I thought the only good routine on tonight’s Dancing With the Stars was Mario and Karina’s. Ironic because my two favorite dances are rhumba and samba … or, perhaps maybe that’s why I always dislike the weeks devoted to those dances. Somehow Karina was able to teach Mario how to perform the hip and undulating pelvic movements properly, in a way none of the other pros were able to convey to their celebrities. Oh, and, I LOVED the music — “A Tisket a Tasket”! The first time I saw Karina dance (and wanted so badly to be her), she danced a Samba with her former partner, Slavik Kryklyyvy, to that song. Here it is on YouTube.
My second favorite was Marissa, although I wouldn’t really say her movement was Samba; it was more just fun all-out groving. There were no pelvic contractions and expansions at all — the rolling movement that gives the dance that seductively intriguing snaky feel. She said during practice to her Samba was all about shaking your booty, and it’s not. If she saw it that way, then no wonder she looked all wrong. She was cute and her dancing was a lot of sassy fun; it just looked more like something you’d see in a club.
Marlee had the same problem — no pelvic rotations, though she looked cute and gave her routine a lot of pizazz. It just wasn’t Samba.
Priscilla, Jason, and Cristian all tried to move their hips, but didn’t understand that the hips need to be connected to the lats (back muscles). It’s the lats that push down on the hips that make the hips move. If you just move the hip without first moving the lat, it looks like you’re just shaking your butt. It looks superficial and silly. One of my ballroom friends, Juana, once told me that rhumba emanates from the slaves. The quintessential rhumba walks that people now see as being so sexy, actually evolved from the movement one makes while trying to carry a heavy load atop one’s head. Think about it — you’d take a step, then the load would bear down on your shoulder, the weight would ripple down to your hip, the hip would settle into its socket, and you’d move on, taking another step and setting the movement in motion anew. After she told me this, I envisioned myself as such a woman, carrying heavy bottles of water atop her shoulders, and unbelievably it worked so much better than my teacher shouting, “foot, lat, hip, foot lat, hip” over and over again.
Anyway, Kristi and Shannon didn’t even try to move their hips. Shannon complained she had none to move. I used to use the same excuse (see my blog’s tag line), but now that I’ve seen plenty of tall, thin women (Joanna Leunis) do rhumba quite well, I know it’s just that — an excuse. Kristi did a lovely lyrical routine — and she’s definitely a natural and beautiful mover — but I felt that it wasn’t really rhumba without the hips — it was a nice theatrical dance you might see on Broadway, but not Latin ballroom.
Depressed! What did you guys think?