.

  4. We were in front of the Met.

    Yes, Megan was originally scheduled but it was Abi for sure who actually danced.

    Kyle was still there signing when we left at 6:00 PM…

  5. I think having the stars go to a ballet class or two would be good! It would help with their feet, their lines, posture, everything not just the lifts.

  6. It was Pasha and Sara ;o)

  7. Thanks Salmeen 🙂 Funny I forgot! Yes, I agree, Katrina — ballet helps with EVERYTHING!

  8. “(I know Pasha and … geez, who did he do that routine with, Lacey??? … well I know Pasha and someone did them on SYTYCD, as did Benji and Heidi the season before, but it doesn’t surprise me that they were all splendid perfection!)”

    Ahem, I believe that was Sara and Pasha choreographed by Benji and Heidi. Lol, I’m only slightly obsessed.

  9. So, was it just me, or was Marie’s freestyle the most bizarre piece you’ve ever seen on this show? I kept waiting for her to break out and dance, but she never did! I’m actually sort of shocked that Jonathan allowed that….

  10. Yes, Sharon! Although, I have to say, I’ve definitely seen weirder at the dancesport competitions. That’s probably where Jonathan was coming from in choreographing it — in fact I think I saw something very similar at the Ohio Star Ball (aka America’s Ballroom Challenge) a couple years ago. I guess freestyle means anything goes — and at competitions I think often weirder is seen by the judges as more creative and therefore better — but I wish for those freestyles competitors would just stick to standard dancing with some fun tricks and real character thrown in!

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